Islamic Movements and Thought
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO MODERNIZATION IN THE LATE OTTOMAN PERIOD: IZMIRLI ISMAI L HAKKI'S RELIGIOUS THOUGHT AGAINST MATERIALIST SCIENTISM
|M. Sait Özervarli a1|
a1 M. Sait Özervarli is Associate Professor at the Center for Islamic Studies, Baglarbasi caddesi, 40, 34662 Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The aim of this article is to explore the distinctiveness of Izmirli Ismail Hakki (1869–1946) in the context of late Ottoman intellectual history and to suggest several implications of his thought on our understanding of debates on religion and modernization among Ottomans in the modern period. Studies on modern Islamic thought in the 19th and 20th centuries are mostly limited, especially in Western literature, to works dealing with a few well-known figures in the Arab world, such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh. However, a close investigation into several mostly neglected or yet uncovered thinkers of the Ottoman capital, Istanbul, can provide us with more interesting aspects of this period. The earlier interest of Istanbul ulama in modernization, their closer and more direct contact with Europeans, and the long historical experience of central Ottoman intelligentsia in similar reviving attempts are some of these aspects. This article aims to demonstrate that central Ottoman studies can make significant contributions to the current knowledge of the period, not only in political history, as has been the main focus so far, but also in religious and intellectual thought. It will show how a contact was established between modern European and Ottoman religious thought, in which ways the issue of modernization became an important topic in religious circles, and what kind of perceptions took place among them about its content and limits.