Turkey publishes Islamic Encyclopedia on the internet

“And if all the trees that are in the earth were pens, and the ocean were ink, with seven oceans swelling it thereafter, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely, Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Qur’an 31:28)

The Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV) has published a 44-volume Islamic Encyclopedia on its website. The Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation’s Islamic Encyclopedia, arguably one of the most important collections of Islamic knowledge published in contemporary times, is now available on the Internet.

The encyclopedia project, which was first started in 1983 and released its first volume in 1988, was completed in December, having produced a total of 44 volumes. It was collected with the help of over 2000 experts and scholars on Islam.

Covering a wide range of topics from Islamic sciences, history, geography, culture and civilisations, the encyclopedia contains 15,226 titles, quoting around 500 sources. When sub-headings are including, the number of titles increase to 16,855.

It also contains sociological information about the Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia, as well as information about Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries.

Although the encyclopedia is in Turkish, as well as proving to be a vital source for Turkish-speaking scholars, the encyclopedia will also prove an important source for all academics seeking enlightenment on all matters related to Islam.

Comment by Zia Shah

An electronic version of the Encyclopedia of Islam has been published by the Turkish Religious Foundation. The Turkish Religious Foundation (TDV) Encyclopedia of Islam includes entries of more than 2,000 well educated Islamic and foreign scholars. TDV’s Encyclopedia of Islam is a comprehensive work, which aims to meet the needs of both the general public and academics.

In 1983, after finding other encyclopedias to be generally inadequate and full of unsubstantiated facts, TDV began arrangements to publish an Encyclopedia of Islam. Following five years of preparations, the first volume of the TDV Encyclopedia of Islam was published in 1988.

With a total of 44 volumes, the TDV Encyclopedia of Islam is a completely original publication with newly organized entries covering topics such as philosophy, history, culture and language. The encyclopedia also includes entries on music, calligraphy, historical movements, significant cultural institutions and other religions and people who influenced Islamic culture and civilization.

The final list of 15,226 entries draws on 500 primary sources from more than 2,000 Islamic and foreign scholars. The encyclopedia also touches on religion, politics, art and literature in the Islamic world, significant Muslim cities and countries, and Islamic communities.

Associate Professor Ahmet Özel, a member of TDV’s administrative board and the vice chairman of the committee responsible for the encyclopedia, underlined that the encyclopedia is a credible source for academics and laymen alike, though particular focus was placed on academic standards during the compiling process.

Starting in 1988, publication of the first volume of the encyclopedia was completed in 12 months. The second and third volumes were published in nine and seven months, respectively. The publication process then gained momentum and each of the following volumes took six months to publish. The 44th and most recent volume was published in Dec. 2013.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the introduction ceremony, held at Haliç Convention Center. Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah iS ler, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag, Interior Minister Efkan Ala, and Head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez were also among the guests at the ceremony. Speaking at the ceremony, Görmez described the encyclopedia as a ‘civilization project’ that encourages scholars of Islam to improve their studies.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2014 on page no. 20

We hope you liked this report/article. The Milli Gazette is a free and independent readers-supported media organisation. To support it, please contribute generously. Click here or email us at

blog comments powered by Disqus