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Conversion of the Turks to Islam

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Submitted by Ianus (Poland), May 25, 2007 at 08:41

Ă–mer wrote :

> You really should study your history, with particular reference to the conversion of the Turks. In brief, we converted because we were whipped by Arab armies and also saw the benefits of their civilisation.

Isn't it what is exactly taught by the official Kemalist historiography ? Outside Turkey the facts look otherwise .

The Arabs reached the Amu-Darya around 651 chasing the last Sassanid king Yezdigerd III who subsequently was assassinated in Merv (now Maryi in Turkmenistan) . The Arabs tried hard to subjugate the Turks during the 7th and 8th century but were never able to penetrate further beyond the Syr- Darya into the desolate Kasakh steppes. The vastness of the land , the mobility and bellicosity of the Turks formed a barrier no Arab commander could ever hope to break through . The Turks as such were formidable enemies with their archaic war and wolf cults , brutality and their contempt for death .

And so for three centuries the Turks successfully resisted Islamisation , in spite of separate cases of Turks who embraced Islam. True , there were contacts between the Arabs and the Turks. During that time the Turks sold able-bodied young boys and men to the Arabs as military slaves. These military slaves constituted the bodyguard caliph Mustasim formed around 830 . The reason for recruting pagan Turks was religious of course . The Quran forbids Moslems to fight other Moslems . But given a sad reality of uninterrupted violence, wars and lawlessness within the ummah , the respectable caliph decided to fight his Moslem brethren with the swords held in non-Moslems' hands . As the caliph's bodyguard these Turks in Baghdad had soon more power than their master.

Now the conversion of the Turks had nothing to do with being "whipped by the Arab armies" or the amenities and temptations of Moslem civilization.

During the 10th c. within the grand Oghuz Khaganate stretching over Southern and Western Kasakhstan bloody civil wars broke out . Also tribes commanded by Seldjuk , son of Tugaq , were involved in these internecine conflicts . Seldjuk himself came from the Kynyk clan. His horde was wandering along the central Syr-Darya and in the Karatau plateau . In this civil war Seldjuk moved his horde towards the lower Syr-Darya to join and support an uprising of the Oghuz along the Aral shores. But the move was miscalculated . The expedition turned out to be a disaster . Seldjuk decided to flee with his horde into the so called "Mevarannakhr" - the territory between the Amu-darya and the Syr-darya which was Islamized and controlled by the Samanid dynasty. The Moslem Samanids welcomed the new-comers as they needed support against the Turkish Karanids who were threatening their territory from the East . In 999 the Karanids plundered Bukhara . It is here on Moslem territory and surrounded by Moslem advisors and dignitaries that Seldjuk converted to Islam. The conversion was a political act. He needed the support of the Samanids. Conversion to Islam helped him operate on Muslim territory without being treated as an enemy of faith by the Moslem populations . In case he should one day come back and resume the struggle for pastures in the Oghuz Khaganate he could possibly count on the support of the Moslems from the Mevarannakhr.

The amazing career of the Seldjuks and their triumphs afterwards over the Moslem armies need not be related here . Suffice it to say that the Turks' conversion to Islam , as dramatic and fateful as it was , had nothing to do with any alleged military defeat at the hands of the Arabs. And the benefits of the Arab civilization were never enough to make Moslems of the Turks . For three centuries they lived relatively close to this civilisation and yet no mass conversions took place . Only under singular historical circumstances such a conversion happened.

Submitting....

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