Banned adhan in Arabic: Can you guess which country is it?

Europe Contributor

Turkey is a beautiful country which has a controversial and rich history. The history is so intriguing that it can be conjured up as a full-fledged novel. The Turkey we know now is home to lots of ornamented mosques, churches and palaces. The palatial grandeurs are all belonged to the Ottoman empire.

As Turkey was once under Ottoman rule, we can all expect that Islam has a fundamental existence in the country. I am afraid that the expectation won’t be fulfilled. Islam had a long and strong presence in the country. Which followed by a sudden absence. However, fortunately, it has returned to the country slowly.
Until the 1920s, the country had been the centrum of the Islamic world. One of the many Islamic nations were under one Ottoman Caliphate. Though the condition of the empire was not good. It has started to crumble while Italy and Greece started to attack. The Balkan war followed by World War I further disintegrated the empire severely. As a consequence, the British, Greek and French invaded Turkey and other Islamic nations.

Rise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

At that time, an Ottoman Army officer showed great leadership and managed to save Istanbul from British invasion. He led the Ottoman army to fight in the Turkish war of independence in the 1920s. He overthrew the invasion of British and other European forces. As he freed Turkey from foreign invasions, Mustafa Kemal became a national hero. He established the modern Republic of Turkey followed by the newly formed Turkish Government. In 1923, he became the first president and took the title, Ataturk. The title means ‘Father of the Turks’. Ataturk wanted to modify and reform the country and make it different than the Ottoman empire. He went a long way to extricate religion and intricate secularism. One of his many reforms was having banned Adhan in Arabic.

The banned Adhan

For more than 14 centuries, the adhan has been recited in Arabic in all the Muslim countries. It is a standardized ritual to the Muslim world, but not always in Turkey. Between 1932 and 1950, the state prohibited Arabic adhan. Instead, a Turkish version of adhan was recited. Every mosque in Turkey has been under the control of the Directorate of religious affairs, or Diyanet. This was since the year 1924. Ataturk implanted Diyanet to shape Turkey’s spiritual life. To implement the policies like Turkish adhan, translating the Quran in Turkish etc.

Even the schools were put under state control. In 1925, the fez was banned. In 1928, the Turkish alphabet which is derived from the Arabic alphabet became banned. Instead, a system based on the Latin alphabet was initiated. Moreover, there was a ban on Friday or Jummah. It was no longer considered a weekly holiday. Despite the banned adhan, some never gave in and continued to recite adhan in Arabic. They were sent to prison for three months. These moves deeply disturbed the faithful Muslims and caused severe resentment. Some of the faithful Muslims protested by travelling around the country reciting the adhan. Some made children memorised it. In the year 1949, Muhiddin Ertugal and Osman Yaz recited the Arabic adhan from the gallery of the National assembly. A legislative session was going on then.


But the faithful Muslims had to wait for another year. In 1950, Turkey’s first democratically elected prime minister came to power. His name was Adnan Meanders. The first thing he did was to overturn the ban on Arabic adhan. He also declared, ” The Turkish nation is Muslim and will remain so forever.” The ban was finally lifted on 16 June 1950. At present, five times a day, the loudspeakers of some 90000 mosques come to life, and the Arabic adhan flows the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities.


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