Additional Material
for Key Chapters

Chapter 16


“The ‘revolution of rising expectations’ we celebrated so confidently fifteen years ago has, in many places, become a ‘revolution of rising frustrations.’ Modernization, it now appears, is harder than one supposed.” (Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society, Free Press, 1964, p. vii)

One reason for this, Lerner mentions, is the population explosion in most developing countries, which has continued well past the time of his writing, and which needs to be kept in view in the study of all social phenomena, including religion. The “revolution of rising frustrations” has undoubtedly contributed to the Islamic “resurgence” of recent decades. Therefore, I am providing here population statistics for Turkey and, in the appropriate places, Egypt, Iran and Indonesia.

Population of Turkey in millions

1927       13.6
1980       44.7
1990       56.5
2008       73.9

Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

Some statements of Atatürk

“How happy is the one who can say, ‘I am a Turk.’”
“In life the truest guide (mürsit) is science.”
"Our aim is to establish a modern, therefore a Western state in Turkey." (Toprak, B. Islam and Political Development in Turkey Brill, 1981, p. 144)

"It was necessary to abolish the fez, which sat on our heads as a sign of ignorance, of fanaticism, of hatred to progress and civilization, and to adopt in its place the hat, the customary headdress of the whole civilized world, thus showing , among other things, that no difference existed in the manner of thought between the Turkish nation and the whole family of civilized mankind."
(McNeil, W.H. & Waldmann, M.R., eds., The Islamic World. New York etc: Oxford University Press, l973, p. 446)

"I flatly refuse to believe that today, in the luminous presence of science, knowledge and civilization in all its aspects, there exist, in the civilized community of Turkey, men so primitive as to seek their material and moral well-being from the guidance of one or another shaikh. Gentlemen, you and the whole nation must know, and know well, thaa the Republic of Turkey cannot be the land of shaikhs, dervishes, disciples and lay brothers. The straightest, truest tariqa is the way (tariqa) of civilization. To be a man, it is enough to do what civilization requires. The heads of the brotherhoods will understand this truth that I have uttered in all its clarity, and will of their own accord at once close their convents, and accept the fact that their disciples have come of age."
(Mortimer, Edward, Faith and Power. The Politics of Islam, London: Faber & Faber, l982, p. 141)

A different viewpoint:
“Fear not; how can this faith of a people be smothered by that monster called ‘Civilization’ which has but one tooth left in its jaw.”
Mehmet Akif (Mortimer 134)

Tomb of Atatürk in his mausoleum, Ankara.

Selections from the Turkish Constitution of 1982.

(the most recent constitution)

ARTICLE 2 - The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law, mindful of the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice, respecting human rights, loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental principles set forth in the Preamble (which speaks of the "eternal Turkish nation" and the "sacred Turkish state", "the absolute supremacy of the national will" and "no interjection of the sacred tenets of religion into state affairs and politics).

ARTICLE 6 - Sovereignty is vested in the Turkish Nation without reservation and condition.

ARTICLE 10 - All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, gender, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such consideration.

ARTICLE 24 - Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religious belief, and conviction... Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under state supervision and control....

(from Blaustein and Flanz, Constitutions of the Countries of the World, Vol. XVI.) [This or part of it may have been sent in but is not on the website as of 20/3/10]


Tomb of Shihab al-Din (Şehabeddin) Sivasi (d. 1378) and mosque, Salçuk, Turkey. The plaque describes him as a scholar but he also must have been a Sufi, in view of the practices prohibited by the sign beside the door (see next frame).

The sign beside the door of Shihab al-Din’s tomb reads roughly as follows: Attention, visitors. According to Islam, your religion, at tombs and graves:

  1. Votive offerings are not to be presented.
  2. Animals are not to be slaughtered as sacrifices.
  3. Candles are not to be lit.
  4. Strips of cloth are not to be fastened.
  5. Coins are not to be placed.
  6. One is not to bow as one enters.
  7. Money is not to be thrown on or in.
  8. People are not to leave food around.
  9. One should not rub one's hand and face.
  10. Miraculous cures should not be expected from tombs and graves.
  11. One should not circumambulate tombs or graves.
  12. One should not lie down or sleep inside a tomb.
    1. These and similar things are heresies and superstitions.
      They have been definitively forbidden.
      Department of Religious Affairs.

      One suspects that this is a good list of what has actually been practiced.


      Office of the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi) in Konya, which is one of its strongholds, 2000.See Introducing Islam, pp. 223-4.

      Bektashi sama‘, at the tomb/complex of Hajji Bektash (in 2000). The participation of men and wom¬en together makes this quite unusual. Like the Baktashis, the Alevis venerate Hajji Bektash and in Turkey today people often speak of an Alevi-Bektashi tradition.

      © William Shepard

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