Author: Devin Stewart
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Genre: Literary Collections
A masterful overview of Islamic law and its diversity Al-Qadi al-Nu'man was the chief legal theorist and ideologue of the North African Fatimid dynasty in the tenth century. This translation makes available for the first time in English his major work on Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh), which presents a legal model in support of the Fatimid claim to legitimate rule. Composed as part of a grand project to establish the theoretical bases of the official Fatimid legal school, Disagreements of the Jurists expounds a distinctly Shi'i system of hermeneutics. The work begins with a discussion of the historical causes of jurisprudential divergence in the first Islamic centuries and goes on to engage, point by point, with the specific interpretive methods of Sunni legal theory. The text thus preserves important passages from several Islamic legal theoretical works no longer extant, and in the process throws light on a critical stage in the development of Islamic legal theory that would otherwise be lost to history.
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2017-09-05
Lyrical biographical sketches of the concubines of ancient Baghdad Consorts of the Caliphs is a seventh/thirteenth-century compilation of anecdotes about thirty-eight women who were consorts to those in power, most of them concubines of the early Abbasid caliphs and wives of latter-day caliphs and sultans. This slim but illuminating volume is one of the few surviving texts by the prolific Baghdadi scholar Ibn al-Sa'i, who chronicled the academic and political elites of his city in the final years of the Abbasid dynasty and the period following the cataclysmic Mongol invasion of 656 H/1258 AD. In this work, Ibn al-Sa'i is keen to forge a connection between the munificent wives of his time and the storied lovers of the so-called golden age of Baghdad. Thus, from the earlier period, we find Harun al-Rashid pining for his brother’s beautiful slave, Ghadir, and the artistry of such musical and literary celebrities as Arib and Fadl, who bested the male poets and singers of their day. From times closer to Ibn al-Sa?i’s own, we meet women such as Banafsha, who endowed law colleges, had bridges built, and provisioned pilgrims bound for Mecca; slave women whose funeral services were led by caliphs; and noble Saljuq princesses from Afghanistan. Informed by the author’s own sources, his insider knowledge, and well-known literary materials, these singular biographical sketches bring the belletristic culture of the Baghdad court to life, particularly in the personal narratives and poetry of culture heroines otherwise lost to history.
Author: Ibn al-Jawzi
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2015-01-02
Genre: Literary Collections
First Prize, Arabic to English Category, for the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding (Doha, Qatar) Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H/855 AD), renowned for his profound knowledge of hadith—the reports of the Prophet’s sayings and deeds—is a major figure in the history of Islam. Ibn Hanbal’s piety and austerity made him a folk hero, especially after his principled resistance to the attempts of two Abbasid caliphs to force him to accept rationalist doctrine. His subsequent imprisonment and flogging became one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval Islamic history. Ibn Hanbal’s resistance influenced the course of Islamic law, the rise of Sunnism, and the legislative authority of the caliphate. Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is a translation of the biography of Ibn Hanbal penned by the Baghdad preacher, scholar, and storyteller, Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H/1201 AD). It includes insights into Ibn Hanbal’s childhood, travels, and teachings, as well as descriptions of his way of life. This second and final volume gives a vivid account of Ibn Hanbal’s legendary confrontation with the caliphal Inquisition, including his imprisonment, trial, and flogging. Ultimately, it recounts how the people of Baghdad came to admire him as a symbol of Sunni Islam.
Author: Ibn Qutaybah,
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2017-04-04
The Excellence of the Arabs is a spirited defense of Arab identity—its merits, values, and origins—at a time of political unrest and fragmentation, written by one of the most important scholars of the early Abbasid era. In the cosmopolitan milieu of Baghdad, the social prestige attached to claims of being Arab had begun to decline. Although his own family originally hailed from Merv in the east, Ibn Qutaybah (213-76 H/828-89 AD) locks horns with those members of his society who belittled Arabness and vaunted the glories of Persian heritage and culture. Instead, he upholds the status of Arabs and their heritage in the face of criticism and uncertainty. The Excellence of the Arabs is in two parts. In the first, Arab Preeminence, which takes the form of an extended argument for Arab privilege, Ibn Qutaybah accuses his opponents of blasphemous envy. In the second, The Excellence of Arab Learning, he describes the fields of knowledge in which he believed pre-Islamic Arabians excelled, including knowledge of the stars, divination, horse husbandry, and poetry. And by incorporating extensive excerpts from the poetic heritage—“the archive of the Arabs”—Ibn Qutaybah aims to demonstrate that poetry is itself sufficient corroboration of Arab superiority. Eloquent and forceful, The Excellence of the Arabs addresses a central question at a time of great social flux at the dawn of classical Muslim civilization: what did it mean to be Arab?
Author: Ibn al-Jawzi
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2016-10-04
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H/855 AD), renowned for his profound knowledge of hadiths—the reports of the Prophet’s sayings and deeds—is a major figure in the history of Islam. He was famous for living according to his own strict interpretation of the Prophetic model and for denying himself the most basic comforts, even though his family was prominent and his city, Baghdad, was then one of the wealthiest in the world. Ibn Hanbal’s piety and austerity made him a folk hero, especially after he resisted the attempts of two caliphs to force him to accept rationalist doctrine. His subsequent imprisonment and flogging is one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval Islamic history, and his principled resistance influenced the course of Islamic law, the rise of Sunnism, and the legislative authority of the caliphate. The Life of Ibn Hanbal is a translation of the biography of Ibn Hanbal by the Baghdad preacher, scholar, and storyteller Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H/1200 AD), newly abridged for a paperback readership by translator Michael Cooperson. Set against the background of fierce debates over the role of reason and the basis of legitimate government, it tells the formidable life tale of one of the most influential Muslims in history.
A Treasury of Virtues is a collection of sayings, sermons, and teachings attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40 H/661 AD), the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, the first Shia Imam and the fourth Sunni Caliph. An acknowledged master of Arabic eloquence and a sage of Islamic wisdom, Ali was renowned for his eloquence: his words were collected, quoted, and studied over the centuries, and extensively anthologized, excerpted, and interpreted. Of the many compilations of Ali’s words, A Treasury of Virtues, compiled by the Fatimid Shafi'i judge al-Quda'i (d. 454 H/1062 AD), arguably possesses the broadest compass of genres and the largest variety of themes. Included are aphorisms, proverbs, sermons, speeches, homilies, prayers, letters, dialogues, and verse, all of which provide instruction on how to be a morally upstanding human being. The shorter compilation included here, One Hundred Proverbs, is attributed to the eminent writer al-Jaziz (d. 255 H/869 AD). This volume presents the first English translation of both of these important collections.
Author: Sari Nusseibeh
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Release Date: 2016-11-09
In The Story of Reason in Islam, leading public intellectual and political activist Sari Nusseibeh narrates a sweeping intellectual history—a quest for knowledge inspired by the Qu'ran and its language, a quest that employed Reason in the service of Faith. Eschewing the conventional separation of Faith and Reason, he takes a fresh look at why and how Islamic reasoning evolved over time. He surveys the different Islamic schools of thought and how they dealt with major philosophical issues, showing that Reason pervaded all disciplines, from philosophy and science to language, poetry, and law. Along the way, the best known Muslim philosophers are introduced in a new light. Countering received chronologies, in this story Reason reaches its zenith in the early seventeenth century; it then trails off, its demise as sudden as its appearance. Thereafter, Reason loses out to passive belief, lifeless logic, and a self-contained legalism—in other words, to a less flexible Islam. Nusseibeh's speculations as to why this occurred focus on the fortunes and misfortunes of classical Arabic in the Islamic world. Change, he suggests, may only come from the revivification of language itself.
Author: Devin J. Stewart
Release Date: 1998
Stewart points to an underlying tension in Shi'ite intellectual history between assimilationist and nativist impulses in the debate over consensus, dissimulation, and in the lives of certain Shi'ite scholars who lived and studied among Sunnis. One of the most far-reaching developments in the history of Islam was the rise of the four classic Sunni schools of law between the ninth and eleventh centuries CE. Consolidation of these schools went hand in hand with the establishment of jurists' dominance over religious discourse and social institutions. Orthodoxy came to be defined as the consensus (ijma') of the Sunni jurists. Devin Stewart argues that it is to the margins of the emerging system that investigators must look to understand its historical dynamics. The development of Twelve Shi'ite jurisprudence in relation and reaction to the Sunni schools is particularly informative. In Islamic Legal Orthodoxy, Stewart explores the process by which Shi'ite jurists participated in the mainstream of Islamic jurisprudence and were influenced by Sunni legal doctrines. He identifies three main reactions to Sunni legal definitions of othodoxy and the concept of consensus on which it was based. The Akhbaris rejected Sunni legal consensus and juristic authority for a scripture-based system; many Shi'ite outwardly accepted the ground rules of Sunni legal consensus and joined the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence; a third option was to adopt the concept of consensus to create a "fifth," Shi'ite, legal system. The development of the Sunni legal system effectively set the ground rules for the marginal sect's negotiation of their identity with respect to Islamic legal orthodoxy. Accordingly, Shi'ite jurists developed a legal institution that is structurally similar to the four Sunni madhhabs and even today serves as means to position themselves in the Muslim world. Stewart points to an underlying tension in Shi'ite intellectual history between assimilationist and nativist impulses in the debate over consensus, dissmulation (taqiyyah) and the lives of certain Shi'ite scholars who lived and studies among Sunnis.
Author: Wael B. Hallaq
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2009-07-09
The study of Islamic law can be a forbidding prospect for those entering the field for the first time. Wael Hallaq, a leading scholar and practitioner of Islamic law, guides students through the intricacies of the subject in this absorbing introduction. The first half of the book is devoted to a discussion of Islamic law in its pre-modern natural habitat. The second part explains how the law was transformed and ultimately dismantled during the colonial period. In the final chapters, the author charts recent developments and the struggles of the Islamists to negotiate changes which have seen the law emerge as a primarily textual entity focused on fixed punishments and ritual requirements. The book, which includes a chronology, a glossary of key terms, and lists of further reading, will be the first stop for those who wish to understand the fundamentals of Islamic law, its practices and history.
Author: Bruce Fudge
Publisher: NYU Press
Release Date: 2016-09-06
Genre: Literary Collections
Known to us only through North African manuscripts, and translated into English for the first time, A Hundred and One Nights is a marvelous example of the rich tradition of popular Arabic storytelling. Like its more famous sibling, the Thousand and One Nights, this collection opens with the frame story of Shahrazad, the gifted vizier’s daughter who recounts imaginative tales night after night in an effort to distract the murderous king from taking her life. A Hundred and One Nights features an almost entirely different set of stories, however, each one more thrilling, amusing, and disturbing than the last. In them, we encounter tales of epic warriors, buried treasures, disappearing brides, cannibal demon women, fatal shipwrecks, and clever ruses, where human strength and ingenuity play out against a backdrop of inexorable, inscrutable fate. Although these tales draw on motifs and story elements that circulated across cultures, A Hundred and One Nights is distinctly rooted in Arabic literary culture and the Islamic tradition. It is also likely much older than Thousand and One Nights, drawing on Indian and Chinese antecedents. This careful edition and vibrant translation of A Hundred and One Nights promises to transport readers, new and veteran alike, into its fantastical realms of magic and wonder.
Author: M A Muqtedar Khan
Publisher: University of Utah Press
Release Date: 2007-08-28
Genre: Political Science
After 9/11, many Americans took the view that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the leading edge of a new war: Islam versus the West. Yet the attacks were also part of the current struggle within Islam between fundamentalist and moderate approaches and were staged for maximum effect in the Muslim world. This book is based on a special-topic issue of the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (Fall 2005), and brings together prominent Muslim voices from the policy and academic communities to debate the nature of moderate Islam and what moderation means in both a theological and a geopolitical sense. Participants reflect on the future of political Islam, its role in Muslim politics, western policies in the Muslim world, and the future of American-Muslim relations. This book and the debate it presents are vital to understanding these complex issues.
Al-Dawoody examines the justifications and regulations for going to war in both international and domestic armed conflicts under Islamic law. He studies the various kinds of use of force by both state and non-state actors in order to determine the nature of the Islamic law of war.
Providing a comprehensive and accessible examination of Shari’ah Law, this well considered introduction examines the sources, characteristic features and various schools of thought of a system often stereotyped for its severity in the West. In a progressive and graduated fashion, Mohammad Hashim Kamali discusses topics ranging from juristic disagreement to independent reasoning. Also broaching more advanced topics such as the principle of legality and the role and place of Shari’ah-oriented policy, Kamali controversially questions whether Islam is as much of a law-based religion as it has often been made out to be. Complete with a bibliography and glossary, and both a general index and an index of Arabic quotations, this wide-ranging exploration will prove an indispensable resource for Islamic students and scholars, and an informative guide to a complex topic for the general reader. Professor Dr Hashim Mohammad Kamali is the Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC) at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.
Author: Efraim Karsh
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2013-09-24
From the first Arab-Islamic Empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire, the story of the Middle East has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams. So argues Efraim Karsh in this highly provocative book. Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region's experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam's millenarian imperial tradition. The author explores the history of Islam's imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day. September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh. The House of Islam's war for world mastery is traditional, indeed venerable, and it is a quest that is far from over.
The essays brought together in Islam, Law and Identity are the product of a series of interdisciplinary workshops that brought together scholars from a plethora of countries. Funded by the British Academy the workshops convened over a period of two years in London, Cairo and Izmir. The workshops and the ensuing papers focus on recent debates about the nature of sacred and secular law and most engage case studies from specific countries including Egypt, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Pakistan and the UK. Islam, Law and Identity also addresses broader and over-arching concerns about relationships between religion, human rights, law and modernity. Drawing on a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches, the collection presents law as central to the complex ways in which different Muslim communities and institutions create and re-create their identities around inherently ambiguous symbols of faith. From their different perspectives, the essays argue that there is no essential conflict between secular law and Shari`a but various different articulations of the sacred and the secular. Islam, Law and Identity explores a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the tensions that animate such terms as Shari`a law, modernity and secularization