ISRA’ILIYAT AS AN INTERCULTURAL KNOWLEDGE BRİDGE AND REFLECTIONS ON THE OTTOMAN FOLK CULTURE


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Aydar H.

The Journal of Academic Social Science Studies, vol.6, no.8, pp.93-109, 2013 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Title of Journal : The Journal of Academic Social Science Studies
  • Page Numbers: pp.93-109

Abstract

 

Isra’iliyat is the general term used to specify knowledge transferred to Islamic culture from some other cultures including Jewish being primary, Christian, Persian, Indian, central Asian, and even Chinese cultures. Since most of this knowledge is transferred from Jews, known as The Israelites, it is called as isra’iliyat. Nevertheless, there was also a considerable amount of knowledge flux from surrounding cultures of the Middle East, where Islam originates. There was a significant knowledge and information flow especially from Christianity, which is a major religion in the region and Byzantine/Greek culture which was a Christian society then. In addition, Persian culture, a significant cradle of culture and civilization in the region, Indian and Chinese cultures, two of the oldest in the world, and fragments of Central-Asian Turkish/Shaman culture constituted the rich repertory of the Islamic culture.

Israeli news and information had started transferring to Islamic culture as early as the Prophet Mohammed era. During this era, especially Jewish religious culture had attracted Muslims. Yet the Koran was frequently mentioning the past of the Jewish people, Israeli history, scriptures, prophets, and other major personalities. To get a broader sight into such information, Muslims often questioned Jewish around them and took their answers as a reference. In the subsequent periods, parallel to the expansion of the Islamic territory, an information flow started from newly encountered cultures too.

Reactions to these Israeli items, which were present in many sources, were not missing. Holy Koran and Prophet Mohammed remarked either affirmative or dissident views on this issue and specified a framework towards these Israeli items. Subsequent Muslim scholars responded to the issue accordingly. Nevertheless, one way or another, these Israeli items found themselves a place in the majority of the sources and had a serious impact on readership of these sources.

As yet explained, isra’iliyat had a major effect on the faith-based culture of the Muslim Ottomans. There was plentiful Israeli information in the religious sources that Ottomans benefited. These items grabbed attention of public since they were of mythical essence, fantastic and reflected dreams of ordinary people. This involvement was very effective on shaping their religious culture around these mythical acquaintances.

In this study, these issues will be held and dwelled on with examples and how isra’iliyat can function as a communication bridge between cultures.