Conservatism, unity and disorder - ERGÜN YILDIRIM

Conservatism, unity and disorder

Turkish conservatism is based on a political culture. The dichotomy between disorder and unity has great meaning in this political culture. Even today this meaning affects politics. Great tumult happened during the caliphate period of Islam. The assassination of three caliphs is the biggest evidence for this. The Battle of Siffin and Jamal incident are two very important incidents that explain the tension caused in politics by the dichotomy between unity and disorder. The Islamic political thought was probably structured in order to prevent these political tumults and legitimize political authority to an extent. Imam Ghazali spent a lot of time working on this topic. First he explains political authority with power, knowledge and justice and then moves onto expressing that the ummah (Muslim world) can unite solely by avoiding disorder. He perceives all authorities that enable this as just. Important factors of political authority like consultation and ijma, the consensus of Muslim scholars on religious issues, lose immediate importance in this sense. The essential thing is to protect and maintain the unification of the ummah. Any threat toward this unity is disorder. All powers that try and circumvent this are legitimate. This theory is explained in his book “Al-Iqtisad fi al-I'tiqad” (Moderation in Belief). This approach dominates the mainstream (ahlussunnah) essence of Islamic political culture.
Political authority's biggest justifications are methods like consultation, ijma and submission. Yet these methods are secondary in terms of importance in practical life. The important thing is to protect the society's unity and the law (Shariah) on which this unity is based. Therefore, all forms of disorder need to be avoided. This is important for the unity of the Muslim world. Disorder turns into a political theory in this way. It has principles, conditions and terms. They are the greatest enemy and need to be avoided. It is the biggest political devil that Muslims have faced in history. Judaism is found as the reason behind this, and Abdullah ibn Sebe is the non-Muslim figure used to explain this. Because an ideal Muslim is not one who causes disorder. Political disorder is the same thing. Hypocrites and Jewish converts are seen to have this personality trait.

Politics' relation with disorder is very dramatic and tragic. In order to overcome these tragic situations and avoid them from reoccurring, political authority is a must to achieve unity in the society. Because, this disturbs the law and order and the unity of the ummah. Therefore, all power styles that ensure unity and protect the society from disorder are legitimate. All actions that go against the order, no matter what their purpose is, cause disorder. Political rapprochement arises at this point. This is the consensus the Muslim society developed throughout history to unite the Muslim world and protect it from disorder. This consensus successfully ensured security and justice through the Ottoman model in a vast geography. The existence of the ummah is perceived as the most important purpose. The system (government, authority, state, matter) that provides this, will be accepted by the people. This is how communal consent is developed. Muslim scholars, men of wisdom and leaders approve this consent.
As long as conservative politics functions to keep the ummah together, this will boost Muslims' self-confidence. This is how Islamists, the Naqshbandi, Nur Movement followers and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) supporters view politics. Despite all the problems faced in the last three years, the consensus continues between the abovementioned circles and the AK Party. Because they believe that they are gathering around an Islamic unification, and hence, believe that every attempt to destroy this is perceived as creating disorder. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stepping down from his roles as party chairman and prime minister and leaving aside his personal interests is very important in the context of the dichotomy between unity and disorder.

Davutoğlu who emphasized loyalty to the cause, unity and togetherness in his farewell speech, left no room for disorder. The base of conservative politics perceives Davutoğlu's stepping down from his position as a good move to protect the cause and avoid disorder. Hence, the political subconscious continues.

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