Author: Ammeke Kateman

Abstract

In 1911, the Egyptian travel writer Muḥammad Labīb al-Batanūnī published a highly informative account of his pilgrimage journey, al-Riḥla al-Ḥijāziyya. This article is interested in al-Batanūnī’s representation (or fashioning) of the ḥajj and its materiality, as it reflects the conventions of his time and with which the author simultaneously hopes to shape the interpretations and practices of his contemporaries. Specifically, the article focuses on the way al-Batanūnī represents the objects and matters of the ḥajj (for example, Zemzem water) in opposition to interpretations and practices of his contemporaries within, as well as beyond, Islam.

In: Die Welt des Islams

Abstract

This article revisits the origins of Khomeini’s concept of the guardianship of the jurisconsult (wilāyat al-faqīh) and argues that his own formulation of this concept needs to be embedded in debates around the clerical mandate in the state among clerical activists in Iraq he encountered during his exile. Focus will be on the so-called Shīrāzī network around the brothers Muḥammad (1928-2001), Ḥasan (1927-80) and Ṣādiq al-Shīrāzī (b. 1942) and their nephew Muḥammad Taqī al-Mudarrisī (b. 1945) The article discusses the close relationship between Khomeini and Muḥammad al-Shīrāzī and the important role the religio-political networks associated with the Shīrāzī brothers played in early post-revolutionary Iran. A detailed discussion of the writings of the Shīrāzī brothers and Taqī al-Mudarrisī, written between 1960 and 1970, is undertaken to illustrate that debates around wilāyat al-faqīh among Iraqi clerical activists preceded Khomeini’s own lectures on the concept in Najaf in 1970.

In: Die Welt des Islams

Abstract

This article deals with the ethnographic and philological works of the nineteenth-century Kurdish scholar Mullah Mahmûdê Bayazîdî, which mark a crucial stage in the history of vernacular Kurdish-language learning. It turns out that Bayazîdî, although working in the service of the then Russian consul, Auguste Jaba, cannot be called either a “native informant” nor an “orientalist scholar”. After providing some historical background, I discuss Bayazîdî’s main writings and their significance. I then discuss his conceptions of language, literature, local tradition or culture, and history, concluding that none of these bears any traces of modern Western philology or romantic nationalism. Hence, his work cannot be qualified as “internalized orientalism”, but, as it is written in a vernacular language, neither can it be wholly assimilated to classical Islamic learning.

In: Die Welt des Islams
Author: Alp Yenen

Abstract

The idea of a continued Turco-Arab co-existence under the Ottoman Sultanate might appear counterfactual or marginal – if not nostalgic – from the sober vantage of knowing “the end of history”. The Ottoman Empire neither survived the Great War nor made way for a multinational co-existence of Turks and Arabs. For contemporaries, however, different models of federalism and multinationalism offered solutions to save the Ottoman Empire and safeguard Turco-Arab co-existence. While the federalist ideas of Ottoman Arabs are far better known in the academic literature, in regards to Ottoman Turks, the commonplace interpretations follow the teleology of the Turkish nation-state formation. In order to correct this misperception, I will illustrate the existence of corresponding Turkish voices and visions of federalism and multinationalism. Envisioning Turco-Arab co-existence was a serious feature of policy debates, especially in the years of crisis from the Balkan Wars to the settlement of post-Ottoman nation-states in the aftermath of the First World War.

In: Die Welt des Islams
Author: Farid Suleiman

Abstract

This paper provides a critical reading of some of the most important elements in the philosophy of the Moroccan thinker Taha Abderrahman (TA) (b. 1944), who has had a significant impact on contemporary Arab thought. It examines (1) his views on the essence of being human and the degrees of reason, (2) his concept of iʾtimāniyya (trusteeship paradigm), (3) his concept of the ‘discursive field’ (al-majāl al-tadāwulī) and how it relates to his struggle for intellectual emancipation from the hegemony of the West, and (4) his views on politics and democracy. First, the paper argues that TA is not as innovative as he repeatedly claims to be in his works; rather, he promotes a traditional type of Sufism that he skilfully cloaks in modern language, as well as in numerous neologisms that he himself has invented. Second, it is shown that any reading of TA’s philosophy must take into account his affiliation with the Budshishiyya Sufi order (one of the most influential players in the internal power structure of the Moroccan state). This paper contributes to the study of philosophy in the modern Arab world in general and to the study of TA in particular, who thus far has received only limited attention in Western academia.

In: Die Welt des Islams
In: Die Welt des Islams
This volume of Encyclopaedia Islamica is the sixth of a projected 16-volume set, largely consisting of an abridged and edited translation of the Persian Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī, one of the most comprehensive sources on Islam and the Muslim world, to which a number of original articles, written specifically for the English edition, have been added. One of the unique features of this work of reference lies in the attention it gives to Shiʿi Islam and its rich and diverse heritage, which makes it complementary to other encyclopaedias. In addition to providing entries on important themes, subjects and personages in Islam generally, it offers the Western reader an opportunity to appreciate the various dimensions of Shiʿi Islam, the Persian contributions to Islamic civilisation, and the spiritual dimensions of the Islamic tradition.

This volume contains biographical articles on a number of major Muslim scholars such as the great philosopher and polymath, Abū Naṣr Muḥammad al-Fārābī, as well as the 9th/15th-century Persian philosopher, theologician and gnostic, Jalāl al-Dīn al-Dawānī. It also includes historical surveys of important concepts in Islam, such as idaʿwa, dīn, eschatology and ethics, of religious groups such as the Druze, and of cities such as Darband, Diyār Bakr and Damascus. In terms of the traditions of Sufism, there are articles on Dārā Shukūh, al-Dasūqī, Abū al-Ḥasan al-Daylamī and Dhū al-Nūn al-Miṣrī. Diverse aspects of Persian culture, such as musicology and music history, are presented in dastgāh, dāʾira and Darwīsh Khān, while Persian social and architectural history are discussed in articles such as dihqān and the Fahraj Congregational Mosque. The volume also includes entries of considerable importance for the study of Shiʿism, such as those on Fadak and the Fāṭimid dynasty, as well as a comprehensive article on Fāṭima, the wife of Imam ʿAlī and daughter of the Prophet Muḥammad, and as such revered by all Muslims, especially the Shiʿa Muslims.

Chinese Encounters with Jesuit Science in the Age of Discovery
Author: Qiong Zhang
In Making the New World Their Own, Qiong Zhang offers a systematic study of how Chinese scholars in the late Ming and early Qing came to understand that the earth is shaped as a globe. This notion arose from their encounters with Matteo Ricci, Giulio Aleni and other Jesuits. These encounters formed a fascinating chapter in the early modern global integration of space. It unfolded as a series of mutually constitutive and competing scholarly discourses that reverberated in fields from cosmology, cartography and world geography to classical studies. Zhang demonstrates how scholars such as Xiong Mingyu, Fang Yizhi, Jie Xuan, Gu Yanwu, and Hu Wei appropriated Jesuit ideas to rediscover China’s place in the world and reconstitute their classical tradition.

Winner of the Chinese Historians in the United States (CHUS) "2015 Academic Excellence Award"