Azərbaycanda Milli-Mənəvi Dəyərlər Və Ümumbəşəri Dəyərlər

Cultural variability, socialization and individual difference come first in the formation of values. While it constitutes the national-spiritual values that are unique to the nations; the meeting of other nations in common values creates universal values. Especially in Azerbaijan, national-spiritual values brought by belief and culture are widespread, while universal values function with the influence of the West. It is understood that the continuation of both types of values is necessary for the continuity of the culture and belief of the nations and for the continuation of the ethical and social order. In this respect, it is concluded that families and educational institutions have important duties in the permanent transfer of these values to other generations. This study discusses both national-spiritual and universal values in detail with current academic studies.

The article “National-Spiritual Values and Universal Values in Azerbaijan” was prepared within the scope of the project "Introducing National Spiritual Values with Scientific Articles in English" with the financial support of the State Support Agency for Non-Governmental Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the initiative of the Socio-Economic Research Public Union.

Keywords: National-Spiritual Values, Universal Values, Azerbaijan


Values, which have a very broad meaning, reflect the individual's awareness and perspective on life (Akbaş, 2008). As the meaning of the term; It is defined as “deep beliefs that guide them to decide on just, right, just or desirable matters” (Alparslan, Yastıoğlu, & Taş, 2017, p.134). It is also expressed as the value concept of principles and beliefs accepted by the majority of society. The most general meaning is the methods chosen to distinguish between good and bad (Balcı & Yanpar Yelken, 2010).

Many researchers have discussed that values are effective in directing the life of the individual and that they have the power to direct the formation of behaviors (Yel & Aladağ, 2012). Considering that values are related to mental processes that affect actions and thoughts, they significantly affect one's perspective on life. In this respect, it can be accepted that there are values behind the behavior (Demircioğlu & Tokdemir, 2008). Values can be the precursors of behaviors and can be guiding. For example, which behavior is better, more beautiful; decides which ones are not according to their values (Hökelekli, 2006). It has been emphasized that although values are related to attitudes and beliefs, they are more comprehensive than both (Demircioğlu & Tokdemir, 2008). In this context, experiences are effective in shaping or changing values (Güngör, 2000). In addition, the constant change of society necessitated a re-examination of values. The emergence of new situations may pave the way for new ones to emerge instead of losing the importance of previous values.

According to the social psychologist Schwartz (1992), who is known for his work on values, socialization and individual difference are at the forefront along with cultural variability. Considering that the contribution of cultural orientations in general is more in the studies carried out, the culture that shapes the values is accepted as one of the basic elements. As cultures can vary, it is possible for values to vary according to societies (Smith & Schwartz, 1997). However, in fast-developing societies, as the use of mass media increases and the similarity in social sharing increases, common or universal values become more evident. Therefore, it is understood that the search for universal values is sought in new studies.

In Azerbaijan, which is among the developing and western-eastern cultures, studies on values are popular and have been one of the areas of interest of many researchers. Basic values in Azerbaijan; seen as “safety, benevolence, universalism and compliance with rules”

On the other hand, in rapidly changing individual societies, it can be said that "individualism and success" replace values (Ballı & Koca Ballı, 2014). Therefore, in recent years, in Azerbaijan, where the influence of individualism and politics along with traditionalism is high, new values have been sought and even existing values have been questioned. In this regard, the values "Sincerity and Togetherness", "Productivity and Success" and "Universal Values and Excitement for Life" developed under the name of "value scale" by Cesur et al. (2018) can be examples of some of these. These new values show the positive change of cultural variables in individuals' perception of values (Alparslan et al., 2017; Ercan and Sığrı, 2015).

Cultural understanding has a great role in shaping the values in Azerbaijan. It can be said that Azerbaijan, which is located in the Islamic geography, has adopted Islamic values to a large extent and these have the greatest effect on the formation of values. In addition, the unifying role of the Islamic lifestyle between societies with different nations makes the formation of values important. In this sense, when examining values in Azerbaijan, it is useful to examine both national-spiritual values and universal values together.

This study evaluates national-spiritual and universal values. The influence of the Islamic understanding on the national-spiritual values of Azerbaijan, especially in the Islamic geography, is undeniable. Universal values, on the other hand, started with the emphasis on human rights in the West, and their transfer to other societies has become acceptable to everyone. However, it is useful to limit it or review it again.


Values, above all, are among the basic needs of society. Islam, which reveals clear lines or certain patterns in this regard, creates a common sharing especially for individuals to establish healthy relationships with others and to meet the needs of other groups (Bensaid & Tekke, 2018). In this context, the Islamic belief system has an impact on the development of the individual's spirituality and human relations and on the shaping of values. For example, active and dynamic values such as mutual interaction and healthy communication between groups, embracing differences, equality, and humility are at the forefront. In addition, it is seen that the personal development of the individual is the most important factor in reinforcing the values and transforming them into an effective one.

In order to protect the moral, moral and social values of the community, belief, life, reason, human lineage, property, dignity, environment, justice, freedom and human-social relations must be sustainable. These Islamic ideals, faith, health, life, reason, wealth, freedom, justice, environment, such as nurturing the common interests and adhering to the principles of sustainable common life and maintaining intergroup effectiveness form the core of the social structure. Sustainable interaction and change are indispensable for national-spiritual values.

These above ideals reflect the innate human inclination to make life easier, provide comfort and avoid pain, avoid discomfort and hassle, and add value to life, health, and wealth. In this respect, Islamic values suggest that for a sustainable life, people must control all obstacles and prejudices that may endanger their common interests and determine the laws of life that ensure their human connection. Common interests are advantageous not only for the welfare of society, but also for human needs, personal development of the individual.

In the light of its integrative nature, Islamic values shape national-spiritual values, while combining the innate human tendency with the aesthetics of reason and society, it reveals an ethical and social order. For example, lending a helping hand to the less fortunate, caring for neighbors, guiding and visiting relatives, doing business with others, showing dignity, acting with trust and forgiveness, visiting the sick, attending funerals, and avoiding harassment and abuse from others and developing friendly personal relationships. Similarly, avoiding gossip, malicious intent, and harmful conversations that represent negative behavior can be examples. In this way, adherence to Islamic values is to demonstrate honesty, togetherness, self-image, virtue and social status that contributes well to others, and Islam helps human life to maintain balance over difference and separation, inevitably by acknowledging human needs, passions and aspirations.

Interestingly, Islam is not concerned with ignoring human differences or mitigating the vested rights of people, but rather with fostering self and gratitude, justice and compassion. For example, Islam has a high regard for work, property, and profit. Similarly, it explains the positions of men and women on gender. In Islamic literature, power is determined not by being a man or a woman, but by individual success and experience. Gender does not confer special privileges or preferences. Emphasis is placed on the principle of constructive common values such as love, compassion and compassion. This coincides with the value understanding of our age. Individuality and success, especially emphasized both in Azerbaijan and in the West; personal development and working and helping others seem to be valuable virtues.

For the elderly and disabled, who represent the cornerstones of society, it accepts the dimension of experience that corresponds to old age, along with spirituality, wisdom and high honor. Thus, old age is not seen as a burden but as having a rewarding experience. In this respect, Islam, which adopts respect for the elderly, establishes a high social respect status for elderly individuals. Islam also takes moral, ethical and legal measures to ensure fair treatment and compassion, displaying the core values of honor, courtesy, respect, appreciation, convenience, support, solidarity and service (Bensaid & Grine, 2014). In this way, besides establishing justice on rights and needs, it makes a great contribution to the formation of spiritual values that transcend religious, ethnic and cultural differences and opinions.

Moreover, Islam seeks to lead a life of respect and dignity, and to strengthen the spiritual and moral culture of the society, its social functions, and enrich the dignity for the elderly. At the same time, Islam emphasizes the necessity of showing gratitude to society, creator and health, comforting and socializing people with disabilities, sharing welfare, accepting invitations and integrating with society. In addition, it creates social awareness of values such as philanthropy, hospitality, patriotism, heroic dignity and fondness for freedom, which are among the national-spiritual and moral values of the society.

These Islamic ideals, which take their place in society as national-spiritual values, appear as the common values of Muslim societies. Although it is debatable that these are practiced by Muslims in daily life, the adoption of these values by Islam can be expressed as values that must be reached by Muslims. These spiritual values not only make societies strong, but also aim to ensure the happiness and peace of individuals.

In addition to the magnitude of the effect of the belief in the individual's inner world and providing positive interaction, it also ensures that the values are more consistent and stronger. It is possible that the belief that touches the soul and the heart can transform the values into positive. The reason why values cannot reach the desired level in our country is the inadequacy of putting our belief into practice as expected and required. The fact that Islamic values and understandings do not receive enough attention from Muslims and therefore are not implemented creates many problems in terms of values. Honesty and honesty values, which are accepted as the basic values of social life, are only a few of them. The fact that the belief that touches our lives is not applied in a real sense and on the contrary remains superficial and not put into practice in our lives can cause individual inadequacies and social weaknesses.

Inadequacy in values can be shown as the fact that the needs of individuals in their developmental stages are not met in a healthy way by their environment. Every parent wants their children to grow up in line with their own understanding and belief and guides them accordingly. If the parent makes this direction in a healthy and positive way, his child is expected to exhibit positive values. On the other hand, when insufficient support is provided by the parent, confusion or confusion of values is most likely to occur. In this respect, the most fundamental factor in the development of national-spiritual values, the role of the environment, namely the parent, is very important. For example, in Japan, which is one of the eastern cultures where cultural values are important, an extra effort is made for children to gain cultural and life values in family and later schools. The result of this is the emergence of a responsible generation that is bound to its cultural values. In this context, the permanence of national-spiritual values depends on generations to acquire these values.

In case of interruption in the nurturing of the values that continue in the family and after school, it will create a gap in the value acquisition of the individual. In particular, the understanding of secularism, which directly interferes with the living of culture, beliefs and traditions, can cause dramatic results in this regard. Although this may seem like a confusion of belonging and identity at the beginning, the behavior, feelings and thoughts of the malnourished individual may conflict with their own tradition, belief and culture (Ismail & Tekke, 2015). According to the studies, it is seen that individuals who are raised with values education have positive contributions both to themselves and to the society. On the other hand, it has been determined that individuals who are not adequately supported have a tendency to show problematic behavior in the society. Especially helping, tolerating, individual and interpersonal harmony and maintaining the social order can be given as examples. Individuals deprived of these gains may have negative effects on society.

The most basic requirement for acquiring national values is to adopt it. While these values are being transferred to new generations, it is necessary to re-evaluate and adopt them instead of changing the values depending on the change of the age. For the new generation, the continuation of some national values may seem bigoted. For example, if the elderly, disabled and pregnant women are accommodated in public transport, they may abstain and exhibit negative attitudes towards some young people. It is of great importance that individuals accept themselves first in many values that directly affect their social life. According to Gouveia et al. (2008), values can be transformed into functional ones based on the needs of humanity and social demands. Within this, two functional approaches have been developed: (1) the element that motivates the individual's pragmatic and idealistic needs (materiality and humanism), and (2) the element of orientation that guides the behavior of individuals or groups (social, central and personal). It is argued that these two situations make values functional by gaining "excitement, promotion, existence, interaction, transpersonal and normativity". In this regard, it is argued that the individual's adoption and internalization of values is directly effective.

Since it is accepted that national-spiritual values are generally mixed with culture, working not only for ourselves but also for the benefit of others makes our values different as well as highlighting them. Although universal values accept to be humane, the scope of this is limited and the interests of other people may not always be prioritized. First of all, the moral values brought by culture and belief make cooperation necessary or compulsory and everyone can run to the needs of people and people in need with the thought that they can reach someone who is more needy than themselves. For example, the statement "he who sleeps while his neighbor is hungry is not one of us" is one of the clearest indicators of this situation. In particular, such values not only ensure socialization in society, but also aim to strengthen social ties with others.

Education takes into account national-spiritual values and makes its planning. Discussions on this are more about how and which values should be taught to students, rather than whether values are taught or not. From this point of view, there are different views on whether it is a stereotypical value education understanding or an irregular value understanding. For this reason, while some educators argue that it is appropriate to impose it by constantly repeating and recommending in order for individuals to improve their behaviors, some educators, on the contrary, argue that this situation does not give all values to the individual, but to develop potential values. In this respect, discussions and research on how to teach effective values are still continuing. If we look at the aims of the values education program, it is aimed for the individual to adopt not only the value judgments of the society they live in, but also the values of the different societies of our globalizing world. In this, it is seen that the views and attitudes of the trainer on value transfer or values are important. For example, according to the results of the study conducted by Memiş and Gedik (2010) on 295 classroom teachers in Zonguldak, it was seen that our female teachers attach more importance to values such as "courage, creativity, freedom" than male teachers. Our male teachers, on the other hand, gave more importance to the value of "being strong" than our female teachers. They attach the same importance to the values of "helpfulness and tradition". According to the age factor, young teachers gave more importance to values such as "power and enjoying life" compared to older teachers. According to their marital status, single teachers gave more importance to values such as "power, prestige, wealth and enjoying life". In another study, with the participation of 4627 teachers in Malatya, their ideas about values were tried to be determined. When the findings were examined, it was seen that senior teachers attach great importance to items such as "doing sports, buying luxury vehicles" and they care less about "a high-income job, doing sports, spending time with family and having close friends". It was determined that female teachers were higher and more consistent than male teachers. It was observed that teachers in general attach more importance to the values of “a happy marriage, spending time with my family” than other values. As a result, there were differences in teachers' perspectives on life and perceptions of values in factors such as men and women, married and single, young and old.

There are researchers who classify values teaching approaches in different categories. It is generally evaluated in two groups: Value transfer approaches and value development approaches (Meydan, 2014). Value transfer approaches are the acceptance of the values accepted by the existing society rather than the finding of one's own truth. These approaches are more instructor-centered. The places where these occur are mainly family, school, university and other educational institutions. Value development approaches are approaches that aim at getting to know oneself and creating a system of values based on one's individuality and experiences. In this approach, it is the situation where individual experiences overlap with universal values. In this respect, it is necessary for the student to create his own values while giving values education.

In this way, the education given both in the family and in the educational institutions is important in terms of obtaining a certain attitude and gain of the individual. Ensuring social cohesion and determining and maintaining common values show that education is important. It is accepted that the lack of this situation causes social problems. It is clearly understood that educational strategies are important in acquiring national-spiritual and universal values. For example, it has been seen that the values learned through role model, experience are more permanent. In this respect, it will be important for teachers to determine a way by considering these factors while giving values education.

Value transfer approaches are necessary in transmitting national-spiritual values from generation to generation. If a generation sees and adopts the culture, tradition and lifestyle of its ancestors, it is expected to try to apply it. Motivational factors and educational strategies have a great deal of separation in getting that generation ready for it. Especially when intrinsic motivation is identified with the achievement in life, the maintenance of that value becomes permanent.


If a list of values were made, perhaps many new value concepts could be created. For example, as a result of a study conducted in twenty countries, Schwarts (1992) made ten value definitions as value types. In the formation of values, it is important for the individual to understand himself and think in accordance with the cultural life of the society he lives in. In this way, the role of culture is of great importance, given the influence of the environment in shaping values. For example, the environment may ask the individual to carry the desired values according to his philosophy of life. These can help the development of the individual, in other words, to know himself and to perceive the environment at the same time. From this point of view, the establishment of values in the individual requires a long process. In this context, it is important that values gain meaning with the effect of other factors rather than a meaning alone (Çelik, 2004). The fact that these factors are national, national values and their combination with other societies constitute universal values.

In general, values specific to culture are called national values. Especially in eastern, conservative and collectivist societies, the effect of culture and belief on values seems to be dominant. On the other hand, universality is the evaluation of the common shares of Western and Eastern cultures within the framework of human rights. The fact that different cultures and nations live together with each other or the increase in refugees due to tragedies has also brought the understanding of universal values to the fore. Here, too, the main purpose is to share in common among people of different cultures and beliefs, and to show understanding and respect for each other. It is human-centered and maintaining human freedom, happiness and well-being. The universal moral principle aims to ensure that nations live together in happiness, prosperity and democracy, in line with the framework determined by the world human organization.

It is seen that there are core values that unite within the framework of universal values. Many countries have reached a consensus around common values (Doğanay, 2011). The formalization of universal values has had a significant impact on the European Union. Efforts are made to spread values such as human rights, human value, freedom and democracy. Some of the universal values can be listed as follows: Peace, equality of opportunity, fundamental freedoms, respect for others, compliance with the law, personal responsibility (Topsakal, 2004).

Assuming that universal values are related to the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights", it is accepted as the protection of equality, freedom and dignity of all human beings. Especially within the framework of religious and moral values, the values of “justice, compassion and forgiveness” have been accepted as universal values (Kinniers, Kernes, & Dautheribes, 2000). According to researchers, universal value; It is classified as “being in something greater than oneself, self-respect, humility, self-discipline and personal responsibility, respect for others and protecting other living things and the environment”. However, a consensus has been reached on taking the universal values of democracy as the basic principle in practice (Tanaka, 2007).

Nations that are highly integrated with the West, especially the Eastern nations, started with the West as a wannabe, and then accepted their lifestyle, and it has been a case of reconsidering the understanding of values and thus tending to the West. Although this is interpreted negatively, there are of course also positive aspects. The West's understanding of positivity makes a significant contribution to the value understanding of other societies. Especially the acceptance and learning of English, which is the most spoken language in the world, by other nations facilitates people's information sharing and interaction. Effective communication and international dialogue with a language accepted as a common language strengthens mutual interaction.

In the twenty-first century, where international interaction has increased, it is seen that people meet each other more than ever before. When countries announce the number of visitors as annual tourists, it is generally seen that this is increasing every year. This shows that different groups met and mingled with different nationalities. In this context, the need for universal values is greater than ever for nations to communicate and develop in a healthy way. For example, people are concerned about visiting countries that do not sufficiently adopt universal values. In this respect, universal values are indispensable for societies with international status.

It can be said that the universal values that have developed within the framework of the collective understanding of the world and the human rights brought by it have not diversified much. With this thought, historical and cultural differences can integrate societies in a more liberal pattern (Wieviorka, 2013). It is evident that the struggle for universal values, especially initiated in western societies, has spread to all societies. In this way, it is argued that universal values can be prevented from national values. At this point, some Western researchers (eg Donnelly, 2007; Pollis & Schwab, 2006) state that this is not true. As emphasized at the beginning, values with strong interaction of cultures may need to vary in different societies. In this respect, the universal values accepted in the West may not be fully valid in other societies, especially in third world countries. There is a prevailing view that human rights, which are accepted as a universal value, should be re-evaluated (eg Donnelly, 2007; Pollis & Schwab, 2006). For example, although freedom, human rights and democracy are indisputable universal values and seem to be universal values adopted by other societies, it is emphasized that universal values should be restricted and anthropological values should be increased (Donnelly, 2007). In fact, universal values that are assumed to be ontological values have aspects that do not match with anthropological values. In this way, it is thought that an understanding that considers both ontological and anthropological values will serve global peace and global order more effectively (Tanaka, 2007).

However, other fast-developing and growing societies outside the West are beginning to experience common problems with the West. For example, homosexuality, which is a popular topic, is starting to become a topic of discussion in other societies. In this context, considering the necessity of being universal even for values contrary to cultural and religious differences, it has led to the need to take a common step. Similar situations are approached with a common mind and similar solutions are developed. This may be that universality surpasses all values and takes societies to the brink of a new formation. In other words, universal values may show that there is a risk of going beyond national-spiritual values, the extinction of cultural and traditions, or the risk of minimizing or even disappearing. The importance of establishing and sustaining this balance is obvious.


With its holistic approach to internal and external processes in both personal and interpersonal relations, Islam emphasizes the necessity of individuals and groups to carry sustainable values. Awareness of one's personal responsibility gives spirituality to one's appreciation of the dignity and equality of one's own human race. In interpersonal relations, the individual's responsibility towards society depends on taking cultural factors into account. In this way, it is understood that Islam can provide the necessary framework for shaping personal and interpersonal relationships. In other words, Islam has a great role in the formation of values such as "Sincerity and Togetherness", "Productivity and Success" and "Universal Values and Excitement for Living" in order to develop mutual understanding and coexistence. However, Islamic life goes beyond culture and contributes to universal values.

Belief, one of the main factors affecting the values of nations (Weber, 1993), offers individuals life, thought and behavior models. When the existence of negative emotions and thoughts in the subconscious of a person is always accepted, there is no doubt that beliefs are a directing and regulating mechanism for them. In this context, it draws a map of national-spiritual values, behavior or values to nations. In particular, concepts such as human rights, law and justice make it necessary to try to live truly universal values.

In the "value scale" study developed by Cesur et al. (2018), five important values emerged as "fair sharing and virtues", "traditional values", "sincerity and togetherness", "productivity and success" and "universal values and excitement for life". . According to this study, national-spiritual values are included in the traditional values factor. Universal values, on the other hand, are considered as a separate factor on their own. Apart from these values, since the importance of individual values in today's studies is taken into account, there is a restructuring and balance of values. In this context, since individualism and the value of success are accepted as a new value in our age, it is understood that they are directly related to both national-spiritual and universal values. At the same time, fair sharing and virtues and sincerity and togetherness values can also be evaluated within these two value types.

The values mentioned above are so important that the importance of national-spiritual and universal values for the continuity of a society cannot be denied. For social happiness as well as individual happiness, it is beneficial to increase the activities that provide the importance of religion, justice, tradition, customs, language and culture in accordance with the structure of the society. It is concluded that moral, traditional, social, religious values, national values, customs and traditions, universal values can be integrated and become inseparable from each other, since values have the characteristics that lead to happiness over time.

While adopting universal values, the individual should not ignore his own national-spiritual values, and he should even continue and protect the life specific to his own culture. A very clear example of this is that countries such as Japan and Korea have adopted universal values while maintaining their own cultural values. This has helped those nations to progress in every field in a real sense. On the other hand, many individual and social problems occur primarily in the generations of societies that neglect their own history, customs, and national-spiritual values from their religion. For example, situations such as identity confusion in Muslim countries that have adopted secularism are clearly seen in the new generations, their inadequacy in national-spiritual values.

As a result, the structural development of values and the roles of influential factors have been tried to be discussed in detail in this study. The fact that there are problems in the implementation of national-spiritual values on a country basis makes it necessary to reevaluate both family life and education strategies. Since the family and the school are a whole and it is impossible to think separately, the education that starts in the family should be continued with the school and efforts should be made to raise a healthy individual. Children tend to gather information about their environment and make sense of it, as a necessity of curiosity, which is one of the distinctive features of childhood. In this period, raising awareness of national-spiritual values by family and school at a sufficient level has critical importance in terms of sustainability of values. In the meta-analysis findings, it was determined that cognitive-based education is higher in the acquisition of values when compared to emotional-based education (Parks-Leduc, Feldman, & Bardi 2015). It is argued that being a conscious role model gains values in childhood, which is inclined to curiosity, learning and discovery. In this respect, the place of two basic institutions such as family and school is indispensable in the establishment of national-spiritual values. In this context, we should know our values as our essence and apply them under all conditions in order to minimize the problems encountered in society, to ensure unity and integrity, in short, in order to transfer our values that make us who we are, from generation to generation. While doing this, it will be of great benefit to maintain universal values in order to protect both national-spiritual values and international status.






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