Within the framework of the Academy Conference, İDE (IIT) hosted the conference with the topic “How do personalities and mentalities influence the formation and evolution of religious groups?” held Friday afternoon, April 19, 2024, by the keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ali Büyükkara. 

The opening speech was conducted by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Görmez, who emphasized the fact that nowadays, in the digital era, everyone has the right to find his/her own ideology or sect.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ali Büyükkara started by picturing the present reality in different areas and from different perspectives, from local to global, in the matter of following only one kind of ideology and religious point of view, the risk of which brings people to closeness and close-mindedness. He later gave us a timeline of the formation and development of different sects and Islamic schools of thought. He added that religious groups or sects show different manifestations under the influence of different mentalities and factors and complete their formation and development in this way. Büyükkara drew special attention to the question of where mentality leads people in terms of religion and emphasized the effect of the following issues:

⇒ Differences in the interpretation of the teachings,

⇒ Differences in the interpretation of classical texts,

⇒ Differences such as the formation of different perspectives when looking at history.

On the other hand, he emphasized that rationalist, imitative, scholastic, and intuitive mentality types also affect the formation of religious groups. He pointed out that three main currents emerged in this context: traditionalism, reformism, and modernism. 

He also pointed out that the mental worlds of different religious groups can also change with the change of time and space factors and the influence of other groups, pointing out the dynamism of this situation and citing schools such as Ikhwân-ı Safa, Shi'ism, Illuminationism, and Hanafism as examples in Islamic thought.

He concluded by mentioning the importance of reforms in the context of the Islamic school of thought, which does not fight with the past and with culture and tradition but opens a new perspective to the roots of religion by respecting the principles.  

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ali Büyükkara was among the founders of the Faculty of Theology at Marmara University and served as its dean. Büyükkara, who has focused his studies on Shi'ism, contemporary Salafism, contemporary Islamic currents and movements, religion-politics relations, and classical theological schools, has various publications in his field in local and foreign languages. Among them are the books titled The Struggle for Imamate and the HashemitesSaudi Arabia, and Wahhabism, The History of the Occupation of the Kaab, Ahl al-Bayt and Ahl al-State, and Contemporary Islamic Movements.