Historical Background

Although the faculty of theology has a long history, it was established for the first time within the Darulfunun. The first attempt to open the Darulfunun was in 1846. There were other attempts in 1863, 1870 and 1874. During the Abdulhamit II’s 25th anniversary of taking the throne, which was on August 30th, 1900 Darulfunun-i Sahane was finally opened. It was established with 3 branches consisting of Sciences, Literature and Theology. In theology section basic Islamic disciplines were taught including Tafsir (commentaries on the Quran), Hadith (the collection of the sayings and actions of prophet Muhammad and his companions), Usul-i Hadith (Hadith methodology), Fiqh (Jurisprudence), Usul-i Fiqh (Jurisprudence methodology), Kelam (Theology) and the history of Islam.

In 1914, all the Madrasahs in Istanbul became known as “Daru’l-Hilafeti” I-Aliyye Madrasahs” and the theology branch of Darulfunun was separated as part of Ali (high education section). With the Medaris decree of 1917, all madrasahs were divided into three parts :ibtida-i hariç, ibtida-i dahil and sahn. Among all these three madrasahs, Madrasah of Suleymaniye was established. This was a high college with three years of educational semester consisting of three branches: Philosophy and Sufism, Tafsir and Hadith, Fiqh.

Under the law on unification of education dated March 3, 1924, all madrasahs became under the supervision of the ministry of education. Thus, the Ali (high education) parts of madrasahs were transferred to the faculty of Theology of Darulfunun. Along the basic disciplines such as Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Arabic literature, philosophy, theology, ethics, sociology, history of islam, history of religions, arbaic, persian and french were taught within this faculty. At that time, M. Semsedding Gunaltay (d. 1961), former Turkish prime minister was the dean of this faculty. Furthemore, many of the leading scholars gave lectures at the faculty of theology, such as Izmirli Ismail Hakki bey (o, 1946), Mehmet Ali Ayni (d. 1945), Yusuf Ziya Yorukan (d. 1954).

Prominent Turkish musician, Saadettin Kaynak (d. 1961) was also one of the graduates of this faculty.
After the University reform of 1933, The Darulfunun was turned into a modern university and the faculty of theology was also modified as the institute of islamic studies.

After that, the Faculty of Theology of Istanbul University was re-established in 1992, and since 1996 it has continued to give higher education to both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The faculty of theology graduated its first batch of students in 2001.

A Brief Overview.

The faculty of theology of Istanbul University is located in Saraçhane which is one of the most central districts of Istanbul in terms of its historical heritage and the cultural environment. It is a walking distance to the great libraries which attract many researchers from various countries of the world, such as the central library and rare books, library of Istanbul University, Suleymaniye library, Beyazit state library and millet library. Besides, the faculty is very close to many historical, cultural and arts centers such as Suleymaniye Mosque and complex, Sehzadebasi mosque, blue mosque, Fatih mosque and comple, Atif efendi library, Ragip Pasa library, Ottoman archives of the prime ministry, Grand Bazaa, Topkapi Palace museum, Istanbul Archeology Museum and Hagia Sophia.
In addition to the above, the Column of Marcian (Kiztasi), the Valens Aqueduct (Bozdogan Su Kemeri), Amcazade Huseyin Pasa Madrasah, and the head office of Istanbul Metropolitan municipality which is one of the most important architectural structures in the Republican era. The faculty of Theology is adjacent to the ruins of the Monastery of Ayios Polieuktos. In the garden of the faculty there are Hayradhane Masjid and Graveyard; Haydarhane lodge (Dervish house), Bekiraga Hadith school (Darulhadis) from Ottoman period and the restoration, restitution and reconstruction works of these builds are still ongoin. From the faculty building, the golden horn, Yenikapi coasts and even Princes islands can be seen.

The faculty intertwined with the history, culture and nature in such a valuable area, welcomes its students with the modern social facilities that were prepared scrupulously. The main campus consists of two buildings, one of them is reserved for the administrative and academic staff, there are conference hall, office of students representative, students clubs, study room for turkish religious music branch, office of guidance and psychological counseling, a snack bar with sea view and prayer rooms in that building. The other building consists of the office of student affairs, lecture halls, classrooms, library, study hall and a conference hall for 300 people. As a requisite of modern and academic life, internet facilities and center of informatics are always served.

About educational planning of faculty, Students’ wishes and ideas are taken into consideration and they are allowed to participate in the administration process where the leadership of students air some of the challenges facing students in general to the relevant university authority for a redress or a solution.

Activities of student clubs are supported. Student clubs arrange conferences and programs given by academic staff and organize art, book and photograph exhibitions. Local and upstate trips.

The yearly Umrah organizations (kind of pilgrimage to Mecca) is so attractive to both the students and members of staff, and also serves as a platform for students as well as staff members to embark on a free pilgrimage to Mecca. Furthermore, the center for guidance and psychological counseling counsels students during and after their studies in the univeristy.

Istanbul University’s faculty of theology is easily able to respond to the needs of many students with various programme alternatives. It consists of six programmes: Undergraduate theology programme in turkish (evening education), undergraduate theology programme in english, international theology programme, postgraduate programme, upgrade programme/distance education for diploma of Theology (ILITAM). It also provides extra education to complete credits by students who studied theology from different universities abroad who would like to take various courses to get equivalence of their diplomas by considering the decisions of the executive committee of council of higher education (YOK).

The faculty has approximately 4000 students and 113 academic staff including 20 professors, 20 associate professors, 30 assistant professors, 8 lectures, 30 research assistants, 5 foreign lecturers. Administrative tasks of the faculty are carried out by a staff of 28 people. The faculty of theology collaborates with many universities abroad, by signing bilateral agreements. By doing so,, it has to contributes to the promotion of the university and Turkey as a nation to the international academic world and the diversification of academic experience.

Finally, studies in theology works are published in the academic journal of the faculty.

This therefore create a platform for the sharing of information both national and at the international level between students and other scholars.

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İstanbul Üniversitesi

34452 Beyazıt/Fatih-İstanbul

Tel: 0 (212) 440 00 00