Turkey’s Farewell Intercourse With Secularism


February 22, 2016

By Serkan Aydin

 A perfect society is a utopia which the world is yet to produce. Deviant behaviors violating social norms are epidemic all across the globe and not exclusive only to the Muslim world. However, what makes the Muslim world different is the prevalence of religious officials encouraging such moral deviations through fatwas and the acknowledgment and endorsement of these grotesque cultural phenomenons by government institutions. We would like to address some bizarre fatwas and positions on numerous issues defaming the Islamic world and precipitating perpetual turmoil.

A tremendous controversy came into being not only in Egypt but in the entire world when a deputy of Salafist movement, called Haji Ahmad proposed a law permitting Necrophilia, allowing husband to have intimate relation with his dead wife during the first six hours of her death. It also allows women to perform the same act with her dead husband. This ‘Farewell Intercourse’ was based on a fatwa by Moroccan Shaykh Bari Zemzemi. 

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, sparked a colossal backlash when he issued a very controversial fatwa in his book “Tahrir Ol Vasyleh” wherein he purported that: 

“It is better for a girl to marry in such a time when she would begin menstruation at her husband’s house rather than her father’s home. Any father letting his daughter marry so young will have a permanent place in heaven.” 

He even cast a light on zoophilia, a guideline into the proper ways of having intimacy with animals. 

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The 86th conference of Malaysia’s Fatwa Committee National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs held in April 2009 declared that female circumcision is component of Islamic doctrine and it should be practiced by Muslims, with the vast majority of the jurists in the Committee concluding that female circumcision is mandatory. Ayatollah Ali al-Husayni Ali al-Sistani of Iraq, in 2010, also issued a fatwa that female genital mutilation is essential and must be promoted. 

Kottumala Bappu Musaliar, Chairman of state Haj Committee and leader of the clerical body of Samastha Kerala Jamiyyuthul Ulema once stated that: “The present Prohibition of Child Marriage Act which fixes the marital age, violates the Muslims’ fundamental right to follow their religion and the Muslim Personal law’. It is interesting to note that such marriages are also practiced by Muslims in Europe. The shocking british report recently revealed that “More than a dozen Muslim clerics have been caught agreeing to marry off girls as young as 14”. 

 Nikah al-Misyar (traveller’s marriage) and Nikāḥ al-mutʿah (temporary marriage) are other salient issues that are orchestrated either through fatwas or governmental institutions. Muslim foreigners working in affluent Gulf Arab countries enter into Misyar marriage rather than live alone for years, a justification to do so. Most of them are already married and with children in their home country. It is extensively accepted that both marriages are carried out for the sole purpose of “sexual gratification in a licit manner”.

The Independent’s article (2003) “The Afghan Tragedy” exposed rural Pashtun cultural practice of ‘Bacha Bazi’ in Afghanistan where teenage boys are abused as “objects of lustful attraction and romance for some of the most powerful men in the Afghan countryside”. This is a pervasive issue to which the government and society unfortunately turn a blind eye.

Sadly, Turkey – once a role model for the enire Muslim world in matters of secularism and democracy has recently been shaken by a repulsive fatwa by the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). As a response to the question on ‘if a father’s lust would impact his marriage’, referencing to miscellaneous sources, the institution imparted this reply in fatwa section of its website: 

“For some, a father kissing his daughter with lust or caressing her with desire has no effect on the man’s marriage”.

Understanding the ideological foundation of this eccentric mindset that legitimizes such perversity requires a deeper quest into the sphere of logic and morality. Yet, one thing is crystal clear: the conception of progressivism,  adopted by the modern Kemalist ideology in order for the society to progress in civility from primitive circumstances to civilization through fundamental institutional changes, modernization and  secularization of administration, has been under detrimental and perpetual threat and gradually vanishing into the thin air in Turkey.

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