Russian Foundation
for Islamic Studies

Culturological concept of Zeki Velidi Togan

2017 Oct 28

Abstract of the report of I.R. Nasyrov, leading research worker of the RAS Institute of Philosophy, PhD in Philosophy, delivered at the conference “Revolution and evolution of Islamic thought and history” on the 5th October at the RAS Institute of Philosophy

Zeki Velidi Togan (Ahmet-Zeki Validov) (1890–1970) was a recognized expert in Oriental studies and Turkologist, the last representative of the Russian historical school of the late 19th-early 20th century. He had his own approach to studying the emergence and development of Islamic society, its religion and culture, which was based on his culturological concept. The philosophical and historical ideas of Zeki Velidi are close to the humanistic interpretation of history (Johann Gottfried Herder, Hermann Lotze) — the human is a king in the world of nature, he has inner motivation to act, which is an independent factor of historical development, apart from the natural and economical factors; the human culture is united. The idea of unity of the human culture lies beneath Zeki Velidi Togan’s understanding of the Muslim culture as a part of the Western civilization. From this point of view, the development of Islamic and Western societies proceeds according to general principles. The journey of the Islamic East to the Modernity (modernization) implies combination of evolution and revolution. Zeki Velidi Togan supported social revolution, since he thought it was a chance for Muslim communities to join the global development process.

Due to Turkey’s development and Iran’s rapid rise in 20th and early 21th century these countries became role models for Muslim nations in terms of modernization and adoption of the leading countries’ experience. The economy of Malaysia, which is a Muslim country, is one of the most dynamic ones in the world. It can compete with the economies of the most developed countries (USA, China, EU countries). Among Muslim countries, Malaysia is the most democratic one. Islam does not prevent Malaysia from developing hi-tech industries, such as engineering and electronics industry. All this proves Zeki Validi Togan right.

Photo by Dina Anokhina, Fathollah Zogi

Last modified on 2017 Nov 03