Can Ṣūfism be Accepted as a Science of Morality?: Indeterministic Approaches to Deterministic MoralityEkrem Demirli
Ṣūfism is accepted as a science of morality among religious sciences; according to the claims of the ṣūfis, it is a science that deals with the issue of the morality improvement, which is not considered a problem by any of the religious sciences. Rather than systematically using this expression, ṣūfis concentrated on the ideal morality that can be attained by improving the temperaments of the human soul (nafs). Ideal morality can be defined as a state of spirit that serves as a foundation for knowing God, which is the purpose of human existence, and reaching God by following His commandments. For this purpose, ṣūfism developed a method for striving (mujāhada) and austerity (riyāḍa) to a certain extent, where the concept of existence can form the basis of the method. Consequently, ṣūfism described himself as maʿrifatu’n-nafs, which means the way of knowing oneself. However, neither in the past nor at present, there has been any substantial research conducted on the relationship between the science of morality and ṣūfism. In this regard, the claim that ṣūfism is a science of morality remains an unfounded and baseless statement. In this article, we have tried to reach a conclusion by analyzing various aspects of the relationship between ṣūfism and science of morality. In our opinion, even if ṣūfism is considered as a relative morality among religious sciences, it cannot be regarded as a science of morality that we are familiar with from the perspective of philosophical sciences. This situation is true, both in terms of the method it follows and not having the content of the science of morality from the point of content and context. Thus, according to the claim of this article, the assertion that “Ṣūfism is the science of morality” will remain an unfounded claim.
Tasavvuf Ahlak İlmi Olarak Kabul Edilebilir mi?: Determinist Ahlaka Endeterminist YaklaşımlarEkrem Demirli
Tasavvuf din bilimleri arasında bir ahlak ilmi olarak kabul edilir, en azından sûfîlerin iddialarına göre tasavvuf din bilimlerinin herhangi birisinin bir mesele olarak ele almadığı ahlakın ıslahı meselesini konu edinen bir ilimdir. Onlar bu ifadeyi sistematik bir şekilde kullanmaktan daha çok, insan nefsinin huylarının ıslahıyla varılabilecek ideal ahlak üzerinde odaklanmıştır. İdeal ahlak, insanın varlık gayesini teşkil eden Tanrı’yı tanıma ve O’nun belirlediği kurallara göre yaşayarak Allah’a ulaşmaya zemin teşkil edecek ruh hali olabilir. Tasavvuf bu amaçla belirli ölçüde riyazet ve mücahede yöntemi geliştirmiş, yöntemin dayanağını teşkil etmek üzere bir varlık anlayışını açıklamak istemiştir. Bunun bir sonucu olmak üzere de kendisini ma‘rifetü’n-nefs yani insanın kendini bilmesinin yolu olarak betimlemiştir. Bununla beraber geçmişte veya günümüzde ahlak ilmi ile tasavvuf arasındaki ilişkiler üzerinde herhangi bir ciddi araştırma yapılmamıştır. Bu yönüyle tasavvufun ahlak ilmi olduğu şeklindeki bir iddia mesnetsiz ve delilsiz bir cümle olarak halihazırda ortada durmaktadır. Bu makalede tasavvufun ahlak ilmi ile ilişkisini çeşitli yönlerden tahlil ederek bir sonuca varmaya çalıştık. Bize göre tasavvuf din bilimleri arasında görece bir ahlak sayılsa bile, felsefi ilimlerden aşina olduğumuz ahlak ilmi olarak kabul edilmesi söz konusu değildir. Bu durum hem takip ettiği metot bakımından böyledir, hem içerik ve muhteva bakımından ahlak ilminin içeriğine sahip olmayışı bakımından böyledir. O zaman “Tasavvuf ahlak ilmidir” iddiası bu yazının iddiasına göre mesnedi olmayan bir iddia olarak kalacaktır.
Ṣūfism is defined as a discipline that deals with the one’s attainment of truth or perfection purifying of the soul (nafs) in the most general sense. The definitions of ṣūfism in the sufi texts mostly focus on this problem, and consider the taṣfiyah and tazkiyah (purification) as the methods of ṣūfism. In this respect, almost all definitions that have emerged since the names that used the first ṣūfi name agree in this sense: Ṣūfism is training of the soul. Undoubtedly, training of the soul requires having an understanding of one’s nature and the elements that shape that nature. In this regard, ṣūfis mostly expressed their opinions about human nature through sins, by stating how human nature can be a source of evil, with wordings that can sometimes be considered exaggerated. Additionally, they treated human nature as a matter of disposition and did not address the complex and complicated issues such as temperament, the states of temperament, and the psychology of humans. In this regard, they considered sins and weaknesses of the soul as a state that must be overcome and they emphasized the importance of being adorned with good manners and morals. Moreover, ṣūfis accepted worship as a method to remove the bad qualities of and sins of soul, and they commonly used terms such as hidāyah (guidance) and tawfīq (success) to refer to divine intent. With the advancement of the understanding of Sunnī Ṣūfism, the understanding of training of oneself with worships, methods of striving (mujāhada), and austerity (riyāḍa) became more systematic and ṣūfism was placed among religious sciences. In this way, ṣūfism separated from the schools and currents that surrounded it, and became fully connected to the prophethood (nubuwwa). However, even if ṣūfism insisted on defining itself as a science of morality, the religious sciences never accepted it as a science of morality. Despite some positive tendencies after the combined period in Islamic thought, ṣūfism never gained the legitimate ground that it demanded. Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember an extensive literature that developed independently of ṣūfism. This literature discused about a more comprehensive and systematic science of morality, related primarily to politics, at-tadbīratu’l-manzil, and training of self. The situation became more chaotic when Muslims encountered this literature alongside ṣūfism. Along with the texts of the Muslim philosophers, the political treatises (siyasatnama) formed a separate entity that can be considered. It is necessary to discuss the claim of ṣūfism by comparing it with this literature: Can ṣūfism be accepted as a science of morality? Does ṣūfism tell us about the issues that make up the content of political treatises, city rules or laws, and the training of the soul? The article aims to investigate the ground between ṣūfism and the science of morality by drawing attention to these questions.