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24 Oct 2023


We have learned with great sorrow that the houses of our Department of Computer Engineering  Faculty Member Asst. Prof. Rowanda Ahmet's sibling and nephews, 13 members of the family of our 4th year Software Engineering student from the  Department of the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences Yousef I. M. Asalya, the relatives of our 4th year Industrial Engineering student Amir Abuarqob, and the father and other family members of our Bioengineering student Doaa O M Aldaem were bombed in the heinous attacks on Gaza. We offer our condolences to our students and their families, whose grief we wholeheartedly share, and may God rest their soul.We express once again that we condemn the inhumane attacks against the innocent Palestinian people in the strongest terms, and we reiterate the need for all humanity and the international community to take action to ensure peace and an immediate ceasefire.Üsküdar University Presidency

12 Sept 2023

Sufi Thought and Practices from Past to Present Workshop

Sufi Thought and Practices from Past to Present WorkshopOctober 7, 2023 Saturday 10.00-15.30Üsküdar University, IstanbulWelcome SpeechesSession 1 “Principles of Sufi Thought in Ottoman Period”Reşat ÖngörenThe Institute for Sufi Studies, Üsküdar University, İstanbul, Turkey“Ibn 'Arabi: Formative Period in Sufism”Makoto SawaiOyasato Institute for the Study of Religion, Tenri University, Nara JapanBreakSession 2“Rumi and Sultan Walad: Sufism in Medieval Period”Kie InoueSchool of Arts and Letters, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan“Adam and Adamiyyet in the Divan of Niyâzî-i Mısrî (d. 1694)”H. Dilek GüldütunaThe Institute for Sufi Studies, Üsküdar University, İstanbul, TurkeyBreakSession 3 “Why Do People Need Islamic Saints Today? In Case of Sudan”Daisuke MaruyamaDepartment of Humanities, National Defense Academy, Japan“Ramadan Practices from Civilizational Perspective”F. Cangüzel Güner ZülfikarThe Institute for Sufi Studies, Üsküdar University, İstanbul, TurkeyClosing Session Sufi Thought and Practices from Past to Present WorkshopOctober 7, 2023Üsküdar University, IstanbulTitles with Abstracts of Institute for Sufi Studies participantsPrinciples of Sufi Thought in Ottoman PeriodReşat ÖngörenAbstractIt is known that the state of the Ottoman Empire had a close relationship with Sufis since its foundation. This relationship started with Shaykh Edebālī, who married his daughter off to the founder of the state, Osman Ghāzī, and deepened with the assignment of Dāvūd al-Kayserī, the prominent follower of the school of Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn al-‘Arabī, as the head muderris during the formation of educational institutions, and with his oeuvre on Sufism, which includes his writings and translations during his fifteen-year tenure. These works helped to shape the view of tawhid/the thought of Being in the Ottoman Empire within the perspective of Ibn al-‘Arabī’s thought of wahdat al-wujud (Oneness of Being), and the thought of “divine love” within the framework of Ibn al-Fārīḍ's views, and furthermore, by means of the translation of Masnavī of Mawlānā Jalāl al-Dīn al-Rūmī, which took place about a century later, these two understandings were able to spread to wider circles. Thus, from the very beginning, the rulers, members of the ‘ulamā’ and the public were brought together within a high-level perception of Sufism shaped even before the Ottoman Empire. This environment caused some outstanding relations within the Palace-madrasa-lodge triangle, and as a natural consequence, works representing a holistic approach in which theology, jurisprudence and Sufism were handled together in the context of the relationship between sharī'a and tarīqa emerged. On the other hand, depending on the perception of jihad of Haji Bektāsh Velī, dervishes facilitated the realisation of conquests by participating in expeditions for jihad against the enemy while continuing jihad against their own nafs. Naturally, this approach led to a close contact between Sufis and the military.Adam and Adamiyyet in the Divan of Niyâzî-i Mısrî (d. 1694) AbstractH. Dilek GüldütunaIn the Adam chapter, which is the first chapter of his famous work, Fusus al-Hikam, Ibn Arabi depicts the fundamental human qualities in the person of the first human and the first prophet Adam and describes in detail the human’s relation with the universe and God. This study will examine the Divan of Niyazi Mısrî, one of the most important representatives of the Akbari tradition, in the context of the chapter on Adam.Ramadan Practices from Civilizational PerspectiveF. Cangüzel Güner ZülfikarAbstractRegarding the human as the keystone forming civilization, Sâmiha Ayverdi operates in accordance with the hadith, “the one who sleeps when their neighbor lies hungry is not of us,” and particularly emphasizes the month of Ramadan. Demonstrating the importance of Ramadan for Ottoman-Turkish society, Ayverdi speaks about how the unity that is inherent to Islam manifests within the societal structure, particularly during Ramadan where there is an opportunity to overcome the separations of class, society, and economy. From Ayverdi’s perspective, the additional benefit to Ramadan is that it is also a time where not only the differences among the various parts of society are removed, but there is a cleansing ongoing within the individual human as well. Evaluating Ramadan as a time when the relation of the individual with another individual, with society, with the universe, and with God is gradually strengthened, Ayverdi gives examples from the various traditions that were prevalent at that time, and which are unfortunately close to forgotten now. As such, not only does Sâmiha Ayverdi depict and thus transmit the traditions of the past, she also provides the guide for how we can reach that level of awareness, solidarity, and community today.

08 Sept 2023

“The Extraordinary, Enchanted Journey of a Female Scholar Saint in the Afghan Empire” Dr. Waleed Ziad

The Institute for Sufi Studies, Humanity, Sufi Thought and Healing Lecture SeriesDr. Waleed Ziad“The Extraordinary, Enchanted Journey of a Female Scholar Saint in the Afghan Empire”September 29, Friday 2023, at 15.00-16.00Room B-1- 13 A Building of South Campus of Üsküdar UniversityAbstract“The Extraordinary, Enchanted Journey of a Female Scholar Saint in the Afghan Empire”At the turn of the 19th century, Bibi Sahiba Kalan (1752-1803), Kabul’s great female Sufi master and scholar, was recognized as the “most exalted saint” of the age. Her network of thousands of disciples spanned the Arabian Sea to Central Asia. She was the spiritual guide of scholars, poets, and nobles, invited to Bukhara by the khan himself. She led a caravan to Mecca, and built and managed colleges and shrines at Kandahar, Yemen, and Sindh. Bibi Sahiba’s sons and grandchildren – Sufi masters in their own right – defended Afghanistan in the Anglo-Afghan Wars. They expanded Bibi Sahiba’s spiritual network all the way to the Thar desert and Rajasthan, where at least fifteen great female saints were appointed as their successors - each with Muslim and Hindu disciples in the thousands.These female saints are the subject of Prof. Waleed Ziad’s forthcoming book Sufi Masters of the Afghan Empire: Bibi Sahiba and her Sacred networks (Harvard 2024), based on fieldwork in five languages in several dozen towns and villages from the Thar desert to the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands to Central Asia. Dr Ziad’s research overturns our assumptions on Muslim women’s empowerment before colonialism; His research indicates that Bibi Sahiba was one of many female religious leaders in what is today Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan from the 18th to 20th centuries.Who is Waleed Ziad?Waleed Ziad is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to this, he was the Islamic Law and Civilization Research Fellow at Yale Law School. He completed his PhD in the Department of History at Yale University, where he won the university-wide Field Prize, the highest Yale doctoral dissertation award across all disciplines. He also received his MA/MPhil and BA from Yale. For over a decade, Dr. Ziad has conducted fieldwork on historical and contemporary religious revivalism and Sufism in over 140 towns across Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. Dr. Ziad has studied Persian, Urdu, Arabic, French, Sindhi, Uzbek / Chaghatai and Romanian.His book Hidden Caliphate: Sufi Saints beyond the Oxus and Indus (Harvard, 2021) was awarded the Albert Hourani award, the most prestigious book prize in Middle East and Islamic Studies of the year. He also recently published In the Treasure Room of the Sakra King: Votive Coinage from Gandharan Shrines (ANS, 2022). His forthcoming books include Sufi Masters of the Afghan Empire: Bibi Sahiba and Her Spiritual Network (Harvard, exp. 2024), and Beyond the Khutba and Sikka: Sovereignty and Coinage in Sindh (in progress). His articles on historical and ideological trends in the Muslim world have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, and The Hill, among others.


The Institute for Sufi Studies was established in July 2014 with the aim of creating a scientific environment where art is appreciated and the sense of beauty is hightened in order to serve humanity to reach peace and happiness, based on interdisciplinary studies in which the comprehensive and in-depth view of Sufism is used. As a specialized Institute in Sufism, the designed programs aim to raise individuals who place great effort to increase their knowledge about the science of Sufism, themselves, and the world at large. Individuals who internalize humanist and ethical values, appreciative of art, creative thinkers and studious researchers, understanding the value of time, and empathetic. According to Sufism, the purpose of science is not only to gain knowledge of these values, but also to put them to use for the happiness and progress of humanity.

The Sufi Culture and Literature Graduate Programs

The content of Sufi Culture and Literature graduate programs has been designed to integrate the subjects of Sufi thought, Sufi history and Sufi literature with the basic Islamic sciences, along with various disciplines of social sciences, especially the subjects of Islamic thought and civilization history. The program also aims to contribute to the production of interdisciplinary cultural studies based on the perspective of "Islamic civilization, Sufi thought and culture", which is originated in our own cultural geography. Taking a closer look allows us to see that almost every study related to civilization and culture in this geography is somehow related to the field of Sufism. Thus Sufism can offer new opportunities for Turkey in the fields of Area Studies and Religious Studies. Studies on Sufism can also bring new perspectives to those who are interested in sociology and human psychology today.

Sufi Culture and Literature Master's Programs

The Institute for Sufi Studies started its master's program titled "Sufi Culture and Literature" in February 2016 and admitted its first students in the Spring semester of the 2015-2016 academic year. The program provides students from all branches with the opportunity to do postgraduate degrees on Sufism and related subjects. The program is organized as thesis and non-thesis master's programs.

Islamic Civilization, Thought, History and Literature Doctorate Program

The education provided by the Institute within the scope of Sufi Culture and Literature Master's Programs has been enriched with the opening of the Islamic Civilization, Thought, History and Literature Doctorate Program, which from a scientific perspective will offer deeper and wider opportunities. In our country, there are hardly any independent interdisciplinary doctoral programs in basic fields such as literature, history, religious sciences, anthropology and psychology. This program aims to contribute to the development of interdisciplinary studies and the search for new methods in the field of Humanities. The program accepted its first students in the 2019-2020 Fall Semester.

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