The Person Who Brought Islam to South Korea: Imam Zübeyir Koç

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Imam Zübeyir Koç

Translator: Sümeyye Nur Oflaz

There are many places that Islam has not reached yet. However there are also many people who are trying to spread and explain Islam. Thanks to them, Islam is about to reach every corner and Muslims are multiplying. One of these influential people was Zübeyir Koç, a Turkish imam who honored South Korea with this beautiful religion. Let’s get to know this person in detail: 

Who was Imam Zubeyir Koç?

Imam Zübeyir Koç was an imam known as the Conqueror of South Korea, who tried to spread the religion of Islam there, increase the number of Muslims and thus bring beauty to the Far East. The life of Zübeyir Koç, who was chosen from among thousands of imams to be sent to Korea, can be described as a long and arduous adventure. So how did this adventure begin? 

The Road to South Korea

Zübeyir Koç, one of the first graduates of the few Imam Hatip highschools opened in his period, took the imamate exam at the request of his teacher and succeeded by reaching the first place among hundreds of imams. Due to his young age Zübeyir Koç started to worry and asked himself, “Can I handle this special task?”. But after his success in the exam, he was appreciated for his diligence and knowledge.

His Bustle in South Korea

Islam did not come to Korea for the first time with Zübeyir Koç, but the number of Muslims increased with him. After the Korean War, the religion of Islam in Korea began to spread under the influence of Turkish soldiers and the first imams in the region. But the number of Muslims was still of little account. With Zübeyir Koç, the number of the Muslim minority in Korea increased rapidly. Zübeyir Koç led many religious conferences upon requests and assumed various duties. Explaining the religion of Islam to people who want to learn about it was the main task he undertook.

Effects of Zübeyir Koç

Imam Zübeyir Koç was very careful in every step while he strived to fulfill his duty of preaching. He tried to fulfill his duty by being a good example to people. The fact that he is a self-confident, reliable and well-behaved person warmed those around him to Islam even more. After a few months, dozens of people were impressed by what he preached, causing many to convert to Islam with a ceremony. Thus, the number of Muslims in Korea increased day by day. 

After the first seeds of Islam were planted, the number of conferences increased as well. Imam Zübeyir Koç talked about the religion of Islam wherever he is invited as a speaker. The number of Muslims in South Korea exceeded 200 in just a year. 

Zübeyir Koç, before returning to his home country, was therefore very instrumental in the construction of a mosque in South Korea.

Imam Zübeyir Koç was sincere in his work and so faithful to his cause that bad thoughts of those around him were shattered. Determination and virtuous behavior eliminated all prejudices against him. 

The words of Imam Zübeyir in a speech which he gave while leaving South Korea are among the best examples of this situation.

“In the beginning, General Uluçevik looked at me with prejudice because of my age. But as he saw my work, his trust increased and he thanked me when he left.”

Work With Sincere Intention and Faith Knows No Barriers

Christian missionaries who came to listen to the young Imam tried to dissuade him. However, Koç did not hesitate to talk about Islam and continued his preaching. Christian missionaries also made news in the newspapers to raise the issue, they tried to prevent him from explaining Islam and put a lot of effort into it. However Zübeyir Koç was not affected by these and continued to talk about Islam.

It is even said that these efforts to prevent him brought good results and that ten Americans who came to prevent him converted to Islam. Zübeyir Koç made great efforts for the spread of Islam in Korea and made people love the religion of Islam.

Return at the End of a Year

Imam Zübeyir Koç completed his work in Korea and returned to his country. After his one-year adventure, he continued to contribute to good works and good deeds by working as a preacher, imam, and mufti in many places. He set an example for people with what he left behind and touched so many hearts. From the Korean hearts he touched, there is one significant thing said about him:

‘’From Imam Zübeyir Koç we learned what being Muslim means’’

This article was originally written in Turkish. Click to read it! Kore’ye İslam’ı Götüren İnsan: İmam Zübeyir Koç

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