Saying 'good morning' is a habit from pre-Islam days of ignorance: Diyanet head

Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Erbaş said that saying "Good morning" was a habit from the pre-Islam era dubbed "days of ignorance." Erbaş instead recommended saying prayers to greet others in his book published with state funds.

Duvar English

Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş said that saying "good morning" to others was a habit from the pre-Islamic era dubbed "days of ignorance," and instead encouraged people to say prayers to greet each other.

Writing in his book financed by the Diyanet, Erbaş said that people in the era preceding Islam would say things like "life to your morning" or "life to your evening."

"These were expressions similar to 'good morning' or 'good afternoon' that some use. Muslims started greeting each other to pray for one another after the verses on greetings arrived," Erbaş said. 

The Muslim verse on greeting encourages Muslims to "say hello to each other with the wishes of a good life by the grace of Allah" and recommended greeting lines are those similar to opening lines from prayers.

Columns Erbaş wrote during Ramadan month were turned into a book called "Ramadan Diaries" that was funded through the Diyanet's 2019 budget. 

The Turkish word for "good morning," Günaydın, became a trending topic on Twitter shortly after Erbaş's statements were reported on Sep. 16. 

Artist Aylin Aslım responded to the statement with a tweet asking which era's habit it was to be driven around in a Mercedes like Erbaş, and asked "Is it in the Quran?"

"I've read thousands of books, written hundreds of articles but I feel ignorant today. So I'd like to say one thing to everyone: GOOD MORNING... Reminding all of the verse that says to 'Respond to a greeting with an even better one,'" wrote medical doctor Prof. Güner Sönmez. 

"The most beautiful word in Turkish GOOD MORNING is 'a habit of the days of ignorance!'" wrote actor Orhan Aydın. "It's the middle of the 21st century, and ignorant courage is attacking even the language that we speak."