“Islamic Civilization” as an Aspect of Secularization in Turkish Islamic Thought

Resource Type
Text : Journal article
  • Dalacoura, Katerina
Collective Title
  • Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung
    Vol. 44, No. 3 (2019)
Publication Date
Embargo End Date
Publication Place
  • GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (Editor)
  • GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Free Keywords
Islamic civilization; Islamic religion; secularity; Turkey; Kısakürek; Davutoğlu; Muslim politics
  • Abstract

    The idea of an “Islamic civilization” emerged in the very late period of the Ottoman Empire in the context of complex and multidimensional modernization and secularization processes. Enunciated by the Young Ottomans in the 1870s and gaining prominence in the time of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Islamic civilization was conceived, at least in part, as a counterpoint to European and other civilizations. Although both its proponents and opponents assume that the religion of Islam lies at its heart, the paper will show that the idea of an Islamic civilization is a secular idea or, more precisely, one that bears the imprint of secularization. Using the work of Wilfred Cantwell Smith, among others, the argument will draw on a conception of religion as a reified category which entails that, as such, religion is conducive to secularization. It will build on and extend on this conception of religion by proposing that Islamic civilization, also a reified concept, is a further step in the direction of secularization. The paper will show this by analyzing Turkish Islamic thought, focusing particularly on Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, an Islamic thinker of the early Republican era, and the more recent figure of Ahmet Davutoğlu. The material presented here will challenge the conventional understanding of “religion” and “secularity” by highlighting that the boundaries between the two are constantly shifting and evolving.
  • Series Information

    Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung Vol. 44, No. 3 (2019): Special Issue: Islamicate Secularities in Past and Present.

    Starting Point and Frequency: Year: 1979, Issues per volume: 4, Volumes per year: 1

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CC BY 4.0
  • Is part of
    URL: https://www.gesis.org/en/hsr/full-text-archive/2019/443-islamicate-secularities-in-past-and-present
  • Is part of
    ISSN: 0172-6404
  • Is identical to
    URL: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?vid=16&sid=86c648f9-dd2f-4b7d-932f-d2adcbd08f9f%40pdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=Jmxhbmc9ZGUmc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=edsgso.63255&db=edsgso

Update Metadata: 2020-08-18 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2019-07-15