A Platform for Jurisprudence in the Last Period of the Ottoman State: Rawdha-i HukukAhmet Yaman, Bahaddin Karakuş
One of the developments that took place in the last century of the Ottoman state, especially after the proclamation of the Tanzimat Edict, was the opening of modern law schools recognized as higher education institutions. The curriculum and books used in these schools differed substantially from the education model and mentality of classical fiqh. In courses other than fiqh methodology and Islamic inheritance law, topics were based on the theories of Western jurists, philosophers, and economists. This novel situation led to the rise of alternate legal channels than the traditional ones. In this context, Maktab-i Huquq student, Mahmud Asad Seydişehrî, published a magazine named Rawdha-i Huquq under the license he received in 1884. In addition to articles in the field of law, the journal published books on courses in the Maktab-i Huquq program. As far as we can determine, six books in different fields were published in this series. One of them, Telhis-i Hikmat-i Huquq, was a translation by Mahmud Asad of a French work on the philosophy of law. Two books, titled Hikmat-i Huquq and ‘İlm-i Tharwat, were one-to-one publications of notes taken by Mahmud Asad during lectures delivered by his much admired teacher Münif Pasha. Two more books, related to the method of jurisprudence (fiqh methodology) and faraidh (Islamic inheritance law), were his own writings, while the final book was an annotation that he had started to write on the new penal code. In this article, the identity of Mahmud Asad Seydişehrî as a jurist and statesman will be considered first, and later, the six books will be examined in outline.
Osmanlının Son Döneminde Bir Hukuk Mecrası: Ravza-İ HukukAhmet Yaman, Bahaddin Karakuş
Osmanlı Devleti’nin son yüzyılında özellikle Tanzimat Fermanı’nın ilanından sonra yaşanan gelişmelerden biri de yükseköğretim kurumu hüviyetini taşıyan modern hukuk mekteplerinin açılması olmuştur. Bu mekteplerin ders programı, müfredatı ve kitapları, artık klasik fıkhın eğitim modeli ve zihniyetinden oldukça farklı bir mahiyet arz etmiştir. Fıkıh usûlü ve feraiz dışındaki derslerde, bu meyanda mesela hukuk tarihi ve felsefesi, siyaset tarihi ve felsefesi ile iktisat tarihi ve felsefesi gibi alanlarda daha ziyade Batılı hukukçu, feylosof ve iktisatçıların teorileri esas alınmıştır. Bu yeni durum ve süreçler, Osmanlı’nın daha önce “fıkıh” merkezli olan yargısal ve normatif yapısını “hukuk” merkezli bir yapıya dönüştürmeye başlamış ve gelenekselden farklı yeni yeni hukuk mecralarının zuhurunu sağlamıştır. İşte bu bağlamda Mahmud Esad Seydişehrî de henüz Mekteb-i Hukuk öğrencisi iken 1884 yılında aldığı ruhsat ile Ravza-i Hukuk adını verdiği bir dergi çıkarmıştır. Bu dergi, hukuk alanında yazılar neşretmenin yanında Mekteb-i Hukuk programındaki derslerle ilgili kitap bölümlerini de tefrika suretiyle yayımlamıştır. Tespit edebildiğimiz kadarıyla bu seride farklı alanlarda 6 (altı) kitap yayımlanmıştır. Bunların biri Mahmud Esad’ın Fransızcadan yaptığı hukuk felsefesiyle ilgili Hikmet-i Hukuk yahut Hukuk-ı Tabîiyye isimli çeviridir. Telhîs-i Hikmet-i Hukuk ve İlm-i Servet başlığını taşıyan diğer iki kitap, çok takdir ettiği hocası Münif Paşa’nın Mekteb-i Hukuk’taki takrirlerinde tuttuğu ders notlarının birebir neşri konumundadır. Hanefî fıkıh metodolojisini konu edinen Usûl-i Fıkıh ile İslam miras hukuku alanındaki Ferâidü’l-feraiz isimli eserler doğrudan kendisinin telifidir. Serinin son kitabı ise 1858 tarihli yeni ceza kanununa (Ceza Kanunname-i Hümayunu) yapmaya başladığı şerh çalışması olan Şerh-i Kanun-ı Ceza’dır. Bu makalede önce Mahmud Esad Seydişehrî’nin hukukçu ve devlet adamı kimliği tespit edilecek, ardından söz konusu altı eser ana hatlarıyla incelenecektir.
The last century of the Ottoman Empire was a very active and controversial period in several respects. Gaining momentum from the proclamation of the Tanzimat Edict in 1839, structural changes accelerated and embodied a growing transformation in outlook. In this period, when critical decisions were made over political, religious, and culture issues, axial shifts and ruptures reached their peak, as well as educational policies started to evolve. It was unthinkable that Ottoman fiqh and legal life would remain unaffected by these developments, and indeed, they were influenced. Legal historians agree that the Tanzimat period was an important turning point in the history of Turkish law in terms of judicial institutions, legal rules of law, and legal education.
As a matter of fact, since 1840 new laws, some of which had national character, some of which were taken from outside, entered into force. In 1847, commercial courts began to be established alongside the existing sharia courts, and in 1864, the Nizamiye courts came into effect. Conversely, both the implementation of new laws and demand for judges to preside over the new courts made it necessary to train new jurists, which, in turn, required the establishment of new law schools. As a result of this process, the Mekteb-i Hukuk-ı Şâhâne (Maktab-i Huquq; Royal Law School) was launched in 1880 under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. Mahmud Esad Seydişehrî (Mahmud Asad Seydişehrî) was a particularly bright student of this school and later became one of the leading public officials and jurists during the last century of the Ottoman Empire. While a student, he started publishing Ravza-i Hukuk (Rawdha-i Huquq), an important law magazine or more precisely, a legal platform for researchers. Rawdha-i Huquq was published as a weekly magazine through Mahmud Asad’s efforts in 1884–1885, and a series of books was also published in this medium. In addition to articles in the field of law, the journal published books related to the courses in the Maktab-i Huquq program. As far as we can ascertain, six books were published in different fields in this series. One of them was a book on the philosophy of law translated from French by Mahmud Asad. Two books, titled Telhis-i Hikmet-i Hukuk and İlm-i Servet, are exact transcriptions of notes on lectures delivered by his professor, Münif Pasha. Two more, related to fiqh methodology and Islamic inheritance law, are Asad’s own compilation, while the last book is his annotation of the new penal code.
In this article, the identity of Mahmud Asad Seydişehrî as a jurist and statesman will be considered first, and later, the six works in question will be examined in outline.
The Rawdha-i Huquq series appears to have consisted of a total of six works. The series may be divided into three different subcategories: lecture notes by professors, translations, and original works of authorship. Although lecture notes and translated works were originally owned by others, it is understandable that Mahmud Asad wrote his name on the cover page as their author, considering the changes he made to these works and his acknowledgment of this fact at their beginning. It can be stated that he was the editor of the books in terms of organizing lecture notes and managing the publication process.
The works in the Rawdha-i Huquq series are as follows: ,
A. Hikmet-i Hukuk yahut Hukuk-ı Tabîiyye, 1301/1884, 84 pages
B. Telhîs-i Hikmet-i Hukuk, 1301/1884, 224 pages
C. Ferâidü’l-Feraiz, 1301/1884, 383 pages
D. İlm-i Servet, 1302/1885, 176 pages
E. Şerh-i Kanun-ı Ceza, 1302/1885, 84 pages
F. Usûl-i Fıkh, 1302/1885, 384 pages
This article will examine these six books by conducting content analysis and will highlight their unique aspects. Accordingly, it will be shown that theories of legal technique, legal philosophy, and political economy that had been developed in the West were followed in the modern schools that educated Ottoman jurists. Furthermore, this paper will provide insights into the high academic standard of Maktab-i Huquq.
It is also worth mentioning that the long quotations drawn from Western resources on both philosophy of law and macroeconomics, accepted and written in the aforementioned new legal platforms, have not been scrutinized at all. Apart from any critique or discussion, there is almost no reference to the centuries-long legacy of fiqh on related issues, and no parallels are drawn between the two legal systems.
This paper demonstrates that in-depth research into several aspects of the last century of the Ottoman Empire is still required, particularly in terms of legal and educational changes.