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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
In Ibn Taymiyya and the Attributes of God (orig. published in German, 2019), Farid Suleiman pieces together, on the basis of statements scattered unsystematically over numerous individual treatises, an overall picture of the methodological foundations of Ibn Taymiyya’s doctrine of the divine attributes. He then examines how Ibn Taymiyya applies these foundational principles as exemplified in his treatment of selected divine attributes. Throughout the book, Suleiman relates Ibn Taymiyya’s positions to the larger context of Islamic intellectual history.
The book was awarded the Dissertation Prize 2019 by the Academy for Islam in Research and Society (AIWG) and the Classical Islamic Book Prize by Gorgias Press (2020).