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This chapter studies Sunni orthodoxy as it is the grand social and historical complexity that determines the mainstream interpretation of Islam in Turkey. This chapter emphasizes that orthodoxy is both a set of ideas as well as a reflection of certain power relations. On this account, the chapter focuses on the power relations between religion and political authorities. The chapter discusses how historical and traditional modes of connections between Sunni orthodoxy and political power are critical to understand how Islamic actors interpret the idea of nature.
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Berkey, The Formation of Islam, ix.
Makdisi, “The Sunni Revival,” 155–168.
El-Rouayheb, Islamic Intellectual History, 7. El-Rouayheb, “The Myth of ‘The Triumph of Fanaticism’,” 196–221.
Sezgin, Science and Technology in Islam, 155–165. Gutas, “The Study of Arabic Philosophy,” 5–25.
For example, Sunan, one of the most authoritative hadith books, includes a tradition narrated by Amir ibn Wathilah. al-Nasa’i, Sunan, 346.
Hodgson, The Venture of Islam Vol. 2, 3.
Gimaret, “Mu‘tazila,” 784.
Saliba, Islamic Science, 87.
Akhtar, Philosophers, Sufis, and Caliphs, 238–240.
Ahmad, Before Orthodoxy, 3. Shamsy, “The Social Construction of Orthodoxy,” 97.
Hodghson, The Venture of Islam Vol. 2, 12.
Kurt, “Devlet Kurma Sürecinde Samanoğulları,” 109–129.
Larkin, Al-Mutanabbi, 12.
Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, 111.
Negmatov, “The Samanid State,” 80.
Frye, “The Samanids,” 145.
Ansari, The Ethical Philosophy of Ibn Miskawaih, 15.
Gordon, The Breaking of A Thousand Swords, 37.
Walker, “Jahiz of Basra to Al-Fath Ibn Khaqan,” 666. Peacock, Early Seljuq History, 74–81.
Safi, The Politics of Knowledge, 112.
Daniel, The Political and Social History of Khurasan, 157.
Bonner, “The Waning of Empire,” 309.
al-Tabari, The History Vol. 36, 104.
Durand-Guédy, “The Türkmen-Saljuq Relationship,” 46.
Lambton, Landlord and Peasant in Persia, 60.
Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, 232. For the similar political consequences of the uymaq system in Iran, see: Reid, “The Qajar Uymaq in the Safavid Period,” 117–143.
Andreski, Military Organization and Society, 31.
Hodghson, The Venture of Islam Vol. 2, 408.
Kennedy, “The Military,” 114.
Lambton, “The Evolution of the Iqṭa‘,” 41. For example, Ghaznavids employed iqta for military stability, see: Tusigitaka, State and Rural Society in the Medieval Islam, 18–38.
Cahen, “Tribes, Cities and Social Organizations,” 313. Barthold, Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion, 307.
Lambton, Landlord and Peasant in Persia, 61.
Nadvi, “Al Iqta or Theory of Land Ownership in Islam,” 261.
Ibn Miskawayh, The Concluding Portion of the Experiences of Nations, 98–99, 131–132. Amitai, “Turko-Mongolian Nomads,” 152–171.
Tsugitaka, “The Iqta System of Iraq,” 90–91.
Busse, “Iran Under the Buyids,” 260.
Bosworth, “Military Organization Under the Buyids,” 161.
Zaporozhets, The Seljuks, 182.
Heidemann, “Un-Islamic Taxes and Un-Islamic Monetary System in Seljuq Baghdad,” 496.
Tramontana, “Khubz as Iqta,” 109–110.
Ibid., 103. On the other hand, iqta was different from the European fief, since the former never generated a similar way of possessions as the fief, see: Crone, Slaves on Horses, 87.
Boswort, “Dailamis in Central Iran,” 73.
Shaked, From Zoroastrian Iran to Islam. Also see: Davaran, Continuity in Iranian Identity, 136.
Spuler, Iran in the Early Islamic Period, 2–3.
Tor, “The Islamisation of Iranian Kingly Ideals,” 116.
al-Tabari, The History Vol. 25, 20, 33–44, 45–63.
Bosworth, “The Heritage of Rulership in Early Islamic Iran,” 52.
el-Hibri, Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography, 73.
Daryaee, Sasanian Persia, 41.
Canepa, The Two Eyes of the Earth, 1.
Madelung, The Succession to Muhammad, 4. Azmeh, “Misconceptions About the Caliphate in Islam,” 249. Ali, The Early Caliphate, 10.
al-Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance, 10.
Crone and Hinds, God’s Caliph, 1.
Arnold, The Caliphate, 14.
Hawting, The First Dynasty of Islam, 43, 77.
Alajmi, “Ascribed vs. Popular Legitimacy,” 25–33.
Barthold, Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion, 306–307.
Daryaee, Sasanian Persia, 81.
Shaked, From Zoroastrian Iran to Islam, 37.
Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire, 47, 44.
Lambton, State and Government in Medieval Islam, 106–107.
Hillenbrand, “Aspects of the Court of the Great Seljuqs,” 25.
Pourshariati, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire, 45–49.
Tafazzoli, Sasanian Society, 2.
Andreski, Military Organization and Society, 46–47.
Bosworth, “The Ghaznavids,” 117. Since military was the kernel of the state, when the military success fails, for example in the case of Ghaznavids, states also gradually doomed. Atai and Saddodin, “Transoxiana under the Rule of Abbasid,” 6.
Bosworth, “The Early Ghaznavids,”182.
al-Mulk, The Book of Government, 63.
Lambton, “The Dilemma of Government in Islamic Persia,” 57.
Leder, “Sultanic Rule in the Mirror of Medieval Political Literature,” 97.
Peacock, “The Great Age of the Seljuqs,” 9. Seljuqi rulers like Alp Arslan had a great admiration of the Persian past. Rice, The Seljuqs in Asia Minor, 33.
Omid Safi described Nizam al-Mulk as “not a government official; he simply was the state”. Safi, The Politics of Knowledge, 44.
The Seljuqi Sultan Malik Shah is thus both Jalal al-dawla wa’l-din (the glory of religion and state): Nishapuri, The History of the Seljuq Turks,” 57.
This trend would be followed by the Ottomans, who formulated their theory of kingship in a similar way. Colin Imber, “Ideals and legitimation in early Ottoman history,” 139.
Rosenthal, Political Thought in Medieval Islam, 39.
Lambton, State and Government, 108.
Hillenbrand, “Islamic Orthodoxy or Realpolitik?,” 90.
Binder, “Al-Ghazali’s Theory of Islamic Government,” 232.
Al-Ghazali was born in 1055, when the Fatimids were already in decline under the reign of al-Mustansir (1036–1094). The year “marked the closing phase of the classical Fatimid period. While it witnessed numerous vicissitudes, the overall fortunes of the Fatimid caliphate now clearly began their irreversible decline,” Daftary, The Ismailis Their History and Doctrines, 193. Fatimid control over Sicily also weakened, ending completely in 1072. However, the Ismaili Revolt of 1099 probably gave al-Ghazali cause to continue to fear the spread of Ismailism.
Nizam al-Mulk’s dedication of a long section of his Siyasatnamah of the Ismaili threat is symbolic here. For a discussion on the impact of this threat on Islamic political thought, see: Virani, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages, 73.
Mitha, Al-Ghazali and Ismailis, 13. For an analysis of al-Ghazali’s political ideas within a pure theoretical framework with no reference to the political setting, see Moussa, Politics of the Islamic Tradition, 99–120.
Moosa, Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, 163.
Averroes [Ibn Rushd], The Book of the Decisive Treatise, 22.
al-Ghazali, Council for Kings, 14–19.
Ibid., 45. There were Islamic critiques of the new model as well. Ayn al-Qudat al-Hamadani was critical of the nascent model of state–religion cooperation. Safi quoted the argument of al-Hamadani that “to serve the Seljuqi sultans is not to serve God in reality”. Safi, The Politics of Knowledge, 183–184. Al-Hamadani was later executed by the Seljuqi state for his “offense against society” and “sharing Ismaili views”. Papan-Matin, Beyond Death, 40–46
Safi, The Politics of Knowledge, 5. Lambton argues that several parts of this book bear Zoroastrian influence. Lambton, State and Government, 118.
al-Juwayni’s political ideas were similar. His stance was also a kind of pragmatist one similar to that of al-Ghazali. Siddiqui, “Power vs. Authority,” 193–220. Also see: Kavak, “Cüveyni’ye Göre Halifenin Vasıfları,” 284–295. Ünverdi, “Eş’ari Kelamında İmamiyet Nazariyesi,” 63.
al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum-ad-Din Vol. II, 37. al-Ghazali, The Alchemy of Happiness, 465–485.
Freshteh Davaran argues that the Sassanid influence is visible in other of al-Ghazali’s works. For example, The Alchemy of Happiness is reminiscent of the Pahlavi Pandnamah. Davaran also argues that Nizam al-Mulk’s opinions reflect the influence of many classical Persian texts. Davaran, Continuity in Iranian Identity, 181–187.
Arjomand, “The Law, Agency, and Policy in Medieval Islamic Society,” 269.
Starr, Lost Enlightenment, 405.
al-Athir, The Annals of the Saljuq Turks, 207, 213, 247.
Campanini, “In Defense of Sunnism,” 228–239. R. Levy defined the school as “founded officially as theological school, being recognized both by the religious leaders of Islam and by the State that provided its revenues, though by indirect means”. Levy, A Baghdad Chronicle, 193–194.
Zaman, Religion and Politics Under the Early Abbasid, 105. Even the failure of the Abbasids in the mihna could be interpreted that they were not able to establish a religious orthodoxy.
Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 131. See also: Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 194.
The standard idea that presents al-Ghazali as the enemy of philosophy dates back to Ernest Renan (1823–1892). See: Griffel, “Preface,” x. Griffel, “The Western Reception of Al-Ghazali’s Cosmology,” 33–39.
Gutas, Greek thought, Arabic culture, 1–10.
Ivry, Al-Kindi’s Metaphysics, 56.
al-Nawawi, Etiquette with the Quran, xxi.
Hirschler, Medieval Arabic Historiography, 44.
Moosa, Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, 172.
al-Ghazali, The Book of Knowledge, 53–57.
Shihadeh, “From Al-Ghazali to Al-Razi,” 144.
Watt, Muslim Intellectual, 59.
Mukti, “Al-Ghazzali and His Refutation of Philosophy,” 9.
al-Ghazali, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, 226.
Ibid. Also see: al-Ghazali, Moderation in Belief, 244.
Watt, Muslim Intellectual, 26.
Mahdi, “Philosophical Literature,” 101.
Ormsby, Ghazali, 66.
Griffel, Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Theology, 102–103.
Halevi, “The Theologian’s Doubts,” 31.
al-Ghazali, Al Munkidh, 33.
al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum-ad-Din Vol. 1, 45–60. Also see: Altintaş, “Gazali’nin Felsefe ile İlgili Düşüncelerinde Çelişkiler,” 442.
Ragep, Nasir al-Din Tusi’s Memoir on Astronomy, 41.
al-Ghazali, The Just Balance, 2–5.
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al-Ghazali, Al Munkidh, 23.
Smith, Al-Ghazali: The Mystic, 225. al-Ghazali’s relations with Sufism should not be thought without a reference to the general rise of Sufism in the Seljuqi period. Renterghem, “Social and Urban Dynamics in Baghdad,” 180.
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- Origins: Sunni Orthodoxy
- Chapter 2
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