Thread: How did the Umayyad Caliphs understand & articulate their own religio-political status to their subjects & competitors? Crone & Hinds work remains one of the best resources in English for this. Below I share some excerpts from "God's Caliph".
Mu'awiya, the son of Abu Sufiyan who was the Prophet Muhammad's arch nemesis & adversary, styled himself as God's Caliph with no reference to Prophet Muhammad. Mu'awiya said: "The Earth belongs to God and I am the Deputy of God" per Balahduri.
Mu'awiya likewise styled his son Yazid, the killer of Imam al-Husayn, as God's Caliph "over His worshippers". Yazid was declared by his supporters to be "the Imam of the Muslims and Khalifa (deputy) of the Lord of the Worlds."
The Umayyads regarded themselves as divinely-appointed Caliphs in a divinely sanctioned line & as "tent pegs of religion". They saw Uthman as the 1st true Caliph, not Abu Bakr & 'Umar. Crone believes the Prophet's special prominence actually undermined Umayyad Caliphal claims
Umayyad al-Hajjaj reportedly said God's Caliph is greater in rank than God's Messengers: "Abd al-Malik is the Khalifa of God & he is more honored to God than His Messengers." (Hajjaj via Baladhuri). He said people should circumambulate 'Abd al-Malik instead of Prophet's tomb
Al-Hajjaj reportedly argued that a man's deputy is higher in status than his messengers. Khalid al-Qasri argued likewise: that God regards the Caliph as being higher than His prophets.
According to al-Walid's letter, the Caliphs are parallel to the Prophets in their divine authority; they lay down sunna, hukm, hudud, fara'id & huquq. The Caliphate is not a "second rate" successor to the Prophet; it is equal to Prophethood in manifesting God's authority & rule
Umayyad Caliph al-Walid in his letter stresses absolute unqualified obedience to the Umayyad Caliphs, who are God's chosen Caliphs and inheritors of the legacies of the Prophets. God gave the Caliph mastery over the people and no one can question the Umayyad Caliph's position.
Apart from claims to being God's Deputies on earth, the Umayyad poets styled the Umayyad Caliphs as Rightly Guided Mahdis: 'Umar II was called 'the blessed one' (mubarak) who is Mahdi; they were also called "just Imams" (imam 'adl) who fill the earth with justice, rahma & rain.
Umayyad supporters also described the Umayyad Caliphs as the Refuge ('isma) or secure Fortress by which people cling to God. This is close to the Imami Shi'i concept of the Imams being ma'sum. Umayyad supporters praise Mu'awiya, Yazid & Umayyads as the Rope of God (habl) in Quran
Finally, Umayyad poets & supporters refer to Umayyad Caliphs as being like the Qibla by which humans are guided to salvation; Farazdaq says the Umayyad ruler is the Imam of Guidance who gives God's guidance & light (akin to how Quran describes Torah & Injil), & rain for succor.

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More from @KhalilAndani

5 Jun
When did the Sunnis first adopt the view that the Four Madhhabs were equally legitimate/orthodox? The Prophet's time? The early Caliphs? Did the Prophet foretell the birth of Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i & Ahmad b. Hanbal? Who canonized these four schools as comprising Ahl al-Sunna
Believe it or not, there was no "Sunni consensus" over what comprises Ahl al-Sunna even into the late 11th century where fist fights & riots broke out between Hanbalis & Ash'ari-Shafi'is in Baghdad. Abu Nasr al-Qushayri (an Ash'ari) had to bring bodyguards to his lectures
The first instance of "equality" between the Four Madhhabs was a top-down imposition by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1256 when he appointed four Chief Qadis (1 from each school). In other words, what would become the Sunni legal paradigm was a political not scriptural imposition
Read 7 tweets
4 Jun
Enjoyed listening to .@holland_tom ‘s take on historical Muhammad. While I don’t agree with all of your theory, I think your take was balanced compared to ultra revisionist theories & raises important questions.…
There are intra Muslim theories of Quranic revelation & prophecy from ancient & modern Muslims that are less mechanistic than the verbatim dictation model you spoke to. I’ve studied some in my dissertation - which I’m currently working into a book.
The Quran is arguably ambiguous on the mechanics of prophetic revelation - often called Wahy - which one can plausibly read to mean “nonverbal inspiration” as opposed to verbatim dictation.
Read 6 tweets
19 May
This chart received unexpected amount of engagement. I appreciate the critiques: some are warranted & some are not. It is not a perfect chart but I stand by it as a teaching tool & starting point to show intra-Muslim diversity. Some critique I am happy to take on board: (thread)
@MM_Knight makes a good point that the chart appears to show genetic origins - as if a "Sunni" family subdivided into madhabs & other groups, which is not correct. I agree on this. Will consider a better way to capture the history.
Others noted that the visual order of Sunni madhahib do not follow chronology of their 'founders'. This is true; chart did not presume to offer a historical narrative but more of a snapshot at a time (today).
Read 8 tweets
18 May
Thread: I created this chart to present the internal diversity of Islam from an inclusive & pluralist lens. This is how I teach Islam in the academy. I have tried to show important branches that emerged from larger groups -even if said branches no longer identify as Muslim
The Sufi Turuq & Theological schools in this chart are NOT meant to appear as separate from Shia & Sunni, but rather, as embedded within those branches. That is why the Sufi & Kalam schools are not in boxes, since their ideas pervade many communities.
Some people are freaking out because I included Quranists, Progressives, Salafis, and Ahmadis under the Sunni umbrella. That is because, for the most part, these groups emerged from the Sunnis - even if there is debate over whether they are still Sunni.
Read 8 tweets
21 Feb
.@shadihamid to ensure I don’t misrepresent you, here are parts of the book where you make descriptive claim re Muslim beliefs in the Quran as “God’s actual direct & literal speech” & that this makes Islam exceptional. What follows are my academic disagreements with you (thread):
If “Quran” means the recited Arabic sounds/letters/verses, then only Hanbalis & Mu’tazili say the Arabic Quran is God’s direct literal speech. Asharis, Maturidis, Ibn Sina, Ismailis & some Sufis believe God’s Speech is nonmaterial/uncreated & created Arabic Quran indicates to it
To be specific, Ashari & Maturidi theologians to this day say that Arabic Quran as words & verses is not God’s direct speech. It’s a created expression mediated by Gabriel or some other medium. Some believe God inspired His immaterial speech in Gabriel who then forms the words.
Read 11 tweets
21 Feb
@shadihamid with respect; your claim is not accurate. Only Hanbalis say Quran’s words (oral / written) are God’s direct uncreated speech. Asharis/Maturidis/Ismailis/Philosophers ontologically distinguish Quran’s Arabic words from God’s Speech/Word. My entire thesis is about this
Further; Ashari & Maturidi & Ismaili views of Quranic ontology affect their Quranic hermeneutics & ethical theory. See Vishanoff & Farahat’s work and mine as well
There were early Christians fathers & later Christians who do affirm verbal biblical inspiration / dictation as well. One can’t validly claim Muslims are unique in this nor can you claim Muslim inerrancy beliefs are not paralleled among Christians.
Read 6 tweets

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