Paradigmatic Premises of the Modern Political Imaginary

The paradigmatic boundaries of modern political imaginary were drawn in Europe throughout the seventeenth century. Although it went through several intra-paradigmatic revisions, the mainstream approach to politics has been set by this framework first in the West and then in the “rest,” along with the unprecedented civilizational expansion of the West over other parts of the world. Suffice to say that the authors of the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence, the American Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights in 1789, which are popularly considered the universal framework of reference for contemporary political values, took the individualist natural law approach of the seventeenth century as the point of departure for their texts. This article aims to describe modern political imaginary through the paradigmatic premises it relies on thereby providing a de-constructive contribution to the critical literature on the modern conception of politics. Cutting across several different and even rival theoretical reflections on politics developed in the West since the great revolution of the seventeenth century, these premises can be summarized as the notion of the autonomy of politics, lack of the idea of the “good life,” the axis of freedom and equality, the conception of natural law and natural rights, individualism and rationalism.

The Political Meaning of the Transition from the Period of Khulafâ al-Râshidîn (Rightly Guided Caliphs) to the Period of Umayyads: Caliphate-Kingdom Debate. -An Analysis of Three Seerah Texts-

The problem of how to understand the transition form the historical period of Khulafâ al-Râshidîn (Rightly Guided Caliphs) to that of Umayyads is one of the most controversial issues in the history of Islam. The way to handle this debate also sheds light on how to understand larger issue of Islamic political thought. I will analyze three approaches to this debate that have emerged and become dominant in the seerah literature. 1. A modernist and reductionist approach that presents this transition as one from a republican regime to an absolutist one; as such, the transition is normatively seen in a negative light (Zekai Konrapa), 2. The “umranic” app- roach that views the change as a result of a natural process of transformation of “asabiyya” into “mulk” (Ahmed Cevdet Pasha), 3. An approach that looks at the debate from the perspective of basic (Quranic) prenciples and sees the “mulk”-based regime as the one that is not categorically denounced in the Qur’an (Muhammad Hamidullah).

Hızır Murat KÖSE
On Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha's Report on Ottoman Iraq in 1880

Though it has been 12 years since the American occupation of Iraq in 2003, the country continues to be in the top agenda of international affairs. Considering the close ties between the 19th and 20th centuries in terms of social, political and economic relations, it can be argued that the reports on 19th century Iraq have significant repercussions for under- standing present-day Iraq. The provincial reports (lâyihas), especially those written in the second half of the 19th century, have been crucial sources on Ottoman provinces. These reports were very important for Abdülhamid II, a sultan who typically did not travel throughout the empire. As with many other provinces, the sultan ordered the preparation of re- ports on Ottoman Iraq, one of which was written by the governor of Baghdad Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha in 1880. The report focuses on five main themes, of which lack of security was the most significant one. In fact, this problem affected the remaining four directly: education, agriculture, handicrafts and commerce. In Baghdad, where the tribal structure was quite dominant, the governor preferred to adopt a hawkish attitude toward the rebelling tribes. Having detailed the reasons for military weaknesses in the province, he underlined the necessary measures to be taken. The governor seems to analyze the rivers and irrigation facilities in the province in a detailed manner and give priority to the construction and restoration of river walls. The river walls, especially in Hilla, Divaniya and Kurna were to provide efficient irrigation, open new areas to cultivation, rise in agricultural production and, in return, meet the costs needed for this construction. The improvement of the roads and transportation facilities was also very important for Baghdad where agriculture dominated the provincial economy. With regard to education and handicrafts, the governor emphasized the need for reform in the curriculum and under- lined the importance of handicrafts and teachers in this field because they were to help people meet their daily needs.. Though in his report Abdurrahman Nureddin Pasha in- formed Istanbul in detail, he interestingly did not touch upon the hot issues of the period, such as Sunnite-Shiite relations and the delivery of title deeds in Iraq. As the report is about social, political and economic situation of Iraq in the late 19th century, it may shed light on the background of present-day Iraq.

Ebubekir CEYLAN
Revisiting Ibn Khaldun, the Revolutionary Child of Al-Falasifa: Is The Muqaddimah an Averroesian Break in Islamic Philosophy?

Ibn Khaldun is an important scholar who worked on different themes in Islamic thought and is still discussed, whose ideas are also valid for today. He studied Islamic sciences, including recitation, memorization and hadith, as well as logic on the one hand, and well versed in the peripatetic philosophy. Though he rejected the philosophers’ emphasis on metaphysics, he himself produced philosophy, and made references to their well-known works. He further argued that his philosophy lied outside the mainstream one, for he was the founder of a new science, which was one of the philosophical sciences. His new emphasis thus caused a transformation in the study of history. In this context, this article discusses Ibn Khaldun’s connection to philosophical schools, which is still debated in the literature, particularly comparing him with the famous Andalusian philosopher Ibn Rushd. Our discussion will also entail an analysis of his relation to other fields, such as theology and Sufism, as well as his directly philosophical arguments to provide a comprehensive investigation. Such a perspective requires reading his relation to Ibn Rushd not through the lenses of comparing the latter with Ghazali, as is often done today, but by focusing on how Ibn Khaldun himself made references to both of these philosophers and on the method he applied in his work. In this context, it is important to investigate how which he compiled The Muqaddimah through a plan based on a civilizational process,presents the different scientific disciplines of the time. Thus, this article aims to discuss the question of whether the science of umran, which he claimed to be one of the philosophical sciences, can be classified as part of a school; or whether such an attempt at classification would be meaningful for Ibn Khaldun himself.

Allegory in the Classical Turkish Literature: Is it a Genre, or a Style?

Allegory, the art of saying something while meaning another, has rarely been studied in Turkish literature. Considered as a discursive apparatus of the pre-Enlightenment period, allegory is used in Turkish literature more than any other literature. Some concepts such as metaphor, symbol etc. are confused with allegory. Thus, the conceptual framework of allegory should be clarified. The main objective of this article is to discuss whether allegory is a genre or a style, which has almost never been an academic issue in Turkey. In spite of its common characteristics that make possible to think allegory as a genre, such as personification, “bellum intestinum” (internal conflict), quest, temporal and spatial vagueness, proportion, polysemy and intertextuality, it will be more accurate to evaluate allegory as a style because of its lack of thematic integrity.

The Authority of Individual Hadiths in Theological Matters and Kawthari’s Approach to the Problem

The authority of individual hadiths has long been debated in the Islamic literature. Majority of scholars argue that individual hadiths are not taken as evidence in theology because they yield only probable knowledge. Partisans of hadith, on the other hand, believe that individual hadiths can be evidence in both legal and theological matters. A third group of scholars maintain that individual hadiths supported by circumstantial evidence can provide certain knowledge and therefore become binding in matters of faith as well. Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari, the deputy of the last Ottoman Shaykh al-Islam who settled in Egypt in the early 1900’s, penned books and articles in order to refute some Muslim intellectuals’ claim that individual hadiths have no capacity to be evidence in theology. For him, though the transmission of individual hadiths is only probable, they can still yield knowledge strong enough to establish a theological principle because believing is the action of the heart; therefore they can be taken into account in theology just as they are considered evidence in legal matters. Additionally, according to some scholars, reports that possess extra privileges such as being narrated by Bukhari or Muslim yield certainity. Thus, Kawthari has concluded that individual reports can be used to establish a theological principle by asserting that scholars of the past collected every type of theological traditions and contained them in their books on theology.