THE FORMATIVE PERIOD OF THE MODERN ISLAMIC THOUGHT:

Abstracts

Within the scope of the ‘Modern Islamic Thought’, this paper basically aims at starting a discussion on existential ansxieties to indicate what extent and how Muslims have developed projects against the envision of an occidental knowledge and science, as well as the globalization/domination of technology.
In this respect, we will, by this research, attemptto provide information as regards the formative period of the contemporary Islamic thought and the projects conducted by Muslim intellectuals. We will be subsequently elaborating on the originality and specificity of these projects.
If we can achieve this aim, we can probably develop an attitude regarding the intellectual freedom and scientific originality. This achievement is of vital importance to establish the conditions required for the renewal of jurisprudence in the Islamic World.

Sayyid Ahmad Khan, an Indian pioneer of the modernist era had a versatile personality: on one hand he wrote several volumes of a modernist commentary on the Qurʾān and established educational institutions to publicize his novel ideas on the other. In these works he sought to harmonize the Islāmic faith with the scientific views, i.e. natural theology and politically progressive ideas of his time. He published many writings promoting liberal and rational interpretations of the Holy Qur’an as he was troubled by the rigidity of the orthodox outlook of the Muslims. A distinguished scholar, he was a progressive thinker who played a major role in promoting social, scientific, and economic development of Indian Muslims. He mostly wrote on Islamic Theology/Kalam; Commentary of the Qur’an/Tafsîr; and addressed the requirement of social reforms and thus wrote a commentary on Bible. However, his liberal views were met with criticism by the Muslim clergy urging Sir Sayyid to decide to cease discussing religion and focus on promoting education. Therefore his supreme interest was education—in its widest sense.

In politics he tried his best to convince the British, the colonial power that Muslims were actually not against them, and he persuaded the Muslims repeatedly to befriend the British to achieve their goals. He also wrote many books and published journals to remove the misunderstanding. Sir Sayyid asked the Muslims of his time not to participate in politics unless they received modern education. He was of the view that Muslims could not succeed in the field of Western politics without knowing the system. Taking active roles in education, religious thought and politics, Sir Sayyid greatly affected the thinking systematics after him, especially M. Iqbal and Fazlur Rahman, and was also considered the founding-father of Pakistan.

Muhammed Iqbal’s thought led to the reconstruction of the Indian sub-continental Muslims vis-à-vis colonialism and finally led to the establishment of Pakistan in 1947. Iqbal’s thoughts also have the qualities enabling the Muslim individuals and communities to establish and continue on their own existential platform against the Western hegemony. Iqbal used the critical analytical process in his poetry and philosophy. The main purpose of Iqbal is to reach current actuality and participate the creative activities of the omnipotence with the idea of continuous action and movement. His critique especially focused on the widespread applications of both Sufi topics: the unity of essence (wahdat al-wujud) and ecstasy of divine love. He also criticized the Muslim philosophers who built a kind of Greek rationality instead of the Holy Quran. According to him, Quran, permanently maintaining the current and absolute state of presence of the Universe, should be considered a source of thought and faith.

The interaction between Istanbul and Egypt has a peculiar importance in the formation and development periods of modern Islamic thought. The translation of the work of Ibn al-Annabi “es-Sa‘yu’l-Mahmud fi Nizami’l-Cunud” into Turkish with a commentary by Esad Efendi with the name of “el-Kevkebu’l-Mes‘ud fi Kevkebeti’l-Cunud” written in Egypt to defend the military reforms of Mahmud II can be accepted as the first example of this interaction. The aim of this article is to show the interaction between Istanbul and Egypt in early modern period and also to evaluate the work and its annotated translation in the modern Islamic thought which is the example of the cross-regional interaction

Socio-cultural, political and economic conditions of each era people live in, as well as their mentalities, have a remarkable impact on formation of their ideas. Egypt’s political and economic situation during Abduh’s lifetime who lived in the 19th century (the age of enlightenment) witnessing important historic events like the industrial revolution and French revolution, political and economic status quo in Egypt and the community estranged from wisdom and reasoning, transforming into imitation and the backwardness were so effective on his intellectual profundity. From this point of view, Abduh dedicated himself to recover Muslims from this laziness, inviting them to considering and reasoning, and to convert Islam as plain as its original form as in the first era. Accordingly, the ideas he put forward, his approaches caused him to be commemorated as a modern thinker especially as regards finding a solution for the problems in his era. Despite presenting new approaches, Abduh seems as a thinker benefiting from the tradition as he adopts a similar attitude with the tradition via his methods applied on many of his ideas.

Musa Carullah is a great activist and a thinker of Volga (İdil) Tatars. He attempted to develop solutions for redeeming the Muslims from the scholastic mentality. In this context, he suggested religious renewal and educational reforms. He wrote in most fields of İslamic religious studies for awakening, warning and protecting Muslim communities and pointed out that Muslims should give up imitating the West and look after their own values to overcome the contemporary challenges.

From History

Fizan’da çıkan ed-Din ve’l-Edeb Mecellesi’inde Mekke-i Mükerreme’den Murad Remzi Efendi tarafından aşağıdaki mektubu ehemmiyetine binâen aynen naklediyoruz:

Emir-i Mekke-i Mükerreme Şerif Hüseyin Paşa Hazretleri’nin maksadı Harem-i Şerif-i Mekke-i Mükerreme’yi ulûm ve maârif talîm ve neşriyle ihyâ edeceği mine’l-kadîm söylenmekte iken, kesretu’l-işgalinden dolayı bu âna kadar bu babda bir türlü teşebbüsâtta bulunamamış idi. Ve bundan onbeş yirmi gün evvelisi gerek defterde mukayyed yerli müderrisleri ve gerek defterde gayr-ı mukayyed âfâki ve ve mücâvir müderrisleri huzuruna davet edip şu yolda ifadede bulundu: “Fuzelâ ve ulemâ ve meşâyihimiz? Mekke-i Mükerreme, Beledullahı’l-Haram’ın menbaı kâffe-i ulûm ve maârif ve maden-i cemi’-i fün’un ve medeniyet idüğü her birinizin malûmudur. Hal böyle iken devr-i sâbıkın idare-i seyyiesinin eser-i mucîb-i esef ve kederi olarak hâlâ görüyorsunuz. Ki Harem-i Şerif’te envâr-ı ilim sönmüş, eski halka-yı tedris ve ta’lîmden onda biri kalmamış. Kalan da matlûb derecede talebelere ilm-i hakîkî ve ma’lûmât-ı sahîha îrâs eder derecede değil. Ben evvel günü birinin halka-yı tedrisi yanından geçtim: dünya ve âhirette zerre kadar fâidesi olmayan isrâiliyyât takrir ediyor. Bundan ne anladık; işte bundan dolayı olmalıdır ki talebeler azalmış, talebelerin tahsile rağbetleri kalmamış. Hakları da vardır. İnsan-ı âkil fâidesiz şeyi tahsili için vaktin zâyi’ ve ihtiyâr-ı taab ü zahmet etmez. Bundan yirmi, yirmi beş sene evvelisi Harem-i Şerif dolusunca ulemâ-yı kiram ulûm-ı hakîkiyye ve maârif tedrisiyle Harem-i Şerif’i inâre etmede idiler. Sizler şu zevât-ı kiramın evlâd u ahfâd u telâmizisiniz, onların mesleklerini ihyâ etmek size lazımdır. Ben bu hususta sizlere çoktan tenbihât ve telkînâtta bulunacaktım. Fakat beni bu âna kadar umûr-ı idariyye ile iştigâlim bundan men’ eyledi. Ve te’hire sebep oldu. Bakıyorum ki vakit geçiyor. Umûr-ı talîm ve tedrisiye gittikçe tedenni ve inhitâta doğru gidiyor. Binaen-aleyh sizi buraya davet eyledim. Bazılarınız gelmemişler ise bu mesâilledir. Lakin “innemel a’mâlü bi’n-niyât”[1]. Hâzır olanlara teşekkür ederim. Şimdi size diyeceğim şudur ki sizin her biriniz iktidârı dairesinde bildiği talîm ile iştigâl eylesin. Gerek ulûm-ı diniyye, gerek ulûm-ı âliyye gerek ulûm-ı riyâziyye, coğrafya, hesap, hendese, hey’et, cebir ve mukâbele gibi. Siz bir yere toplanınız. İçinizden münâsip olan bir miktarınız sarf ve mebâdi-i nahiv talîmine ve bir miktarınızı elfiyye ve onun şerh ve haşiyeleri ve o mertebede olan kitapların talîmine ve bir miktarınızı maânî, beyân, bedii, aruz, inşâ’ ve fesâhat ve belâğat talîmine ve bir miktarınızı her mezhepten fıkıh, hadis ve tefsir ve ahlâk talîmine ve bir miktarınızı ulûm-ı riyâziyye, coğrafya, hesap, hendese, hey’et, cebir ve mukabele bu gibi fenler talîmine tayin ederek, mehmâ emken tedris ve talîm yanında mesâile etmemekle tavsiye ve te’kid ediniz. Ben cins ve şahıs tanımam. İlim ve fazldan efdal bir şey yoktur. Ben onu biliyorum ve sizin de şu mesleğe sülük ederek bu filandır, bu öyledir, bu böyledir demeyerek herkesin ilim ve fazlına göre muâmele edeceğinizden eminim. Ha işte ben zimmemi tefriğ eyledim. Artık iş sizde kaldı. “Göreyim ne yapacaksınız?” diye bunu iki üç kere tekrar eyledi. Ve şimdi devletin muzayakasını görüyorsunuz, biliyorsunuz. Binaen aleyh talîm ve tedrisiniz mukabilinde medâr-ı ta’yîş olacak bir muhassasât tayin edemiyorum. Bu hususta mazurum. Ve maa zalik bunun da bir çaresini aramadan geri duramam. Devletin başına çökmüş şu facia ber-taraf olursa müstakbelde bi’t-tedric bunu da yaparız. Siz sâbıkı misüllü mevcudîne kanaat edip hasbeten lillah talim ediniz. Bu güne kadar terbiye eden Allah bundan sonra da terbiye eder Allah kerimdir, diye ifadesini itmam eyledi.

[1]    “Ameller niyetlere göredir.” HŞ., (Y.H.)

Postscripts

The number of studies on conservatism has been on the rise recently in Turkey. A majority of these studies analyses the main issues of conservatism by concentrating on the works of male conservative thinkers and thus do not give much space to the world of female conservatives. Focusing on the women’s issues through the prism of male conservative intellectuals imposes a serious limitation in the debates. This study aims to overcome this limitation by scrutinizing the women’s issues and modernization through the prism of a female conservative. To do so, as the representative of a key strand of Turkish conservatism focusing on history, tradition, Sufism, morality and aesthetic, it analyses Sâmiha Ayverdi’s approach to the women’s issues within the framework of transformation processes such as modernization and civilization change. The study examines where and how Ayverdi placed the woman, whom she defined as “the monument of wisdom and civilization”, in the old vs. new / East vs. West debates with reference to modernization and issues concerning civilization change.

The concept of intermediate associations is one of the main concepts that conservatism primarily dwells on. The importance of intermediate associations does not drive only from having a definite historicity and basing on traditions in terms of conservatives. Their basic importance and function stem from penetration of the modern state into the society, potential of exerting pressure and impeding practice. With reference to conceptualization of intermediate associations, aims to handle attitudes of conservatives in the face of modern the totalitarian quality/core of the state, their explanations and disapproval points.

Necip Fazıl Kısakürek and Nurettin Topçu are the two significant opinion leaders in the Islamist and conservative community. In the radical reformist years following the proclamation of the republic, these two figures became the representatives of the community which was suppressed by the official ideology. The thinking system of both was centralized upon the Blondel’s movement/action philosophy approved by metaphysicians opposed to positivist world view. However, these two thinkers came together around movement philosophy that interpreted “movement/action” in very different ways.
Topçu approaches movement philosophy from the perspectives of mercy, responsibility, movement and freedom. The feeling of responsibility in the person feeling mercy creates the movement. At the end of this movement process, a person becomes a free one. This spiritual journey is a movement of riot and the movement is the God’s riot in human. On the other hand, Kısakürek prefers to use the word of “action”. His action process was combined of faith, idea and action. Action is the faith’s process of becoming visible as being something intangible in substance. Thereby Kısakürek’s action ends up with taking the control of substance.
The highly differentiated approaches of these two thinkers towards movement/action philosophy made thinking system of Topçu more metaphysical and deeper, on the other side Kısakürek internalized a more “reactionist” approach. For this reason, it is possible to see the signs of a seeking for a founder philosophy in thinking system of Topçu. However, again for the same reason while Kısakürek could reach a wide range of masses, Topçu could have a chance to be known within a limited but intellectual community.

Urbanization has gained impetus between 1950 and 1960 in Turkey. Both rapid urbanization and its development were not independent of the practices of political power at this time. The composition of the power bloc in this period and its practices constituted the cause of rapid urbanization and its development. The power bloc in Turkey between 1950 and 1960 was consisted of the trade bourgeoisie and big landowners. Reforms such as mechanization and modernization in agriculture as well as cheaper credit to farmers were the practices developed for big landowners in the power bloc. These reforms resulted in the increase of internal migration from villages that experienced a rise in surplus labor, to cities and acceleration of urbanization. Besides; practices of trading and service sectors and partly the industrial sector led to the development of urbanization in favor of trade bourgeoisie, which centered on trade and service sectors rather than industry based – urbanization. Both growth of urbanization and its development in terms of the structure of political power and relative practices, have been the indicators of unplanned urbanization, whose effects survived today. This study aims to reveal the causes of rapid urbanization and its development process between 1950 and 1960 in the light of the concept of ‘power bloc’.
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