Certainly, there are many places where Islam has yet to reach. However, there are numerous dedicated individuals tirelessly working to spread and explain Islam, contributing to its growth everywhere. One of these remarkable individuals is Zübeyir Koç, a Turkish imam who cultivated the blossoms of Islam in Korea. Let’s get to know this wonderful person who has enriched Korea with Islam.
Who is Imam Zubeyir Koç?
Imam Zubeyir Koç is an imam known as the “Conqueror of Korea” for his efforts in promoting and increasing the Muslim population in Korea, bringing prosperity to the region through Islam. His journey, from initially coming to Istanbul and later being selected from among thousands of imams to be sent to Korea, is a long and challenging adventure. So, how did this journey begin?
The Road to Korea
Zübeyir Koç, one of the first graduates of the few Imam Hatip schools opened during his time, entered the imamate exam upon his teacher’s request and emerged as the top scorer among hundreds of imams. This marked the beginning of his Korean adventure. Initially, being only 21 years old, he pondered, “Can I handle this special mission?” Yet, after winning the exam with distinction, he set foot in Korea as the imam of the brigade sent there.
The Islamic Adventure in Korea
Islam did not first arrive in Korea with Zübeyir Koç, but the number of Muslims increased significantly with him. The influence of Turkish soldiers and the first imams in the region, after the Korean War, marked the beginning of Islam’s spread in Korea. However, the Muslim population was quite small. With Zübeyir Koç, the number of Muslims in Korea increased rapidly. Upon requests, Zübeyir Koç led many religious conferences, taking on various responsibilities to explain Islam to those interested in learning. As he started speaking, the number of people eager to learn about Islam skyrocketed.
Zübeyir Koç’s Impact
Imam Zübeyir Koç, striving to fulfill his preaching duties, was extremely careful in every action. He tried to set a good example for people and, with his confident, trustworthy, and morally upright character, warmed people towards Islam. His firmness and virtuous behavior made people more receptive to Islam. Within a few months, dozens of people were influenced by his teachings and lifestyle, formally embracing Islam through ceremonies. Consequently, the number of Muslims in Korea continued to grow.
After sowing the initial seeds of Islam, the number of conferences increased. Imam Zübeyir Koç was invited as a speaker, sharing the teachings of the Islamic faith. In the one year that the young imam spent in Korea, the Muslim population had already surpassed 200.
Before returning to his homeland, Zübeyir Koç left behind another beautiful legacy by contributing to the construction of a mosque in Korea.
Imam Zübeyir Koç conducted his work with sincerity and an unwavering belief in his mission. His genuine commitment and the reflection of Islamic values in his actions dismantled any negative perceptions held by those around him. His determination and embodiment of Islamic principles dispelled prejudices against him.
Work Driven by Sincere Intentions and Belief Knows No Obstacles
As the number of conferences promoting Islam increased, Imam Zübeyir Koç was frequently invited as a speaker to share the teachings of the religion. Despite efforts by Christian missionaries to dissuade him, Koç did not hesitate to explain Islam and continued his work. Christian missionaries tried to bring attention to the matter by publishing articles in newspapers, attempting to hinder him from speaking about Islam. However, Zübeyir Koç remained unaffected and continued his efforts. It is even said that these attempts to hinder him resulted in a positive outcome, with ten of the American missionaries who tried to obstruct him eventually embracing Islam.
Zübeyir Koç, by multiplying the positive aspects, dedicated significant effort to the spread of Islam in Korea and endeared the Islamic faith to the people.
Return After a Year
After completing his mission in Korea, Imam Zübeyir Koç returned to his homeland. Following his one-year duty in Korea, he continued to contribute to goodness and served as an imam, preacher, and mufti in various places. He set an example for others with his actions, leaving a positive impact on hearts wherever he went.