al-Manhul to Iljam:The science of Kalam and the Mutakallimun According to al-Ghazali

One of the most important thinkers in the history of Islamic thought, al-Ghazali’s views caused serious changes in many of the Islamic sciences. In particular, he has a special position in the kalam. He not only started a new era in the history of the kalam, but he also influenced the later development of that science in terms of both its contents and its methods. Moreover, he made important observations on, and critique of, both the previous legacy and current application of kalam. Aware of the essential and foundational role of the kalam among the Islamic sciences, al-Ghazali drew attention to the problems stemming from its method and its problematic applications at the time. The criticisms he made, however, sometimes appeared to have turned into a wholesome questioning of kalam itself, which also seemed to contradict his emphasis on the value of the kalam and the position he placed this discipline among other Islamic sciences. For this reason, his views on theologians and the science of kalam, as well as his contributions to kalam, have been discussed in the literature. Within this framework, there have been radically different arguments on this point, ranging from his complete loyalty to the Ash‘arî school to his total or partial abandonment of this school, from his tendency to Sufism to his transformation of the kalam into a metaphysics, and to his hostility towards the kalam and philosophy. This article discusses al-Ghazali’s views on the science of kalam and the theologians in a chronological manner, and tries to investigate his perception of the kalam.

Two Scholars, Two Candidates for Caliph: Juwayni’s Nizamulmulk, al-Ghazali’s Mustazhir

This article explore the question of the preconditions required for those who wish to rule over the Muslim society, and whether these preconditions change depending on historical and geographical contexts. The article discusses this question through the ideas of Juwayni and al-Ghazali, who had a mentor-pupil relationship, who belonged to the same legal and theological schools (Shafi‘i and Ash‘ari, respectively), and who subscribed to the same theoretical framework (based on the classification of qat‘iyyat versus zanniyyat). Juwayni argued that the Seljukid Wazir Nizamulmulk was the only Caliph of the time whereas al-Ghazali reserved this title for the Abbasid Caliph, Mustahzir, for his own time period. This study thus tries to determine the motives behind the ulama’s intervention into politics, by focusing on the fact that there were great similarities between Juwayni and al-Ghazali, who lived under the sovereignty of the same political organization, in terms of the goals and aims of their views on the different names that they proposed for the political leadership of all Muslims in roughly the same historical period but under different social and political circumstances.

The Translations of al-Ghazali’s Works into Western Turkish between the 13th and the 19th Centuries

One of the leading scholars, philosophers and sufis in Islamic history, al-Ghazali was a prolific writer who authored many books. Many of his well-known works were translated into different eastern languages, including Persian (from Arabic originals), Arabic (from Persian originals), and Turkish as well as into a number of Western languages, such as La-tin, English and French. Beginning from the 15th century, they have been translated into Western Turkish, too. This article presents a sketch of his works translated into Turkish from the late-13th to the early 19th century.

Ebülûla Mardin’s Studies on Ulama Biographies

Ebülûla Mardin has a special place among those authors who wrote the biographies of the members of the ulama class during the Republican period. The significance of his status and work lies in the double fact that not only he was educated in both the madrasa and the maktab traditions, but he was also a professor who was actively involved in the processes of legal modernization in both the late-Ottoman and Republican periods. This article dis-cusses, mainly through his important book, Huzur Dersleri, the conditions for the emer-gence, and the historical development, of his work, as well as its background and sources, its richness and potential, and some of its problems.

İsmail KARA
A Translated Defense Article about the Military Reforms of Mahmud II: al-Kavkab al-Mas‘ud fi Kavkabat al-Junud

The Ottoman modernization started with western-style reforms in the military system fol-lowing an increase in military defeats and loss of land. These reforms, embarked upon sin-ce the second half of the 18th century in particular, required the central government to utili-ze ulama’s high public esteem in order to establish legitimacy in both the public eye and the view of opponents. The ulama performed incurring responsibilities by both executing these reforms in various management positions themselves and also writing “defensive” li-terature in support of the legitimacy and necessity of the reforms. One example of this lite-rature is the pamphlet titled al-Sa‘y al-Mahmud fi Nizam al-Junud that was written in Ara-bic in Egypt to defend Mahmud II’s military reforms by Algerian-born Ibn al-‘Annabi (1775-1851), who also served as a Hanafi judge in Algeria and as a mufti in Alexandria. Sahhâflar Şeyhizâde As‘ad Efendi (1789-1848), who held important positions in the “ilmi-ye” organization, translated this pamphlet into Turkish with a substantial number of additi-ons under the title al-Kavkab al-Mas‘ud fi Kavkabat al-Junud. The Arabic original had been published in Jan-Feb 1827; it was not until April 26th, 1829 that the proofread trans-lation was presented to the Sultan. It was both a reform document in which military re-forms were defended with reference to Qur’anic verses, prophetic hadiths and the early Is-lamic history applications, and a war chronicle depicting the wars in detail during the Prophet’s reign. In this article, biographies of As‘ad Efendi and Ibn al-‘Annabi are briefly presented, other reform documents of the period are listed; and the text of al-Kavkab is int-roduced and critiqued.

An Unknown Text of Madrasa Reform: Vildan Faik Efendi’s Islah Risalesi

Since their establishment, madrasas functioned as institutions that educated the officers that the government needed in education, law and religious services. The emergence of some defects within the madrasa system and their perception as ineffective institutions vis-a-vis the maktabs, which were established under the influence of the modernization mo-vements, brought the issue of the madrasa reformation up to the agenda. Those who had a negative view of them, especially the madrasa professors and students, started putting forward recommendations for, and writing treatises about, the reformation of madrasas. One of those who dealt with the issue of reformation of madrasas was Vildan Faik Efendi, who was a significant scholar of his time. This article examines a text by Vildan Faik Efendi about madrasas reformation, which has not been found and discussed until now. After giving a brief biography of the author of treatise, the article discusses and evaluates the topics that were highlighted by the author in the reform treatise. In addition, it compa-res Vildan Faik Efendi’s treatise with the 1914 Regulations and Instructions of the Madra-sa Reform.


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