’Europe is pregnant with Islam and will give a birth to an Islamic nation’
Thursday, May 19, 2005
KurdishMedia.com - By Aland Mizell
Europe is pregnant with Islam and will give birth to an Islamic Nation (Saidi Kurdi 1908)
Since September 11, the word Islam has become familiar words around the world. Some Muslims see this phenomenon as an open door for spreading Islam globally. Some even interpret this tragedy as fortuitous because they say Allah will bring good news out of bad news. Others argue that in the future Islam and the message of the Qur’an would have prevailed in any case. Also, some Muslims go further to provide what they perceive as clear proof that this victory will occur.
For example, students of Mola Saidi Kurdi refer to his writings to provide such evidence. Saidi Kurdi, an Islamic theologian, born in 1876 in the Kurdish city of Bedlîs in Northern Kurdistan (Southeastern Turkey), predicted a long time ago that Islam would, in what he deemed the near future, gain ascendancy. Because Islam
holds that everything happens for a reason, some Islamists interpret the World Trade Center attack as a means of spreading Islam. In this view the event advanced the early twentieth century prophecy of the Bediuzzamans [holy man].
In 1908, Saidi Kurdi foretold that Europe would become an Islamic nation. He wrote that his followers should take with pleasure the advantages of Europe - like technology and industry - that would assist them in their progress toward their goal and in the development of their civilization. However, he admonished them that they should forbid the sins and evils of Western civilization from entering the boundaries of their freedom and their culture. With the sword of the Sharia, the Quran, young people in his civilization would be protected by the pure, cold spring of life of the Sharia. He advised that they must imitate the Japanese in acquiring civilization, for by taking only the virtues of civilization from the Europeans, they would preserve their national customs, the leaven of every nation’s continuance, but leave behind the undesirable.
Believing that the most effective tool to defeat the enemy is to shoot the enemy with his own weapon, Muslims see the enemy’s weapon as democracy, rule of law, and particularly freedom of expression. Technology and higher education are also to be appropriated to use against infidels. In their home countries, most Islamists cannot exercise freedom of expression, but in the West they seize the benefits of democracy to spread Islam. Ironically, the airplane hijackers lived in the United States under the rule of law as ordinary members of the community until they executed their plan to crash the planes into the buildings and kill so many occupants. By this strategy of assessing the most advantageous tools of the Western world, Islamic organizations with a mission to revive an international Islamic state take hold of every means of achieving their goal, especially the benefits of the enemy’s society. Academic freedom, freedom of assembly, sophisticated technology, as well as values of tolerance, equal access, and freedom of speech have permitted Islam to become the most rapidly growing religion in both the United States and Europe.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Saidi Kurdi recognized that through their own technology Europeans could be conquered. His early writings predict this conquest. In the autumn of 1908, one of the leading members of the famous el-Ezher University in Cairo, and at one time Grand Mufti of Egypt, Seyh Muhammed Bahid visited Istanbul. The Istanbul ulema, inferior to Bediuzzaman in argument and debate, asked Seyh Bahid if he would meet him for an intellectual exchange. The Seyh accepted, and one day after prayers in Aya Sophia, a contest began. Bediuzzaman was seated in a tea-house with other ulema present. Seyh Bahid approached Bediuzzaman, and questioned him: "What is your opinion concerning Freedom and the Ottoman State, and European civilization?" Bediuzzaman unhesitatingly replied with insightful comment. "The Ottoman State is pregnant with Europe, and it will give birth to a European state one day. And Europe is pregnant with Islam; one day it will give birth to an Islamic state (Tarihe-i Hayat, shf. 45).
In his early writing he explained, "Europe and America are pregnant with Islam. One day, they will give birth to an Islamic state. Just as the Ottomans were pregnant with Europe and gave birth to a European state." He addressed his followers and those who would come, "O my brothers who are here in the Umayyad Mosque and those who are in the mosque of the world of Islam half a century later! to foretell of a worldwide Islamic empire.
He forecast that it is only Islam that will provide true moral and spiritual rule in the future and only Islam that will lead those under its State to happiness in this world and the next. He believed that true Christianity, stripping off superstition and corrupted belief, would be transformed into Islam; following the Qur’an, it would unite with Islam (Hutbe-i Samiye, 19-28.) Saidi Kurdi argued that Islam’s progress and supremacy in the future would prevail, because European civilization is founded on the negative virtues of "lust and passion, rivalry and oppression," rather than on virtue and guidance, as he believed Islam is. Secular Europe has cast off its Judeo-Christian values and the culture derived from them leaving a moral vacuum for Islam to rush in. Researchers studying Europe today note that church attendance has dropped and, for example in France, is at approximately five percent. As one cardinal noted, Europe has become a pagan continent. It is this secular paganism that has created the void.
Saidi Kurdi questioned his followers, "How is it that while there are such powerful and unshakable ways and means for the material and moral progress for the believers and people of Islam, and the road to future happiness has been opened up like a railway, you despair and fall into hopelessness in the face of the future and destroy the morale of the Islamic world?.... Since the inclination to seek perfection has been included in man’s essential nature, in the future truth and equity will show the way to a worldly happiness in the world of Islam, God willing, in which there will be atonement for the former errors of mankind (Hutbe-i Samiye, 28-32.) He asked them how they could be losing hope with such a potential for expansion.
In considering the expansion of his movement, Saidi Kurdi noticed that one of the sicknesses that had entered heart of the world of Islam was despair. In his interpretation of Said Nursi’s writings, Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic spiritual leader of a worldwide movement today, remarks: "He says that it was despair that had destroyed the morale of Muslims, so that the Europeans had been able to dominate them and make them their captives for the preceding four hundred years. And it was despair that had killed their high morality, and caused them to abandon the public good for personal benefit. And despair had even caused them to use the indifference and despondence of others as an excuse for their own laziness, and to abandon the courageousness of belief, and neglect their Islamic duties. He says that despair is the quality and pretext of cowards, the base, and the impotent. It cannot be the quality of the Arabs in particular, who are famous for their tenacity (Hutbe-i Samiye,
Setting aside Saidi Kurdi’s Kurdishness, his successors capitalized on his Islamic theology and presented him as Said Nursi in his writings and in his reputation. Instead of remaining in a post-Ottoman despair, Saidi Kurdis followers were encouraged to spread Islam diligently, particularly through education. Said Nursi tells a parable of his movement: When Saidi Kurdi was on his way from Batum to Van he claimed that, "the future shall be Islam’s and Islam alone." In Tbilisi, today the capital of Georgia, Saidi Kurdi climbed the hill known as Shaykh Sanan Tepesi, which views the city of Tbilisi and valley of the river of Kura. When a Russian policeman approached him, the policeman asked him, "Why are you studying the land with such attention, Saidi Kurd?" Saidi Kurdi replied: "I am planning my medrese," and the conversation went on as follows:
Where are you from?
I’m from Bedlîs
But this is Tbilisi!
Bedlîs is one of Tbilisi.
The policeman was bewildered:
What do you mean?
Saidi Kurdi explained that three lights are beginning to be revealed one after the other in Asia and in the world of Islam. Three layers of darkness will start to recede, [ meaning that the Caucasian and Central Asian countries would become independent and take on Islam.]
This only increased the policemans bewilderment. I’m sorry for you he said. I’m astonished that you should entertain such a hope. And I am astonished at your lack of understanding! replied Bediuzzaman. Do you think it possible that this winter will continue? Every winter is followed by spring, and every night by day. But the Islamic world is all broken up and fragmented. They have gone to study. It is like this: India is an able son of Islam; it is studying in the high school of the British. Egypt is a clever son of Islam; it is taking lessons in the British school for civil servants. Caucasia and Turkestan are two valiant sons of Islam; they are training in the Russian war academy. And so on. You see, after these noble sons of Islam have received their diplomas, each will lead a continent, and, waving the banner of Islam, their just and mighty father, on the horizons of perfection, will proclaim the mystery of pre-eternal wisdom inherent in mankind in the view of pre-eternal divine determining and in the face of obstinate fate (Said Nursi. Kastamonu Lahikasi, 121-32).
Although written several decades ago, this narrative clearly sets forth the goals as well as the strategy of the Nur movement. Taking this prophecy to heart, Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullahci world wide educational system, Interfaith Dialogues, and the Rumi Organization, has raised up an army of young Islamists armed with a good education and the code of secrecy and unwavering allegiance to him, to go as missionaries to spread Islam and in so doing ensure the birth of Islam in Europe, and then in the United States. These youth are today’s noble sons who have waved the banner of Islam to bring about the obstinate fate of a global Islamic movement. Fethullah seemingly offers an alternative voice to radical Islam but behind the guise of tolerance and ecumenicalism lies Said Nursi’s injunction to bring about a European Islamic polity.
Gulen encourages his followers to leave their Islamic country to spread Islam and economically to be independent of the western countries. By infiltrating the most prestigious universities in Europe and in the United States, among other regions, they can gain not only an excellent education but through that means gain access to power, influence, and wealth. Receiving major scholarships, grants, and influential academic positions from teaching assistants to chairs of departments, they have made great inroads to influence the minds of the youth from the classroom lecture to the numerous articles in scholarly journals and leading newspapers.
Writing as supposed secular academicians, journalists, and independent players, they critique Islam and its tenets with seeming objectivity, while advancing their message in each seminar, symposium, article, or cultural event. A concerted effort to orchestrate Saidi Kurdi’s goals underlies the movements today. The success of this orchestration in Europe results from Saidi Kurdi’s oath to teach the Quran, so that it became the religious, social, and political foundation for a worldwide empire. Believing that the task of
Muslims was to spread the revelation of the Quran until the entire world accepted it, he applied this mission to Europe. Saidi Kurdi pledged to conquer through the Quran.
One time an Ottoman Pasha showed him an article about Islam in a London newspaper. It argued that as long as the Muslims had the Quran in their hands, they [the Europeans] could not colonize them [the Muslims]. It proposed, "We needed to take the Quran away from the Muslims, and then we can colonize them." Today Muslims
believe that once Muslims get away from the Quran, they will become inferior to non- Muslims; also, they believe that Islam will otherwise not be defeated but will instead prevail. From then on Saidi Kurdi believed their strength lay in the Quran and took an oath that he would prove to the world that the Quran is like a sun and would not disappear but would instead shine forever.
As of April 2005, the CIA Factbook categorizes the religious affiliations in Germany as 34% Protestants, 34% Catholic, 3.7% Muslim and 28.3% unaffiliated, but many of those labeled Protestant or Catholic are nominal while most of the Muslim hold to their faith in part because of their immigration to a host country. Approximately 3.4% of the population in Germany is Turkish. Other variables are the 0% population growth rate and the 2.18 per 1000 immigration rate. Indigenous Germans are having fewer children while immigrants are having many. Today, Germany has 2600 mosques, in England there are 900 mosques and many Islamic schools, and in France almost every city has at least one mosque (Yeni Asya newspaper 3 Nov. 2005). Clearly, Europe has a tremendously growing Muslim population.
According to the German Federal Foreign Office, there are about 3.2 million Muslims from forty-one different countries with Turks and Kurds being the most represented group. They came forty years ago trying to get the jobs that the Germans did not want like Mexicans today in the United States. Leaving much of the hard labor for immigrants, Germany allocates this work to the Turks today, but they have dominated almost all of the textile industry in Germany and have an Islamic bank, schools, and even a voice in politics. The Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen encouraged his follower to go to Europe to spread Islam and to prove that Saidi Kurdi was right.
Fethullah Glen believes that the Islamic nation would begin with the German people. He claims that if Muslims are to be successful, first they have to be independent of Europe economically, and then be superior economically and socially. He argues that they cannot be a super nation if they are still begging from Europe or from the infidels (Fasildan Fasila 3). Muslims in Turkey advocate Turkey’s accession to the European Union more than secular people in Turkey for several reasons. First, Muslims will freely increase their missionary activity in Europe. Secondly, they will not have any pressure from the Turkish military, a long-term check on Islamic activities, because the role of the military will decrease. Thirdly, the unsolved problems, such as wearing the headscarf, will be solved because the EU’s value of freedom of religion will overcome the threat to secularism that the scarves pose today. If we look at the AK Party, Erdogan is following exactly the same line that Fethullah Gulen is using, pressing Turkey to join the European Union. He uses a secular cloak to disguise his fundamental Islamic spirit characterized by his pre-prison poem.
In an article in the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Ahmet Arpad claims that since September 11 Muslim organizations have conquered Germany. He explains that they took advantage of the lacuna of Islam in the West; they know how to use this advantage by infiltrating into intellectual circles, churches, liberal organizations, and other institutions to present a different face of Islam by using Interfaith Dialogue. In the early 90s, Fethullah sent young businessman and students to Germany to open schools and to start businesses. The schools were mostly the elementary level; education was free and very successful. Arpad says that Gulen’s followers were never associated with him. He admits, "If you try to associate them with any kind of religious organization, they threaten you by suing you. This is their kind of trick to counter the charges. Fethullah has spent an enormous amount of unaccounted Euros, but still leaders in the schools deny that they are associated with him" (Cumhuriyet 13 Mar. 2005).
Also, the data presented in an article in Ozgur Politika, notes that Fethullah Gulen’s aim is to start a new Islamic university in Germany besides the high schools, elementary schools, and preschools. He has sent hundreds students overseas to get their Masters and Doctorates in Germany. According to the Ozgur Politika newspaper, Fethullah has sent 500 students to the U.S. since 2001 to get Ph.D.s and Masters degrees (Ozgur Politika 29 Jan. 2001). This estimate is very conservative. In addition, most of those students are getting funds or scholarship from the U.S government.
The noted Middle Eastern historian from Princeton University, Bernard Lewis, ignited the European world when he commented on July 28, 2004, to the conservative Hamburg-based daily Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century "at the very latest" (Qtd. in Caldwell 1). Agreeing with Lewis, a Syrian immigrant and prominent Muslim in Germany, Bassam Tibi, refined the opinion in Welt am Sonntag, "Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized." He believes that Europe cannot defend itself against Islam nor steer its direction, but merely can chose between two forms: "The problem is not whether the majority of Europeans is Islamic," he added, "but rather which Islam--sharia Islam or Euro-Islam--is to dominate in Europe" (Qtd. in Caldwell).
Many Muslims recognize Said Nursi for his religious leadership rather than for his Kurdishness. Said Nursi even offered a solution for the Kurdish question to the Ottoman sultan, but the sultan rejected it. Said Nursi wrote a letter to Sultan Abuldulhamid, proposing a solution by suggesting that he open a university in Wan, in Northern Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey), and suggested that the language should be in Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic because the majority of people who live in Wan are Kurds; Arabic was the language used for religion, and Turkish was the language of government affairs, but the Sultan failed to understand Mullah Saidi. Today the Turkish government seems to be returning to his solution, but whether these initiatives are motivated by Muslims in the current administration who understand Saidi Nursi’s ideology or by the pressure of the European Unions criteria remains unanswered. Even though there is no such Kurdish language in academia in Turkey yet, in the near future the recommendations of Said Nursi will be implemented.
Said Nursi gained his reputation, not for his Kurdish identity, but for his Islamic writings and for his message of spreading Islam over the world, so that first Europe and then the United States would give birth to Islamic nations that would merge into a transnational empire in the future. His prediction from 1908 is becoming a reality with thirty million Muslims living in Europe, with Islamic websites linked to the official national homepages of, for example, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, and with Fethullah Gulen’s Abant Journalists and Writers Foundation advocating the accession of Turkey into the EU at the European Parliament meeting in Brussels. Europe is close to delivering an Islamic nation.
Arpad, Ahmet. Fethullahcilar Almanya’da emin adimlarla... Cumhuriyet 13 Mar. 2005
Germany. CIA Factbook.
Christopher Caldwell. Islamic Europe? The Weekly Standard. 10.4
From the 4th Oct. 2004 article, When Bernard Lewis Speaks. (4 Oct. 2004).
CIA World Factbook. Apr. 2005.
Federal Foreign Office.
Gulen Almanya’da Universite Kuruyor
. Ozgur Politika. 29 Jan. 2001.
Gulen, Fethullah. Fasildan Fasila 3 .
Saidi Kurdi. Hutbe-i Samiye, 28-32.
---. Kastamonu Lahikasi, 121-32
---. Tari.he-i Hayat, shf. 45.
Yeni Asya, 3 Nov. 2005.
University Of Texas at Dallas
School of Social Science