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Ahmad Dallal

Abstract

This essay examines the writings of the famous twentieth-century salafī, Rashīd Ridā, in which he discussed and reconstructed the views of Shawkānī, one of the leading thinkers of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, on the subject of legal analogy (qiyās). Shawkānī had opposed the introduction of new laws through qiyās on the grounds that it arrogates to humans a right to legislate which is reserved to God. Ridā, however, mistakenly implied that Shawkānī had advocated a separation between 'ibādāt and mu'āmalāt, allowing the use of qiyās in the latter case. I argue that Ridā's reconstruction of Shawkānī was driven by his desire to find Islamic models that corresponded to the European institutions of the nation state: in an age in which the powers of the nation state were increasing dramatically, a jurisdiction that covered "all aspects of life" would have seemed more appropriate to Ridā than a legal code which does not purport to exhaust all aspects of this life.

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Ahmad Dallal

Abstract

The eighteenth century was a period of great intellectual vitality in the Muslim world. Intellectuals from virtually all of its major regions systematically attempted to scrutinize the epistemological foundations of inherited knowledge and to reformulate the traditional Islamic disciplines of learning. The field of ḥadīth scholarship was one of these disciplines in which such a revision was undertaken. By examining the Yemeni tradition of ḥadīth studies, this essay seeks to illustrate the originality of the eighteenth-century theoretical thinking about ḥadīth, and highlights the intellectual as well as the social significance of this tradition of reform.

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An Islamic Response to Greek Astronomy

Kitāb Ta‘dīl Hay’at al-Aflāk of sadr al-Sharī‘a. Edited with Translation and Commentary

Ahmad Dallal

An Islamic Response to Greek Astronomy is an edition, translation of and commentary on the astronomical work of the fourteenth-century Central Asian religious scholar sadr al-Sharī‘a al-Bukhārī. sadr al-Sharī‘a develops the works of the thirteenth-century Maragha researchers, which set the tone for the astronomical research until the eventual demise of Ptolemaic astronomy.
This work elucidates the development and achievement of the long tradition of reforming Ptolemaic astronomy. It corroborates other evidence that scientific creativity persisted well beyond the eleventh century, a period often viewed as an age of cultural decline and stagnation. sadr al-Sharī‘a's knowledge of and competence in a diverse variety of disciplines is a compelling example of the state of education and level of scholarship in a fourteenth-century Muslim urban setting.