Early Islam & Late Antiquity| Medieval Philosophy & Theology| Medieval Shiʿism| Professor @UniLeiden| Frm Cook-Crone Fellow @cambridge_uni| Frm @univofstandrews
2 added to My Authors
Mar 21 • 6 tweets • 2 min read
I'm spending a good fair of my time right now on the Ṣaḥīfah al-Sajjādiyyah which claims to carry the religious and philosophical teachings of the 4th Shiʿi Imam ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn (659-713). 1/
The content is quite brilliant. It reports the supplicatory prayers of ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn to mark different occasions and auspicious moments in the religious calendar, such as the whispered prayer of the lovers (see below). 2/
Jan 5 • 14 tweets • 2 min read
I'm preparing a grant proposal for a project on the Qurʾan. It picks up where Patrica Crone left off. For a while I disliked the work of Crone. Now I am in awe of her. Crone was misunderstood. In what follows I collate her answers to questions she frequently encountered. 1/
Did Crone think Islam was original? She thought its teachings were both endogenous and exogenous. All ideas are influenced by context. She disliked term "borrowing" but preferred "intertextual". Islam inherited ideas from the past, but how it appropriated them was original. 2/
May 8, 2021 • 5 tweets • 1 min read
Finishing touches to the edition before moving on to next stage. For PhDs and scholars interested in editing manuscripts, here’s some tips: 1) Read the entire manuscript once or twice before transcribing anything down. You’ll get a good grasp of the copyist/authors penmanship. 2) Transcribe and render the content of the MS into modern Arabic. For example, السلم becomes السلام etc. 3) Fill in the blanks. Some copyists left out the hamza: e.g., دعا or سما etc. 4) Change the letter ending to correct rendering. Some copyists replaced ة with ه and ة with ى.
May 5, 2021 • 8 tweets • 2 min read
The study of Islam in the academy began in earnest in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Ever since, capable participants have never shied away from levelling critiques that call for reconsiderations and reevaluations of its epistemic foundations and..
..the methodological concerns that undergird its modus operandi. It’s how the field works. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Pioneers in our field didn’t think of Islam as exceptional. They applied the same rigorous approach and skeptical outlook consistently, to every..
Apr 16, 2021 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
The Kurdistan Press (مطبعة كردستان العلمية) was founded in Cairo in the late nineteenth century by two students at al-Azhar, namely Faraj Allāh Zakī al-Kurdī and Muḥyī al-Dīn Ṣabrī al-Kānīmashkānī, two Iraqi Kurds from Sulaymaniyyah. 1/5
Kurdī and Kānīmashkānī left Kurdistan to study in al-Azhar. Once there they decided to establish a new press house to publish Arabic and Kurdish works. Their press house was short lived (1907-11), but they published quite a lot. 2/5
Jan 19, 2021 • 24 tweets • 4 min read
1/What is the nature of the Qur’an? Was it created in time? Or has it always been (قديم)? A thread on how medieval Muslim thinkers, theologians, philosophers, and jurists understood the nature of the Muslim sacred scripture 🧵🧵🧵
2/Most Sunni theologians (متكلمون) consider the Qur’an the uncreated word of God. Writing in his famous credo, which was to represent the orthodox Sunni position, Abu Ja’far al-Tahwai (d. 932) says:
Aug 28, 2020 • 21 tweets • 4 min read
1/Bodily resurrection (المعاد الجسماني) is among my favourite topics in Quran. I will discuss the view of the quranic mushrikūn on another occasion. Today I will offer reflections on resurrection & eschatology in medieval Arabic philosophy & the controversy of Avicenna. A Thread
2/Avicenna is without a doubt the greatest philosophical mind in medieval Islam. The 13th C polymath ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī said he did not think much of ancient Greek & Arabic philosophy because Avicenna had "digested the entirety of wisdom and stuffed it in his books".
Jun 28, 2020 • 18 tweets • 8 min read
Long before Christoph Luxenberg, medieval Muslim authorities compiled lists of foreign vocabularies in the Quran. The Quran contains words from Ethiopian, Persian, Indian, Turkic, Nabatean, Syriac, Coptic, Hebrew, Greek, and Berber, and Abyssinian origin. A thread. 1/
Writing in the late 1400s AD Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 1505) provides us with a neat list medieval authorities who attested to the presence of foreign vocabularies in the Quran 2/
Jun 2, 2020 • 17 tweets • 4 min read
1/17 Short thread on Sunnism. A common mistake made by non-specialists would have us believe that the events following the death of Muḥammad in 632 AD precipitated the Shiʿi-Sunni divide. This is quite wrong. The demarcation of sectarian identities was brought into sharp
2/17 focus significantly later, around two to three centuries after death of Muḥammad. A fact overlooked by even capable historians is that religious identity markers such as Sunni require diachronic studies sympathetic of the intellectual ambiguity that marked early Islam
May 21, 2020 • 21 tweets • 4 min read
(1) In 1978 John Wansborough published his Sectarian Milieu, arguing that most of Quranic material characterise a text that crystallised over 2 centuries, and largely outside confines of Arabia. To date Fred Donner has offered perhaps the best response to Wansboroug. Thread
(2)Donner is not convinced of Wansborough's claim that both the Quran and the ḥadīth (which latter calls "sub-canonical" versions of the Quranic material) belong to the same historical circumstance, that is, both coalesced around the same time and in same locality.