Scholars


azm

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

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.

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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.

mernissi
by Scheherazade Bloul, Morocco World News, Monday 30 November 2015

Rabat – One of Morocco’s most celebrated feminist writers and sociologists passed away aged 75, on Monday.

Born in 1940, in Fes, Fatima Mernissi became known for her significant contributions in the literary field through which she focused on reconciling traditional Islam with progressive feminism.

The author of classics such as Beyond the Veil, The Veil and the Male Elite, Islam and Democracy and countless more publications, the campaigner for women’s rights gained international attention for her work on Islam and women. (more…)

Yale University Announces Gift to Establish Center for Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School

Yale University President Peter Salovey and Yale Law School Dean Robert C. Post announced today a $10 million gift to create the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School.

This generous gift is from Abdallah S. Kamel, chief executive of the Dallah Albaraka Group, LLC, a banking and real estate enterprise based in Saudi Arabia.

“Mr. Kamel’s extraordinary generosity will open up exciting new opportunities for Yale Law School and for the entire university,” said President Salovey. “The Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization will enhance research opportunities for our students and other scholars and enable us to disseminate knowledge and insights for the benefit of scholars and leaders all over the world.”

The center will bring prominent scholars of Islam to the Yale campus for public lectures, seminar discussions, visiting fellowships, and visiting professorships, attracting students from the Law School and other schools at the university to its lectures and other opportunities for collaboration.
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An interview with Tariq Ramadan

Interviewed by Hasan Azad, The Islamic Monthly, April 15, 2015

Hasan Azad: Muslims in the West are facing a great deal of scrutiny and questioning as to their “loyalty” to the countries of their citizenship and belonging. You have argued that the greatest challenge to such rhetoric is a committed citizenship on the part of Muslims that is engaged and contributes to the welfare of the wider community. And yet, there is a prevalent narrative amongst Muslims—which seems to me to be a vestige of old narratives of “us” vs. “them”—that makes many Muslims prefer to help Muslims in other countries, than help local communities and people in need, who may or may not be Muslim: as you have noted, poverty and suffering knows no religion or creed. How can Muslims reclaim the Prophetic imperative of caring for the neighbor, over and above identitarian-pettiness, which will only exacerbate the waves of Islamophobia that Muslims are experiencing?

Tariq Ramadan: This is what I’ve been saying for almost twenty-five years: we have to come back to the fundamentals and the principles of Islam. Understanding that there is something very important in our way of dealing with space: that anything that has to do with practicing religion has to do with where you are, and it is related to your neighborhood. For example, when the Quran refers to: “Those who, if We settle them in the land, establish prayer and give regular charity, promoting what is good and resisting what is bad” (Quran 22:41), what is important is that with the vertical dimension of prayer it means that when you pray somewhere you signify in symbolic terms, which are also practical, that this is home for you. This is what the sociologist Jocelyne Cesari has argued regarding the misunderstanding started in the West when people saw Muslims building mosques, and saw them as colonizing the space. It was in fact the opposite. It was an acknowledgement that we are home. It’s not to colonize, it’s to settle down, it’s to be part of the landscape.

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Thinking About Tradition, Religion, and Politics in Egypt Today

by Talal Asad, Critical Inquiry

I have used the term “tradition” in my writings in two ways: first, as a theoretical location for raising questions about authority, time, language use, and embodiment; and second, as an empirical arrangement in which discursivity and materiality are connected through the minutiae of everyday living.[1] The discursive aspect of tradition is primarily a matter of linguistic acts passed down the generations as part of a form of life, a process in which one learns/relearns “how to do things with words,” sometimes reflectively and sometimes unthinkingly, and learns/relearns how to comport one’s body and how to feel in particular contexts. Embodied practices help in the acquisition of aptitudes, sensibilities, and propensities through repetition until such time as the language guiding practice becomes redundant. Through such practices one can change oneself—one’s physical being, one’s emotions, one’s language, one’s predispositions, as well as one’s environment. Tradition stands opposed both to empiricist theories of knowledge and relativist theories of justice. By this I mean first and foremost that tradition stresses embodied, critical learning rather than abstract theorization. Empiricist theories of knowledge assert the centrality of sensory experience and evidence, but in doing so they ignore the prior conceptualization carried by tradition. My sensory experience is incommensurable with yours. It is only through language (integral to a shared form of life), and the conceptualization that language makes possible, that we can develop argument and knowledge as collective processes. Critique is central to a living tradition; it is essential to how its followers assess the relevance of the past for the present, and the present for the future. It is also essential for understanding the nature of circumstance, and therefore the possibility of changing elements of circumstances that are changeable. Relativist theories of justice assert that “justice” is simply the name for the norms that actually guide and regulate a people’s form of life. And yet what other people consider to be justice is part of the circumstance that confront the followers of every living tradition. As such it constitutes a challenge to every critical tradition, an invitation to change contingent aspects of one’s tradition, or of the circumstances in which it is embedded, or both. This is not a challenge of abstract theories but of embodied (and yet criticizable) ways of life.

For the rest of this article, click here.

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