A pan-Islamist in Istanbul: Jamal Ad-Din Afghani and Hamidian Islamism, 1892-1897

Sever, Aytek
Sayyid Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani was a prominent pan-Islamist of the nineteenth century. His appeal of Muslim unity as a common front against the West and call for a regeneration of Islamic societies opened up the way for a new type of politics in Muslim lands and constituted a model for the Islamist discourse. This study examines his stay in Istanbul as a guest of the Ottoman Sultan, Abdulhamid II, between 1892-1897. The rule of Abdulhamid involved policies centered around the Caliphate. His enthronement coincided with the dramatic changes of the period 1876-1882. Under the external and domestic circumstances of the era Abdulhamid developed his own Islamism with pan-Islamic overtones. His ideology was primarily intended to ensure the integrity of the Empire. Its external aspect involved pan-Islamic appeals to Muslims outside the Empire as an intended weapon against Western powers. In this study, the stay of Afghani in Istanbul is analyzed with respect to the background of Hamidian (pan-)Islamism and Afghani‟s personal history. Afghani‟s main involvement during his residence was the Sunni-Shii rapprochement programme in 1894 that included communication with Shiis in the name of Islamic unity. The thesis argues that the presence of Afghani in Istanbul relate to the Shii and Arab policies of the Ottoman government rather than any large-scale pan-Islamic projects. In addition, Afghani‟s stay also provides clues regarding Ottoman-Persian relations, the Armenian Question, and the emergence of opposition movement in the Empire.


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Citation Formats
A. Sever, “ A pan-Islamist in Istanbul: Jamal Ad-Din Afghani and Hamidian Islamism, 1892-1897 ,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.