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In: Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World

This article contributes to Islamicist scholarship on the relationship between modern technology and Muslim thought and practice by closely reading and historicizing a twentieth-century South Asian Ḥanafī treatise on the use of the loudspeaker in ritual prayers. In this treatise, the Ḥanafī jurist Muḥammad Shafīʿ discusses the reasons for changing his legal opinion. The jurist first argued that the use of the loudspeaker invalidates the ritual prayer of the congregant (muqtadī). In his revised position, however, he held that the loudspeaker should be avoided in ritual prayers, but that its use does not invalidate the prayer. While Muḥammad Shafīʿ appears to have revised his position in response to newfound scientific knowledge about the ontological status of the loudspeaker’s sound or for the sake of public benefit (maṣlaḥah), I suggest that his revised fatwā was based on distinctive Ḥanafī modes of legal reasoning. By grounding his revised position in casuistry, the muftī renewed his commitment to his law school’s methodologies in a social context in which scientific knowledge and legal pluralism were weakening Ḥanafī modes of reasoning.

In: Islamic Law and Society


This chapter contextualises “the ḥadīth of intention” to demonstrate the salience of ḥadīth as an important source for the study of Islamic ethics. To that end, it situates this ḥadīth in three conceptual frameworks. The first concerns the dialectic of inside (bāṭin) and outside (ẓāhir), that is, how Sufis and jurists theorise the psychosocial subject. This ḥadīth is particularly relevant since it posits a dynamic relationship between the subject’s interiority and the Other, human and divine. The second concept at play here is community, particularly how inner attachment to social and political ideals has often been the sine qua non of communal formation. This ḥadīth underscores this point through an ethnographic illustration of migration, which signals the public – not merely private – character of intentions (in fact, numerous other ḥadīths relate intention to warfare). Finally, Muslim jurists have interpreted this ḥadīth in light of the distinction between the transcendental and empirical aspects of the normative order. The chapter argues that attention to the reception history of this ḥadīth in jurisprudential and Sufi discourses allows us to deepen the study of Islamic ethics, since commentaries on this ḥadīth yield a complex view of intention as a psychosomatic orientation that conjoins the self to the other, the individual to the community, and the moral to the legal.

Open Access
In: Ḥadīth and Ethics through the Lens of Interdisciplinarity
In: Sociology of Islam


This article contributes to scholarship on Muslim humanities, Islam in modern South Asia, and the Urdu literary tradition in colonial India. It does so by contextualizing and closely reading Ashraf ʿAlī Thānavī’s (1863–1943) commentary on the Dīvān of the fourteenth-century Persian poet Ḥāfiz̤. Unlike his modernist contemporaries, Ashraf ʿAlī does not read Ḥāfiz̤ through the prisms of social reform or anti-colonial nationalist struggle. Rather, in his capacity as a Sufi master, he approaches Ḥāfiz̤’s Dīvān as a mystical text in order to generate insights through which he counsels his disciples. He uses the commentary genre to explore Sufi themes such as consolation, contraction, annihilation, subsistence, and the master-disciple relational dynamic. His engagement with Ḥāfiz̤’s ġhazals enables him to elaborate a practical mystical theology and to eroticize normative devotional rituals. Yet the affirmation of an analogical correspondence between sensual and divine love on the part of Ashraf ʿAlī also implies the survival of Ḥāfiz̤’s emphases on the disposability of the world and intoxicated longing for the beloved despite the demands of colonial modernity.

In: Journal of Urdu Studies