The Muslim world is in disarray. Disunity and division permeate every fibre of its being. Its lands have been usurped by foreign colonisers. The leaders are weak and easily manipulated by alien powers. Muslim lands are more or less bankrupt, carrying massive debt burdens that only seem to grow. Though this description fits the current situation, the year here is not 2020 but 1876. The difference is that in 1876, Sultan Abdul Hamid the Second took the mantle of Muslim leadership and in 2020 he is only a long lost memory.
The descendant of a certain Ertugrul Ghazi, Sultan Abdul Hamid became Caliph in 1876. He is renowned for reviving the zeal of the Muslim world at a time the Caliphate was falling to European encroachment and nationalism. By instilling the love of Islam into the hearts of his people, he was able to unify their ranks and repel any potential division.
Paying off 90% of the Empire's debts, building the Hijaz railway from Istanbul to Madinah and protecting the Holy Lands from European Imperialism were just some of his incredible acts as Caliph but his most momentous moment was yet to come and sadly was probably responsible for his downfall.
When approached by the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, to sell land in Palestine to him, the Sultan famously replied:
"If the Islamic Caliphate is one day destroyed then they will be able to take Palestine without a price. But while I am alive, I would rather push a sword into my body than see the land of Palestine cut and given away from the Islamic Governance."
In 1909, he was deposed and 15 years later, the Ottoman Empire was finished, Palestine has now mostly vanished and his 33-year defence of the Holy Lands was reduced to history.
Join us as we revive the memory of one of the greatest heroes in Islamic History, a man whose life carries many lessons for us in the fractured age of modernity in which we now reside.
Dr Yakoob Ahmed is a PhD graduate from SOAS, University of London. An Ottoman historian, he is currently teaching Islamic history at Istanbul University and was a visiting fellow at the Modern Turkish Studies Centre at Istanbul Şehir University. His research focuses are Muslim intellectual thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Islamic constitutionalism, identity, nationalism and collective memory construction.
|Event Date||02-Feb-2020 17:30|
|Event End Date||02-Feb-2020 19:30|
|Registration Start Date||06-Jan-2020|
|Cut off date||02-Feb-2020 17:00|
|Location||Castlefield - High Wycombe|
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