The rise of Islam in Turkey and Erdogan’s vision

This article is a continuation of our previous article, “the crucial role of Tasawwuf in the conquest of Constantinople/Istanbul”. To read that article, please click here.

Please note: the article below highlights some positive points. Highlighting the good does not negate the evil, therefore, this article does not negate, undermine or overlook the wrongdoings of the group in question.

Less than 500 years after the conquest of Constantinople, Ataturk assumed power serving as the founder and first president of Turkey. He banned the Arabic language and distanced the masses from the Ulama, leaving them spiritually lost. If Ulama were to teach, they would be imprisoned. Deeni taleem (acquiring Islamic knowledge), tazkiyyatul qalb (spiritual reformation) and nisbat-ma-Allah (connecting with Allah) are key ingredients to a successful Islamic empire. Ataturk knew this and strove to abolish all three, leading to the eventual breakdown of the Ottoman empire. He served until his death in 1938.

Owing to their history, currently, a lot of Muslims in Turkey are unable to recite the Qur’an and generally, the importance of modesty is undermined. The western culture introduced by Ataturk still has its influence today. However, under Erdogan’s rule many positive changes are taking place.

We visited a small village in Istanbul where Shaikh Muhammad Efendi resides. In the city, we barely came across Muslims dressed in Islamic attire like the Abayah, Niqaab and Kurta. In this village, we barely came across Muslims who weren’t dressed in Islamic attire. Most men also wore a turban. This is a commendable move for a people whose history banned Islamic clothing.

We grew up being taught the principles of modesty, they did not. Due to this, some societies may not seem very modest but they have a high level of Imaan. For example, in Turkey, most Musallis stay behind after Salah to recite the Qur’an and after Fajr to recite their morning duas. How many of us do that here in South Africa? My cousin is married in Turkey. He was also informing me that in the city centres you don’t see it much but in the villages, the change is obvious. However, unfortunately half the populace supports the move, the other half does not and they are upset with Erdogan’s vision.

Though alcohol is a profitable commodity, Erdogan wants to ban it. However, he knows that the masses are not ready. Bearing this in mind, the Ulama have advised him to first make the food halal and then slowly move on to a total ban of alcohol. He has close contact with Ulama and takes their advice on various matters, so by the end of the year he intends to ban imported meat from entering the country and to rely on local, halal sources instead.

Over the years, Erdogan has been supportive of those in war-torn countries. They have accepted a large number of refugees and provided their basic needs. In a bid to keep Aqsa alive, he has facilitated a flight to land in Tel Aviv, Israel every Thursday. The passengers pray Jumah on Friday in Masjid Al Aqsa and on Friday night, they return back to Turkey. This happens weekly.

We were told by the Turkish that when his mother was alive, he would kiss her feet every day, despite being president. His efforts have caused the masses to become more conscious of Salah, Madaaris are being established and the works of Tableegh is slowly growing. It is clear that Islam is on the rise there as it is everywhere. It is now for us to decide whether we want to rise with it, or be left behind. May Allah elevate His deen and take it from strength to strength, aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله

Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 15/01/18 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.

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