PROTECTING THE VALUES THAT MAKE US WHO WE ARE
The goal of our sublime religion, Islam, is to construct a Muslim identity based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. In constructing this identity, the primary measure of Islam is the moral principles introduced by the Messenger of Allah (saw). It is the Islamic culture and civilization that has emerged through these principles.
The loftiest value that constitutes the Muslim identity is faith, which reminds us of the purpose of our creation, teaches us our responsibilities, and allows us to develop a personality. It is the acts of worship that enable us to earn the approval of our Lord (SWT) and good morals that are the source of peace and happiness.
Muslims who preserve their identity are expected to respect and protect the principles of Islam, that is, the signs and symbols of Islam. Allah the Almighty (SWT) states, “Whoever honors the symbols of Allah, it is certainly out of the piety of the heart,”1 and informs us that protecting these symbols and signs is a requirement of our piety.
We live in a time when moral values, customs, and traditions are deteriorating, and cultural alienation is rapidly increasing. One of these cultural degenerations is the New Year celebrations. However, the festivities organized under the name of New Year’s Eve, the symbolic figures in these festivities, and the cutting down of pine trees have nothing to do with our history and culture. Our sublime religion, Islam, forbids alcohol, the mother of all evil, and gambling, which destroys homes and families and causes murders. Lottery, bets, and all games of chance, which are different types of gambling, are also forbidden and sinful acts according to our religion.
Societies are known and remembered for their values. They live and keep standing by their values. Our Prophet (saw) warns his ‘ummah about this issue as follows: “He who imitates any people (in their actions) is considered to be one of them.”2 So, let us hold fast to our values, which make us who we are, sustain us, and are our strongest refuge. Let us not reflect on our lives with superstitious customs and traditions that are incompatible with our faith, history, and culture.
I would like to conclude this Friday’s khutbah with our Lord’s (SWT) following verse: “Your only guardians are Allah, His Messenger, and fellow believers—who establish prayer and pay alms-tax with humility.”3
 Hajj, 22/32.
 Abu Dawud, Libas, 4.
 Ma‘idah, 5/55.