Prophetic Niche in the Virtuous City

The Concept of Hikmah in Early Islamic Thought


This book analyzes the concept of ḥikmah in early Islamic texts within a network of multiple conceptual interrelationships in the cross-disciplinary context of Muslim works, roughly up to al-Ghazali's lifetime. The word ḥikmah has a wide spectrum of connotations in these texts, because it basically contains all knowledge within human reach, and accordingly, received a range of diverse scholarly treatments. This work contextualizes ḥikmah in a nuanced fashion in the collective usage of early Muslim authors, mainly by lexicographers, exegetes, philosophers, and Sufis. For the first time in the field of Arabic and Islamic Studies, particularly in Islamic Philosophy and Sufism, this study explores the concept of ḥikmah in an all-embracing capacity. Ḥikmah is a central concept of Islamic thinking, related to almost all intellectual disciplines of Muslim scholarly tradition, but it has been insufficiently underlined and treated in earlier western scholarship.
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Biographical Note

Hikmet Yaman, Ph.D. (2008) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, is Assistant Professor at Divinity School, Ankara University, Turkey. He has published on philosophical and mystical epistemologies in Islamic thought.

Review Quotes

"The substance of this book is not lexicographical, or merely linguistic, theological, philosophical, mystical ... etc. It is a diligent treatment of the concept of hikmah in its indigenous Arabic culture and soul - something profoundly rich and enriching. It is, indeed, a profound pleasure to read this book [...]". Daniel J. Sahas in JOAS 22 (2013), 354-365.

“[this book] fills a gap in our understanding of the concept of ḥikma and its cognate terms and hence constitutes a significant contribution to the research on this important term which conveys various meanings in its many appearances in Islamic thought.”
Binyamin Abrahamov in Ilahiyat Studies 4.1 (2013)


All those interested in intellectual history, Islamic thought, Islamic philosophy, Sufism, Qur'anic studies, Arabic lexicography, the history of Islamic technical concepts, western scholarship on classical Islamic literature, as well as classical philologists, theologians, and orientalists.

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