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Author: Dilek Sarmis

Abstract

The teaching of religion in Turkish public schools is in the early republican decades highly dependent on the nationalist and reformist policies of the Kemalist state. In particular, it responds to the dynamics of secularisation, the state’s tutelage of the religious field, and the Turkicisation of Islam. Disappearing in the early 1930s and reappearing in the early 1950s, religious and moral education in public schools be-came widespread from the 1980s onwards. It is therefore invested by educational experiments that regularly enrich the programmes. The figure of the Prophet Muḥammad, to whom Mustafa Kemal was associated by many organic intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s, has increased visibility in texts and textbooks since the 1980s. In particular, we note that the previously privileged doctrinal and historical ap-proach to the Prophet was gradually superseded by his model for citizenship and human exemplarity for the Turkish secular state. The Prophet became a model mor-al figure by which the questions of identity and otherness and the relational con-flicts of individual citizens were supposed to be settled. It is therefore a tool of an educational and civic engineering, and the Prophetic model is a way to work at the very roots of Turkish citizenship. The religious sacrality of the Prophet serves as a sort of civic pragmatism; the exceptionality of Muḥammad lies in his extreme acces-sibility, enhanced through universal and common identificatory examples that eve-ryone can appropriate. Paradoxically, the moral universalisation of a modern repub-lican Prophetic figure also coincided with the republican recognition of rituals around the birth of the Prophet (mawlid) and a revival of the Prophetic studies in schools and an institutionalisation of sīra studies.

Open Access
In: The Presence of the Prophet in Early Modern and Contemporary Islam
The three-volume series titled The Presence of the Prophet in Early Modern and Contemporary Islam, is the first attempt to explore the dynamics of the representation of the Prophet Muhammad in the course of Muslim history until the present.
This first collective volume outlines his figure in the early Islamic tradition, and its later transformations until recent times that were shaped by Prophet-centered piety and politics. A variety of case studies offers a unique overview of the interplay of Sunnī amd Shīʿī doctrines with literature and arts in the formation of his image. They trace the integrative and conflictual qualities of a “Prophetic culture”, in which the Prophet of Islam continues his presence among the Muslim believers.

Contributors
Hiba Abid, Nelly Amri, Caterina Bori, Francesco Chiabotti, Rachida Chih, Adrien de Jarmy, Daniel De Smet, Mohamed Thami El Harrak, Brigitte Foulon, Denis Gril, Christiane Gruber, Tobias Heinzelmann, David Jordan, Pierre Lory, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, Samuela Pagani, Alexandre Papas, Michele Petrone, Stefan Reichmuth, Meryem Sebti, Dilek Sarmis, Matthieu Terrier, Jean-Jacques Thibon, Marc Toutant, Ruggiero Vimercati Sanseverino.
In: The Presence of the Prophet in Early Modern and Contemporary Islam