Reviews

If one may deplore the choice by the Encyclopaedia of Islam of the term ‘Turkish’, instead of ‘Turkic’, for the designation of everything linked with Turks (languages, peoples, societies) outside of Turkey, the author of this panoramic notice subtly reassesses the inner diversity of these “Turkish lands”, notably through the variety of the terminology related with Islamic or Islamised pilgrimage places, and through a wide range of characteristic features.  As to Central Asia, Th.Z. properly stresses its distance from Mecca, and the fact that certain ziyaras still use to function as substitutes for the sanctuary at the Ka‘ba.  The same variety can be found in the reasons for pilgrimage, for men as well as for women, local peculiarities being met in the actual acts of devotion (circumambulation around the tomb; veneration of specific objects; hanging of pieces of cloth on nearby trees, etc.).  The overall impression conveyed by the reading of this rich notice is that of a wide diversity of practices.  Conversely, a number of practices introduced here as common in the Turkic world can be observed in other areas like, for instance, the hanging of pieces of cloth or varied offerings on trees, also widely attested in the “Indian” or in the “Iranian” world.  As a result, if one can only admire the author’s exceptional personal acquaintance with his abundant material (the result of his own direct observations), the reader also remains sceptical as to the validity of the Turkic world, from the Balkans to Xinjiang, as a category in the history and social sciences of religion—except for the common destinies endured by Islamic pilgrimage places under Marxist regimes and the Kemalist administration.

430. Kanlidere Ahmet, Kadimle Cedit Arasında Musa Carullah Bigi: Hayatı, Eserleri, Fikirleri [Musa Jar-Allah Bigi betwen Qadimism and Jadidism: His Life, Works and Thoughts], Istanbul: Dergah Yayinlari 2005, 278 p., ill., indexes

This work for the first time thoroughly examines and evaluates the life, works and thoughts of the Volga Tatar scholar and thinker Musa Jar-Allah Bigi (1875-1949).  The author, a historian of the Jadid movement, while criticising earlier studies on the thinker, builds up an exhaustive bibliography and presented an extensive evaluation of Bigi’s work.  At the same time, the author discloses that Bigi stands between the old and new values of his society.  Through this approach, the author tries to explain Bigi’s apparently contradictory ideas:  Although Bigi had a firm stand of conservative Salafi scholars such as Ibn Taymiyya, why did he defend the liberal ideas of Sufi thinkers?  The author, from a historian’s perspective, examines Bigi’s thoughts about the political involvement of the Muslims of Russia, on educational reform, on the reinterpretation of women’s rights, and on religious reform in general.  Finally, the author analyses the influences of Bigi’s thought upon Turkish intellectuals of his time.

İsmail Türkoğlu, Marmara University, Istanbul
CER: I-5.3.A-429