Turkish Translations in the Ottoman Era Fiqh Studies

The science of fiqh (jurisprudence), whose roots we can find in the life time of the Prophet, quickly became an independent discipline in the early period of Islam. By the end of the eleventh century, we see an extensive literature in the field of fiqh, produced predominantly in Arabic with the contributions of scholars of different ethnicities who had converted to Islam. The Turks, who started to become Muslims en masse after the tenth century, have also contributed to the development of jurisprudence. In the first three centuries after they embraced Islam, they produced a few interlinear translations and works in Eastern Turkish in order to satisfy practical needs. Since the end of the thirteenth century, they tried to convey the accumulated knowledge of fiqh to their own language through translations and writings in Western Turkish in Anatolia. By the end of the nineteenth century, a considerable literature of fiqh in Turkish had emerged including classics of the Hanafi sect. Due to many different reasons, the studies on the fiqh works in Turkish produced during the Ottoman period have remained limited in the Republican Era. Hence the works produced during the Ottoman period in the field of fiqh are waiting for scholarly attention in manuscript libraries. This is why even compiling a reliable inventory on Turkish works has been difficult. This article hopes to alleviate this gap by providing a bibliography of fiqh translations into Western Turkish from the late thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It includes a brief evaluation of the limited academic research on fiqh translations conducted in the Ottoman period. In the end, a list of these translations will be provided together with a general assessment.


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