Review of Freemasonry

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by RW Bro. Celil Layiktez P.Asst. G. M.
Lodge Zeytin Dali No. 146 Grand Lodge of Turkey
Editor of TESVÝYE (The level)
The Masonic Magazine of the Grand Lodge of Turkey

There is a general reaction to Freemasonry in the Islamic world. After Clement XII excommunicated Freemasonry in 1738, under the pressure of his Christian subjects and with the approval of the “ulema” (Islamic theologians) who were thinking that “If the Pope declares that Freemasons arte atheists, there must be some truth in his words” , Sultan Mahmut I outlawed Freemasonry. Since that date “Freemason” became synonym to “atheist” in the Ottoman Empire.


After the declaration of the second constitutional monarchy in the Empire  (1908), the Islamic reaction organized a revolt in Istanbul. This revolt has been crashed by the “Action Army” and Sultan Abdulhamid II has been dethroned. The Action Army had been organized and commanded by Freemasons.  The committee of five  deputies that came to announce to Abdulhamit that he had been dethroned, were Freemasons, all five of them. These facts have reinforced the existing reaction to Freemasonry by the radical Islamic community. The Sultan was also the Caliph of all Islam and the guardian of the sacred grounds in Mecca and Medina. Anything that happened in the Ottoman Empire influenced the Arab and Islamic world at large.


In the years preceding the Second World War and also during the War, the Nazi propaganda of a Judeo – Masonic plot to govern the world, the actions of Sheriff Hussein in Jerusalem and finally the creation of the State of Israel have all strengthened this anti-Masonic feeling, this time with a touch of anti-Semitism going with it. The Arabs regard Freemasonry as a force against Islam, which even makes fun of Islam, and which was the cause of the success of European imperialism in Arabia. The atheist and anti – clerical stance of the Grand Orient of France is reinforcing this current.


Freemasonry is outlawed, in general, in Arab countries. There was a flourishing Freemasonry in Algeria, before it gained independence. Freemasonry is prohibited in all Arab countries except Lebanon and Morocco. The lodges laboring in the American bases in these countries are an exception.




The Grand Lodge of Morocco has been consecrated by the GLNF in1999. M.W. Bro. Claude Charboniaud, Grand Master of the GLNF, wishing to accomplish this ceremony with the participation of the Grand Master of a Grand Lodge existing in an Islamic country, has gracefully invited the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Turkey, Bro. Sahir Talat Akev, for a joint consecration ceremony. Our Grand Master could not come because of his ill health and he passed away to the Eternal East, on the 14th June 2000, the day of the consecration of the Grand Lodge of Morocco. The Grand Lodge of Turkey had been represented by another Grand Officer.


Earlier, on the 23rd March 1973, the High Court of Casablanca, after a long court procedure, had given the verdict that Freemasonry was compatible with Islam. This verdict has been published in Tesviye No. 51[1], both in Turkish and in its official French translation.

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The Egyptian Freemasonry had been hand in hand with Ottoman Freemasonry. When the Grand Lodge of Turkey, after being recognized and later reconsecrated by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, to obtain its recognition by the UGLE and the G.L. of Ireland, proved that its origin was regular showing that the Lodge Resne, one of its founding lodges, had its charter from the Grand Lodge of Egypt, a regular obedience at the time.


The Grand Lodge of Egypt had regular and irregular periods in its history.  Halim Pasha, the son od Mehmet Ali Pasha from Kavala who was the first Khedive (viceroy) of Egypt, founded the Scottish Rite in Turkey in 1861 and in Egypt in 1866, and has been supreme Grand Commander in both countries. As the Grand Lodge of Egypt started to accept some irregular rites, as the Rite of Memphis – Misraïm, the UGLE declared it irregular and founded its own District Grand Lodge in 1867, with Halim Pasha as its first Master. The nephew of Halim Pasha, the Khedive Ismail who had the Suez Channel opened, was probably a Freemason, but there is no written record to prove it. On the other hand, his son has been initiated without any doubt.


In 1952, after the King Farouk had been dethroned, Freemasonry was disgraced and was closed after the 1956 Suez crisis, by Gamal Abdelnasser.


Today, in spite that the Rotarian wife of Husnu Mubarek, President of Egypt, organizes the foreign relations of the Egyptian Rotary, this organization is regarded as a camouflaged Freemasonry by the radical Islamic community.


Mustafa El-Amin, in his book, “Freemasonry, Ancient Egypt and the Islamic Destiny”  compares the symbolism of the Ancient Egyptian mysteries and Islamic scriptures with those of the craft. According to El-Amin, although the Masonic rites and symbols are derived from Egypt, they have reached us through the Jews. Thus, the Jews had been operational in the ridiculization of the wisdom of Egypt in Masonic lodges. The writer says that the Shriners, with their fez and crescents are mocking the Islamic religion. The “problem” of “Masonry mocking the Moslem Faith” is also treated by Dr. Paul Rich[2]; he states that: “The prohibition of Masonry in the Muslim Countries of the Middle  East is paltry because there are aspects of Masonry which religious people feel verge on mocking their faith. An example of Masonic ritual which offends some, and that shows the gulf between believers and Masons, is the resemblance between the assassination and exhumation of the candidate in the third or Master Mason degree and religious accounts of resurrection. Almost nothing can be said to correct their common interpretation of the third degree that the Mason is saved by Freemasonry and not by religion”.


El – Azhar University in Cairo  and the Islamic Jurisdictional College[3]


Possibly the most influential body in promulgating and interpreting Islamic Law is the Islamic Jurisdictional College (IJC)[4]. At its meeting on 15 July 1978, it issued an opinion concerning “The Freemasons’ Organization”.


The IJC declared: “After complete research concerning this organization, based on written accounts from many sources, we have determined that”[5]:


  1. Freemasonry is a clandestine organization, which conceals or reveals its system, depending on the circumstances. Its actual principles are hidden from members, except for chosen members of its higher degrees.

  2. The members of the organization, worldwide, are drawn from men without preference for their religion, faith or sect.

  3. The organization attracts members on the basis of providing personal benefits. It traps men into being politically active, and its aims are unjust.

  4. New members participate in ceremonies of different names and symbols, and are frightened from disobeying its regulations and orders.

  5. Members are free to practice their religion, but only members who are atheists are promoted to its higher degrees, based on how much they are willing to serve its dangerous principles and plans.

  6. It is a political organization. It has served all revolutions, military and political transformations. In all dangerous changes a relation to this organization appears either exposed or veiled.

  7. It is a Jewish Organization in its roots. Its secret higher international administrative board are Jews and it promotes Zionist activities.

  8. Its primary objectives are the distraction of all religions and it distracts Muslims from Islam.

  9. It tries to recruit influential financial, political, social, or scientific people to utilize them. It does not consider applicants it cannot utilize. It recruits kings, prime ministers, high government officials and similar individuals.

  10. It has branches under different names as a camouflage, so people cannot trace its activities, especially if the name of “Freemasonry” has opposition. These hidden branches are known as Lions, Rotary and others. They have wicked principles that completely contradict the rules of Islam. There is a clear relationship between Freemasonry, Judaism and International Zionism. It has controlled the activities of high Arab officials in the Palestinian problem. It has limited their duties, obligations and activities for the benefit of Judaism and International Zionism.


Given that Freemasonry involves itself in dangerous activities, it is a great hazard, with wicked objectives, the Jurisdictional Synod determines that Freemasonry is a dangerous, destructive organization. Any Muslim, who affiliates with it, knowing the truth of its objectives, is an infidel to Islam”.

[1] Turkish Masonic magazine

[2] Masonic Musings, The Victorian Lodge of Research No.218, The Craft in Islamic Countries

[3] Idem

[4] In the El – Azhar University, Cairo  (C.L.)

[5] This is an edited summery

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