Female Sufi Leaders in Turkey: Signals of a New Social Pattern Emerging in Secular Side

  • Dr. Gözde Özelce Humboldt University Institute of Asian and African Studies Berlin, Germany
Keywords: Sufi women, Multiple modernity, Secularism, Muslim women identity


Two sufi women take part in activities related to sufism and create an attraction point in the secular side in Turkey. The most striking point is that both women do not wear headscarves although they are muslim women. This article attempts to show how sufi women Cemalnur Sargut and Hayatnur Artıran have idealized a Muslim woman's identity, the work they are doing to achieve this ideal, their attidue toward Rebublic values, and the effects of these attitudes on their followers. This article was created from my doctoral thesis and based on Qualitative research which has been established on the basis of 2-year long participant observation and data obtained from in-depth and focus interviews. 31 women and 20 men were interviewed in depth and focus interviews. The main conclusions of my qualitative research are that the influence of theese sufi women is related with process of modernization by accelerating the establishment of the republic in Turkey. It seems that a perception has established concerning that “public apparency’’ of woman will disappear if the “apparency of body’’ disappears and the woman will return to its role which had relapsed into silence for centuries. Besides not using the headscarf, religious conversation has been created by these sufi women in the balance of religion, philosophy and science and the fact that they are conducting their works under secular institutions such as foundations and associations have also been observed to have a very important effect on secular side.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahmet, Albayrak. “İkbal’in Ruh Mimarı: Mevlâna. [Iqbal's Spirit Architect: Mevlâna]. 1997.
Andrew, Davison. Secularism and Modernity in Turkey. Translated by Tuncay Birkan. İletişim Publications,
Ataman, Kemal. Sacred Pillar of Being a Nation: Civil Religion. İstanbul: Sentez Publications, 2014.
Ayşe, Durakbaşa, Halide Edip: Turkish Modernity and Feminism. İstanbul, İletişim, 2002.
Bakır, Çağlar. “Big Problem of Laicism in Turkey; On Laicism and Its Varied Meanings.” İstanbul: Cogito
Cemâlnur, Sargut. Açık Denize Yolculuk, [Open Sea Journey] haz. Sadık Yalsızuçanlar), İstanbul: Nefes
Press, 2014.
Cemâlnur, Sargut. Peygambere Sevdirilen Kadın [Prophetic Women]. İstanbul: Nefes Press, 2011.
Cemâlnur, Sargut. Sâmiha Ayverdi ile Sırra Yolculuk [Secret Travel with Sâmiha Ayverdi]. İstanbul, Nefes
Press, 2011.
Charles, Taylor. Modern Social Visions. İstanbul: Metis Press, 2006.
Charles, Taylor. Secular Age. İstanbul: İş Bankası Kültür Books, 2014.
Daryush, Shayegan. Yaralı Bilinç: Geleneksel Toplumlarda Kültürel Şizofreni [Injured Consciousness:
Cultural Schizophrenia in Traditional Societies]. İstanbul:Metis Press, 2012.
Davison, Grace. “New Approaches in Religion Sociology: A Western Outlook.” Translated byM. Akgül and
İ. Çapcıoğlu ),AÜİFD, C. XLVI, S 1 (2005): 201-214.
Deniz, Kandiyoti. Cariyeler, Babalar, Yurttaşlar [Concubines, Fathers, Citizens]. Istanbul: Metis Yayınevi,
Ernest, Gellner. Postmodernism, Reason and Religion. NewYork: Routlege, 1992.
Fatmanur, Dikmen. “A Talk on Civil Religion with Assoc. Prof. Kemal Ataman.” Bülent Ecevit University
Faculty of Theology Journal 1, Issue 2 (2014): 151-166.
Jose, Casanova. “Private and Public Religions.” Social Research 59, no. 1 (1992): 17-57.
Martin, Geoffroy. “Religious Theorizing in Global Age: A Typological Analysis.’’ trans. Abdullah
Özbolat), Fırat University Theology Periodicals, 17/1.
Mehmet, Özay. Modernisation, Secularization and Religion Affairs in Modern Sociology. Marmara
University Institute of Social Sciences: PhD Dissertation, İstanbul, 2006.
Mustafa, Kara. Din Hayat Sanat Açısından Tekkeler ve Zaviyeler [
Religion Life Art in Terms of Monopolies and Dungeons]. İstanbul: Dergâh Publications,1999.
Mustafa, Kara. Metinlerle Günümüz Tasavvuf Hareketleri [Contemporary Sufism Movements with Texts].
İstanbul: Dergâh Publications, 2014.
Nilüfer, Göle. Secular and Religiously Eroded Borders. İstanbul: Metis Publication, 2012.
Nur, Artıran H. Aşk Bir Davaya Benzer [Love Is Similar To A Case]. İstanbul: Sufi Books, 2014.
Nur, Artıran H., Herkes Seni Terk Etse Aşk Terk Etmez. [Everybody Leave You Love Doesn't Leave You].
İstanbul, Sufi Books, 2014.
Nuray, Mert. “Laicism Conflict and Political Islam.” Cogito. Issue:I, İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Publications,
Parla, Taha. Atatürk’s Discourses and Statements. Vol. 3. İstanbul: Deniz Press, 2008.
Peter, Berger. Sekülerizmin Gerilemesi, Sekülerizm Sorgulanıyor. [Decline of Secularism, Secularism being
Questioned]. Compiled and Translated by A. Köse. İstanbul: Ufuk Press, 2002.
Peter, Clarke. Sociology of Religion:Modern Advancements. Ankara: İmge, 2012.
Samuel, Eisenstadt, “Multiple Modernities.” Daedalus 129 (1) (2000): 1–30.
Samuel, Eisenstadt. Modernization, Protest and Transformation. Translated by Ufuk Çoşkun, İstanbul:
Dogu Batı Press, 2007.
Sezai, Küçük. Şefik Can Mevlânâ ile Bir Ömür. İstanbul: Sufi Books, 2011.
Şefik, Can. Mevlânâ ve Eflatun. İstanbul: Kurtuba Books, 2009.
Thomas, Michael. “A Catholic Outlook to Laicism.” Cogito, Issue:I, İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Publications,
Yaşar, Ocak Ahmet. Turkiye, Turkler ve Islam [Turkey, Turks and Islam]. İstanbul: İletişim Publications,
How to Cite
Dr. Gözde Özelce. 2019. “Female Sufi Leaders in Turkey: Signals of a New Social Pattern Emerging in Secular Side”. Journal of Islamic Thought and Civilization 9 (1), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.32350/jitc.91.01.