New Age Islam - Read About Islam, Islamic Religion and Muslims, Terrorism and Jihad
HOME ARCHIVES MULTIMEDIA URDU SECTION BOOKS DEBATE DICTIONARY
Name:
E-mail:
   Urdu Section
   Hindi Section
   Bangla Section
   Assamese Section
   Malayalam Section
   Arabic Section
   Persian Section
   French Section
   Debating Islam
   Islamic Q and A
   Multimedia
   Archives
   Books and Documents
   Islamic World News
   Radical Islamism and Jihad
   Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
   War on Terror
   Islam and the West
   Interfaith Dialogue
   The War Within Islam
   Islam and Sectarianism
   Islam and Politics
   Islam and Spiritualism
   Current Affairs
   Spiritual Meditations
   Muslims and Islamophobia
   Islam, Women and Feminism
   Islamic Ideology
   Islam and Human Rights
   Islamic Society
   Islamic Sharia Laws
   Islam and Pluralism
   Islam and Tolerance
   Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam
   Islamic History
   Islamic Personalities
   Islam and Science
   Islam and Environment
   Islamic Culture
   Interview
   Islam and the Media
   Letter to the Editor
   From the Desk of Editor
   Indian Press
   Pakistan Press
   Middle East Press
   World Press
Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
Biography, Audio
Vivekananda
More Videos.. 
The Quran: A New Translation - The eternal present tense
Preface: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Lecture 1: Knowledge and Religious Experience
More.. 
Focus on Islam, Jihad and Terrorism
Condemning "Islamist" terrorist attack on Mumbai in harshest terms
Can Ulema save Muslims from Radical Islamism?
Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete.
Jihadism gets sustenance from verses of war in the Quran
More.. 
Dr. Zakir Naik on Yazeed and Osama bin Laden - A New Age Islam Debate
Unveiling Zakir Naik: Terror cannot be fought with Terror
Comments - 148
On Televangelist Zakir Naik: Don't give in to pretenders
Comments - 31
Beware of the Kafir-manufacturing factories: Maulana Nadeem-ul-Wajidi responds to the Fatawahs of Kufr against Dr. Zakir Naik
Comments - 41
Unity among Muslims and Dr. Zakir Naik's Evil: A Point of View
Comments - 163
This Islamic website offers facts about Islam and Muslims, Islam way and Islamic ideology. Online Islam - Latest Islamic World News, Articles on Radical Islamism & Jihad and Islam, Terrorism and Jihad
     
Islamic Personalities
04 Sep 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com
Sultan Abdul Hamid II: Last Ottoman Sultan Gets A Modern Makeover

By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS – For the past year, sporadic articles have appeared in the Arabic press debating the life and policies of Sultan Abdulhamid II, the last absolute monarch of the Ottoman Empire, who ruled from 1876 until forced to abdicate in 1909.

For decades after the collapse of the empire, especially when Arab republics were in their infancy, Abdulhamid II was blamed for much of the difficulties that crippled Arab provinces of the empire, especially Ottoman Syria.

In TV soap operas or novels he was always portrayed as an autocratic despot who managed a wide array of corrupt Arab officials and a massive network of spies who reported directly to him behind the high walls of his Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. But a more balanced appraisal of his actions and legacy is emerging as Arab scholars revisit that period of their modern history.

In recent articles, plenty of light has been shed on the sultan’s refusal to sell land in Palestine to Zionists, prior to World War II. After turning down the offer, Abdulhamid famously refused to meet Mizray Qrasow, the Jewish banker who had offered to pay off the Empire’s debts and build a navy in exchange for the right to buy land in Palestine. Abdulhamid – according to the Arab and Turkish version of events – told one of his aides, “Tell those impolite Jews that I am not going to carry the historical shame of selling holy land to the Jews and betraying the responsibility and trust of my people!”

Once seen as the source of all things evil, Abdulhamid is now revealed as a farsighted ruler who suffered his throne because of his defiance of Zionist ambitions in Palestine. The passing of time has enabled scholars to quietly take a long hard look at their history away from emotional bolts of Arab nationalism. The warming of Arab ties under Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who very clearly is proud of his Ottoman past, has also contributed to this revisionist history.

On August 11, a mega-Arab TV drama depicting the life and career of Abdulhamid began airing on Arab satellite networks. Suqut al-Khilafa (Fall of the Caliphate) paints a rosy picture of the sultan and is a far cry from a 1994 epic, Ukhwat al-Turab (Brothers of Soil) which focused on the hardships, famine, torture, and arrests of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The handwriting for positive treatment has been on the wall for years. Two years ago, popular Turkish soap operas, with handsome men and attractive women, broke into Arabic TV, dubbed into Syrian dialect, bringing down decades of Arab stereotypes against Turks. Now comes Suqut al-Khilafa, an Egyptian work produced by Iraqis starring the popular Syrian actor Abbas al-Nouri as Abdulhamid. The Ottoman sultan is now portrayed as a warm, firm, charming and dedicated Muslim nationalist who had tremendous care for all his subjects, be they Ottoman Turks or Ottoman Arabs.

Meanwhile, Arab and Turkish scholars are debating – at forums and in private discussions – the past 10 years of the Ottoman Empire, reasoning that neither the Ottomans were 100% correct in how they dealt with the Arabs during World War II, and nor were the Arabs.

The warming of political ties between the Arab world and Turkey have indeed begun to reap serious cultural engagement. In addition to boosting trade with the Arab world and coordinating policies vis-a-vis Palestine, Turkey has lifted visa requirements with six Arab countries, being Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunis and Jordan. Erdogan best described it saying that a “regional Schengen” system, similar to the agreement signed between European countries in Luxembourg in 1985, was now in operation.

Effectively, this makes Turkey and Arab countries closer to how they had been under the Ottoman Empire than ever before since its collapse in 1918. Over the past eight years, Erdogan has reminded Arabs that despite a very rough history – during the final decade of the Empire and ever since – Turkish influence, and the Ottoman legacy as a whole, is not as bad as Arab history has labeled it.

Erdogan has said repeatedly that he feels defending Turkish national interests is no different from defending those of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, given their common geography, history, social, religious and cultural proximity. Many of the finest buildings in Damascus and Beirut, after all, were constructed during the Ottoman era, and the Syrian capital’s great bazaar, al-Hamidiya, is named after Sultan Abdulhamid’s predecessor, Abdulhamid I.

So were many of the codes, laws of commerce and aspects of civil administration, which lasted well into the 20th century. The Ottoman influence on Arab language, heritage, music, and cuisine, cannot be ignored – despite years of attempts to write off any Ottoman influence as destructive to Arab culture.

With one or two exceptions, all those who lived the era of Abdulhamid II have passed on. But due to his commanding personality much is still known. The sultan’s son-in-law briefly served as prime minister of Syria in the mid-1920s, while members of his immediate family continued to commute back and forth to Damascus well into the 1960s.

Many family members of the sultan’s entourage, the Abids, the Azms, the Yusefs, went on to dominate Syrian politics up to 1963. Seeing the sultan on screen has sparked off a healthy historical debate on where to place Abdulhamid II on the spectrum of Arab and Muslim history. His image reminds both his admirers and critics that, whether they like it or not, Arab countries and Turkey are inseparable.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine.

(Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

Last sultan gets a modern makeoverBy Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS – For the past year, sporadic articles have appeared in the Arabic press debating the life and policies of Sultan Abdulhamid II, the last absolute monarch of the Ottoman Empire, who ruled from 1876 until forced to abdicate in 1909.

For decades after the collapse of the empire, especially when Arab republics were in their infancy, Abdulhamid II was blamed for much of the difficulties that crippled Arab provinces of the empire, especially Ottoman Syria.

In TV soap operas or novels he was always portrayed as an autocratic despot who managed a wide array of corrupt Arab officials and a massive network of spies who reported directly to him behind the high walls of his Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. But a more balanced appraisal of his actions and legacy is emerging as Arab scholars revisit that period of their modern history.

In recent articles, plenty of light has been shed on the sultan’s refusal to sell land in Palestine to Zionists, prior to World War II. After turning down the offer, Abdulhamid famously refused to meet Mizray Qrasow, the Jewish banker who had offered to pay off the Empire’s debts and build a navy in exchange for the right to buy land in Palestine. Abdulhamid – according to the Arab and Turkish version of events – told one of his aides, “Tell those impolite Jews that I am not going to carry the historical shame of selling holy land to the Jews and betraying the responsibility and trust of my people!”

Once seen as the source of all things evil, Abdulhamid is now revealed as a farsighted ruler who suffered his throne because of his defiance of Zionist ambitions in Palestine. The passing of time has enabled scholars to quietly take a long hard look at their history away from emotional bolts of Arab nationalism. The warming of Arab ties under Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who very clearly is proud of his Ottoman past, has also contributed to this revisionist history.

On August 11, a mega-Arab TV drama depicting the life and career of Abdulhamid began airing on Arab satellite networks. Suqut al-Khilafa (Fall of the Caliphate) paints a rosy picture of the sultan and is a far cry from a 1994 epic, Ukhwat al-Turab (Brothers of Soil) which focused on the hardships, famine, torture, and arrests of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The handwriting for positive treatment has been on the wall for years. Two years ago, popular Turkish soap operas, with handsome men and attractive women, broke into Arabic TV, dubbed into Syrian dialect, bringing down decades of Arab stereotypes against Turks. Now comes Suqut al-Khilafa, an Egyptian work produced by Iraqis starring the popular Syrian actor Abbas al-Nouri as Abdulhamid. The Ottoman sultan is now portrayed as a warm, firm, charming and dedicated Muslim nationalist who had tremendous care for all his subjects, be they Ottoman Turks or Ottoman Arabs.

Meanwhile, Arab and Turkish scholars are debating – at forums and in private discussions – the past 10 years of the Ottoman Empire, reasoning that neither the Ottomans were 100% correct in how they dealt with the Arabs during World War II, and nor were the Arabs.

The warming of political ties between the Arab world and Turkey have indeed begun to reap serious cultural engagement. In addition to boosting trade with the Arab world and coordinating policies vis-a-vis Palestine, Turkey has lifted visa requirements with six Arab countries, being Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunis and Jordan. Erdogan best described it saying that a “regional Schengen” system, similar to the agreement signed between European countries in Luxembourg in 1985, was now in operation.

Effectively, this makes Turkey and Arab countries closer to how they had been under the Ottoman Empire than ever before since its collapse in 1918. Over the past eight years, Erdogan has reminded Arabs that despite a very rough history – during the final decade of the Empire and ever since – Turkish influence, and the Ottoman legacy as a whole, is not as bad as Arab history has labeled it.

Erdogan has said repeatedly that he feels defending Turkish national interests is no different from defending those of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, given their common geography, history, social, religious and cultural proximity. Many of the finest buildings in Damascus and Beirut, after all, were constructed during the Ottoman era, and the Syrian capital’s great bazaar, al-Hamidiya, is named after Sultan Abdulhamid’s predecessor, Abdulhamid I.

So were many of the codes, laws of commerce and aspects of civil administration, which lasted well into the 20th century. The Ottoman influence on Arab language, heritage, music, and cuisine, cannot be ignored – despite years of attempts to write off any Ottoman influence as destructive to Arab culture.

With one or two exceptions, all those who lived the era of Abdulhamid II have passed on. But due to his commanding personality much is still known. The sultan’s son-in-law briefly served as prime minister of Syria in the mid-1920s, while members of his immediate family continued to commute back and forth to Damascus well into the 1960s.

Many family members of the sultan’s entourage, the Abids, the Azms, the Yusefs, went on to dominate Syrian politics up to 1963. Seeing the sultan on screen has sparked off a healthy historical debate on where to place Abdulhamid II on the spectrum of Arab and Muslim history. His image reminds both his admirers and critics that, whether they like it or not, Arab countries and Turkey are inseparable.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine.

(Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamIslamicPersonalities_1.aspx?ArticleID=3391

Forward to a friend | Print
COMMENTS
Total Comments: 0
     Compose Your Comments here:
Name
Email (Not to be published)
Bold
Italic
Underline
Strike Through
Superscript
Subscript
Undo
Redo
Cut
Copy
Paste
Left Align
Center
Right Align
Justify
Change Text Direction
Ordered List
Unordered List
Decrease Indent
Increase Indent
Font Color
Background Color
Insert Link
Remove Link
Horizontal Rule
Please use the browser Internet Explorer to post your comments.
In case of difficulty, please post your comments to: Editor@NewAgeIslam.com
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to promote Co-Existence and Dialogue of Religions and Civilisations, and advance understanding of Islam and Democracy, Pluralism, Terrorism, Human Rights, Islamic Laws and Ideology, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. New Age Islam has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor is New Age Islam endorsed or sponsored by the originator of these articles. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
Copyright 2008 - 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com All Rights Reserved.
Site best viewed in 1200 x 900 pixels or higher display resolution.
Editor and Publisher: Sultan Shahin, E-22, Indra Prastha Apts., 114, I. P. Extension, New Delhi – 110092
Phone No. (+91-11) 222 44 868 E-mail: Editor@NewAgeIslam.com
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Disclaimer | Donate | Submit Articles | Privacy Policy