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Islam before Modernity

Aḥmad al-Dardīr and the Preservation of Traditional Knowledge


This book examines the role of tradition and discursive knowledge transmission on the formation of the ‘ulamā’, the learned scholarly class in Islam, and their approach to the articulation of the Islamic disciplines. This book argues that a useful framework for evaluating the intellectual contributions of post-classical scholars such as Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Dardīr involves preserving, upholding, and maintaining the Islamic tradition, including the intellectual “sub-traditions” that came to define it.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4380-7
  • *
Publication Status: Forthcoming
Publication Date: Mar 2,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 380
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4380-7
$130.00
Your price: $104.00

This book examines the role of tradition and discursive knowledge transmission on the formation of the ‘ulamā’, the learned scholarly class in Islam, and their approach to the articulation of the Islamic disciplines. The basis of this examination is the twelfth/eighteenth century scholar, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Dardīr, an Egyptian Azharī who wrote highly influential treatises in the disciplines of creedal theology, Mālikī jurisprudence, and taṣawwuf (Sufism). He also occupied a prominent role in the urban life of Cairo, and is accredited with several incidents of intercession with the rulers on behalf of the Cairo populace. This book argues that a useful framework for evaluating the intellectual contributions of post-classical scholars such as al-Dardīr involves the concept of an Islamic discursive tradition, where al-Dardīr’s specific contributions were aimed towards preserving, upholding, and maintaining the Islamic tradition, including the intellectual “sub-traditions” that came to define it.

This book examines the role of tradition and discursive knowledge transmission on the formation of the ‘ulamā’, the learned scholarly class in Islam, and their approach to the articulation of the Islamic disciplines. The basis of this examination is the twelfth/eighteenth century scholar, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Dardīr, an Egyptian Azharī who wrote highly influential treatises in the disciplines of creedal theology, Mālikī jurisprudence, and taṣawwuf (Sufism). He also occupied a prominent role in the urban life of Cairo, and is accredited with several incidents of intercession with the rulers on behalf of the Cairo populace. This book argues that a useful framework for evaluating the intellectual contributions of post-classical scholars such as al-Dardīr involves the concept of an Islamic discursive tradition, where al-Dardīr’s specific contributions were aimed towards preserving, upholding, and maintaining the Islamic tradition, including the intellectual “sub-traditions” that came to define it.

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ContributorBiography

Walead Mosaad

Dr. Walead Mohammed Mosaad is a specialist in Islamic theology law, and ethics. He obtained his PhD from the University of Exeter (UK) in 2017 and has studied with traditionally trained scholars throughout the Muslim world, including Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

Table of Contents (v) 
Acknowledgments (ix) 
Chapter 1. Introduction (1)
Islam before Europe (1) 
The Islamic Notion of Tradition (10) 
The Political and Social Climate in Ottoman Egypt at the Time of al-Dardīr (26) 
The Cultural and Intellectual Climate at the Time of al-Dardīr (34) 
Primary Sources (40) 
Al-Dardīr’s Writings (41) 
Al-Dardīr’s Upbringing (45) 
Conclusion (52)
Chapter 2. Al-Dardīr and the Foundations of the Islamic Educational Paradigm (53) Introduction (53) 
Intellectual Genealogies, Hermeneutics and Sunni Authoritativeness (61) 
Arabic Hermeneutics (71) 
The Thabat of al-Dardīr and his Education (79) 
Al-Dardīr and the Tradition of Taḥqīq (89) 
Definitions (93)
Tarjīḥ (weighted preference) of opinions within the Ash‘arī school (96)
Exposition of Differences between Ash‘arī and Māturīdī Theologies (98)
Al-Dardīr’s Understanding of Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy (99)
Relationship of Rational Affirmations and Spiritual Realisations (103)
Chapter 3. Al-Dardīr’s Sufi-Theology: Synthesis of Kalām and Taṣawwuf Epistemologies (107) Introduction (107)
Al-Dardīr’s Sources of Knowledge (109)
The Ontology of the Intellect (111)
The Epistemology of the Intellect (113)
The Ash‘arī Tradition in the Later Period (117)
Al-Dardīr’s Understanding of God and His Divine Attributes (126)
The Waḥdāniyya (Oneness) of God (134)
Causation and Divine Omnipotence (136)
Divine Essence and Divine Existence (143)
Ta‘alluqāt (cosmic connections) and ‘Ilal (existential causes) (147)
Al-Dardīr’s Synthesis and the Sharī‘a-Ṭarīqa-Ḥaqīqa Paradigm (157)
Waḥdat al-Wujūd (158) 
Hierarchical Approaches to Tawḥīd (164) 
Ṭarīqa and Ḥaqīqa (166)
Chapter 4. Weighted synthesis (tarjīḥ) and al-Dardīr’s Methodology Regarding the Fiqh Tradition (175) 
Introduction (175)
Jurisprudence and Madhhabism (176) 
The Synopsis-Commentary-Gloss genre (mukhtaṣar-sharḥ-ḥāshiya) in the Mālikī Tradition (182)
Al-Dardīr’s Commentary on the Mukhtaṣar of Khalīl (202) 
Khalīl’s Terminology in the Mukhtaṣar (205)
Other Commentaries of the Mukhtaṣar of Khalīl (209)
Analysis of al-Dardīr’s Major Commentary on the Mukhtaṣar (211)
Al-Dardīr’s Mukhtaṣar: Aqrab al-Masālik (225)
Structure (228)
Departure from the Mukhtaṣar of Khalīl (232)
Al-Dardīr’s Methodology of Legal Plurality Minimisation (234)
Chapter 5. Al-Dardīr: ‘Ālim, Sufi, and Intercessor for the Masses (241)
Introduction (241)
The ‘Ulamā’ in the Ottoman Egypt of al-Dardīr (255)
Al-Dardīr: Quietest or Activist? (261)
Al-Dardīr the Mufti and Leader of al-Azhar (270)
Al-Dardīr the Sufi Murshid (277)
Conclusion (288)
Conclusions (293)
Appendix. Translation of al-Dardīr’s Minor Creed (297)
Bibliography (301)
Primary Sources in Manuscript (301)
Primary Sources in Print (301)
Secondary Sources (312)
Index (331)
Arabic Terms (331)
General Terms (337)