Monday, 21 September 2015

Orthodoxy not CONSERVATISM

There is a strong current of conservatism that runs throughout Turkish culture, history and even life. This even extends to their conception of the religion: there, it appears that, they often conflate conservatism with orthodoxy.

It's also interesting to note that whilst Ataturk brought Turkey into the modern era, his was just a different brand of conservatism.

It still was a top- down, hierarchical, system of organisation that probably still pervades every Turkish institution.

Even more interesting is that my conception of the religion is completely at odds with that idea, that Islam is for the people and there to help the people and is essentially grassroots. That it is revolutionary, inspiring and empowering. That it's precepts are clear and known and that nothing new can enter this concise body of religion.
Here is no specialism, no hidden message, no elitist ideal.

And even then it's book is a wonderful well of good fortune: the deeper you dig the sweeter the waters that gush from it. And that that book is full to the brim of questions just waiting to be asked.

And when you ask a question then those generative possibilities and opportunities become endless.

It's quite unlike the static conception of the religion that I believe the Turkish institutions have and uphold.

For the great Islamic Turkish thinkers failed to imprint their thoughts on the mainstream. Rumi's intelligence could only acceptably shine in Sufism, whilst Said Nursi approach towards the religion was again tangential. Both were great men, and yet both realised that they could not make an impression in a culture that viewed orthodoxy as being conservation in all of what went before.

They forgot the greatness of Abu Haneefa (rh) who revived a Sunnah that many after have derided him for. For did not the Prophet (saw) warn us not to write down anything from him. Most likely as a means that the great oral tradition of the Arab people would keep his words alive with meaning.

And did not our Prophet (saw) also impress on us, to not ask over many questions. That taken with the fact that the book is full of questions should not be taken to mean a blind acceptance of what went before.

But in fact that questions are powerful and generative, and sometimes they should not be quenched with answers, written down and set in stone.

That each man, and each community, and each time frame needs to explore those questions within their own narrative.

A prescription that is as anti-conservative as there can be, whilst at the same time being fixed within an unchanging milleu that is our religion, and the religion of our fathers. A revolutionary and yet orthodox ideal.


Location:Istanbul

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