“Attempts at Reform in Worship: The Example of Turkey”

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Aydar H.

Ekev Academic Review (Ekev Akademi Dergisi), no.28, pp.1-12, 2006 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


In this paper, some religious reforms in prayer (al-salah) in Turkish Republic emerged after Ottoman Empire will be presented. The Prayer has a very special place and a special format in Islam. Its form was taught by Prophet Muhammed himself to his followers and Muslims have performed according to this style throughout the history. However, in Turkey it was decided to reform in Religious sphere in the light of republican revolution, and soon after the prayer was attempted to be changed in language and even in format. For this aim, some scholars in the Faculty of Theology at Dar al-Funun University worked on a Project in which some possible changing in the language and the format of prayer and adhan, and in the design of mosques was reported. At the same time, a Imam who was working in Goztepe Mosque, the Asian-side of Istanbul, delivered a Khutba, sermon and performed the Friday-prayer (salah al-Juma‘) in Turkish. Meanwhile, the government headed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk started to act of reform in Religion and turkified the language of Adhan, the other form of the call for Prayer (i.e. al-salah, al-takbirat etc.) and eventually of the prayer rather than Arabic origin. As a next step, turkification of all form of the Prayer was aimed. Although Adhan and the other form of calling to Prayer were delivered in Turkish, turkification of the prayer could not been succeeded properly. All these kind of attempts were displeased by some and were supported by some. By now, debates have always in agenda in Turkey. Therefore this paper is set to introduce briefly these religious reforms in language and in format of prayers. Turkey, religion, prayer, adhan, reform.