Past and Present Status of Islamic Studies in the Indian Subcontinent

Indian scholars have always occupied an important place in our intellectual landscape due to their contributions to the Hanafite School of fiqh, hadith, and the history of Islam. Shiblî Nu'mânî, Muhammed Iqbal, Abu'l-Kalâm Âzâd, Mavdûdî and Muhammad Hamidullah have all kept our ties to the Indian subcontinent alive. Yet, our knowledge of the cultural and intellectual life of the region remained at a relatively low level. At the beginning, Islamic studies in the region had been pursued in the classical Madrasa tradition, but later on, with the rise of the British hegemony, Western-style education and research institutions came to dominance. Islamic studies, then, survived in this new framework, but with many differentiations and new problems. Just like the Muslims in Andulus, Muslims in India had to live as a minority group under a Christian rule, and had to struggle for cultural-intellectual existence. However, far from submitting to assimilation, Muslims in India became much more productive in their intellectual efforts and much more creative in their scholarly work. This article aims at presenting an analysis of the rich literature of Islamic studies, scholarly institutions, and representative figures in the Indian subcontinent.

Abdülhamit BİRIŞIK
From Commerce to Colonialism: Hindustan and the British Supremacy in the 19th Century

The aim of this article is to show the socio-cultural and the political situation of the sub-continent of Indo-Pakistan in the 19th century. In this century the British domination in the sub-continent not only influenced the socio-cultural life of the people, but also persuaded some of them to a new interpretation of the religion and the life. However, while some of the Muslim intellectuals and the educated people denied the basic norms of the new civilization, the others adopted these norms and a modern way of life brought by the British. The opponents denied it, because the system that had been brought and established by the British, was not only contradicting the faith of the devout Muslims, but also changing administrative construction. As a result of this change Muslims lost their political domination which they had for a long period. In addition, the purpose of this article is to bring out the socio-cultural and the political struggle which was started against the British Imperialism by the Muslims.

British Supremacy in India and the Attitude of the Ulama

This article examines the attitudes of various Muslim Ulema in India towards the British rule. The Muslims in India lost the supremacy to the British in 1858. This meant the destruction of many centuries-long administrative, religious and cultural privileges. The Muslim scholars, who now became also the political leaders of the community, felt the need to voice the religious objection to the British rule. Shah Abdulaziz protested at the interference to the religious affairs of the Muslims by implicitly declaring India under the foreign rule as dar al-harb. This line was later adopted by more radical reform movements like Jihad and Faraiziyya. After the terrible mutiny of 1857, Muslims suffered heavily for they were held responsible. Thereafter they were treated with suspicion by the British. The Muslims in despair turned towards the Meccan Ulema for religious guidance. The Fatava that came from Mecca declared India as dar al-Islam. This was also reiterated by a group of Ulama in Northern India and Bengal arguing that the Muslims under the British rule were free to practice their religion. However, this ruling was questioned not by other Muslims but by a British official, W.W. Hunter. Hunter stated that according to the strict stipulations of Islamic law India should be declared as dar al-harb and Muslims were bound by their religion to resist against the British rule. This statement caused resentment among some Muslim scholars. People like Syed Ahmad Khan accused Hunter of drawing wrong conclusion. According to them the only way for Indian Muslims to preserve their culture and religious identity among the Hindu majority was coming to terms with the British rule and erase their suspicion.

Hijrat Movement in India

As it is well known the Indian Muslim community has a strong feeling of identity with the world community of Islam. During the preceding centuries, they had seen the decline in the political power of Islamic countries as the European powers conquered the Muslim lands one after the other. After the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and World War I (1914-1918), they thought that the European powers had played the leading role in the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. So, under the leadership of the Ali Brothers, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali, the Muslims of South Asia launched the historic Khilafat Movement to try to save it. When the terms of the Treaty of Serves were announced in 1920, it caused deep resentment among the Muslims. Moulana Abdulbari, the well known Farangi Mahal religious scholar, declared that those Muslims who felt unrest in India under the British power could immigrate to a place where their religious and daily life was safe. After him, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, declared India as ‘‘Dar-al-Harb'' and urged Muslims to migrate. So the Hijrat movement took a start and a large number of Muslims left their country and home and migrated to Afghanistan in religious protest against the British policy towards the Ottoman Caliphate. The Afghan Government welcomed the migrants in the beginning but refused to accept them when the number increased later. The people who migrated to Afghanistan faced many difficulties and a large number of them perished in the way. After trying in Afghanistan, they realized that they had to return back to India but when they came they find themselves homeless and doomed forever.

Turkish Language and Literature in Babur's Court

The Indian geography is in the position of being a cradle for a grand civilization in which different cultural structures co-exit. Serving as a common roof for a number of different elements, the geography is characterized by a vast tolerance and friendly reception of the other. Throughout the history, India has perceived difference as diversity. The emergence of a rich tradition of literature in Turkish states which ruled in India between 16th century and 18th century, and the development of Turkish as a language of poetry along with Indian language, Urdu, Persian and other languages are typical examples of how any culture can secure a sphere of expression specific to its own within this geography. The development of Chagatay Turkish in a very special field in India, producing a rich legacy of literature, and the nature of the tradition of reciting Turkish poems in Bâbur palace are very significant in the history of literature. The Turkish manuscripts we discovered during our field studies in India will shed a light on the socio-cultural studies in this area.

An Alim at Hard Times: Autobiography of Shah Waliullah Dihlawi

Shah Waliullah is one of the last great representatives of the classical world, who started his scholarly life in a time when the Muslim world had begun to confront the challenges of modernity and when the Indian subcontinent had begun to feel the colonial activities of the British. He thaught at the Madrasa founded by his father Shaikh Abdurrahim in Delhi. In this paper, after some remarks about Waliullah's life and the reception of his thought in the modern period, we present a translation of his autobiography, al-Cuz al-Latîf fî Tarcamat al-Abd az-Zaîf, written in Persian. In the end, his works will be analyzed under three titles.

A Strange Country, A Strange Sultan: Bâbürnâme's India

Bâbür (1483-1530) pioneered the autobiographical writing in Islamic literature. Babur's autobiography has several names: Bâbürnâme, Vekâyî, Vâkı'ât-ı Bâbürî, Vâkı'ât-ı Bâbür and Tüzük-i Bâbürî. We have preferred the widespread usage, Bâbürnâme, which was written by Bâbür in Chaghatay Turkish. Bâbürnâme does not encompass Bâbür's whole life. It has three chapters: Ferghana (1494-1503), Kâbil (1504-1520) and Hindustan (1525-1529). Bâbür tries to be objective in his autobiography but he can not escape from value judgements about his archenemy, Uzbek Şeybânî Han. Bâbür's main source of information about Timur and Timurid rule in India is Şerefüddin Yezdî's Zafernâme. In his autobiography Bâbür also mentions other works such as Habîb el-Siyer of Hând-Emîr and Tabaqât-ı Nâsırî of Mevlânâ Minhâcüddîn. He also mentions a few famous poets such as Firdevsî, Sâdî, Hâce Ubeydullah Ahrar, Molla Câmî and Ali Şir Nevâî, with whom he exchanged letters. Bâbür descended from both Timur and Chengis Khan. He claimed to be heir to the Mongol and Timurid legacy. Nevertheless, with respect to India he attached more importance to the Timurid legacy than the Mongol legacy. After his unsuccessful attempts at reviving Timurid rule in Semerqand, he succeeded in establishing Timurid rule in Delhi in 1526. Indian art and culture flourished under the patronage of Baburid rulers for more than two centuries, until mid-eighteenth century. Babür views himself as the third conqueror of India from the beginning of the Hegira calendar. The first conqueror, according to Babür, is Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna and the second one is Sultan Şehâbüddin Ghûrî. Bâbür views India as “a strange country” in terms of its people, its language, its climate and its nature. Striking analogies can be drawn between Bâbür's view of India and Bîrûnî's view of India. Bâbür tried to build “gateways to Paradise” from this strange country through his marvellous gardens.

Pelengî and Şâhî Benek in Turkish Ornamentation Art, or the Illusion of Çintamani

Although Pelengî and şâhî benek (royal spots) are the most frequently mentioned ornamentations in our archives, Western researchers has confused them with çintamani, which is Buddhism's sacred pearl. This confusion has then affected the native scholars as well. Şâhî benek is composed of either a single or three spots, whereas pelengî is made of a single or two lines in lip form. These ornaments are drawn under the inspiration from the spots on tigers and leopards. Both ornaments have been used together or separately. Contrary to Buddhist leanings, the principle behind spot ornamentation in the Turkish embellishment art stems from strong and tough animals that are the symbols for strength and vigor. Şâhî benek, körkle monçuk, and çintamani are all different motifs, and although they have similarities in form, they are different in terms of their origin and their philosophy.

The Ethical, Social, Political, and Economic Views of al-Mawardî

After a brief presentation of his biography and a cursory introduction to his works, this paper explores the ethical, social, political and economic views of al-Mâwardî (364-450/974-1058), known especially for his political and ethical theories, with special reference to his four books, namely Adab al-dunyâ wa al-dîn, al-Ahkâm al-sultâniyya, Qawânîn al-wizâra and Tashîl al-nazar, all dedicated to the above subjects. Since his opinions discussed under several titles below cannot be duly grasped without contemplating his worldview-oriented holism, it is inevitable to touch upon the ontological, epistemological and axiological cohesion reflected in his relevant discussions. Besides, some of his invaluable views are evaluated. For example, a philosophizing jurist-theologian, he reconciled reason and revelation, a different formulation from the modern rationalism. A theorizing diplomat, he tried to synthesize Islamic political ideals, norms and empirical realities of the time by systematizing an ontologically legitimate and accountable virtuous caliphate with delegatory power as a universal constitutional government and nomocratic rule in order to avoid political atomization. A social observer, he theologically highlighted the “necessity doctrine” of social association as well as the causes of dissociation. A moderate moralist, he attempted to harmonize the two extremes, quietism and materialism, by his very interesting discussion on individual “extensive expectation” as the central factor in welfare and development. A political economist, he declared the famous principle: “Bad money drives out good money,” known in the West as Gresham's Law after the Mercantilist economist Sir Thomas Gresham (d. 1579).


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