Islam and Turkic cultural

March 28, 2013, автор tim0

Gabitov Tursun doctor of Philosophy Sciences,
Professor Kazakh State University named after al-Farabi Kazakhstan
Suleimenova Zhuldyz – PhD student of Kazakh National University
named after Al Farabi Kazakhstan

Islam and Turkic cultural

Gabitov1Unlike Christianity and Buddhism, Islam, being one of the three universal world religions, actively penetrates into people’s everyday life. The main reason for this is that in Islam the religion and ideology, philosophy, religious organizations and state bodies are closely interrelated. In order to analyze the state of being of interrelations of religion and civil society in Kazakhstan it is necessary to study Islam and its relations with spiritual culture of the society. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan the religion is separated from the state, i.e. each performs its own function without interfering into each other’s affairs. The right of the citizens of our republic to freedom of thinking and faith is based on the Constitution of the RK, Civil Code, Law “On freedom of faith and religious unions in the Republic of Kazakhstan”.

Legislatively secured separation of the mosque and church from the state does not mean that religion has no influence on the latter. The state, consisting of citizens with their own beliefs, including religious ones, can not be isolated from the influence of religion. Nowadays it is commonly accepted that it is not possible to understand and forecast key social processes without taking into account the religious factor.

Religion in unobscure form poses a question about the sense and specifics of human history, brings forward the idea of all people, enables a concept of a moral personality and conscience. It serves a way of regulating and orientation of not only external behavior but also internal world of people, giving a possibility of hope and belief in Good, Love and Truth. A modern man who is internally weakly linked with one of the currently existing religions is anxious – either he has to loose trust in his own mind or a trust in great prophets, great teachers of the humankind. Irrespective of what will our contemporary will choose, it is clear that religious need is undoubtful. And this is particularly important in the periods of abrupt break of social relations, accompanied by rising uncertainty in future of a man. This is why just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, i.e. after disappointment in the progressive social ideal – “soviet communist future” – people all over followed each other to join different types of religious confessions.

Nowadays in Western countries, in many temporal Eastern countries, including Kazakhstan, the religion mainly serves as an integrating-control mechanism of civil society. The function of a religion in civil society is to keep the integrity of socio-cultural system, of which it is a part. A number of religious confessions combine religious propagation with economic activities, establishes on the territory of Kazakhstan small private enterprises and firms, promoting development of economy and creation of new workplaces. Mosques conduct charities, render material aid to the most vulnerable groups: handicapped, aged, lonely, and other people. All activity of religious organizations is directed at realization of ideals of peace, tolerance and love towards all human beings regardless of their confessional membership.

Gabitov2Islam is the center of a semantic field of Turkic philosophy. If one is to overcome the Marxist-Soviet thesis that Islam has been imposed to Turks by Arabs, then it is possible to allocate the following aspects of this issue: a) Islam has played a civilisational function in the culture of Turkic people; b) on the basis of Islam the culture of Turkic people in IX-XII centuries blossomed, the Turkic philosophy of this period occupied one of the leading positions in the world philosophical process; c) under conditions of colonial cultures of Turkic people of Russia and China Islam resisted to assimilatory policy of those empires and played ethno preserving function; d) through Arab-language philosophy Turkic people got familiarized with antique philosophic heritage (1, S. 75). Not only Islam rendered fateful influence on the spiritual culture of Turkic people, but also, at the same time, Turkic neophytes promoted the dissemination and strengthening of Islam. It is enough to recollect in this respect a role of the Karakhanids state, empire of Great Moguls, Iran, the Osmanli state, etc. in upholding Islam.

The Turkic culture as a whole and Turkic philosophy in particular is internally uniform not on the basis of a racial attribute (Turks mainly represent in this respect transitive forms between the Indo-European and Mongoloid races), cultural-economic types (nomads, farmers of oases and river valleys, townspeople), religious beliefs (different directions of Islam, orthodox, Shamanists, Buddhists, etc.), political system (democratic and totalitarian regimes, autonomies and dependent people, etc.. What then unites the views of various Turkic ethnoses in uniform world outlook system? In our opinion, it is a unity of language, historical memory of the heroic past, ethically focused mythology and folklore, i.e. Archetypes of spiritual experience. In the modern marginalized consciousnesses of a Turk the irrepressible desire to self-realization sits deeply. Not everything was stated and made yet. Uniqueness of Turkic philosophy is in organic combination of a tradition and an openness to innovations, nomadic and settled experiences of mastering the world, sacral, profane and secret, it is characterized by tolerance, love of freedom, primordiality of a word and optimism.

The core world outlook phenomena of Turkic philosophy are defined as immanent spiritual experience of people and a field of dialogue of this culture (Turk-Chinese, Turk-Sogdy, Turk-Arabian and Turk-Slavic syntheses). Except for universal philosophical categories (life, the person, the world, space, time and etc.), in Turkic philosophy there are original world outlook and philosophical universals (“kut”, “kanagat”, “nesibe”, “nysap”, “obal” and “sauap”, “kiye”, “kesir”, “el”, “aleumet”, “kisi”, etc.). Translation of those concepts into other languages is possible if context in their use is preserved. The Turkic philosophy, even in its most Islamized forms, has never completely lost touch with its ancient roots. For example, it is not by chance that K.A.Iasaui remains the preacher of Sufism which is mentally close to nomadic outlook, in “Diuani Hikmete” there are many pre-Islamic characters (yerens, chiltens, mugans, aruakhs, progenitors and so on). The idea of harmony of the nature and the person is an end-to-end topic of “Beneficial knowledge” by Zh.Balasaguni. Here it is possible to recollect a mentioning by him of the common Turkic cultural hero – Alp Yer Tonga (2, S. 124).

Nomadic gnosis, based on orally-sacral knowledge and not recognizing looped, final, frozen condition, is characterized by search of special harmony between the person and the world, as a matter of fact the Turkic philosophy is dialogical and discursive.

In ternary Turkic model of the world a person is an axis of this world. The world is not alienated from the person, it is humanized and is allocated by human qualities. The central concept of Turkic philosophical anthropology is not the borrowed terms “adam”, “pende”, but “кisi” – a measure of human in the person. As different from “person-deer” (Zh. Balasaguni) the real human being is a carrier of true moral and socio-cultural qualities and aspires to constantly be a human being. Though in the literature there was an image of “the patrimonial person” as the characteristic of a nomad, however concrete socio-cultural analysis of nomadic community of Turkic people denies this calque. Values of freedom, openness, mobility in nomadic society have caused allocation from a community of the following individualized types: batyr, akyn, zhyrau, sal, seri, baksy, bi, etc.
Some parallels in history: the Scythian thinker of the antiquity, one of “seven wise men of the world” Аnarhasis, calling in question the antique views on morality opposes them the high spirituality of nomads (see the Philosophical heritage of Kazakh people. V.1. Astana, 2005). Оrhon-Yenisei written monuments are full of warning about the danger of adopting the customs and stereotypes of behavior of tabgashs (the Chinese). The legendary Коrkyt Аtа searches the sense of life and wishes to find a way to immortality of the person. Аbai calls to be the person. Even from these brief maxims an ethical orientation of Turkic spirituality is evidently observable.

The originality of traditional ethics of Turks is expressed by:
- Syncretism of mind (truth), aesthetics (beauty) and ethics (good);
- A wide circulation of binary oppositions: a life and death, good and evil, joy and grief, a body and soul, sacral and profane, pleasure and self-restriction, etc.;
- Philosothemes are given in an ethical frame (for example, 4 beginnings of the world and the person of Zh.Balasaguni);
- Rooting in an inhabitancy and harmony with it;
- Understanding honor and conscience as bases of the doctrine about morality (for example in Shakarim’s works);
- The importance of eminence of an origin;
- Concurrence of moral and human qualities;
- Gerontocracy priorities of morality;
- Respect for the woman and reverence of children;
- Allocation of nomadic and patrimonial forms of human solidarity and consent;
- The developed institute of hospitality, etc. (3, S. 176-316).

Orally-poetic discourse of the carriers of the Kazakh philosophy and the individualized forms of popular wisdom is inherently dialogical, ‘tolgau’ and sayings of ‘biys’ express not only existential conditions (konil kuy) of thinkers, but are always turned to listeners, are focused on mutual understanding that is reached through sacralisation and perfection of the art of a word. It is possible to kill the person, but it is impossible to stop a free verbal stream. In the opinion of many philosophers and culturologists, XXІ century can easily become a century of Turkic culture and a civilization which is caused by a set of factors. Firstly, in conditions of globalization the special importance get areas of contact of modern world super civilizations. The Turkic world being located on a joint of four civilizations (Islamic, Orthodox, Chinese, Western) anyhow is influenced by all these cultures and itself renders essential influence on them. Secondly, in the new independent Turkic states in connection with the necessity of revival of cultural roots and entrance to the world civilized community a powerful charge of passionarity is born. Even in the Republic of Turkey this charge is far from being settled, and there is an active work of human spirit going on. Thirdly, traditional values and ideas of Turkic philosophy (tolerance, sacrality of words, an openness, respect for traditions and a susceptibility to innovations, ethical orientedness, affinity to the nature and ecological consciousness and so on) are demanded by a modern world civilization. Fourthly, the state program “Cultural heritage”, including the program of revival of a philosophical heritage, initiated by the President of Kazakhstan, N.A.Nazarbaev, plays an important role in formation of space of dialogue of cultures and civilizations.

1. Kazirgi turki filosofiasi / Kurast. A. Nisanbaev. – Almaty: Jazuchy, 2009. – 512 p.
2. Balasagun J. Kutti bilik. – Almaty: Jazuchy, 1986. – 416 p.
3. Kazak eticasi jane esteticasi / Kurast. T. Gabitov. – Аlmaty: Jazuchy, 1986. – 416 p.

  • Gabitov1
  • Gabitov2
Cultural Studies

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