Date: October 27th, 2001.
Place: Sanjo-Kaikan, The University of Tokyo.
Workshop "Reproduction of Islamic Knowledge in the Ottoman Empire: Continuity and Change in the Islamic and Ottoman Traditions"
On the afternoon of 27 October, the Research Group "Interrelationships between Knowledge and Society in Islam" (Group 5, Islamic Area Studies Project) held a workshop on reproduction of Islamic knowledge in the Ottoman Empire. The workshop was attended by approximately two dozens of students with various disciplinary backgrounds who, nonetheless, shared scholarly interest in the topic.
Following the opening address by MORIMOTO Kazuo, three papers were read. The presenters and the titles of their papers were:
Dr. MATSUO Yuriko (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology) "The Mulazemet System: Education and Recruitment of Ottoman Ulema in the 16th-17th Century."
Mr. Halil Ibrahim ERBAY (SOAS, University of London) "Being Teachers in the Ottoman Traditional Education: Social Mobility and Career Pattern Among Istanbul Dersiams in the Late 19th Century."
Mr. AKIBA Jun (University of Tokyo) "A New School for Qadis: Education of the Sharia Judge in the Late Ottoman Empire."
Each presenter was alloted forty minutes, which were followed by ten minutes for Q & A. We could spare only half an hour approximately for the general discussion because of the pre-announced blackout in Sanjo-kaikan, the University of Tokyo, the venue of the workshop.
We are pleased to put on our HP the summaries of the three papers. At the same time, we are sorry that we are omitting the summary of the general discussion in which (1) the need to consider the sufi aspect of Ottoman ulema was brought to attention by a participant, and (2) presenters were asked to give their opinions with regard to the location of Ottoman cases within the whole context of reproduction of Islamic knowledge.
Co-organizers of the workshop: MORIMOTO Kazuo and SATO Kentaro
We are pleased to announce that the Research Group "Interrelationships between Knowledge and Society in the Islamic World" (Group 5, Islamic Area Studies Project) is going to hold a workshop, titled "Reproduction of Islamic Knowledge in the Ottoman Empire: Continuity and Change in the Islamic and Ottoman Traditions" on October 27, 2001 in Tokyo.
Reproduction of a certain set of knowledge that is deemed legitimate and culturally valuable always contributes to the reproduction of the social structure. This process involves, among others, reproduction of the social groups that possess or monopolize the knowledge and the educational system through which the knowledge is reproduced. Thus the theme of this workshop encompasses both the cultural and social reproduction which is deeply interrelated to the reproduction of knowledge.
The typical understanding of the Islamic education has emphasized its informal and oral character and the central position of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) within it. Also it has commonly characterized the ulama, the products of the education, as notables and intermediary between the state and the people. This understanding is mainly derived from historical studies of the medieval Arab world and from observations of more recent practices in Iran, the Maghrib, and Yemen.
However, the Ottoman case, especially when viewed from its imperial capital Istanbul, is apparently not consistent with this understanding. The Ottoman Empire since the fifteenth century institutionalized the Islamic education as an officially required qualification for the state-appointed Islamic judgeship and professorship. The elaborate hierarchy of Islamic judiciary and professorate is the most characteristic of the Ottoman Ilmiye, the juridico-educational institution. Although this system has been known to historians, its historical development and function is yet to be fully understood.
Much less studied is the later transformation of the Ilmiye institution in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the Ottoman Empire was reorganized into a more centralized and intrusive state and developed the civil officialdom and the West-inspired education to staff it. The reform of the Islamic judiciary was initiated as part of state's attempt to achieve centralized and effective administration. Also the Islamic education could not stay immune from the state's administrative reforms as well as from the social change. The cultural value of the Islamic knowledge and the social role of its possessors, i.e. the ulama (ulema), were transformed as the structure of society and state changed.
This workshop will survey the Ottoman pattern of reproduction of Islamic knowledge by focusing on the system of reproduction of Islamic judges and professors. Not only the classical Ottoman Ilmiye institution but also that of the later stages after the Tanzimat reforms will be examined. Since the imperial capital was the center of the Ottoman system, our main focus will be on Istanbul, but we will remain aware of the importance of the provinces and their significant differences from the center. Through comparisons with the "typical" traditional Islamic education, the workshop will attempt to elucidate the continuity and change in the Islamic and Ottoman traditions.
It is hoped that this small workshop will offer a good opportunity for fruitful discussion to those interested in the interrelations between knowledge and society.
(Research Group: Interrelationships between Knowledge and Society in the Islamic World)
Yuriko MATSUO (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology)
The bureaucratization of ulema is one of the unique features of the Ottoman administrative system. In the Ottoman Empire, various kinds of ulema were involved in the administration from the begining of the dynasty. Around the reign of Sultan Suleyman (1520-1566), Ottoman ulema began to be integrated into a hierarchical institution with its own career patterns and recruitment. This organization, named Ilmiye and peculiar to the Ottoman Empire, functioned as a mechanism for training, recruitment and promotion of ulema.
In 1537, Sultan Suleyman ordered Ebussuud Efendi, who was in charge of the office of Rumeli Kazaskeri, to register regularly superior students as candidates to Ilmiye officials. These candidates were called mulazim, and mulazemet meant the state of being a candidate. This mulazemet system was significant in controlling the quality and quantity of ulema by consolidating the path to Ilmiye. In addition, by this system any student could become an Ilmiye official by getting the status of mulazemet or being mulazim. Ottoman medreses during the period under investigation had come to function not only for the transmitting of Islamic knowledge but also the training of mCl?zim, that is, candidates to become officials. This paperis purpose is to examine this recruiting system using unpublished Ottoman documents, namely, gRumeli kazaskerlici Ruznamesi,h the register of mulazim and Ilmiye officials. We will consider how the emergence of mulazemet affected the nature of ulema and the system of education.
According to the contents of registrations, a student had to study and be involved in business practices under the supervision of medrese professors or high officials before being nominated as a mCl?zim. When they finished these apprenticeships, their supervisors would then recommend them to the Sultan as Ilmiye official candidates. Consequently, for students to be nominated mulazim, their connections with prominent ulema became much more important than training in medreses. And the medrese was transformed into an institution providing students with means to have posts in the Ilmiye officialdom. Thus, the introduction of the mulazemet system did not succeed in achieving the primary goals specified at the outset, but only gradually made the image of ulema and Ilmiye look different from what had been in the past. However, the mulazemet system brought three new meanings to Ilmiye in this period. This system, first, prevented influential ulema families from monopolizing the high official posts; second, encouraged the centralization of Ilmiye because the registrations were created and housed in Istanbul; and, third, enabled a person to achieve promotion, by active participating in Ilmiye.
In addition, we will investigate the rapid development of medreses in Rumeli provinces in the period under study and the implications of this development in the actual management of the mulazemet system. It was a rule that medreses should be built and managed by the personal initiative of each founder. But in the Ottoman Empire, personnel matters about professorships in provincial medreses were recorded regularly in the register controlled by the Rumeli kazaskeri. In other words, the management of medreses was under state control. According to the registers, after the latter part of the 16th century, military and civil officials and provincial notables, rather than sultans, were most likely to be founders of medreses. These observations reveal that, in the process of formation and development of Ilmiye organization, even medreses built by officials and notables were gradually integrated into the hierarchy of Ilniye.
Does the increase of medreses in Balkan provinces during the period under study have something to do with the establishment of the appointment system in the Ilmiye organization during the same period? The data of the registers show that mulazim applicants increased substantially at that time, and they were accepted into low-level medreses in Rumeli. Also, by providing that professors must be chosen from among natives, waqf documents supplied natives with more opportunities for appointment. It has been said that the Ottoman medrese system was under powerful state control and believed the uniform curriculum for training ulema capable of being charged with official posts in the administration. However, the central government and provincial society actually cooperated in the management of provincial medreses.
Such cooperation could work because the interests of both coincided. For the Ottoman administration, building of medreses and the appointment of ulema in Christian Balkan provinces were important for diffusing Islamic sciences. Besides, the education in medreses could probably introduce Ottoman educational methods and curricular patterns into provincial societies. Students received their elementary education in provincial medreses, traveled to the capital to be trained in high-level medreses, and finally became mulazemet candidates. After that, they began their careers as professors of medreses in their hometowns and gradually were promoted in the hierarchy of Ilmiye. We may conclude that the development of provincial medreses was a reflection of this close connection between the center and provinces.
Jun Akiba (The University of Tokyo)In August 1855, a New School for qadis called Muallimhane-i Nuvvab (Naibs' College) opened in Istanbul to give professional training to future judges recruited from medrese students. The school was intended to replace the novice training at the courts and institutionalize and centralize the education of judges.
The Naibs' College was reorganized with new regulations of 1874, which stipulated the curriculum and other rules and principles. The school's aim was to provide the post-medrese education which would make up for the insufficiency of law education in the normal medrese education. In 1883, the school was renamed Mekteb-i Nuvvab by the revised regulations. The adoption of the term "mekteb" must have had the implication that it was one of the new-style professional schools (i.e. mektebs) created since the Tanzimat period.
The most important subject to be taught in the Naibs' College was the application of jurisprudence. In the lessons, the students would learn how to take minutes of the proceedings and to prepare legal documents. The emphasis on writing in Turkish shows an important break with the medrese tradition, which heavily focused on Arabic recitation. The Ottoman civil code Mecelle and the legal procedure of the Nizamiye court were also introduced to the school's curriculum. These features can be explained as the attempt of "the Ottomanization of the Sharia court" throughout the Empire.
In February 1908, the rivalry with the Law School (Mekteb-i Hukuk) led the Naibs' College to revise its curriculum. The subjects taught at the Law School such as Land Law or Penal Law were added. After the Young Turk Revolution in July 1908, the role of the Naibs' College increased significantly. Under the new regime, only the College's graduates could be newly recruited for the naibship and those sharia judges who had not passed their examination in Istanbul or graduated from the College were now required to take the exam at the College. From mid-1909 on the school begun to be called "Mekteb-i Kuzat" (Qadis' College), which may have reflected the desire of the College's graduates who demanded the promotion of their status vis-a-vis the Nizamiye court judges.
In 1913 the new name "Medresetu'l-Quzat" (Qadis' Medrese) was adopted. This renaming must be considered in the context of the medrese reform movement and the increasing tendency of the Ottoman government to recourse to the Islamic ideology after 1912. The Naibs' College needed to differentiate itself from the Law School in order to reassert its raison d'etre, as it increasingly resembled the Law School. Therefore it must be more Islamic, and hence, it must be medrese. The Arabic syntax of its new name evinces its Islamist approach.
Halil Ibrahim ERBAY (PhD Student, SOAS, London University)
The late Ottoman period holds various significant aspects to be explored within the whole Ottoman history. In the eve of the collapse of the Empire, the social aspects of the Ottoman society deserve attention in order to understand the internal dynamics of the Empire and the changes which they went through modernization.
The significance of the traditional medrese education in the Ottoman Empire is widely accepted by the field specialists. In addition to its significance in general, the central position of Istanbul was a fundamental part of it. Through the significance of these two facts, this paper will attempt to make quantitative analysis on the dersiams who have been holding teaching posts in the grand mosques of Istanbul, mainly Fatih, Bayezit, Suleymaniye and Ayasofya Mosques, by looking at three main indicators derived from their personal background information, namely place of birth, occupation of father and educational background apart from medrese education. The word dersiam was the name given to the medrese teachers mainly in Istanbul and in some provinces, although it is not known when it first came out. The official documents clearly show that the name became dominant over the word muderris and it almost disappeared to call medrese teachers as muderris in Istanbul in the late 19th century.
The main source of this paper is the personnel files of the Ottoman ulema in the Archives of Islamic Court Registers (Ser'i Siciller Arsivi) located in Istanbul Muftulugu. Out of 6386 entities, 344 files belong to Istanbul dersiams. A selection of 181 files has been made among those who entered the profession before the proclamation of the 2nd Constitution in 1908.
The results of the survey on 181 Istanbul dersiams have been compared with those of three researches made on ulema in general [David Kushner, "Career Patterns among the Ulema in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries", in Tanzimatin 150. Yildonumu Uluslararasi Sempozyumu:Ankara, 31 Ekim- 3Kasim 1989, (Ankara 1994)], sharia court judges [Jun Akiba, "The Making of a Judge in the Late Ottoman Empire: Some Observations on Social Mobility and Integration", Paper presented to the MESA Annual Meeting, Florida, November 2000] and Ottoman Foreign Ministry officials [Carter V. Findley, Ottoman Civil Officialdom: A Social History, (Princeton 1989)], which all are dealing with nearly the same period as this paper is.
After the quantitative analysis, some characteristics of Istanbul dersiams became clearer. They appear to have kept some traditional features which were shaped centuries ago. The figures show that sons of ulema have been the largest group within any branch of the profession and Istanbul dersiams were still from the ulema families in which most of fathers were engaged in teaching as well. Represantation of Istanbul and Arab lands as the origin of dersiams is quite poor, which indicates that Istanbul-born people were not interested much in teaching posts in their city whereas they have rather been occupying more secular and better-paid jobs in Istanbul. Also the scarcity of those from Arab lands is indicating a dramatic decrease, particularly in comparison to the high figures of the 18th century. Finally, it can be observed from the figures that there is a tendency among dersiams to follow an additional modern education, which seems as an attempt to broaden professional opportunities for themselves.