Ramadan Orientalism

We finally reached Ramadan…. The month of Ramadan is a spiritual time that can be reached to the amount that is bestowed by God almighty.

Ramadan is a month of spiritual climate for the Muslim mind that shapes our language. It’s a blessing we should endeavor to possess or an opportunity to which we have a spiritual access.

In order for us to achieve this blessing and become men of God, Ramadan is always bestowed through a sign, spirituality, and climate upon the man’s eagerness.

Even though we feel the spirituality of Ramadan, the modern secular environment has rendered it a lost memory. The cultural medium that the republic has constructed or its offering life style, while it is willing to expel Ramadan from life, exhibits an ostensibly deploring state of mind.

Modernist secular Turkish minds withdrew from the life of Ramadan. For them, it is simply a nostalgia regarding the past. I call this phenomenon the Ramadan orientalism that is a narrative of an irreversible nostalgia.

Ramadan orientalism is a kind of memorial ritual that removes Ramadan from the center of life, humans, conscience and existence and focuses pressingly on its side effects such as its trajectory of the past nostalgia. This notion expresses its longing for Ramadan feasts, as such ‘Alas, the old Ramadan days!’ With all its innocent look of remembrance, it pushes Ramadan spirit off the present time with a self-aware construction.

On the other hand, as long as Islam is experienced, Ramadan is the destination to be reached, and once it is reached, it is welcomed with rejoice and appreciation. Ramadan is an action that incorporates us to the transcending dimension of life and it is also the amazingly vibrant culture around this life style. Reduced to a corrupt manner, Ramadan was sent into exile and that type is the most successful construction of Ramadan orientalism. While giving the impression of being immersed in observing it, this mindset exiles Ramadan to the past, outside the life, beyond the heart and reason.

Just because of these reasons and this way, the religious mentality is reduced to a religious conscientious and therefore its social aspect is transformed to a deploring nostalgia as the most vivid example of the Modern Turkish secular pragmatism.

Ramadan orientalism, just like religious observation and pillars, turns fasting into a routine and destroys its primary value, because the objective is to banish the religious sense from life. That’s why it expects the fasting person or the starving person to respect the voracious eater. The critical point here is not whether the person fasts or not, but identifying the observation of fasting as something shameful according to the given mindset. Thus, it must be left aside. Another critical point here is that how the slightest kindness, as minimum human respect for the hungry, is unfortunately forsaken. To make matters worse, by banishing the observation the reverse becomes the criteria of respect as the social standard.

Public officers punishing the fasting person or their attitude of negligence, indifferently is all the practical reflection of the official secularism.

On the other hand, the fact is that the republic’s connection with religion involves the practice of nostalgia, and replacing the genuine religious connections is quite comically concealing the political shrewdness.

An apologetic claim expects us to overlook its social secularization project on the whole; ‘Indeed, the republic had certain problems with religion, but it opened certain ways for religion, too’.

Indeed, while endorsing all its cruel, secular practices against religion, in certain areas they built their own Islam, or even a peculiar form of Sunnism of their own. However, what was proposed is the deactivation of the religion politically and its operation to function as the cement task in the establishment of the new nation-state model in a way that it would not interfere with the secular life.

For that reason, in the mind of the Muslim the meaning of ‘the Ramadan to be reached’ has been lost since it was reduced to a nostalgic Ramadan discourse; thus, the social memory and Ramadan culture was created in this notion. It is a culture that does not consist of anything other than some Ramadan feasts, the street conversations, Baktashi jokes and a few religious songs.

No matter what, we reached Ramadan with all its magnificence, as it embraced all our body, location and spirit once again.

Our prayer and desire now is to complete it.

lgili YazlarEnglish

Editr emreakif on June 28, 2014

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