‘The Texts That Give Us Direction’ and ‘The History Of Muslims’ - SALIH TUNA

‘The Texts That Give Us Direction’ and ‘The History Of Muslims’

When I cast a quick glance over the first two volumes of “The Texts That Give Us Direction,” compiled by Alev Alatlı and which will contain six volumes in total, I said this is how “civilization” can be “developed” rather than on the basis of the tittle-tattle in newspaper columns.

You must acknowledge that the foremost requirement for “development” is to find the essence of what “forms the fundamentals of our understanding of civilization.”

The first volume of “The Texts that Give Us Direction” spans the period 750-1040 under the title “The Great Gathering,” and the second volume spans the period 1040-1299 i.e. the “The New Seljuk Star In The Northern Celestial Sphere.”

Alev Alatlı had also translated into Turkish the four-volume book “The Texts That Direct The West” in 2010, when she was on the board of trustees at the Kapadokya Vocational Academy. (This work was an extract of the 3,500-year long adventure that created the moulds for Western thought.)

These works by Alev Alatlı, who is a pioneer in this field, have added more value to our culture than many occupants of culture ministries in the Republican period managed.

We cannot thank her enough.

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Our dear teacher and highly respected elder, Prof. Dr. İhsan Süreyya Sırma, was kind enough to send me signed copies of his five-volume work titled “The History of Muslims.”

Indescribable happiness descended on me when I became familiar with this work at a time when I was thinking how we could explain things to these scorched generations that have been reduced to receiving pedantic information in 140 characters by persistently calling it the “information age,” which is actually a period that resembles a desert, and how to help them find an “oasis.”

There aren’t many works from recent times that I can recommend apart from Ayşe Şasa’s “nuggets of wisdom” that draws from “plateaus of wonder,” which tries to make sense of mankind’s reason for living in this world.

Thankfully now such works exist.

The aforementioned work by our teacher, İhsan Süreyya, is a must read for everyone.

Before all else, this is our history.

Our teacher has penned “The History Of Muslims,” which starts from the time of Prophet Adam, in a way that makes it easily understandable to everyone. 

He has explained a difficult matter in an easy way.

Necip Fazıl used to talk of three ways of explaining things: To make the easy difficult; to make the difficult, difficult; and to make the difficult easy. If I recall correctly he used to cite Yunus Emre as a prime example of someone who explained the difficult in an easy manner.

İhsan Süreyya Sırma has also managed to explain the difficult in an easy manner with this work. This ease of understanding has been enhanced visually (from layout to font used) by Beyan Yayınları. (Beyan Publications)

These types of books with lots of content or in multiple volumes, as you know, are generally reference books. They are referred to when required.

However, the book by our teacher is a different matter.

It is so good that you will not want to put it down.

Revolutionary knowledge, monotheism and excitement are literally embedded in every sentence of this book and it doesn’t shrink in the face of colonialism/ capitalism.

I will not get into the discussion of why it isn’t called “The History Of Islam” and is instead called “The History Of Muslims.” A comprehensive answer to this is present in the foreword of the first volume of the aforementioned work.

Our dear teacher says the idea for this work dates back to the 1960s when he attended the seminars of his scientific mentor, the late Muhammed Hamidullah, during his post doctorate studies in Paris.

In short, he imagined “The History Of Muslims” back then. He didn’t let it just remain a dream. He constantly researched it and kept collecting documentation.

In any case, one of the most distinctive characteristics of our teacher is that he is constantly conducting research.

While “The History of Muslims” is a well-coordinated treasure for readers, it is also the fulfillment of a half century-long dream for Prof. Dr. İhsan Süreyya Sırma.

Suffice it to say that we will be talking a lot more about this book and citing it as a source in our writings in the future. (Beyan Yayınları. Tel: 0212 512 7697) 

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