And Seek Their Counsel in the Matter [Qur'an, Sura 3, Verse 159]

Namk Kemal

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 And Seek Their Counsel in the Matter [Qur'an, Sura 3, Verse 159]

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Nam k Kemal (Turkey, 18401888) was a leading advocate of constitutionalism and a famous poet and playwright. He received little formal education and spent much of his childhood accompanying his grandfather, a government official who served in various regions of the Ottoman Empire. In Kars, in eastern Anatolia, he studied Sufism. In Sofia, Bulgariathen an Ottoman provincehe learned Arabic and Persian, and produced his first poetry. In the 1860s, while working at the government Translation Bureau, he began writing newspaper articles on literature and social problems, especially women's education. He also joined a constitutionalist group later known as the Young Ottomans Society, and was banished from Istanbul through appointment as assistant governor of Erzurum. Kemal fled to Europe to publish an opposition journal, Hrriyet (Liberty). He penned most of the journal's articlesincluding the one translated hereexplaining constitutionalism in an Islamic context and attempting to reconcile sharia (Islamic law) with European theories of law. In 1870, Kemal returned to Istanbul and founded the newspaper bret (The Moral), until performance of his patriotic play Vatan yahud Silistre (Homeland or Silistria) prompted public demonstrations, and he was exiled to Cyprus. Pardoned after three years, Kemal was appointed to the Council of the State, and worked on the commission preparing the Ottoman constitution. The following year, the sultan turned against constitutionalism and had its proponents arrested. Kemal was banished to the islands of Rhodes and Chiosnow in Greecewhere he continued to write, defending Islam against Europeans accusations of backwardness.1

Chapter.  3182 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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