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Philosophical Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate: The Case of Shaykh Dan Tafa – Oludamini Ogunnaike

Abstract:

It has long been assumed that the discipline of falsafa (Islamic philosophy) died out in the Western lands of the Islamic world after the fall of Andalusia, and that philosophical intellectual work was largely limited to the disciplines of theology (kalām) and Sufism (taṣawwuf). Moreover, the more creative and discursive tradition of theoretical of philosophical Sufism is also supposed to have migrated East in the 13th-C along with figures such as Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1240) and Ibn Sab‘in (d. 1271). However, the oeuvre of the Sokoto scholar Shaykh ‘abd al-Qādir ibn Muṣṭafā (d. 1864) (better known as dan Tafa, the grandson of Shaykh ‘Uthmān dan Fodio) poses a significant challenge to these assumptions.  Shaykh Dan Tafa’s works include a defense of philosophy, a treatise on universals (kulliyāt), a versified introduction to the study of philosophy, a critical evaluation of materialist and naturalist philosophies, as well as several works of philosophical Sufism, including a treatise on certain topics from ‘abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī’s masterpiece of Philosophical Sufism, al-Insān al-Kāmil. It seems unlikely that Shaykh Dan Tafa studied and produced these works entirely on his own, indicating the existence of little-known West African traditions of Islamic philosophy and philosophical Sufism. This chapter evaluates some of Shaykh Dan Tafa’s works and their ramifications for our understanding of the history of Islamic philosophy and philosophical Sufism in West Africa, and the role of these two traditions in the intellectual history the region.

Philosophical_Sufism_in_the_Sokoto_Calip

The Importance of Sufism in Chinese Islam (with Sachiko Murata)

Abstract:

Cemalnur Sargut Hocam asked us to say something about the significance of the Kenan Rifai Chair of Islamic Studies at Peking University, which we inaugurated in the Spring of 2012. As many of you know, the Kenan Rifai Chair is housed in Te Institute of Advanced Humanistic Studies. The Institute was founded by Professor u Weiming in 2010 shortly after he retired after thirty years at Harvard. During our timein China we taught one course at Peking University, another at Minzu University, and we participated in several conferences and workshops. We met many of the foremost Chinese scholars of Islam and we had a number of talented students

The_Importance_of_Sufism_in_Chinese_Isla

Actionless Action – Mohammed Rustom

Abstract:

“It has indeed been a blessing to sit with the great Kenan Rifai’s commentary upon book one of Mevlana’s Mesnevi .Spending time with this book naturally led me to Kenan Rifai’s explanation of a famous tale in the Mesnevi  centered around ‘Ali b. Abi Talib tale is retold from Islamic tradition and is cast in Mevlana’s unique terms and worldview. The long and short of the story is as follows: in the heat of a one-on-one encounter with an enemy of Islam, ‘Ali gained the upper hand and thru this opponent to the ground. Just as he was about to finish him off withone blow from his sword, the enemy spat at ‘Ali’s face. When this happened, ‘Ali immediately dropped his sword and walked away. This per-plexed his enemy, and led him to ask ‘Ali in earnest why he had not killed him at that very moment. ‘Ali then speaks, telling the enemy that he only fights for the sake of God. But, when the man insulted him by spitting at him, the possibility that it would become a personal affair had presented itself to him. So he walked away from the situation. ‘Ali then explains that he never acts out of self-interest, but only for, in, and through God

Actionless_Action

The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy

Abstract:

“Only rarely does a publication such as this offer scholars the opportunity to explain what they hope to accomplish, and why they are motivated to do it. In this jubilee edition, our department of religious studies has invited each of us to ask the question: why? For my own part, the answer begins with the simple fact of the existence of such a department in this school. The educational tradition of the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes itself, with its yearly invitation to new intellectual adventures, based on the Chair’s own recent research, was what launched me on a career of Oriental studies. This in turn led me to guide others towards research into unexplored areas of religion and”

Problem And Method In Religious History (Corbin)

Vicegerency and Nature:Ibn ‘Arabī on Humanity’s Existential Protection of the World –

Abstract:

“Human beings are the vicegerents of God on earth and thus also are the stewards of nature.1 This paraphrases one of the main themes of the re- lationship between humanity and the natural environment in the Islamic world, as well as in other religious traditions. Vicegerency implies a spe- cific relationship between God, humanity, and nature, as well as a par- ticular metaphysics, which is what I seek to expound here. The Islamic intellectual response to the ecological crisis began with the writings of Seyyed Hossein Nasr. His summary of vicegerency—or of human purpose in relation to God and to the world—constitutes the foundational treatment of vicegrency in the contemporary discourse on Islamic environmentalism, so it is helpful to begin with it here”

Vicegerency And Nature (Murad)

THE PHILOSOPHY OF SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR

Abstract:

“There is a well-known saying of’All ibn Abi ‘falib, the cousin and son-in­ law of the Prophet of Islam and representative par excellence of Islamic esoterism and metaphysics, according to which one should pay attention to what is said and not who has said it. This teaching has been close to my heart since my youth and rarely have I accepted to write something of an
autobiographical nature. But the Library of Living Philosophers requires a work of such a nature from the person with whose thought a particular volume is concerned. Therefore, with some reticence I tum to this task. Once”

Auxier, Hahn, And Stone (eds.), The Philosophy Of Seyyed Hossein Nasr


Avicenna – Jon McGinnis

Abstract:

“Ex nihilo nihilo fit: Nothing comes from nothing, and Avicenna and his philosophy are no exception. Indeed, multiple influences were at work in the formation of his thought. In this chapter, I consider a few of these influ- ences so as to provide a general backdrop against which to situate the intel- lectual and political-historical milieu within which Avicenna worked.1 To this end, I begin the odyssey that was Avicenna’s life with a brief look at the Greek scientific and philosophical course curriculum being taught at the Academies in Athens and Alexandria, which in turn became the standard regimen of study for those practitioners of falsafa, that is, the Arabic philo-“

McGinnis, Avicenna

Al-Kindi, On the Device for Dispelling Sorrows

Abstract:

Although less technical philosophically than many of al-Kind¯‡’s known treatises, this Epistle remains basic for understandin g the spirit that underlies his thinking. Socratic, yet very Kindian in spirit, this Epistle displays its author’s tendency to harmonize Greek philosoph y and Islam, particularl y as this relates to ethics, and his belief in man’s free will and reason. To him, sorrows may be caused either by our own actions or by the actions of others. It is up to us to choose to do or not to do what saddens us. Through reason we can eliminate some of the causes of sorrow when we perceive the intellectual world, and derive from it things desired. Though this Epistle has a signiŽcant share of the linguisti c and stylistic complexities characteristi c of al-Kind¯‡’s writing, it is hoped that the present translation will facilitate its comprehension.

Al-Kindi, On The Device For Dispelling Sorrows

Devil’s Advocate: ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s Defence of Iblis in Context – Mohammed Rustom

Abstract:

The writings of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131) anticipate some of the major trends that characterize the post-Avicennan ḥikmat tradition. But modern scholarship has as of yet not completely come to grips with the far-reaching implications of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s teachings, many of which are framed in terms of the symbolic language and imagery of the Persian Sufi school of passionate love (madhhab-i ʿishq) and the defence of the devil’s monotheism (tawḥīd-i Iblīs). The focus in this article will be upon this lat- ter aspect of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s Sufi doctrine. Upon closer inspection, his “Satanology” (for lack of a better term) turns out to not only be concerned with a defence of the devil as a tragic, fallen lover of God; it is also intimately related to our author’s robust theodicy, as well as his theory of human freedom and constraint. At the same time, ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s defence of Iblis demonstrates his understanding of philosophical and theological discourse as themselves symbolic representations of another, higher form of being and knowing.

Devil's Advocate (SI 115.1, 2020)

Review of Kaukua, Self-Awareness in Islamic Philosophy – Mohammed Rustom

Review Of Kaukua, Self-Awareness In Islamic Philosophy (JAOS 138.1, 2018)

Knowledge in Later Islamic Philosophy:Mullā Ṣadrā on Existence, Intellect, and Intuition –

Abstract:

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Review Of Kaukua, Self-Awareness In Islamic Philosophy (JAOS 138.1, 2018)