In 1938, Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, set down the salient points of a programme of Islamic reform and renewal in his Risalat al-Taʿalim (“Instructions”). Addressing a wide range of theological, legal, and practical issues, the Instructions defined what al-Banna called a “modern Islamic method (minhāj ʿaṣrī islāmī)”, one that was faithful to the true Islam of the prophet Muhammad and his companions, and at the same time adapted to modern demands and realities. By following this method, the Muslim Brothers would save the Muslim community, the Egyptian nation, the Orient, and ultimately humanity at large. Originally directed at the avant-garde of Muslim Brother “fighters” (mujāhidūn) only, the Risalat al-Taʿalim soon became a core reference text for wider circles of Muslim Brothers. Decades later, it was still commented upon in substantial monographs, which seemed to imitate the genre of šarḥ, inscribing Hasan al-Banna in the Islamic learned tradition.
Gudrun Krämer and Sabine Schmidtke
Religious Authorities in Muslim Societies
The present volume – grown out of an international symposium at the Free University, Berlin in 2002 – is not so much concerned with religious authority, but with religious authorities, men and women claiming, projecting and exerting religious authority within a given context. It addresses issues such as the relationship of knowledge, conduct and charisma, the social functions of the schools of law and theology, and the efforts on the part of governments and rulers to organize religious scholars and to implement state-centred hierarchies.
The volume focuses on Middle Eastern Muslim majority societies in the period from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, and the individual papers offer case studies elucidating important aspects of the wider phenomenon. Individually and collectively, they highlight the scope and variety of religious authorities in past and present Muslim societies.
This book is also available in paperback.
This Part 2018-4 of the Third Edition of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam will contain 43 new articles, reflecting the great diversity of current scholarship in the fields of Islamic Studies.