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Abstract

Since Halil İnalcık's classic The Ottoman Empire: The Classical Age (1973), the received view amongst historians has been that Ottoman scholars lost interest in the rational sciences after around 1600, largely as an effect of the rise of the puritanical Kādīzādeli movement. In the present article, I argue that there was in fact no decline of interest in the rational sciences amongst seventeenth century Ottoman scholars. On the contrary, interest in logic, dialectic, philosophy and rational theology seems to have been on the rise. Sunni Persian, Azeri and Kurdish scholars fleeing Safavid Iran brought with them new scholarly works in the rational sciences and gained a reputation as accomplished teachers. The number of Ottoman colleges in which works on the rational sciences were studied and taught also seems to have risen dramatically in the course of the 17th century.

In: Die Welt des Islams
In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)

Abstract

In the present article, I discuss Goldziher's contention (echoed in more recent literature) that from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Sunnī Muslim scholars ('ulamā') became increasingly hostile to rational sciences such as logic. On the basis of discussions and fatāwā by Sunni scholars in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I show that this idea is radically mistaken. Mainstream scholars in the Maghrib, Egypt and Turkey considered l ogic to be not only permissible but actually commendable or even a religious duty incumbent on the Muslim community as a whole (i.e. a fard˙ kifāyah). Though there were dissenting voices in the period, such as the Qād˙īzādelīs, this seems to have been the mainstream opinion of Sunni scholars until the rise of the Salafiyyah movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In: Islamic Law and Society