Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Erdogan: Discussion on leadership and loyalty in Islam

The two parts posting on the Turkish military coup and whether is will happen in Malaysia here and here came to the conclusion that it will not happen.

However, the discussion on preserving the institution of people self-rule and an apolitical military led to the subject of leadership and character of personalities holding the mantle of leadership.

It eventually led to an analysis of Erdogan's leadership.

Since there are those that fanatically believed in the rise of a new caliphate from the ruins of the Ottoman empire will come in the form of Erdogan, it would be interesting to explore the subject of leadership and loyalty in Islam.

Sura An-Nisa  (59) in the holy Quran calls upon believers to be loyal to Allah and loyal to Prophet and leaders selected from among you.

Loyalty and disavowal in Islam (al-wala wal bara) forms essential concepts of the Islamic aqeedah which every Muslim must understand and hold close to their hearts.

One interpretation argued that the concept of loyalty and disavowal "should be applied within the totality of Islamic teaching."

Loyalty should be understood as "to the community of believers and the teachings upon which it is based" and "disavow the actions of those who oppose Islam and persecute the Muslim community". [Read Abu Emina Elias here].

In another interpretation, they stressed the aspect of undivided loyalty and tolerance to human frailty of leaders to place importance on unity over disunity and preservation of institution.

A saying of the prophet as recorded by HR Muslim define the responsibility of leaders to exhibit their leadership and followers obligation to be loyal.

Up to a certain limit, believers are told to vent their dissatisfaction and unhappiness towards the leadership through prayers. It is basically asking for leaders to be given leeway to improve and mend their ways. [Read this facebook Malay posting here.]

The far end of this interpretation goes to the extend of tolerating absolute monarchy and non-democratic system of government including dictatorship as long as the leaders are responsible.

The Arab has a term to describe allegiance as in ‘bai'at’ which means to sell. In the practise of sufi spirituality, bai'ah is symbolically to sell our souls to God through the hands of the man commissioned by him. The wali (saint) or sufi sheikh (teacher) worthy to trust one soul are those able to guide them to salvation.

Modern and progressive Muslims may find it hard to accept such blind loyalty and faith in the hands of a person on even a simple matter of governance, let alone the soul. Nevertheless, it begs the question of the characteristic of leader worthy of such loyalty and allegiance.

The expectations on leaders will be a long list and varies with individuals and categories of individuals. At the basic core, the mark of a leader worthy of such loyalty and allegiance lies in his ability to make crucial decisions for the betterment of his followers.

And this takes us back to the discussion of personality of the leaders concern.

The best way to judge leaders will be through his or her actions and intentions. A glimpse of their intentions could be seen from their past actions to be truthful and consistent (siddeq), honest in their pursuit (amanah), enlightening and inspirational (tabligh) and wise (fatanah).

In return, the loyalty and allegiance of dedicated followers, who will face up to anything for the sake of their leader and his word, makes for great leader.

Most reports claimed a million gathered in Istanbul on Sunday in support of Turkish President Erdogan Teyyip. Some reports claimed two, three million. The Times of UK reported "up to five million people thronged the Yenikapi parade ground for the Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally".

The rally aims to represent Turkish unity in support of the pro-democrasy demonstrators that thwarted an attempted coup on July 15. It also served to commemorate the 317 deaths and thousands injured as a result of the coup.

There were no party banners but only Turkish flags. Two out of three Turkish opposition parties attended the rally. It was reported by the western media that the Kurdish party was not invited.

The west have been on a campaign to paint of negative picture of Erdogan by depicting as dictator and criticising his crackdown on the military, judiciary, civil service and academics. [Read in The Week here]

With this display of support by those that really matter, i.e. the people of Turkey, their critics are of no relevance.

The fact is "westerners left Turks isolated"

Erdogan was quoted by the French daily Le Monde on Monday to have said, "The Western world was in contradiction with the values it defends. They should have shown their solidarity with Turkey, which has appropriated their democratic values. Unfortunately, they preferred to leave Turks isolated,"

World leaders did not react in the same way they did after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Jan. 2015.Is it their prejudice towards Islam?

Turkey is left to address the source of the domestic threat to democrasy and find new alliances to fend for themselves and continue their peaceful existence in the explosive region. Turkey and Russia is "expected to set a new road map for bilateral relations between Ankara and Moscow".

Erdogan demonstrated leadership in the midst of adversity and deserves all the respect, support and sacrifice of the people.

According to the concept of Islamic democrasy, Erdogan demonstrated his resolve to uphold the principles of leaders to be elected by the people, taking charge of the nation's destiny, and done within the spirit of syura consultation through parliament.

The third principle could be the subject of debate as leaders are subject to syaria. Some countries do not conform to the features of Islamic democrasy but are Islamic countries. Syaria interpretation and application as state law varies from country to country.

Taking the current situation and condition in Turkey, Erdogan should be tolerated as his effort to revive Islamic practises and traditions in public life and dismantling the tyranny of Mustapha Kamel's secularism is gaining acceptance.

Peace and democrasy may bode well for Islam in secular Turkey. 

Be it as dictator or democratic leader, to judge Erdogan as a great leader in comparison to others will depend on his ability to make crucial decision for the betterment of the people and nation, and his actions and intention to be consistently truthful, honest, inspirational and wise.

For Erdogan, time will tell and he has the opportunity to prove himself. For past leaders, they will be judge for their past actions and consistency to the present in upholding principles and values.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Those who believe in God do not suffer from doubt in the truthfulness of His promise, and in the deep-rootedness of truth in the building of the cosmos and the systems that govern it, and in His support for Truth that He throws at falsehood an invalidates it. If God tests them by the victory of falsehood for a while, they know that it is a test, and they can sense that their Lord is training and mentoring them because of a weakness or shortcoming in them, and that He is preparing them for welcoming a triumphant Truth.

My Say