Social Revitalization through Promotion of Education: Socio-Historical Analysis of Islamic Education and Muslim Society in Pre-Modern Islamic World

1. Introduction: The Function of Education and Socio-Historical Perspective

For students in higher learning, or even school-age children in compulsory course, education may possibly mean learning foreign languages in search of employment opportunities. For office worker, in other example from social (adult) education, it may mean primarily indispensable training of business skill for improvement of present treatment. In yet another case, for the people pursuing satisfaction of mind corresponding to one’s distinguished status, it must mean building own artistic talent by participating in culture class. Of course, we can not disregard even in today, the practically significance of adult education for anti-illiteracy in some countries and societies. Expectation toward education is thus different according to each person, just mentioned above. Therefore the place and way of providing educational service have various formations. In this presentation, however, the first attention will be paid on the social function of education: it brings a certain chance to participate in local community, some commitment to social environment of the local community, regardless of various motivations just seen before[1]. In this regard, education can contribute to shape new public sphere, even if it is confined within some part of the whole society[2]. For the sociology and historiography of Gülen movement, which has been autonomous responsive to Gülen’s philosophy: inter-religious dialogue and education[3], such social function of education is essential and indispensable in my opinion.

The second emphasis of the presentation is placed on socio-historical perspective[4], in association with the first point. In my view, social relation stimulated by Islamic Value has been constructed, since historical past to the present, in the shape of soft-construction (or amorphous features) relying on the situation of time and place. In the presentation, I will try to designate this characteristic as Muslim Society and distinguish it from ideal Islamic Society[5]. Looking back at the history of Islamic World, it must be clear that the more social function of education was encouraged by government of the day or political elites, the more Muslim Society based on the Islamic Value made its appearance with various forms in front of our observer.

While this experimental and ambitious attempt easily goes beyond my limited ability, I would like to make a humble effort in order to contribute to the study of Gülen movement including other Islamic NGO activities from wider perspective and different angle.

2. Islamic Value and Religious Knowledge: Inseparability of Science and Education

In order to understand Islamic education and its social relationship in historical past, we should confirm internal system of education in Islamic context, not from foreign criteria like Western concept. For this regard, I will begin with the terminology in the presentation.

Islamic Value means the content included in the Holy Scriptures: Qur’ān and hadīths. Not only for faith but also for academic concerns, recent IT technology provides easy access to Database and translation of the Scriptures. By the benefit of this advanced technology in accordance with Modern tendency[6], a keen interest towards the Scriptures causes unprecedented situations: spreading out of non-professional exegeses without contextual analysis or long-established tradition[7]. Such current situation has represented a sort of canonical function of these Scriptures in view of Islamic religious science[8].

Before the Holy Scriptures obtained such canonical position, there has been room for Muslim religious intellectuals (‘ulamā’)[9] to deal with ambiguities of them. In the process, the intellectuals elaborated religious concerns up to scientific level[10]. From literally understanding of the word sciences (’ulūm)[11], however, modern researcher tends to overlook the significance of education behind it. We should not neglect the educational aspect appertain to the transmission of knowledge, which in the course of time contributed to distinguish authorized knowledge from unacceptable.

Through this development, consensus of passed-down knowledge was to be ensured by the conventional system/institution of isnād in broader sense[12]. While the word isnād draws attention in the field of hadīth and its adjacent discipline, it has been applied to the scene where religious knowledge was a matter of discussion. When we look attentively at historical biography of intellectuals, there are a lot of expression “isnād” with intention to reinforce personal career (i.e. passage of knowledge) [13].

My personal experience also gives a proof when I met Saudi Arabian ‘ulamā’ in IAM (Institute of Arabic Manuscripts, Cairo). I asked him “what is the most important point for Muslim student studying religious science? I think it must be isnād…” He answered frankly “Yes, only studying with written books is not appropriate…he has to study under the direction of teacher…”[14]

This conventional system has been consolidated by the intellectuals to preserve the accuracy of transmitting knowledge (i.e. educational activity). Its vestige shows in another appearance, in the margin of written text, usually known as samā’āt or ijāzāt. Though the study focused on this documentation does not mention such crucial feature, taking notice behind the process leads us to aware of intellectual’s consciousness for keeping legitimacy even in the shape of written text.[15]

Even in the text of fiqh genre, we can admit this human-evidence system to secure the authenticity of the text handed down among people[16]. But its nature is slightly different from the case of Holy Scriptures. As for the latter case, the origin goes back to Prophet Muhammad, and ultimately to the Divine Will by way of Prophet Muhammad[17].

In other hands, for example, the text of fiqh itself can go back only to eponyms as Imām al-Shāfi’ī, Abū Hanīfa and so on. But we can admit that its substance relies on both Scriptures, because it has been widely acknowledged that the reasoning of fiqh science is based on two Holy Scriptures. And the ultimate aim of the fiqh is to know the sharh (Divine Will).

This is the fundamental aspect of conventional system/institution accompanying to the transmission of knowledge (education), whether it concerns with written text or oral form (between master-disciple). For reason of this essential nature, the meaning “canonical” should be attributed typically to the Qur’ān and Hadīth literatures representing Islamic Value, not to single subject of learning or sole written text.

An insight into the internal system of education (transmission of knowledge) gives us such perspective, if we are not confined to literal expression in historical sources. Just pointed out that the education should not be confined only to the school system[18], recognition of conventional system/institution in Islamic religious education brings light to a focus how the various patronage of education in Umayyad and Abbasid period achieved an effect. We move on next to see this topic.

3. Public Sphere and Education: Patronage Strategy and Sociology of Qurba

The beginning of ‘Abbāsid period, the mihna known as the Inquisition was pursued to strengthen Caliphal power[19]. While the course of history in the aftermath tells us that this policy ended in complete failure, but, we can also convince this result through above-mentioned analysis of the educational convention: the authority over religious knowledge was established by the intellectuals’ criteria, of course inevitably under the pressure of circumstances just like mihna.

Not only such immediate but also tortuous policy to act on religious authority has been followed by a lot of dynasties and political elites (sulṭāns and amīrs). Some of them offered honorable treasures or more materialistic assistance to distinguished personalities. Case study has already told us that some of them in other hands contributed to the academic activities by offering various tools: books, writing material, paper, and commodities[20].

The presentation, the current focus of existing study as well, pay attention to the efficiency of these policies patronizing religious learning and intellectuals. In short, in parallel with the Inquisition, ʻAbbāsid Caliphs had also encouraged intellectual (rational) sciences (al-ʻulūm al-ʻaqlīya) just as Ancient Greek philosophy and Arabic Islamic sciences flourished in the end[21].

The variety of encouragements including religious and non-religious sciences has been evaluated simply in the precedent historical study that their purpose and intention was connected with justification of rule. But we should not easily draw clear line among these patronages: one might have aimed at the validation of rule in terms of Islamic Value, another might have intended to make use of Islamic Value for the rule[22]. It must be difficult question to explain that whether historical trend was determined by religious thought or religious thought was determined in accordance with political and social milieu[23].

In addition, we have to take the bias of historical source into consideration. The literally source had been compiled exclusively by intellectuals who were the beneficiary of various encouragements. All-around encouragements of ʻAbbāsid Caliphs are mentioned above, a series of “public” activities and facilities had been supported by political elites[24]. Interesting example is the report of al-Ḥasan al-Munajjid who was the ʻāmil (tax collector) of ahwāz (town in Southern Iraq) in the reign of Buwayhid Muʻizz al-Dawla (r. 334/945-356/967). al-Ḥasan had achieved fame as a generous benefactor for constructing urban setting (ex. irrigation) and charitable giving (waqf and ṣadaqa). On the other hand, there had been defamation of him among elites. al-Ḥasan, not taking heed of any blame, explained himself that I just did for the sake of Allāh. He continued that even if they accused me of hypocrite (riyāʼ), my kayr (charity) should be better because they did not do even the hypocrite[25].

Apart from the pure intention of patrons described in literally sources, this episode tells us that we should better to estimate the actual effect working on intellectuals and the community. Let us here confirm the efficiency of these strategies from the point of educational convention. They (ʻulamāʼ) are the professional who developed the academic method on religious criteria. In their view, transmission of religious knowledge (i.e. education) must be pursued upon their ideal. So not only quantitative but also qualitative analysis would shed light on inestimable influence incorporated with diversified encouragement to whole educational process[26].

Here the terminology in this presentation has important meaning. Islamic World is designated historically as territory governed by Islamic dynasties[27]. The prosperous urban environment of Islamic World can be admitted from well-arrangement of public goods, but it does not necessary mean the fluorescence Muslim Society. So noteworthy from the interesting case of al-Ḥasan is that Islamic Value, under the practical control of intellectual’s authority, has worked as a focus of his conduct, whether his intention is entirely true or not. In the course of time, religious endowment (waqf) flourished in the cities of Islamic World. Most of this endowment had close relation with intellectuals’ daily and academic life.

Donation of waqf is regarded as qurba[28]. The ṭalab al-ʻilm (pursuing religious knowledge) is also the object for Muslim as qurba[29]. At this point, we can understand that the anticipation of patrons (ruling elite) and the speculation of beneficiary (intellectual) accorded in theory and practice. As for intellectual, pursuing ʻilm is naturally to be considered as qurba. Assistance to this activity on religious value is also considered as qurba for intellectual, as a matter of course. Supported educational activities by ruling elite (on personal status based on Islamic law about waqf deeds) created public sphere for both persons concerned[30]. Social relation built-up by such religious-suggested behavior (waqf and ṣadaqa) and religious-concerned conduct (ṭalab al-ʻilm) has increased its weight at the scene of society than ever. It is the very nature of Muslim Society of soft construction I intend in the presentation[31].

Thus, we should pay attention: how the Islamic World has made use of the educational function in the history, how the Muslim Society has emerged its outline in actual communal life. Post-Prophet’s regime, Umayyad and Abbasid regime has not been considered for some part of Muslim as legitimate in view of Islamic Value comparing to Rightly-guided Caliphate (Khulafāʼ Rāshidūn). In parallel to the ambition of dynasties for control, there were autonomous efforts, beyond the political power, by intellectuals how acceptable situation should be put in practice[32].

In the event, unavoidable collaboration between political ruler and intellectuals had been come into indispensable subsistence by long-term effort to contain the activities of intellectuals from daily life to academic milieu. This is the very meaning of the efficiency of patronize, in my view, actualized by the social function of education.

4. Concluding Remark: The Formation of Muslim Society with Soft-Construction

When I look into the Gülen Movement in today, I am interested in these characteristics as Gülen’s unique philosophy of inter-religious and cultural dialogue, idea of education, and also Gülen-inspired spontaneous movement as “Gülen School”.

Some researchers say that it is civil Islam, perhaps in relation to another trend, ex. in South East Asia[33], and another regard it as moderate Islam[34]. While there is different evaluation about today’s circumstances just as political Islam[35], my point of attention from historical view is that what the people mean for the term Islam. Even in the historical study, the highly prosperous ʻAbbasid period has been considered as Civilization of Islam[36]. But, just we considered in advance, we should pay more cautious attention to the terminology and usage of “Islam”, not affected by fragmentary affairs in social and communal level[37].

Returning to the first attention: the social function of education, we can understand that Gülen’s educational philosophy contributes to offer beneficiaries a chance for participation in society[38]. From sociology of qurba we looked before, we can focalize then on motivation of the supporter of movement inspired by Gülen’s instruction. Just pointed out the importance of ethical concept for action, pleasing God (riza-i İlahi) and service (hizmet)[39], the scriptures and its tradition have an effect on peoples’ communal and social level of conduct[40]. Also from his statement: ʻilm is most sincere friend[41], we can admit long-established religious background in his philosophy[42].

But the different point from historical case we looked above is that the public sphere encouraged by education and religious ethic is not confined to the Islamic World[43]. Because of the target of educational service provided by the Gülen movement are not limited to believers or religious learning, therefore we should understand that not by civil but by various associations (involving both Gülen-inspired follower as benefactor and world-wide beneficiaries of their educational support), public sphere on Dewy’s vision has been created. It corresponds to Muslim Society with amorphous feature, constructed by various ingredients in community and society on the basis of scriptural content.


Fann al-tarbiya: Kūlān (Gülen), Muḥammad Fatḥ Allāh, Silsilat al-nūr al-khālid (Sonsuz Nur) 4, Fann al-tarbiya wa ḥall al-muʻḍilāt ʻinda mafkharat al-insānīya, Ūrkhān Muḥammad ʻAlī trans (in Arabic). Istāmbūl; al-Qāhira: Dār al-nīl, 2005.

ʻItqān: al-Suyūṭī, Jalāl al-Dīn (d. 911/1505), ʻItqān fī ʻulūm al-Qurʼān, Saʻīd al-Mandūb ed. 2 vols. Bayrūt: Dār al-fikr, 1996.

Jāmiʻ bayān: Ibn ʻAbd al-Barr al-Namarī (d. 463/1070), Jāmiʻ bayān al-ʻilm, Masʻūd ʻAbd al-Ḥamīd Muḥammad al-Saʻdānī ed. Bayrūt: Dār al-kutub al-ʻIlmīya, 2007 (2 nd ed.).

Mawāzin: Kūlān, Muḥammad Fatḥ Allāh, Mawāzin aw aḍwāʼ ʻalā al-ṭarīq (Ölçü veya Yoldaki Işiklar), Ūrkhān Muḥammad ʻAlī trans. Istāmbūl; al-Qāhira: Dār al-nīl, 2009.

Minhāj: al-Nawawī (d. 676/1277), Minhāj al- ṭālibīn wa ʻumdat al-muftīyīn fī fiqh madhhab al-Imām al-Shāfiʻī, al-Qāhir: Maṭbaʻa al-maymanīya, 1890.

Muqaddima: Ibn Khaldūn (d.808/1406), Muqaddimat Ibn Khaldūn, M.Quatremère ed. 3 vols. Paris, 1858 (Bayrūt: Maktabat Lubnān, 1992).

Nihwār: al-Tanūkhī (d. 384/994), Nishwār al-muḥāḍara wa akhbār al-mudhākara, Bayrūt: Dār Ṣādir, 1971-3)

Tadhkira: Ibn Jamāʻa (d. 733/1333), Tadhkirat al-sāmiʻ wa al-mutakallim fī adab al-ʻālim wa al-mutaʻallim, Muḥammad Hāshim al-Nadawī ed. Bayrūt: Dār al-kutub al-ʻilmīya, 2005.

Taʻrīf: Ibn Khaldūn, al-Taʻrīf bi-Ibn Khaldūn wa riḥlat-hu gharban wa sharqan, M. T. al-Ṭanjī ed. al-Qāhira: Maṭbaʻt lajna al-taʼlīf wa al-tarjama wa al-nashr, 1951.


* Visiting Researcher, WASEDA University, Institute of Islamic Area Studies; Lecturer, TOYO University, Faculty of Regional Development Studies.

[1] K. Sato ed., Public Sphere Created by Lifelong Learning (Tokyo: Kashiwa, 2003), 10-26 (in Japanese).

[2] J. Dewy regarded that Public sphere should be based on association (in brief, association is to be formed through the diversity of people and communication among them). So it was not regarded on the basis of European Civil Society. See M. SATO, “The Politics of Public Realm”, Shisou 907 (2000 Jan.): 18-40 (in Japanese).

[3] “Gülen Interview (Wed., Sept. 14, 2005)”, MEIC, (http://www. middleeastinfo. org/ forum/index.php?showtopic=5081).

[4] About this worn-out standpoint, I mainly owe it to the work below. P. Burke, What is Cultural History? 2 nd. edn. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009); D. Sperber, Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996).

[5] Ideal means here almost ideal type (Idealtype), not idealistic or fictional. I assume that its absolute existence in history should be considered as umma (religious community guided by Prophet Muḥammad himself), because it has been sought after by all Muslims of all ages.

[6] Reinforcement of Education by “modernization” heightened religious awareness among people. D. Eikelman & J. P. Piscatori, Muslim Politics (Princeton UP, 1996), 37-38.

[7] See warning in Database of MSA-USC (Muslim Students Association - Univ. of Southern California).

[8] The meaning of Canon here should not be compared accurately to Christian context. Rather, because it offers one of the sources for religious exegetics, so it can be called “canonical”. See this argument below and J. Brown, The Canonization of al-Bukhārī and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunnī hadīth Canon (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007) 8-15.

[9] While the word ‘ulamā’ (or faqīh, shaykh, sūfī and so on) are applied in most studies, I prefer “intellectuals”. One reason is that existing ‘ulamā’ study stresses the aspect of urban elite, so it does not describe exactly the nature of intellectuals who are affected by politics, social and economic change etc. See Lewis A. Coser, Men of Ideas: A Sociologist’s View (New York: Free Press, 1965); Edward W. Said, Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (London: Vintage, 1996).

[10] For example, to admit the variation of Qur’ān readings on linguistic reasons, Arabic philology was developed. [Itqān 2: 329].

[11] In present, ‘ulūm tends to mean natural sciences. But here exactly agree with the terminology of Ibn Khaldūn’s ṣināʻ [Muqaddima 2:376]. It means the ability of understanding basic principle, familiarity with problems, and skill of developing general principles from practical application.

[12] Existing explanation: matn (content) and isnād (chain of authority), is nothing more than the narrow sense of system/institution. M. Akutsu, “Institution for the Transmission of Knowledge and Succession of Authority: A Sociological Examination of the Concept of Isnād and the Learned Profession (‘Ulamā’), Annals of Japan Association for Middle East Studies 26-1 (2010): 241-268 (in Japanese).

[13] As a description of his master famous as authority of Qur’ān reading, Abū al-‘Abbās Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Baṭarnī (d. 700 A.H./1300 C.E. c.), Ibn Khaldūn mentioned that al-Baṭarnī’s masters and their asānīd (sing. isnād) were well-known among people. [Ta’rīf 15]. Ibn Khaldūn’s intention should be understood here that he boast of the connection of famous masters as his academic career. See Akutsu 2010, 247-8.

[14] Tadhkira 88. Imām al-Shāfiʻī warned that the person who learned fiqh exclusively from books cause to damage the divine decree (aḥkām).

[15] In short, narrow sense of isnād (applied with matn in Ḥadīth literature) acts for the authorization of transmitted knowledge itself. In contrast, general sense of isnād acts the authorization of person himself accepting knowledge.

[16] G. Endress, “Reading Avicenna in the Madrasa. Intellectual Genealogies and Chains of Transmission of Philosophy and the Sciences in the Islamic East,” James E. Montgomery ed. Arabic Theology, Arabic Philosophy (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 371-422; Aḥmad R. Aḥmad, al-Ijāzāt wa al-tawqīʻāt al-makhṭūṭa fī ʻulūm al-naqlīya wa al-ʻaqlīya fī al-qarn 4/10 ilā 10/16 (Hīʼat al-āthār al-Miṣrīya: [al-Qāhira], 1986). My article based on manuscript study is in preparation.

[17] His guidance as messenger of the Allāh in Qurʼān, and his sayings and doings in Ḥadīth literatures.

[18] Rather, education in school is put in the situation under unignorable social pressure. Michael W. Apple, Ideology and Curriculum (London: Routledge, 1979). Ex. chap.3.

[19] About detailed events, N. Hurvitz, The Formation of Hanbalism, Piety into Power (London: Routledge Curzon, 2002).

[20] Famous contributive works are below. J. Pedersen, The Arabic Book, G. French trans. R. Hillenbrand ed. (Princeton; Princeton UP, 1984); A. S. Tritton, Materials on Muslim Education in the Middle Ages (Luzac: London, 1957).

[21] Latest work points out that not because of pro-Sunnite attitude for “ideas and principles” but the result of ʻAbbāsid’s “practical” politics among factions, so-called Sunnite regime was settled. D. Gutas, Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early ʻAbbāsid Society (2nd-4th/8th-10th Centuries) (London: Routledge, 1998).

[22] M. Q. Zaman, Religion and Politics under the Early Abbasids: the Emergence of the Proto-Sunni Elite (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1997) 208. He says that “to examine certain religious developments in early ʻAbbāsid society in the context of the relationship between the scholars associated with those developments and the caliphs”, because to break through existing view of “divorce religion and politics” in this period. Compare to the way of explanation by W. M. Watt, The Formative Period of Islamic Thoughts (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1973).

[23] Regardless of Western or Eastern researchers, Pro-religious orientation has casted a shade on the study of history. Such attitude’s is considered to fall into logical fallacy “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (after this, therefore because of this), so forthcoming attention should be centered on interaction between social, cultural, and political ingredients. T. E. Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West, 2 nd. ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003) 3; Different from Christian Orthodoxy of “correct teaching”, Islamic religious creed, for example, of Sunni’s should be understood as orthopraxy (correct teaching through practice and pragmatic aspect). N. Calder, “The Limits of Islamic Orthodoxy,” F. Daftary ed. Intellectual Traditions in Islam (London; New York: I.B. Tawris, 2009) 68.

[24] Well-arranged case study is for example, Y. Eche, Les bibliothèques arabes publiques et semi-publiques en Mésopotamie, en Syrie, et en Égypte au Moyen-Age (Damas: IFEAD, 1967). It shows higher learning institution and libraries in this period, based on the description of sources. As urban study approach, public goods of the cities have been described by J. Jassner, The Topography of Baghdad in the Early Middle Ages: Text and Studies (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1970). Famous Western Orientalists, J. Sauvaget, D. Sourdel, and G. Makdisi etc. also have contribution in this genre.

[25] Nihwār 2: 21. I was inspired from A. Singer, Charity in Islamic Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2008) 137.

[26] We can easily guess that shift from individual patronage to exclusive support for educational activities (book, writing material, permanent place for education with maintenance staff) can make tremendous progress.

[27] In present time, it means almost the region of OIC countries.

[28] Minhaj 64. qurba means “what be pleased by Allāh”, i.e. a sort of good behavior or beneficence. E. C. Howard translates “a pious object” (Minhaj et Talibin, A Manual of Muhammadan Law According to the School of Shafii (New Delhi: Navrang, 1992; repr. of 1914) 230. In Qurʼān, it is described in 9 (Repentance):99, “mā yunfiq qurbat-in ʻinda Allāh (contributions as bringing them nearer to God)”. See M. A. S. Abdel Haleem trans. The Qurʼan (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004) 203.

[29] Jāmiʻ bayān 1:65. Seeking ʻilm corresponds to ʻibāda (worship), teaching ʻilm to unaware person corresponds to ṣadaqa, distributing it to the people corresponds to qurba.

[30] The efficiency of the patronage can be admitted as Formal Rationality and Substantive Rationality from both patron (political elite) and recipient (religious intellectual). See R. Bendix, Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait (California: University of California Press, 1977 repr.) Chap. 12, B. The Emergence of Legal Rationality.

[31] Descriptive approach is different from my sociological analysis, but the aim to depict the situation of society from non-top down view, i.e. proliferation of Islamic facilities like mosque by central government does not necessary assure the Islamic society in non-urban area. D. Talmon-heller, Islamic Piety in Medieval Syria: Mosques, Cemeteries and Sermons Under the Zangids and Ayyubids (1146-1260) (Leiden: Brill, 2007) Chap.1.

[32] Applying to ideal and actual situation, the theory of Caliphate can be regarded as “infinite diversity in the manner of its application”. See Hamilton A. R. Gibb, “Some Considerations on the Sunni theory of the Caliphate,” Studies on the Civilization of Islam (Boston: Beacon Press, 1962) 148.

[33] M. Nakamura et als eds. Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2001).

[34] Helen R. Ebaugh, The Gülen Movement: A Sociological Analysis of a Civic Movement Rooted in Moderate Islam ([New York et al.]: Springer, 2009).

[35] O. Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, C. Volk trans. (London: I. B. Tauris, 1994).

[36] Omni directional evaluation causes today’s inconsistent attitude toward “Islam”.

[37] Faith, creed, and ethnicity do not necessary mean “Arabic-Islamic”. Rather, it should be understood in wider perspective. Long argument in Islamic World, see Ḥ. Muruwwa, al-Nuzʻāt al-māddīya fī al-falsafa al-ʻarabīya al-Islāmīya (Bayrūt: Dār al-Fārābī, 1985) 166; M. ʻAbd al-Razzāq, al-Tamhīd li-taʼrīkh al-falsafa al-Islāmīya (al-qāhira: Lajnat al-taʼlīf wa al-tarjama wa al-nashr, 1944) 18.

[38] “The purpose of this education is … prepare them for challenges and opportunities of life”. See Y. Alp Aslandogan, “Pedagogical Model of Gülen and Modern Theories of Learning” The Fethullah Gülen Movement-II (, Last updated 2009).

[39] S. Robinson, “Virtues, Spirituality and Public Life: the Contribution of Fethullah Gülen” East and West Encounters: The Gülen Movement, Conference Proceedings (December 5-6, 2009) (Los Angels: University of Southern California, 2009) 200; P. Valkenberg, “The Gülen Movement as ‘Network of Faith-based Service Communities’ in the Dialogue between Muslim and Christian Religious Traditions,” East and West Encounters (2009) 233.

[40] Needless to say, Gülen’s philosophical basis on education is originated from the Scriptures. Verse of Qurʼān: “How can those who know be equal to those who do not know?” (39:9) and citations from Ḥadīths are seen frequently in his works. ex. Fann al-tarbiya 59-.

[41] Mawāzin191.

[42] “ʻIlm is close friend even in loneliness”, see Jāmiʻ bayān 1:65. Considering the importance of Islamic NGO activities, Singer point out that broader room for interpretation of religious ethics based on the Scripture allows for flexible response to changing situation. See Singer 2008, 147.

[43] While there had been no barrier in theory to enter into the world of intellectuals or learned men (ʻulamāʼ), the encouragement of their education and academic activities can be comparable to the Habermas’s bourgeois public sphere in the world of letters. See J. Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, T. Burger trans. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991 repr.) Part.2, Chap. 7.

Dr. Masayuki Akutsu
Academic Career
Ph. D (in History, 2003), KEIO University, Graduate School of Letters
Lecturer, TOYO University, Faculty of Regional Development Studies (2009-)
Visiting Researcher, WASEDA University, Institute of Islamic Area Studies (2009-)
Major Works
“Catalogue of Manuscripts in al-Maktabāt al-Waqfiyya al-Islāmiyya in Aleppo and ‘Archaeology of Manuscript’”, Orient 45-2 (2002):165-183 (in Japanese).
Trans. A. Hourani, “A History of the Arab Peoples”, Tokyo: Daisan-Shokan, 2003.
“Introduction to Social History of the Madrasa: Islamic Higher Learning and the Reaction of “Ulamā” in a Period of Transition (5/11th – 7/13/th Century in Mashriq) (2003, Dissertation, in Japanese)
“Institution for the Transmission of Knowledge and Succession of Authority: A Sociological Examination of the Concept of Isnād and the Learned Profession “Ulamā”)”, Annals of Japan Association for Middle East Studies 26-1 (2010): 241-268 (in Japanese).
Major Field
Education and society in history and present, in Islamic World

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