As of today, it has been 43 days since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered his country’s consulate in Istanbul and never emerged. Hence, last Sunday, his friends organized a commemoration gathering on the occasion of the 40th day of the passing away of Khashoggi, whose death and the way he was killed has been confirmed to be the most savage way one could die.
His friends in Turkey held a gathering at the Ali Emiri Hall in Istanbul’s Fatih district, while his other friends in Washington, D.C., London and many cities in Europe organized simultaneous gatherings in their own cities, and tried to interpret the new meanings and messages Khashoggi epitomized with his martyrdom today.
There were those who described Khashoggi as a martyr of democracy and freedom. In any case, the awareness his death led to made the whole world witness the bare truths that cannot be shown or explained in any other way.
To make witness or bear witness is the experience that gives the best sense of the power and reality of martyrdom.
There is no doubt that Khashoggi carried the whole world to almost a different level of awareness with his martyrdom. Upon the revelation of his death and the way he was killed, the sparkles of the bright and shiny lies that were sold to the people fell off; they were unmasked, then the complete ugliness, felonies, vileness of a country whose power dominates the world was exposed before everybody’s eyes. This martyr made the whole world witness the world’s ugly truth.
Very few people knew Khashoggi while he was living in Turkey. The world that did not speak Arabic or English were not really familiar with him. Of course, since they did not know him, nobody knew about his ideas. Who would know and how, who he was against and why, who he was criticizing and why and who he was disturbing with these criticisms?
Those who decided to kill him attached great importance to silencing him, because they considered even his weak voice as such a great threat to themselves. Yet, by killing him, they made him known to all. And while introducing him, they introduced themselves too - in their most exposed, unmasked, and plainest state. Now, they have no strength to stand before anybody with their bare faces. Even those who are their friends cannot risk protecting them or being seen together with them. Similarly, everybody knows Khashoggi now; who he angered and why, and what those who were mad at him got up to. Regardless of whether his murderers build of world of lies by buying various media or lobbying centers with their petro-dollars, that world suddenly dies out with the witness of a martyr.
It has been 43 days since he was murdered, but his body is yet to be found; the perpetrators have not made a statement regarding the body. Yet, the 18 people, who are said to have been arrested as the perpetrators of the crime, have this information. The reason why they do not share this information despite all this pressure and accusations can be nothing other than shame. It is obvious that this information is not something that can be shared, and it is clear that after all this time, we are not going to be able to reach any information regarding his body.
Hence, it is time to hold the funeral ceremony that every Muslim deserves for Khashoggi, who has been dead for more than 40 days. In Islam, if nobody performs a Muslim's funeral prayer, that prayer then becomes obligatory upon every Muslim. In this case, there is no doubt that performing the funeral prayer is no longer Khashoggi's obligation, but the obligation of those who witnessed his death. The lack of a body to bury does not mean that the funeral prayer is no longer an obligation - it just slightly changes the form of the prayer.
A funeral prayer in absentia is a prayer performed when there is no body, but there is no doubt regarding the person's death, or a prayer performed remotely even though the body was buried elsewhere. Prophet Muhammed is known to have performed this prayer for Ethiopian King Najashi. Yet, Khashoggi's is a different kind of prayer. His body is nowhere to be found even though he is known to be dead for 43 days, however, meanwhile, he is among us more than anybody else has ever been. He continues to pave the way to almost changing all the balances in the world with the impact of his death. Now, with his death, he is making the impact he could not make while alive.
On a different note, while his body was being destroyed, Turkey was the one being targeted. Preparations to declare Turkey as an unsafe and unreliable country by killing him were all complete. A minor precaution he took with his intuition helped reveal those who set up the plot. This way, in a sense, he died protecting Turkey against one of the most dangerous attacks in its history.
Since it is certainly clear that Khashoggi is dead, it is now necessary to perform the funeral prayer he deserves. Based on this, we are going to fulfill one of our fundamental duties toward him at the funeral prayer to be performed in his absence after the Friday prayer at Fatih Mosque. Surely our duty toward him will not consist of this alone. We are going to continue to witness whatever he called on us to see.