By Arubiya Qadir Balouch
Centuries ago, Ertuğrul Ghazi son of Suleiman Shah, was told by a Saint named Ibn Arabi that he will be the face of the Islamic World and that his children will carry on his legacy. Partly, that became true as his son Osman Ghazi ruled the Ottoman Empire and the empire spread from Europe to Pakistan. However, fast-forward to today’s world, where Muslims have been projected to be terrorists and people who are rigid. Women who want to cover themselves with hijabs and niqabs are looked down upon where as women who are scantily dressed are celebrated.
Muslims face racism everywhere as well as there is a new word created in the dictionary, “Islamophobia,” which means people who have fear, hatred of, or prejudice against the Islamic religion or Muslims. Muslims ruled Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, parts of Africa and parts of Europe for 600 years. They fought with the crusaders as well as the Mongolian ruler Cenghis Khan and his descendants. Then came the guns that the British Empire got prefect in using, and hence the Muslims rulers were defeated in those regions.
Turkey and Pakistan are two majority Muslim countries, standing at almost 99% Muslims that have strong military powers, with Pakistan being the most powerful Muslim country in the world, as it is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons. Pakistan is situated right next to India, the land of the Hindus (in majority). Turkey resurrected the history of Ertuğrul through the television series: Diriliş Ertuğrul, by showing how the crusaders and the Mongols (both referred to as the infidels) fought with the believers (Muslims) and in this long hard battle, the Muslims won and ruled Europe and Asia. This resonates with Pakistan, the only country born on the basis of the religion Islam. The battle with India has been going on for decades as a Muslim majority state called Kashmir does not want to be a part of India and wants to join Pakistan. Over 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims have been murdered by the Indian police till date.
So how does Ertuğrul the series resonates with Pakistan and Pakistan’s war with India? Well, Ertuğrul was told that he will be the one, who will bring Islam to many countries, and one such country is Pakistan where half of Pakistan was part of the Ottoman Empire. So, Pakistan’s war with India resonates with the history of Ertuğrul as Ertuğrul also fought the same war with non-believers who were the Mongols at that time. It has given hope to the Kashmiris who want to separate from India and have been under severe lockdown since August 2019. Even though the world has recently experienced a major lockdown since March 2020, and have got a taste of how depressing a lockdown can be, yet Kashmir still continues to be in lockdown for almost a year. It is something to note here, that loved ones cannot even call or email, let alone travel to be with family in the Kashmir lockdown.
Ertuğrul has given hope to Kashmiris in the Indian occupied Kashmir to hope for freedom one day as well as a hope to defeat the infidels just like how Ertuğrul Ghazi fought wars and defeated his enemies one by one. Recently Pakistanis have shown their love for their hero by erecting a statue of Ertuğrul Ghazi. The order was placed in Multan, Pakistan and the seven-foot-tall statue was installed in Lahore at an intersection, with residents having named the neighborhood Ertugrul Ghazi Chowk (intersection). This is one of the tributes paid by Pakistanis to Ertuğrul Ghazi.
In today’s world, we see racism against Muslims in the USA, Canada, Europe (especially France and Denmark), Australia and many more non-Muslim countries. Face veils are banned in some of these countries, and now ironically face masks are allowed due to Covid-19. Our society can bear women clad in bikinis yet they cannot stand a woman covered up from head to toe. France became the first European country to impose a ban on full-face veils in public areas. India, on the other hand being majority Hindus (an ancient idol worshipping religion believing in 33 million Gods) has lynched Muslims for eating beef as they worship cows as a form of God, yet the largest cow hide leather business is owned by Jains and Hindus of India. Many incidents have been reported where Muslims are forced to repeatedly chant “Jai Shri Ram”, which translates from Hindi to “Hail Lord Ram” or “Victory to Lord Ram,” and when they don’t then they are lynched. All these incidents all around the world have led to the formation of the word “Islamophobia.”
Diriliş: Ertuğrul, the Turkish television series had 5 seasons and the first season began in Pakistan on the first day of Ramadan in 2020. With the nation being under lockdown, the series took over Pakistan. With the Turkish series dubbed in the finest Urdu, the Muslims in India, Bangladesh and all over the world started watching Diriliş: Ertuğrul. Right after a few episodes the Turkish actors, Engin Altan Düzyatan, Esra Bilgiç, Cengiz Coşkun and many more, became international stars with Esra Bilgic becoming the face of Jazz and Q-Mobile in Pakistan. Almost all the Turkish actors, paid a tribute to Pakistan, either by thanking the Pakistani audiences, or adding the flag of Pakistan on their Instagram accounts.
What further added to the greatness of Turkey was when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, converted the Hagia Sophia Museum to a mosque. This added a feather in the cap for Turkey as Muslims around the world welcomed the call for prayers and the word of God in the ex-museum. From Diriliş: Ertuğrul to the conversion of Hagia Sophia, Turkey has stood its ground on the unification of Muslims around the world. For now the Islamic world has seen the revival of a much needed Ertuğrul, an Islamic hero in 2020!