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Islams Reformers

The bigotry of the religion reformers or bigots of science who surfaced lately to blame all previous scholars, basic fundamental beliefs or practices

mosques, which offend

mosques, which offend the eyes of this excessive reformer, remains. Religion reformers should know also that religious hodjas who, to them, are reactionaries in every respect are also behind in robbing the people when compared with them. Since their lives elapse in contentment, they get little use from the people. On the other hand, they do not neglect rendering even small services to them. When no hodja was left behind within four years of the First World War to wash dead bodies in villages, it was understood that even the hodjas, who were regarded ignorant, were not unnecessary or useless. Later in the time of Sultan Vahîddedîn Khan, many of the subjects that are taught in today’s high schools were reinstated in the curricula of the madrasas in Istanbul, yet it was seen that no hodja was graduated as qualified as the earlier ones. We have told briefly in the preface about the reasons that caused the decay of these centers of knowledge which in the past had educated Molla Fenârî, Molla Husrev, Ebussu’ûd, Ibn Kemâl, Gelenbevî and many others. Freemasons had not only deprived the madrasas of knowledge and monetary funds but also spread the nickname ‘softas’ (bigots) for ‘students’. It is surprisingly fortunate that, despite such defeatism and neglect shown to them, madrasas have produced men of knowledge who could more or less rebut the enemies of religion, and this must be because of the faid and baraka (blessing) in the exaltedness of the profession of teaching Islam. Some madrasa graduate men of religious profession, being unable to endure the insults directed to them through official tongues, have had to throw themselves into other areas of business in order to protect their honour, while some others, taking no notice of the insults, have adhered to their religious and national customs and continued living in an endeavour against their nafs. It is obvious that those who graduated from the madrasas which had been brought into an undesired state and deprived of teaching knowledge and science could not be men of knowledge. For this decay, there was another more effective reason, which was unnoticed and therefore not mentioned by religion reformers: the hodjas who should have performed the duty of al-amru bi ’lma’rûf wa ’n-nahyu ’ani ’l-munkar more than others kept silent against and even followed the cruel who put the madrasas into such a state, even sometimes helping the degenerate who introduced irreligiousness into this country and eradicated the religion. Although the fingers distinguishing right from wrong with unmistakable attention and unshaken conviction should – 74 –

elong to religious hands and there should be men of religion ahead of fighters for Islam opposing to injustice, the recent state of men of religion has been more tragic. Men of religion, who, while teaching that the intended couple had to be of the same social class, held the madrasa student and the Sultan’s daughter in the same category and regarded helpers of the cruel baser than everybody, have been replaced by those who are much baser in piousness than they are in knowledge today. In the following, the news reported in the daily Vakt dated June 20, 1928, is given: The professors of the Faculty of Theology in Istanbul have announced the program of the improvements that will be done in our religion suitably with the modern life and progress. This announcement is signed by Köprülü Fuâd, Ismâil Hakk› of ‹zmir, Sherâfeddin Yaltkaya, Mehmed Alî Aynî and their friends and says: “Like other institutions, the religion also should follow the current of life. The religion cannot remain dependent upon its old forms. In the Turkish democracy, the religion also has to undergo its development. Our mosques should be made inhabitable; desks and coat-racks should be put in them, one should be allowed to go in them with shoes. Language of worshipping should be Turkish, and the Qur’ân and the khutba should be read in Turkish. Musical instruments should be placed in mosques. The khutba should be delivered not by imâms but by religious philosophers. The Qur’ân should be studied not with the view-point of kalâm or tasawwuf but of philosophy. We request that this program, which concerns the ultimate policy of Turkey and will have a creative effect on all Muslim countries, be accepted.” 36 - The reformer says: “Children, after learning religious knowledge and believing in many things at home, study mathematics, biology and scientific subjects when they go to school. The things in which they have believed before without seeing and the knowledge which they learn by seeing and thinking about in high school conflict with each other in the children’s brains. The belief and morals which they have learned before deteriorate. And they cannot establish a new belief or morals with their fresh information. I have not seen a youngster who has formed a new belief and morals firm and based on knowledge.” The religion reformer means that the youngsters who have graduated from high schools have neither religious knowledge or religious morals nor morals that is independent of the religion and – 75 –

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