Filling the Gap: Some Thoughts Regarding Women and Family ilmihals in Turkey
Filling the Gap: Some Thoughts Regarding Women and Family Ilmihals in Turkey
Miyase Yavuz-Altintas
Abstract: The need for religious manuals naturally emerged from the early period of Islamic law. The catechisms, which include main pillars and worships of Islam, emerged in various parts of Muslim world. The catechism literature has a long and rich history in Turkey. The early examples of such religious manuals can be seen since the foundation of the Ottoman Sultanate. The rapid expansion of the Ottoman lands and the needs of newly converted Muslims accelerated the production of the genre. It is accepted that the concept ilm-i-hal was used to refer catechisms in the Ottoman Sultanate for the first time after the 16th century with the well-known M?zrakli Ilmihal. Although ilmihal literature has a well-established history in Turkey, women and family catechisms are relatively new in the genre. In fact, while the rare examples of women catechisms (Kad?n ?lmihali) can be seen in the late Ottoman period, family catechisms (Aile ?lmihali) and a joint version, women and family catechisms (Kad?n ve Aile Ilmihali) are unique to the republican era. Moreover, this subgenre is rapidly growing since the 1980s hosting authors from diverse backgrounds. The present note aims to question why and how women and family catechisms are emerged and developed alongside general ilmihal literature. In paying attention to socio-political contexts, it discusses the impacts of social, cultural, legal and political conjectures. In adopting law in practical perspective, it examines the function of women and family catechisms in society. Lastly, the salient problems of this subgenre are highlighted.

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