juwayni

David R. Vishanoff has recently published online A Critical Edition, English Translation, and New Commentary on Imām al‑Ḥaramayn al-Juwaynī’s Leaflet on the Sources of Law
(Kitāb al‑Waraqāt fī uṣūl al‑fiqh).

“For an English-speaking student who wishes to understand the theory behind Islamic law, the first step is to read an introductory legal theory text such as Muslim students traditionally read and memorize in the Arab world. The Kitāb al-Waraqāt fī uṣūl al-fiqh, or Leaflet on the Sources of Law, attributed to the Khurāsānī Shāfiʿī Ashʿarī scholar Imām al-Ḥaramayn Abū al-Maʿālī ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī Muḥammad al-Juwaynī (d. 1085), is a good choice, for two reasons.

First, it is brief, yet covers all the main concepts, terms, and principles of the classical Islamic discipline of legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh), which explains the scriptural “roots” or “sources” (uṣūl) from which the detailed rules of Islamic law (fiqh) derive their authority, and the interpretive process that connects each rule to its sources. It defines what law and legal theory are, then explains how to analyze the language of Muslim scriptures (how to translate commands into laws, and various ways to resolve contradictions between texts), and then goes on to describe several other tools that one can use when scripture does not provide a clear rule (e.g. textual criticism and reasoning by analogy). It concludes with a description of who is qualified to use legal theory, and how certain they can be about the conclusions they reach.

Second, it is representative of mainstream Sunnī views that dominated legal thought in al-Juwaynī’s day and that are still widely accepted today…”

click here to go to the website.

pierre

Pierre Cachia 1921-2017

Pierre Cachia slipped away peacefully on 1st April, a few days shy of his 96
th birthday, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. With the passing
of this key architect of Arabic studies who made modern Arabic literature a
serious academic subject in both the UK and US, those of us who have
studied and worked with him will not only mourn the loss of a friend,
teacher, and mentor, but also the irretrievable era in which a first
generation of post-War American and European Arabists and Orientalists made
tremendous strides in fashioning academic studies of modern Arabic
literature into what it is today: grounded in native fluency of the Arabic
language, informed by real experiences lived in close proximity with Arab
writers and storytellers, and took seriously the concerns and priorities of
Arab scholars, critics and intellectuals.

Born in Faiyum (Fayyum) on 30 April 1921 to Maltese father and Russian
mother, Pierre grew up in Upper Egypt. He successively attended French,
Italian, Egyptian and American schools before he enrolled at the American
University in Cairo, where he earned his BA degree. After war service with
the British 8th Army in North Africa, Italy and Austria, he moved to
Scotland. He received his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh in 1951
and joined its Faculty. He was appointed Professor of Arabic Language and
Literature at Columbia University in 1975 and would remain there until he
retired in 1991. However, he continued to teach and write, and in fact he
published many of his important works after retirement. He wrote scholarly
articles and books on a variety of subjects, translated classical and
modern literary and critical works, and published other scholars in *Journal
of Arabic Literature*, which he co-founded and on whose editorial board he
served for many years.
(more…)

azm

The loss of a true intellectual. May he rest in peace as the world he loved continues to spiral in conflict.

zabbaleen

There is a recent documentary on the Zabbalin garbage collectors of Cairo, produced by RT.

muscle
Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the sporting activities in the Zurkhaneh were declared inappropriate. Nowadays, however, they have become a symbol of Iranian national pride.

Persia’s “power houses” packed a punch
Qantara

Varzesh-e Zurkhaneh-i, (literally, the sport of heroes in the house of power). The ancient Iranian Zurkhaneh gymnasia have their roots in customs and traditions that date back to the country’s pre-Islamic past. This selection of early photographs portrays the world of the Zurkhaneh athletes from 1789 to 1925.

worth

A post about the famous 14th century Mamluk text of al-Nuwayri, with a new English translation of excerpts from this classic compendium now available.

weapons

For an animated video of the weapons used by all sides in Syria, click here.

by Ben Watson, Defense One, July 19, 2016

From chlorine gas to Kalashnikovs, barrel bombs to cruise missiles, the Syrian conflict shows what 21st-century militaries and armed groups can bring to bear.

The Assad regime’s bloody reaction to the 2011 Arab Spring ignited one of the most lethal rebellions in modern history, placing it in the crosshairs of more than 1,000 armed groups: rebels, Kurds, defectors, extremists and countless others, including foreign military experts. Taken together, the opposition is better equipped than any the world has seen in generations, according to Charles Lister, Middle East analyst and resident fellow at the Middle East Institute.

“Syria represents the Afghanistan of the 21st century, but on steroids. The scale of jihadist militancy in Syria is one thing; the capability that they have acquired,” Lister said, “is at least in my opinion unprecedented in modern history.”

The weapons on display in the Syrian war include some of the world’s most advanced and deadly, thanks to the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State and Russia’s own arrival in 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the war; the UN stopped counting at 191,000 three years ago, but estimates range from a quarter million to at least 470,000. The conflict has uprooted half of Syria’s pre-war population, scattering five million people beyond its borders.

logoon

Onomasticon Arabicum (OA) is a long-living database project. This new online-version informs on more than 15000 scholars and celebrities from the first Muslim millenary. Its entries in Arabic are compiled from ancient biographical dictionaries, a veritable treasure of Islamic culture. Crossed search allows separate interrogation on any of the different elements of the Arabo-Muslim names, dates and places, reconstructing the identity of a person, trace ways of knowledge transmission and frame historical contexts.

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