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Thousands attend funeral of renowned scholar Prof Fuat Sezgin

On Sunday 1st July, the Turkish historian and scholar, Professor Fuat Sezgin (rahimahullāh) was laid to rest.[1]

Thousands of people attended the funeral of the world-renowned scholar, who is known for his enormous works and contribution in the fields of History of Islamic Science.

The funeral, which took place in Istanbul, drew high profile attendees in Turkish politics including the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several other prominent figures and politicians.

Honouring the scholar, the recently re-elected President carried the coffin in person, leading the procession along with Prime Minister Binali Yildrim and his predecessor Ahmet Davutoglu. Energy Minister Berat Albayrak was also present among a number of other prominent Turkish officials at the funeral prayers in the Fatih Mosque in the centre of Istanbul.

Speaking after the funeral prayers, President Erdoğan declared that the government intended to dub 2019 as the:

‘Year of Professor Fuat Sezgin and the History of Islamic Science.’ [2]

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Erdoğan also shared his condolences for the death of the scholar via social media. Following the funeral, he tweeted:

“I wish Allah’s mercy upon the great scholar Prof. Dr. Fuat Sezgin, who led the awakening of our civilization and history with the works he has done in the field of Islamic science history, and offer my condolences to the nation, his relatives and the world of science.”[3]

The government response to the passing of the Turkish scholar drew praise from Muslim academics across the world.

Dr Hassan Yoshu, Professor at Qatar University posted on social media listing the government officials leading the funeral procession. He wrote:

“The Turkish government has announced that 2019 will officially be the ‘Year of Mourning Sezgin.’ Thus, are knowledge and scholars honoured [in Turkey] and only great men show such respect to their peers.” [4]

Macit Cetinkaya, chair of the board of the Research Foundation for the History of Science in Islam in Turkey told Anadolu Agency that Sezgin died in the hospital where he was being treated at the time.

“I am very saddened by the death of such a valued scientist, regardless of his age. He was a very distinguished scientist,” he said, adding that the Historian had donated a “priceless library and museum” before passing away.[5]

Prof Fuat Sezgin passed away on June 30th 2018 at the senior age of 95. The professor who was born in the city of Delis, south east of Turkey in October 1924, left behind a massive academic and cultural legacy.

Initially interested in maths and engineering, Sezgin gravitated towards the field of History at the recommendation of his teacher, the German orientalist Helmut Reiter. Reiter advised Sezgin to study Islamic History and to learn the Arabic language setting his student on the path to completing his PhD thesis on “The Sources of Bukhari” in 1954. Sezgin became a professor at Istanbul University the same year and published his thesis two years later marking the beginning of his seminal contributions to the field of Islamic History.[6]

Before his death, Prof Sezgin was working on his 18-volume encyclopaedic work on the “History of Islamic Heritage”, the first volume of which was published in 1967.

In his studies Sezgin is said to have mastered an impressive total of 27 languages, including Syriac, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic and German, all of which leveraged to gain deeper insights into historical sources.

The professor dedicated much of his time into studying and made enormous contributions through writing several books and articles. Erdoğan commended his 1,300 books on various fields such as Islam, science, physics, medicine and astronomy. [7]

Throughout his life, Professor Fuat Seizgin gained countless awards, accolades and prizes from institutions around the world. In 2010, he established a foundation for research in the History of Islamic Sciences, which aimed to support the functions of Istanbul museum for Islamic Science and Technology.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prominent-historian-fuat-sezgin-laid-to-rest-134035

[2] https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2018/07/02/distinguished-historian-fuat-sezgin-leaves-a-massive-legacy-behind

[3] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prominent-historian-fuat-sezgin-laid-to-rest-134035

[4] https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=613225802377146&set=a.126473197719078.1073741828.100010691955106&type=3&theater

[5] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/prominent-historian-fuat-sezgin-laid-to-rest-134035

[6] http://www.aljazeera.net/news/cultureandart/2018/6/30/%D9%88%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B2%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A3%D8%AD%D8%AF-%D8%A3%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%B2-%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AB-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A

[7] https://www.aa.com.tr/en/todays-headlines/crowds-bid-farewell-to-turkish-historian-in-istanbul/1192195

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