Question: Is it appropriate to use such expressions as “Turkish Islam” and “Ottoman Islam”?
Every nation has different customs. However, there is one Islam, and it has to be one, indeed. Today, Shiite Iran’s Islamic life is different from Wahhabite Saudis’. They have mixed the beliefs of heretical groups into their religion. So is the case with other Arab countries. It seems as if a different religious life has developed in those places.
As for the Turks, they have served Islam truly since they became Muslims. The Seljuq and Ottoman Turks did not deviate from the path of Ahl as-Sunna and they performed struggles against holders of bid’a. The expressions Turkish Islam or Ottoman Islam can be used in this sense, that is, in order to explain that the Turks are the followers of the path Ahl as-Sunna. But if you mean something a different religion or race discrimination, then it is not appropriate at all to use such expressions.
Throughout Islamic history, after the Ashâb-i kirâm, the greatest service to Islam was rendered by the Ottoman Empire. Again, Sultan Alp Arslan, the Seljuq ruler, toiled for the cause of Islam during his reign. He was very adamant about the covert enemies trying to demolish Islam from within and about Bâtinî and Hurûfî movements. Therefore, he said, “We are pure Muslims. We do not know such a thing as bid’a. For this reason, Allahu ta’âlâ granted superiority to devout Turks.” (Rehber Ansiklopedisi, The Guiding Encyclopedia)
At the present time, since the Turks have fallen under the influence of heretical sects and foreign ideas, there is deviation from pure religious life practiced by the Ottomans. Also, the idea of giving up following a madhhab has begun to exist. What to be done is to avoid bid’ats and live up to Islam without subjecting it to any taint of change.