The Role Of A Mujtahid Qajar Prince In The Sunni-Shiite Rapprochement During The Reign Of Abdul Hamid II: Abu’lHasan Mirza Shaykh Al-Ra’is QajarHasan Yenilmez
The 19th-century pan movements in Europe showed how various ideas of a union had emerged in the Ottoman Empire as well. The union movements started with the concept of Pan-Ottomanism in the first quarter of the 19th century, and in accordance with the time, place, and person, these continued as a Pan-Islam ideology, with the idea of Pan-Turkism becoming a critical political tool in the last period of the Ottoman Empire. The policy of Pan-Islam gained importance during the reign of Abdul Hamid II, when the legitimacy crisis first occurred and the caliphate’s institution was brought to the fore. This policy was aimed at connecting with Muslims outside the Ottoman Empire, gathering strength from there to the dynasty through the institution of the caliphate, and developing a defense against the colonial activities of the European states and using it as weapon against them. This of course was an essential factor in the rapprochement between Sunnism and Shiism. This article discusses what kind of a role Abu’l Hasan Mirza Shaykh al-Ra’is Qajar, a Qajar prince and Shiite clergyman (mujtahid), played in the Sunni-Shiite rapprochement within the framework of the Pan-Islam policy during the reign of Abdul Hamid II. The study places emphasis upon a brief biography of the mujtahid prince based on the memoires he wrote, his relations with Abdul Hamid II’s government, and his idea of Pan-Islam within the framework of his book Ittihad-i Islam.
II. Abdülhamid Dönemi Sünni-Şiî Yakınlaşmasında Müctehid Bir Kaçar Şehzadesinin Rolü: Ebu’l-Mirza Hasan Şeyhurreis-i KaçarHasan Yenilmez
Avrupa’da XIX. yüzyılda görülmeye başlayan Pan hareketleriyle eş zamanlı olarak Osmanlı coğrafyasında da birbirini takip eden farklı ittihad fikirleri ortaya çıkarmıştır. XIX. yüzyılın ilk çeyreğinden itibaren İttihad-ı Osmanî fikri ile başlayan akabinde zaman, mekân ve şahıslara göre İttihad-ı İslâm ve İttihad-ı Etrak diye devam eden pan hareketleri Osmanlı’nın son döneminde önemli siyaset tarzları olmuştur. Meşruiyet bunalımının görülmeye başlandığı ve hilafet merkezinin daha ön plana çıkarıldığı II. Abdülhamid döneminde ise İttihad-ı İslâm politikası ağırlık kazanmıştır. Osmanlı sınırları dışındaki Müslümanlarla irtibat kurmak, oralardan hanedana, hilafete güç devşirmek ve aynı zamanda Avrupa devletlerinin sömürge faaliyetlerine karşı bir savunma geliştirmek, bir silah olarak kulllanmak için benimsenen bu siyaset elbette Sünnî-Şiî yakınlaşmasında da önemli bir etken olmuştur. Bu çalışmada bir Kaçar şehzadesi ve aynı zamanda bir Şiî müctehid olan Ebu’l-Mirza Hasan Şeyhurreis-i Kaçar’ın (ö. 1921), II. Abdülhamid dönemi ittihad-ı İslâm siyaseti çerçevesinde Sünnî-Şiî yakınlaşmasında nasıl bir rol aldığı ele alınmaktadır. Makalede, müctehid şehzadenin kaleme aldığı terceme-i hal metinlerinden hareketle kısa bir biyografisine yer verilerek ve akabinde de esas olarak II. Abdülhamid idaresi ile irtibatları ve İttihad-ı İslâm risalesi ekseninde ittihad-ı İslâm fikri üzerinde durulmaktadır.
19th- and 20th-century Ottoman-Iran relations were more diplomatic than in previous centuries, and the common danger the two Muslim states faced with different sects brought them closer together in these centuries in particular. The two Muslim states had been in conflict for centuries due to the differences in their religious beliefs and adopted the idea of uniting (i.e., Pan-Islam) against Western colonialism. The 19th-century pan movements in Europe also showed how various ideas for a union had emerged among Ottoman and Iranian intellectuals as well, who emphasized the ittihad-i Islam [Union of Islam] the most and embraced the idea of unity. The concept of ittihad-i Islam had first been used by Namik Kemal in the newspaper Hurriyet in 1869 and has since acquired different meanings depending on the time and place. During the reign of Abdul Hamid II, the policy of ittihad-i Islam was aimed at connecting with Muslims outside the Ottoman Empire, gathering the strength from there to the dynasty and the institution of the caliphate, developing a defense against the colonial activities of the European states, and using it as weapon against them. The most important reason for this policy was undoubtedly that it had been adopted by the government of Abdul Hamid II. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Abdul Hamid II had brought the institution of the caliphate to the fore, which in turn triggered the policy of ittihad-i Islam. This policy has also brought about the rapprochement between Sunnism and Shiism. Although Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was the leading figure in Abdul Hamid II’s policy of ittihad-i Islam, another equally influential figure was Abu’l Hasan Mirza Shaykh al-Ra’is Qajar, a Qajar prince and Shiite clergyman (mujtahid). The fact that he established contacts with Ottoman bureaucrats, received gifts and medals from the Ottoman state, and finally wrote an independent work on ittihad-i Islam confirms the above idea. In 1885, the dissident mujtahid prince, who’d fled Iranian rule, first went on Hajj and then came to Istanbul. During this visit, Shaikh al-Ra’is held a few official meetings regarding the necessity of ittihad-i Islam. He negotiated with many state officials, including the Sultan as at the highest level of the State. For example, in his meetings with Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, then Minister of Justice, and Yusuf Riza Pasha, then head of the immigration (muhajirin) commission, they discussed what needed to be done to form a union of Islam. In these interviews, intellectuals from different sects (Sunni and Shiite) appeared to have tried to establish a common language on the politics of Islam, albeit with some differences. Although some of the mujtahid prince’s statements clearly show Shiite tendencies, his main idea, similar to the idea of Ahmed Cevdet Pasha and other Ottoman intellectuals, was the unification of Muslims under the caliphate. Shaikh al-Ra’is clearly emphasized this idea in his work Ittihad-i Islam. As a Qajar prince and Shiite mujtahid, this emphasis on the need to unite under the caliphate of Abdul Hamid II was extremely valuable in terms of the politics of the period. The biggest factor that led Sunni and Shiite intellectuals to this common language had undoubtedly been undoubtedly the threat of colonialism. In this framework, the problems the Muslim world had faced since the 19th century can be considered to have brought Sunnis and Shiites closer to each other out of necessity. One can read this through the contacts established by the mujtahid prince, whom this study focuses on, and his work Ittihad-i Islam.