Sadettin Ökten was born in 1942 in the Beyazıt neighborhood of Istanbul. His father is known as the founder of Imam-hatip schools Mahmud Celaleddin Ökten. His mother was Mrs. Emine Mahmude, who influenced his life with her kind words. On his father's side, he is known as Gürcüzâdeler. His childhood was spent, in his own words, "in the pentagon of school, home, mosque, tekke and relatives". Each member of Ökten's family of five carries not only a sweet memory of his childhood, but also the traces of a manners, a way of life, even a civilization.
His father Mahmud Celâleddin Ökten, known as Celâl Hoca, is a religious scholar who devoted his life to science, school and students, who speaks Arabic, Persian and French, who is especially known for his knowledge of Arabic literature, and who has closely studied Western culture as well as Islamic sciences. He was well educated in the fields of general philosophy, theology and Islamic philosophy, and translated from Arabic and French on these subjects. Under the influence of his sheikh İbrahim Fahreddin Erenden, he made great efforts to establish Imam-hatip schools.
Celâl Hodja was a serious person who also loved to joke, recited and memorized couplets in the form of games for his children, and spoke proper Ottoman Turkish. He would often tell them "don't pollute your ears, don't pollute your eyes", and after dinner, he would tell them stories from the Prophet's biography and the Prophet's companions, and convey the truth of spiritual values in this way. Sadettin Ökten's spiritual world started to be built at an early age with these parables he listened to from his father, who was his first school. Ökten said that the relationship between father and son was not like today's relationship, but was an old (ancient) procedural relationship. Ökten described the education method of his father, who was an instructor at Vefa High School when he was five or six years old, as "He puts some stones, signposts, in your mind and heart and leaves the rest of the space to you. That may be where my comfort comes from. Then you grope your way through that space. But he put those stones so beautifully. Out of the stones you don't get out, you can't get out.. ." In his own words, Ökten, who grew up under the tutelage of his parents, says in every seminar, every speech, every conversation, "we learned religion by living at home" and relates anecdotes, stories and memories he witnessed personally.
Ökten spent his childhood and youth in Fatih district of Istanbul and graduated from Vefa High School in 1959. He then graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Construction in 1964. In the same year, he starts his academic career at the Faculty of Architecture in the chair of "Building Statics and Reinforced Concrete". Here he meets Western rationality and the German school. Ökten was also interested in artistic activities during his university years and joined the Istanbul University Student Union Choir as a chorist. In the following years, he continued at the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory. Between 1971 and 1973, he was a visiting doctoral student at Lehigh (Lihay) University in the USA for two years. Ökten received his doctorate degree from Istanbul Technical University in 1977. In the academic year 1979-1980, he went to Belgium, where he prepared his associate professorship thesis at the University of Liege (Liyej). He was promoted to associate professor in 1982 with his thesis on 'Steel industrial structures'. In 1985, Sadettin Ökten left ITU Faculty of Architecture and joined the Department of Structural Engineering at Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Architecture, where he became a professor in 1989 and retired in 2004.
During his years at Mimar Sinan University, Ökten was interested in the history of science, the history of technology and building technologies, in addition to his studies on structural engineering, and he made studies on the social effects of engineering. He shared the results of these studies with his graduate students in his lectures.
Ökten had 4 children from his marriage with Mrs. Meriç, whom he married in 1969.
Among the important personalities Ökten knew from his father's neighborhood, who shaped him from his childhood and contributed to his world of ideas and thoughts;
* Fethi Gemuhluoğlu, whom he had the opportunity to meet in his youth and whose ideas he stated that he benefited from in the important decisions he made in his life, guided him with his wisdom and prudence and enveloped him with his love,
* His teacher Mahir İz, who left important traces in his life, who always saw the beautiful and conveyed these beauties to those around him, who set an example not only with his words but also with his life,
* Nurettin Topçu, whose advice made him decide on engineering, whom he said, "I put him in a very important place in my life. He is in a very important place among the people who built me; he actually built me."
Ökten, who thinks that these people spoke the truth, portrayed a beautiful life and lived beautifully, expresses that today he tries to walk in the light of the path they paved and continues to say what they said: "This knowledge, wisdom and love cannot be hidden. It emanates from you. They did this publicity and we still continue on our way with the lights of that group. We try to tell people what they say..."
If we list his works according to their publication dates,
Collectively published Housing and Housing Architect (2003),
A comparative account of the emergence of capitalism in the West and Turkey There's Cola in My Cup! (2014),
He describes his childhood and youth and the family environment in which he grew up. From the Battered Ottoman Empire to the Hope of Civilization (2014),
A compilation of his writings on art published in various magazines Tradition, Art and Civilization (2015),
Based on Yahya Kemal's fourteen poems, while presenting us the Istanbul he lived in through his poems, he wrote about the changing and transforming aspects of the Istanbul he witnessed and lived in with his own perception, feelings and emotions. Yahya Kemal's Istanbul and More (2015),
Again, based on Yahya Kemal's poetry, his evaluations of today and yesterday Thoughts and Feelings with Yahya Kemal's Wind (2015),
In which he deals with the concept of "city" in all its dimensions I Have a Shopping Mall Inside (2015),
He talks about the family elders who built his personality and the events that shaped his life. Portraits from My Life (2016),
Translation of "A short history of western civilization" by John B. Harrison and Richard E. Sullivan "A Brief History of Western Civilization" (2017),
While presenting his thoughts and experiences on art, he also evaluates two different artistic adventures by comparing the art of Islamic civilization and the art of the modernist West with examples. "There is actually an Art" (2019),
Kemal Sayar's books published in the series "Akisler from the Sadness of the Heart", in which he wrote his conversations with Sadettin Ökten in his radio program, are " I Came to Earth to Go" (2019), "Watching the Moment with Love " (2020) and "We came to the world to sigh for a lover" (2021).
In addition to these works, Sadettin Ökten has many lectures, conferences, interviews, television and radio programs on the vision of civilization, city, culture and civilization.
In recent years, he has been focusing on his readings and studies in the field of civilization, and he occasionally shares his thoughts in this field both in his books and in conferences, interviews, written and visual media.
In 2020, Sadettin Ökten was deemed worthy of an award in the field of cultural history of the Presidential Culture and Art Grand Awards, which are given to individuals or institutions who strive for the elevation of Turkey's culture and arts, who have made a significant contribution to Turkish cultural and artistic life, and who have demonstrated outstanding talent with their original works or services.
According to Ökten, in order to live, human beings have to determine certain values, make certain assumptions and believe in them. This is a vision of civilization and makes life livable. Values are shaped according to this reference and the behaviors that carry values into life are also the work of this reference system. In fact, the sanctions applied when values are not respected also belong to those values.
According to Ökten, the concept of civilization is a belief system, but it is not only a belief system. It also refers to how the faith is to be put into practice, it tells the ways, it constructs the procedures, the manners, the principles. It is a promise, a manifesto, an understanding... A civilizational vision consists of a hierarchical system of values. Defines behaviors and behavioral style. When it is reflected in life, that is, when our preferences and our ability to choose come into play, 'culture' emerges.
People know, comprehend and believe, love and believe in the vision of civilization... Otherwise, there will be no behavior in the direction of that vision. In this way, a structure emerges that people both know intellectually and perceive, feel, in old terms, appropriated and believe in with love. With this structure, people, societies move. For this to happen, certain fundamental values must be embraced and loved by all levels of society so that a united movement can emerge. An order is necessary to keep society away from sedition and chaos, to ensure order, in other words, to ensure the 'cosmos'. This system is called 'civilizational imagination'.
Sadettin Ökten talks about two visions of civilization alive today. One is Western civilization, whose system of values is based on individualism and rationality, which is bleeding day by day in the impasse of secularism, and which is putting modern man and the whole world into a crisis; the other is Islamic civilization, whose essence and system of values is based on morality, right, justice, love, compassion and mercy, and which is centered on service to humanity, and which has survived, albeit damaged.
Ökten sees the Ottoman interpretation of Islamic civilization as a great richness for today, as it has the historical accumulation and experience that exists in our tradition. However, he clearly states that Islamic civilization has not been able to renew itself in the face of the new conditions brought by modernity for a long time, that there is no stability for our own civilization when we look at the shape and form that currently exists, and that it cannot get rid of the unstable and in-between psychology between two civilizations. Talking about a vision of a civilization that is alive, he says that as times change, it is necessary to transform the form while remaining faithful to the essence.
Ökten, who always expresses his hope for the future, believes that the adherents of Islamic civilization can once again make a civilizational move as they have done in history, that the Fate of Allah (God's destiny) cannot be prevented in this regard, and that the only system that can offer a prescription for salvation against the crisis of civilization, which is the predicament of the global world, is the Islamic system of values.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the most influential intellectuals of the Islamic world in the East and West, was born in Tehran in 1933 into a family of physicians and scholars. Nasr's great-grandfather was the famous scholar Mullah Sayyid Ṣāqī Poshtmashhadī of Kāshān, whose tomb is next to the tomb of the Safavid King Shah Abbas. The name "Nasr", meaning victory or help, was given to his grandfather by the Shah of Iran himself.
His father, Seyyed Waliyullah Nasr, besides his service as a doctor to the royal family , he also served as the riyāsā of the education system for a while and contributed to the transformation of the Iranian education system into a modern line . He was also instrumental in drafting the constitution in the 1906 parliament.
Ms. Nasr's mother, Ms. Ashraf, who graduated from the only girls' institute of the time and became one of the first modern educated women of Iran, came from the Tabātabāʾī family, to which some of Iran's most important scholars belonged.
Seyyed Hussein Nasr, who had a very colorful childhood due to the intellectual environment of his family, was introduced to figures such as Firdawsī, Nizāmī, Sādī, Mawlānā and Hāfiz and their works at a very young age. In 1945, with the decision of his family, he went to the United States to complete his education. Nasr started his education at the Hightstown Peddie School in New Jersey and lost his father soon after. In 1950, he graduated with the "Honor" award given to the most successful students. In the same year, he was accepted to The Massachusetts Institute of Technology / M.I.T. on a scholarship and moved to Boston. While studying in the physics department of M.I.T., Nasr also studied advanced mathematics and studied science and philosophy by attending the lectures of the Italian philosopher and historian of science "Giorgio Santillana". Nasr transferred to Harvard for his dissertation and completed his thesis in geology and geophysics, and worked in the fields of crystallography and oceanography. Very impressed by Giorgio de Santillana and his lectures, he switched to the history of science department He chose "Islamic Conception of Nature" as his thesis topic . In 1953, he began teaching at Harvard as an assistant to Richard N. Frye. He completed his thesis with the title "Conceptions of Nature in Islamic Thought".
Despite being offered a lectureship at Harvard, Nasr decided to return to Iran in 1958 and served as the director of the library of the Faculty of Literature at the University of Tehran and as dean (1968-1972) and vice rector at the same university.
In 1972, he was appointed rector of Aryamehr Scientific and Technical University and served as rector until his illness in 1975. In 1973 he was elected to the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy. In this Academy, of which he later became the president, he was involved in the training of doctoral students, seminars, conferences, journals and books. When the work of the Academy became internationalized, he was elected to the executive committee of the Fedaration International des Societes Philosophiquesfor 10 years. In addition to these activities, he was also the chairman of the Regional Council for Development , the Great Cultural Institute formed by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, and frequently traveled to Turkey. In 1962 and 1965 he was a visiting professor at Harvard University and in 1964-65 he was a professor at the Aga Khan Chair in Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut.
From 1958 until the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Nasr worked intensively, conducting seminars, conferences, television programs and serving on many academic boards. He wrote many articles and books, mainly in Persian and English, sometimes in Arabic and French. Nasr married Suzan Danisverî, the daughter of a prominent family like himself, who completed her education in America and England, and had two children, Sayyid Veli Reza and Leyli.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr was in London to represent his country at the Iranian Arts Exhibition in Tokyo when he received the news of the Iranian Revolution. After spending some time in London, he joined the Middle East Center at the University of Utah (March 1979). He then accepted an offer from Temple University and moved to Philadelphia.
Throughout his scholarly career, Nasr has carried out important studies on religion-science relations, philosophy of science and Islamic science. The Gifford lectures he gave at the University of Edinburgh in 1981 were published as a book in the same year under the title Knowledge and the Sacred. These conferences, held in Glasgow, Scotland, are considered a great honor for a thinker. In 1999, TheLibrary of Living Philosophers Series published an edition of Nasr, the first Muslim scholar to receive the Templeton Religion and Science Course award, which included a number of his works and focused on his understanding of science. Nasr has written a number of books and articles on the relationship between religion and science in general and Islam and science in particular. His 1964 doctoral dissertation An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines is one of the first works written in the field of Islamic cosmology.
Published in 1968, Science and Civilization in Islam brought the concept of "Islamic Science" to the agenda. Discussing the meaning of science within the Islamic worldview, Nasr analyzes the achievements of the Islamic scientific tradition in fields such as medicine, astronomy, mathematics, algebra, chemistry, physics, geography and natural science. This work is based on primary sources and it remains an important concise work on the position of science in Islamic civilization.
An Annotated Bibliography of Islamic Science [Açıklamalı İslam Bilimi Bibliyografyası], which he compiled with William Chittick in three volumes, provides an extensive analysis of works on the history of Islamic science in Western languages.
Published in 1976, Islamic Science: An Illustrated Study is Nasr's most important work in the field of Islamic science. This is one of the most important works to present Islamic science, its philosophical premises, history and development using visual materials, illustrations and diagrams. Nasr also discusses the relationship between Islam and science in his works Islamic
Life and Thought(1981), The Young Muslim's Guide to the Modern World (1993) and The Islamic Intellectual History in Persia (1994).
Nasr is also one of the leading experts on the relationship between religion, science and the environmental crisis.
is one of the names. When The Encounter of Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man, published in 1968, was one of the first works to predict the devastating consequences of the environmental crisis. This study is a philosophical critique of the modern concept of nature, which is conceived as an ineffective element to be usurped and captured by modern science and technology.
As an important figure of the Traditionalist School, Nasr deals with science in both material and spiritual contexts. In this respect, in Knowledge and the Sacred, published in 1981, and The Need for a Sacred Science, published in 1993, he focuses on the revival of a 'sacred science' [scientia sacra] by emphasizing the intertwining of physics, rational and natural sciences under the umbrella of metaphysics.
Since 1984, Nasr, who continues his studies at the George Washington University Chair of Islam; Religion, Philosophy, Sufism within the circle of wisdom, More than fifty books and hundreds of articles in fields such as Philosophy and History of Science, Comparative Religions, Islamic Art, Tradition In addition, he is considered one of the most important Muslim scholars of our time with the students he has trained by supervising master's and doctoral theses. It has been the source and inspiration for many postgraduate studies in our country.
Those who are well acquainted with his work say that "we are facing a contemporary Mullah Sadra or Suhrawardi in the sense that the common perspective he uses on different disciplines, whether in his work on the philosophy of science or in his work on Islamic philosophy, is always the 'Sufi perspective'". Nasr makes the following assessment of his work on the systematics of thought:"My thoughts cannot be understood without knowing the role that Sufism has played in my life both philosophically and spiritually."
Against critical views that define him philosophically as a "medievalist", Nasr says that although he prefers medieval philosophers to modern philosophers, it would be more accurate to define him as a "Traditionalist" rather than this definition that confines him to a time period, and emphasizes that his understanding of philosophy should be based on "wisdom" and "irfân" in a traditional way.
According to Seyed Hussein Nasr, who is the editor and consultant of many works in the field of Islamic Art and one of the names who offers a new "reading" in this field, "Islamic Art is not only the earthly crystallization of the spirit of Revelation, but also a reflection of the heavenly truths on earth, a reflection such that with its help the Muslim journeys beyond his earthly surroundings to the Divine Glory itself, that is, to Haqq, the beginning and the end of this art.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr says, "Wherever I traveled intellectually, if I found a philosophy rooted in Divine Truth, I felt at home there. I soon realized that wherever the 'Divine' is to be found, in whatever form it manifests itself or in whatever language it says 'I am', that is my spiritual home." Nasr describes the highest level of knowing God as follows: "Lâ Ilâhe illâllah", the expression of faith in Islam. It means that there is no god but Allah. Every human being understands this sacred phrase according to his level of consciousness and comprehension. But at the highest level it means that there is no other truth than the Divine Truth. At the end of the path we realize that there is no us, there is no world, there is only God, and all other things are but manifestations of this one eternal Truth..."