The Hype of Erdogan’s Heroism and His Claim of Secularism’s Compatibility with Islam
The evidence of the thirst in the Muslim world for a sincere Islamic leadership can be understood by the fact that even a little gesture of concern regarding the Muslim Ummah is enough to make people regard a leadership as sincere, Islamic and the representative – in any section of the Muslim world. AKP’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s myth of heroism is similar in this regard.
The positive regard for Recep Tayyip Erdogan can be comprehended in a way that not only the Muslims in general but even the leaders of some religious organisations are also seen praising him merely for his gestures and words. The leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Qazi Hussain Ahmed in a visit to Turkey praised Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a true spokesman of the Muslim Ummah. Similarly, Hamas, a Palestinian group, praised Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s anger over Israel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. However, the Israeli official says that the relationship between the two countries would not be affected but the relations with Erdogan would become adverse. This means the tension between the two entities was only limited to verbal claims.
It is not new that rulers in the Muslim world exploit Islam to fulfil their political desires or appease the motives of foreign powers. It is due to the fact that Muslims are inert to offer any leadership to a personality who is alien to Islam. Pervaiz Musharraf also exploited the treaty of Hudaibiya when making a U-turn regarding the Taliban [in Afghanistan]. However, unlike the treaty of Hudaibiya, Pervez Musharraf unconditionally supported the US without any time frame. Foreign concepts of interest based banking are beautifully wrapped with Islamic banking labels. Similarly, when concepts of socialism are given to the Muslim masses, the term Islamic socialism was coined for it. This actually proves that people in the Muslim world want Islam and therefore these foreign ideas need a wrapping of Islam in order to be embraced in the Muslim world.
However, Islam is meant to be implemented as a whole system of life, Pickthall translated the verse of Quran chapter 5 verses 49 as: ‘So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires, but beware of them lest they seduce thee from some part of that which Allah hath revealed unto thee. And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s will is to smite them for some sin of theirs. Lo! Many of mankind are evil-livers.’
In these definite and categorical verses of the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has explicitly described the system of life for Muslims as Islam alone and there is no acceptability of any desire or contamination of even the smallest part of Islam with some contradictory concept.
In this verse, it is not only the contamination of Islam with an alien idea that is forbidden but the Prophet (peace be upon him) is also directed to be aware of the evil desires of the natives clashing with the law of Allah (swt). As this ordinance is not exclusive to the Prophet (peace be upon him), therefore the verdict is applicable to Muslims in general. Hence before blindly following someone as an Islamic leadership, it is necessary for us to evaluate him on the real grounds of Islam.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan had many times made it clear that his party does not have an Islamic agenda. When he became the leader, he declared that “AK Party is not a political party with a religious axis.” Similarly he categorically exclaimed his alignment with the liberal democratic doctrine as “We’ll start working on a new constitution right away to support democracy and freedoms,” This clearly demonstrates the fact that Erdogan in his own words has a liberal, democratic and secular agenda. Yet, some Muslim groups still advocate them as being heroic.
Practically, Turkey is still a parliamentary democracy, founded on the source of law on the majority ruling of five hundred and fifty members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and not the Quran and traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon Him). Moreover, under the AKP government in April 2010 the first nudist beach in Turkey was approved. Apart from this, wine, night clubs, prostitution and many other forbidden activities are officially permitted in Turkey. People in the Muslim world, especially those who are ideologically weak, try to stress that the AKP be given more time and that they will ensure heroism and Islamism.
Recently Erdogan made it crystal clear that he advocates secularism. Although, the Muslim Brotherhood initially gave an overwhelming welcome to Erdogan in Cairo but on the crystal clear statement of Erdogan aligning with the secular agenda that they then criticized Erdogan for advocating secularism. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to Egypt called on Egyptians to take on a secular constitution, noting that secularism does not mean renouncing religion. He said; “Do not be wary of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt,” Erdogan stressed that secularism is not against religion.
There are several leaders and orators in the Muslim world, who advocate secularism and try to present it as compatible with Islam. The question is do they really know secularism? Or are they playing with the emotions and values of the people?
George Jacob Holyoake, the inventor of the word “secularism,” defined secularism in real terms in his book English Secularism: ‘Secularism is a code of duty pertaining to this life founded on considerations purely human, and intended mainly for those who find theology indefinite or inadequate, unreliable or unbelievable.’ Now should we consider the one who brought the idea of secularism first? Or are these pseudo intellectuals and rulers in the Muslim world who are still not aware of their own direction? Or if they are aware, then the question is do they find Islam indefinite, inadequate, unreliable and unbelievable??
Official Spokesman Hizb ut-Tahrir Pakistan