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Man is a social animal and as such thrust of his progress can be measured in terms of the society, created by him.
If it is created measure of his success can also be determined in how sociable he has become. In the evolution of our ape-ancestors to the modern man we hold no distinction between Australopithecines, Homo erectus (which inhabited Asia, Africa, and Europe) and Neanderthals (either Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) (which inhabited Europe and Asia). We carry however in our genome something of those groups that have died out. We are humans and our achievements are part of our common experience. In short despite of evolutionary twists and turns of our origins we bear the bequest of those who did not make it. Family beginnings of modern man go far back as 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. In terms of biology we humans do not demonstrate in the least any particular divine favor that a Christian, Jew or a Muslim claim as special for himself.
But looking at our social structure we see we are fragmented in the way we have chosen to show our identity in terms of our race, religion and economic status. We went about creating a family of man and became a creature of our own conceit. Perhaps this paradox is ever in our consciousness and that would explain the perennial popularity of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
We choose the society that we can relate to and not other way around. In accommodating members with various life experiences and interacting with them we infuse vitality into it. We broaden our horizons as a result. Nature has divised ways which would seem to follow this formula: like repels like; and opposites attract. History is replete with instances where societal collapse owed to the failure in heeding Nature’s warning. Inbreeding of Pharaohs in Egypt sowed their eventual demise and one of the serious consequences of Islam lay in the cultural stagnation. Dar-ul Islam or Global Islam means that all nations would be ruled under an Islamic theocracy, which is simply a national government set up under the rule of Allah’s divine sanction as expressed in the Qur’an and Shari’ah law. It did not happen. Historically Muslims failed to make their initial successes in world conquests to something permanent or significant. Mongol Invasion of the 13th century and Black Death had curtailed their mission. In their falling back to their old ideas a way of life they were comfortable they denied further growth. Compare between the period of Ottoman Empire at the height of its glory during the reign of Suleiman the magnificent, and the decades prior to the WWI (when it was called the Sick Man of Europe) is a sad commentary of a society that had run of ideas. It ceased to grow.
ii
Islam as a religion can be authoritatively dated and the flight of Mohammed is a historical date. Let us consider Islamic tradition relates Prophet Muhammad in 610, when he was 40 years old first heard the voice of the angel Gabriel, who recited to him the word of God, today written down in the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, meaning “recitation.”
It is significant that Muslims believe that what Gabriel told Muhammad came directly from God;by the same token the Jews believe the promise of Israel was given by God to Patriarch Abraham indicating the extent of their promised land.
One cannot be true and the other false.
Islam says that the message was similar to those received by the early Hebrew prophets: that God is one, he is all-powerful, he is the creator of the universe, and that there will be a Judgment Day when those who have carried out God’s commands will enjoy paradise in heaven, and those who have not will be condemned to hell. As we have seen, these ideas were also part of the Zoroastrian religion. When certain ideas are common experience of man there must be something to it. But in the way these ideas are coined and given value we need to be clear that such value system is man-made and as currency holds limited use. The correspondence principle states that if one man’s revelation is accepted as true on the same scale every belief must be accepted as true.

Man who dreams the impossible is everywhere persecuted. It is not the dream but how that dream is realized for the betterment of society is the main point. Prophet Mohammed fled to Medina and his dream was put into reality by his followers. How one would make a case for the Mormon sect, which was also founded on a spiritual experience?
This sect was founded in 1830. The Mormon pioneers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Latter-day Saints, who migrated across the United States from the Midwest to the Salt Lake Valley in what is today the U.S. state of Utah. At the time of the planning of the exodus in 1846, the territory was owned by the Republic of Mexico, which soon after went to war with the United States over the annexation of Texas.

The journey was taken by about 70,000 people beginning with advanced parties sent out by church fathers in March 1846 after the assassination of Mormon founder Joseph Smith made it clear the faith could not remain in Nauvoo, Illinois — which the church had recently purchased, improved, renamed and developed because of the Missouri Mormon War setting off the Illinois Mormon War. The well-organized wagon train migration began in earnest in April 1847, and the period (including the flight from Missouri in 1838 to Nauvoo) known as the Mormon Exodus is, by convention among social scientists, assumed to have ended with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Whether preposterous or wholesome values that a religion may contain man is ready to forsake all for his liberty of conscience. It is the golden key which opens the door to the promised land.
How can Moslems expect others to accept their religion as perfect when they themselves did not keep the promise? History of mankind shall be strewn with the conflict of liberty of conscience and pursuit of pleasure whatever the term ‘pleasure’ may mean. History is not concerned with motives or dreams of man but how their dreams were realized. When the children of Islam fell back from the shared experience of the rest of the world they nullified even what was within their reach to be at the vanguard of progress.
Dreams of a prophet like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young will please many but for me to accept these under coercion would be veritable nightmare. (To be continued)
Parts of this essay was taken from my book Principles of History. B
benny

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Will the real Mulla Nasruddin stand up? -1

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MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK (1881 – 1938)
Statesman, founder of modern Turkey.

Ottoman Empire had by WWI come to be regarded as dry stubble sucked dry by excesses of a few. While conflagrations of social changes went on all around the Empire had settled itself as though business as usual. In order to bring it down all it needed was Kemal Ataturk who came to prominence through hard way.
Kemal Ataturk founded the Turkey’s national party at the end of WWI. And in 1920 a provisional government elected him president of Turkey and gave him a chance to restructure the country and bring it up-to-date. For his reforms he had the cooperation of a large majority of his people.
The founder of modern Turkey won fame as the defender of Gallipoli. After the first World War he served as a leader for Turks, who wished to resist Allied plans to divide and subject their country and Greek’s attempt to occupy a part of it. He remade the Turkish army and defeated the Greeks and deposed the Sultan. He made a treaty with the Allies (Lausanne 1923), which recognized the independence of his people. Out of the Ottoman Empire, the nation state of Turkey was born. Abolishing the Sultanate was easier than doing away with the Caliphate. This produced a two-headed system with the new republic on one side and an Islamic form of government with the Caliph on the other side. In the early centuries the caliphate was the core political concept of Sunni Islam. ‘The religion of Islam will be elevated if it will cease to be a political instrument, as had been the case in the past’(Ataturk).
It was a time when totalitarian and Fascist ideas were in the air. He repudiated both. He ruled the state as president for the rest of his life and westernized the country, replaced the Islamic law by western law, emancipated women, abandoned Arabic for the Latin alphabet. He abolished the caliphate on 3 March 1924.
“The best, the truest order is the order of civilization. To be a man it is enough to carry out the requirements of civilization. The leaders of dervish orders will understand the truth of my words, and will themselves close down their lodges [tekke]…” On 30 August 1925, Mustafa Kemal’s Kastamonu speech. Only by hindsight one can appreciate what this son of a lowly militia officer in the Ottoman Empire was taking on.
Postscript: the caliphate was officially abolished and its powers within Turkey were transferred to the ruling single party GNA. The debate as to the validity of Turkey’s unilateral abolition of the caliphate was taken up by other Muslim nations in order to decide whether they should confirm the Turkish action or appoint a new caliph. A “Caliphate Conference” was held in Cairo in May 1926 and a resolution was passed declaring the caliphate “a necessity in Islam”, but failed to implement this decision in Mecca (1926) and Jerusalem (1931). Even this day the issue remains deeply controversial.
Trivia:
Born as Mustafa, Ataturk’s second name in Arabic Kemal (meaning Perfection or Maturity) was given to him by his mathematics teacher in recognition of his academic excellence.

benny

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