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The Semantics of Gratitude (Shukr) in the Qurʾān – Joseph E. B. Lumbard College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar

Abstract:

Since the publication of Toshihiko Izutsu’s The Structure of Ethical Terms in the Qurʾan in 1959, scholars of Islam have recognized that gratitude (shukr) is central to the ethicoreligious worldview conveyed by the Qurʾān. Izutsu further developed this analysis in God and Man in the Qurʾan and Ethico-Religious concepts in the Qurʾan. Ida Zilio-Grade enhances our understanding by providing linguistic analysis of shukr, and Atif Khalil examines the understanding of shukr in Sufi texts. This paper draws the connections between these three approaches. It expands upon Zilio-Grade’s linguistic analysis by examining the root sh-k-r and analyzing the differences between the uses of shākir (thankful) and shakūr (ever-grateful) when used in relation to the human being and when used in relation to God. It then demonstrates that expanding the analysis of contextual semantic fields employed by Izutsu to include intertextual semantic fields reveals how shukr is related to the cognitive faculties of the human being. The paper concludes by examining how authors such as a-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111), al-Tilimsānī (d. 773/1291), and Aḥmad al-Tijānī (d. 1230/1815) addressed the paradoxes to which this Qurʾānic presentation of shukr gives rise.

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One Step to God: ‘Ayn al-Qozat on the Journey of the Heart – Mohammed Rustom

Abstract:

An age-old myth is that ‘Ayn al-Qozat was put to death by the “orthodox” Seljuqs because his teachings squarely contradicted mainstream Muslim theology. But as we now know, the reasons for his death had nothing to do with his ideas and were largely political. ‘Ayn al-Qozat, a very prominent voice in Hamadani society and a person of great public influence, was a vehement critic of the Seljuq regime and its injustices towards the poor and the needy. Itwas therefore in the Seljuqs’ best interest to murder ‘Ayn al-Qozat, and to do so by justifying it as a state-sponsored execution of a person proven to have been a “heretic.”

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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

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