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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

The Glorious Past of Muslims

Rule of Muslims in three continents during the Ottoman rule that had its seat in Istanbul (Turkey)

The results of the referendum that took place in Turkey have paved the way for Tayyip Erdogan to occupy the highest and most powerful seat in the country till 2029. In near future, just the way it is in the United States of America, parliamentary form of government will be replaced by the presidential form of government, after which Erdogan will acquire rights and power for significant administrative tasks such as selection and appointment of ministers and judges, and dissolution of parliament. Making himself known to the world in the capacity of Turkey’s administrator, Erdogan was Turkey’s prime minister from March 2003 to August 2014, and since August 2014 he is the country’s 12th president. In the light of the failed military coup that happened in Turkey last year, supporters of Erdogan are calling this decision as desirable with reference to the circumstances, whereas those who are opposing Erdogan are of the view that the decision could very well bring dictatorship to Turkey. While on the one hand, many have pointed fingers on the personality of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the same time there are many who have acknowledged his credentials as an Islamist leader. Generally speaking, Muslims of the world look at him with respect and admire him because, as compared to other Muslim leaders, Erdogan takes a keen and special interest in issues faced by the Muslim community and, more importantly, raises those issues fearlessly in front of self-proclaimed big leaders of the world. He also happens to be the leader of Justice and Development Party of Turkey, a party that has majority in the Turkish parliament. In the year 1923, when the fall or dissolution of the Ottoman Empire happened, the erstwhile leaders of Turkey tried to push Istanbul, the cradle of Islamic sciences and culture, and several other places of Turkey away from Islamic culture and made an attempt at bringing the country closer to western culture. Erdogan tried to curb that move to an extent, a step that is considered by many as a valid reason for his wide acceptance and popularity among Turkish population.

In the age of social and electronic media, people, especially youngsters, have no time to undertake a careful and meticulous study of history. As a result of the existing referendum, Turkey is in news these days. This is the reason why, on this occasion in particular, I find it suitable to briefly pen down the history of Islam, chiefly the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire so that we remember our worthy ancestors and pray to Almighty Allah that the Muslim countries get united and, in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), render services for the Muslim Ummah and the human race. Aameen.

After the end of 23 years of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life as a Prophet, the righteous caliphs, in the light of the teachings of the Last Prophet (PBUH), ruled in an exemplary fashion for almost 30 years and spread the religion of Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula. At the time of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) death, Muslim were more than two hundred thousand and during the period of the caliphate of the righteous caliphs, this number had crossed 10 million. Only during the rule of Umar Farooq (RZA), Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Afghanistan, parts of Turkmenistan and North-Western province of present-day Pakistan became a part of the Islamic kingdom. For as many as twenty five years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Madinah Munawaarah remained the seat of Islamic rule, the capital. However, Ali (RZA), because of several considerations, shifted the capital from Madinah Munawarrah to Kufa, a city in Iraq.

After the martyrdom of Ali (RZA), on the insistence of Muslims in Iraq, Hasan (RZA) took allegiance of people to his status as a caliph. On the other hand, in Syria, people pledged their allegiance to Ameer Muawiyah (RZA) as the caliph. There was a strong likelihood of a war within the Muslim community, however, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Hasan (RZA) used his foresightedness and saved Muslims from a severe bloodshed by making an agreement with  Ameer Muawiyah (RZA) and renouncing his claim to caliphhood. The period from 632 to 661 AD is known as “The Righteous Caliphate”. In the light of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) statement, “Caliphate will be for thirty years in my Ummah, after that there will be kingship” (Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad), historians assert that the saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), “Hold on firmly to my sunnah and the sunnah of the righteous caliphs who follow me” (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawood) implies four caliphs, namely Abu Bakr (RZA),  Umar Farooq (RZA),  Uthman (RZA), and  Ali (RZA).

After the righteous caliphs, for almost a century, a clan of the Quraish tribe named Banu Umaiyyah declared Damascus as the capital and continued with victories until a point when the Islamic kingdom reached China on the one hand and Spain on the other. In the Umayyad period, Umar bin Abdul Azeez (RHA), only in two years of his caliphate (717-720 AD), demonstrated such exemplary justice and equality that people were reminded of the times of the righteous caliphs. Given how just his rule was, the historians assigned him the status of the fifth caliph. However, subsequently, because of some reasons, there arose a movement against the Umayyad rule and the Umayyad period that started in 661 AD ended in 750 AD.

The Abbasids, the dynasty that came to power in 750 AD as a result of their movement against the Umayyads, shifted the capital from Damascus to Baghdad and continued with victories. The Abbasid dynasty ruled for more than 500 years, a duration that is quite long by any standard. The rule of the Abbasids lasted till 1257 AD. During this period, numerous literary and historical works of exemplary standards were produced. Countless books on hadith, commentaries [of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)], history, biography of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and literature were penned down during this period. Extraordinary experts of science, mathematics and medicine were born during this period.

In 1299 AD, the Turks established the Ottoman Empire. At its zenith (16th and 17th century AD), the empire had spread over three continents. The Middle-East, most of the regions of North Africa, and South-East Europe were under its folds. In the year 1923, after the First World War, this 623 year old great empire was dissolved. What it tells us is that 95 years ago (in 1923), before the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey was ruling over a large part of the world. In addition to other services rendered by the Turks, their services in relation to the Holy Shrines of Makkah and Medina are absolutely praiseworthy.

Suffice it to say that ever since the migration to Medina, the Muslim community was always under the guardianship of a central authority, something that ended in the year 1923 with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. This is how, after 1350 years, the global Muslim community got scattered like a pack of cards and its collective force got divided into the present 45 Muslim countries. This was an extremely tragic and unfortunate event as a result of which Muslims across the world are massively suffering, various Muslim countries have been destroyed beyond hope, yet, across the world, there are no genuine well wishers of the Muslim community who are actually pained by its distressing condition. In the First World War, Turkey was an ally of Germany. The Muslims had to pay an unusually heavy price for that War. The British incited the Arabs to fight against the Turks. This is how there was war within the Muslim community that was fought on the basis of nationalism and the Arab regions slipped off the hands of Turkey. There came a point when the British conquered Turkey as well, however, in a relatively less span of time, the aggressive and militant armies were driven out of Turkey and a new state was conceived in the year 1923 that was called the Republic of Turkey. This is how the 624 year old Ottoman Empire came to an end.

After the death of Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA), his students compiled his sermons on the Holy Quran, Hadith, and Jurisprudence in a book form as a result of which the benefits of his knowledge reached much wider circles. In particular, when Imam Abu Haneefah’s (RHA) student/disciple Qazi Abu Yusuf (RHA) became the Chief Justice during the Abbasid Rule, in the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he introduced the general public to the judgements or decrees of Imam Abu Haneefah (RHA) through the platform of the government. As a result, within few years, Hanafi jurisprudence was implemented in various parts of the world and this trend continued afterwards. In fact, there came a point when Hanafi jurisprudence became the official and government-endorsed school of jurisprudence during the Abbasid and Ottoman rule. This is the reason why for hundreds of years, almost 75 percent of the Muslim population adheres to the Hanafi jurisprudence.

After the dissolution of the Islamic rule, the Turkey that was formed in the year 1923 shares its boundaries with eight countries. Armenia, Iran and Azerbaijan’s region Nakhchivan in the East, Iraq and Syria in the South East, Georgia in the North East, Bulgaria in North West, and Greece in the West. Other than the borders shared with these countries, the boundaries of the country are bordered by the Black Sea in the North, the Aegean Sea in the West, and the Mediterranean Sea in the South. After 1923, freedom of religion was, to an extent, restricted. Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul was converted into a museum. Hagia Sophia was a mosque where the daily five prayers were regularly offered in congregation from 1453 to 1935, from whose minarets the call to prayer was made again during the last year, after a gap of 81 years. As of now, there are approximately one hundred thousand mosques in Turkey. The maximum number of mosques are in old Istanbul. In the country that has a population of more than 80 million, Muslims constitute roughly about 97 percent of the total population. In matters and issues of difference and disagreement, Muslims of Turkey, follow the Hanafi jurisprudence. In general, people speak Turkish. However, there are few who speak Kurmanji. There are regions where Arabic is spoken too. Turkish is an extremely old language. Under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, people started writing Turkish in Arabic script. Once the Ottoman Empire came to an end, in the year 1928, the Arabic script was denounced and a new Latin script was implemented for Turkish.

The followers of the religion of Islam –a religion that surfaced in Makkah approximately 1450 years ago– are a little less than two billion. It means that roughly about 25 percent of the world’s population believes in Islam as a harbinger of success for them. According to a World Report, fifty years from now, Muslims will outnumber all other religious communities of the world. Moreover, the entire world knows this for a fact that it is Muslims only who are most particular about following their religion, and why should not they be because alongside considering all the prophets (AS) – right from Adam (AS) to Eesaa (AS) – as truthful, they believe that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the prophet of all the human beings and jinns who are to come to this world till the Day of Resurrection, is the Last Prophet and Messenger (PBUH). As per the teachings of Islam, in case a person does not believe in the prophethood of the likes of exemplary messengers such as Ibrahim (AS), Yaqub (AS) (whose offspring are called People of Israel), Moosa (AS) and  Eesaa (AS), he or she will be required to revive his or her faith. However, as per the Christian and Jewish religious doctrine, in case a person believes in the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (who was born in Makkah in 570 AD), that person is no more to be considered a member of the Christian or Jewish community. Now you only decide which of the two (Islam in one case and Christianity and Judaism in another) is orthodox. This is the reason why when it comes to those people of the world who leave their religion and embrace another religion purely out of interest and contentment, maximum number of people are those who embrace the religion of Islam because they see their success in this world and the Hereafter in Islam. One of the reasons behind anti-Islam decisions or politics of leaders of America and other Western countries is related to this fast and swift conversion of a lot of people from other religions to Islam. This large-scale conversion is in itself a strong testimony to Islam’s truthfulness. In sha Allah, after the arrival of Imam Mahdi and the descent of Eesaa (AS), Muslims will rule over every nook and corner of the world.

There is elasticity in Islam’s nature

The more you suppress it, the more it will rise  

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (