Panel 6G

Education and Political Thought Within Islam

15.00 – 17.00
Chair: Zehra Betül Ustaoglu, Marmara University

Continuation of Ottoman Intellectual Tradition in Modern Turkey: A Study of Emin Er’s Thoughts and His Network

Naoki Yamamoto, Kyoto University

Today’s conflict between Western secular science and traditional Islamic knowledge is one of the most contentious topics in the academia world. There is a long held conception that Muslim scholars who embrace Western science are considered as “progressive” or “modernists” while traditional Islamic scholars (‘ulama) opposing the ideas of the former group are often negatively labelled as “conservative” or “intellectually closed” for their strict loyalty to Islamic sciences only. Said Nursi and Fethullah Gulen are probably two most popular Turkish scholars receiving a wide coverage from previous studies on Turkish Islam. The two were known as Muslim renovators who were successful in building harmony between modern Western science and traditional Islamic science. This presentation argues that it is necessary to trace down earlier generation ‘ulama who inspire later generation renovators. One that deserves an attention is Muhammed Emin Er (1907-2013). Emin Er, who was trained in Ottoman tradition, was often referred as the “Last Ottoman Scholar (Osmanl? Son Alimi)” in contemporary Turkey. He was born in Diyarbakir and studies under numerous Islamic scholars in traditional madrasa of Turkey and Syria. Unlike his peers at that time, his traditional upbringing does not stop him to appreciate multiplicity between the traditional Islamic and Western modern science. He also travelled to many countries including Europe and America to create a broad network of his students. This presentation will mainly discuss Emin Er’s fundamental thought, his network to rethink the role and influence of “Traditional Islamic Scholar” in modern Turkey.

A Conciliation Effort of the Religion and the Nationalist Thought in the Republican Period: Ziya Gökalp Case

Zehra Betül Ustaoglu, Marmara University

Majmua Islamiyye, which began to be published in the years of World War I and was financed by the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti), seeks to reconcile Islam with Turkish nationalist thought and focuses on the issues related to the social aspects of Islam and its functions. The notion of social interpretation of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (ictimai usul al-fiqh) which was presented by one of the most important authors of the Macmua Islamiyye, Ziya Gökalp (1876-1924) as a new methodology for the Islamic law, will be the subject of this paper and I will argue that this new conception proposed by Gökalp is not truly compatible with the main principles of the Islamic law and not completely pure and out of the politics of the newborn Turkish governance.  Main argumentations of Gökalp’s methodology are that Islamic law is built as custom and revelation centered, Islamic law values custom and divine text equally, commands can vary not only by the change of the time but also the change of the society, ijtihad is truly possible even in the field of revelation. I will critically examine all his argumentations, I will use the opponent’s counter-arguments to sociological methodology of Islamic Law and try to present a comparative reading of this methodology in terms of the principles of Islamic law in this paper.

A ‘Syrian’ Doctrine of Jihad? Scholarly Migration and Jihad in the Eighth Century

Kenneth Goudie, University of Nottingham

It is neither controversial nor speculative to state that in the eighth century there were regional differences regarding jihad. This has been described most succinctly by Roy Mottahedeh and Ridwan al-Sayyid who, on the basis of the kitab al-jihad in the Musannaf of ‘Abd al-Razzaq (d. 211/827), argue that there was a circle of Syrian jurists in the eighth century who espoused a doctrine of military jihad; their Hijazi counterparts, in contrast, did not. Although Mottahedeh and al-Sayyid did not elaborate upon this, their observation has become generally accepted. The flow of volunteers, however, from other parts of the Islamic world to the Muslim-Byzantine frontier in northern Syria does beg the question of whether this was a specifically ‘Syrian’ doctrine of jihad. This paper will address this question by analysing the chains of transmission of both the kitab al-jihad in ‘Abd al-Razzaq’s Musannaf and of the Kitab al-jihad of Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181/797), the earliest surviving independent work on jihad. The guiding principle is that if sequential transmitters are associated with the same region, it points to a measure of ‘entrenchment’ on the part of the jihad traditions they transmit. Conversely, if sequential transmitters are associated with different regions, it points to the migration of these traditions. By analysing the chains of transmission in this way, it will be possible to make tentative statements about the correlation between regions and understanding of jihad in the eighth century and, more significantly, the extent to which a ‘Syrian’ doctrine of jihad existed.

Language Contact and Orthography in the Qur’an: The Representation of Foreign Elements in Qur’anic Spelling

Estara J Arrant, University of Cambridge

The origins, development, and intertextuality of the Qur’an, especially with regard to other scriptural traditions, is a major inquiry in Islamic Studies. While we understand that the Qur’an is in dialogue with other scriptures, ascertaining the degree, origins, and nature of intertextual interaction is challenging, and sometimes controversial. There are few studies which relate to issues of foreign language contact and its impact upon the development and transmission of the Qur’anic text. Foreign linguistic elements sometimes appear in the Qur’an, especially in variants and foreign vocabulary. These often contain an orthography and vocalisation which are difficult to interpret without investigating the phonology of the words in question in the source language. One understudied phenomenon is the spelling adjustment of loanwords to reflect in Arabic an ö-vowel (which does not exist in Arabic). I found understudied instances of this phenomenon in the Mu?jam al-Qira’ait which may indicate foreign language contact/exchange (e.g., some Qur’an manuscripts change the spelling of Lo?t from ??? < ??? , which appears to be a closer representation of the holam waw in Hebrew ????. My paper will systematically gather these instances and investigate their phonology in order to better understand how intertextual language contact may have influenced the development of Qur’anic phonology and orthography. I will show in my paper that close linguistic studies of such variant and unexpected phenomena in Qur’an manuscripts enables us to better understand the development and transmission of this sacred text in light of cultural and linguistic exchange and interaction.