🧵 How can I tribute a man who was perhaps the greatest scholar of our generation? A man who didn’t need ‘Shaykh’ or ‘Mufti’ before his name. A man who was an entire league his own. Taha Karaan. May Allah have mercy on his soul.
His unparalleled intelligence, sharp memory and impressive credentials aside, Shaykh Taha Karaan was a man whose warmth of character would melt the hardest of hearts.
In 2017, I had the honour of meeting him one evening in Birmingham. He delivered a talk ‘Preserving Faith in Times of Tribulation’ (link below), then sat down to give time to students and scholars.
Five criteria must be met for a hadith to be classed as authentic. 1. Morally upright narrators 2. Precision in transmission 3. Connected chain 4. Free from inconsistencies with other reports 5. Solitary reports must be free from reasons for suspicion
The first three of these deal with internal defects. The remaining two deal with external (or ‘hidden’) defects. The objective of these criteria is to ensure there be no chance of forgeries and to mitigate against the likelihood of errors in reports.
He was trained in India in the early 1700s, then travelled to the Hijaz at the age of around 27. There, he studied with a Kurdish Turk by the name of Shaykh Abu Tahir al-Kurdi.
This shaykh’s father, Shaykh Ibrahim al-Kurani, was the former imam of Süleymaniye Camii in Istanbul. He was an expert in mantiq (logic) as well as the hadith sciences. He migrated to the Hijaz and taught hadith.
Ibn Khaldun makes an important distinction between what he calls العُمران الحضري and العمران البدوي, which, for convenience’s sake, I’ll translate as urban civilisation and rural/Bedouin lifestyle.
He notes that the rural world is largely nomadic, and, as such, Bedouins build character traits that assist the survivalist lifestyle — e.g. the fact that they have to kill snakes that might pop up at any time during their travels helps them build courage and bravery.
In his book New Directions on Islamic Education, Dr Abdullah Sahin developed a complete and comprehensive philosophy of education that’s rooted in the Qurʾān, Sunnah and the tradition of the ʿulamāʾ.
Exploring the nusus from an educational lens, Sahin produced his own organic philosophy and model of education from it, one that’s distinctly Islamic and rooted in tradition and stands out from even the contemporary western models of education.
I watched a short clip recently that argues the plausibility of the Buddha having been a prophet in India. There are two extremes regarding this topic, and, as always, a spectrum in between. Let’s take a principled approach to this. 2/18
There are things we know, and there are things we don’t know. Starting with the things we do know, Allah says, “There is no nation but that a warner passed among them” (35:24). 3/18