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Fikih to Law: Secularization Through Curriculum

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This is a study of the transformation of the Muslim understanding of the concept of fikih in the last two centuries. I argue that the western notion of 'law' considerably influenced the form of fikih, transforming it into 'Islamic law', a process that has culminated in a 'new stage' in the history of fikih. I will attempt to describe the general features of this transformation as well as its implications in the Turkish context. I begin by explaining the meanings of the terms şeriat, fikih, hukuk and kanun. I then present an historical overview of developments in the field of law in Turkey since the second half of the nineteenth century, with particular attention to codification. Next, I examine the curriculum of the faculty of theology, which, after the 1920s, was the sole official venue for teaching fikih in Turkey. Finally, I attempt to measure the extent of change in the perception of fikh by modern Muslims by examining the form and content of a textbook commonly used in theology faculties in Turkey.


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