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Emad Abdul-Latif

university professor and Imam, was born in 1885 in Abu Gerg village in Minya, Upper Egypt, to a wealthy and prestigious family. His father, Hassan Abdul Razik Pasha, was a prominent politician, and his mother, Khadooja Abdul Salam Al Shureiy, descended from a famous family in Upper Egypt. He studied at Al-Azhar under Sheikh Muhammad Abdou, who deeply influenced his ideologies. After obtaining his Alamyya certificate in 1908, he traveled to France to complete his studies at the Sorbonne University and then the University of Lyon. Upon receiving his doctorate, he settled in Lyon to teach the Arabic language and Islamic Law. World War I put an end to his stay in France. By the end of 1914 he returned to Egypt, where he worked as an employee at Al-Azhar and then a judge in the Islamic courts. Upon his appointment in 1927 as an associate professor at ...

Article

Islamic scholar and historian from present-day Mauritania. His name is also spelled Sidi Ahmed ould al-Amin al-Shinqiti. The nisba (name extension indicating place of origin) al-Shinqiti does not refer to the town Chinguetti (Shinqit), but was given to him during his stay in the Arab world. All bidan (Moors) going abroad to the Arab world have the nisba al-Shiniqiti added to their names, no matter from which region or town of the so-called Bilad Shinqit (“The lands of Chinguetti”; present-day Mauritania, Western Sahara, and the Azawad region in northern Mali) they come from. In the Arab world they are generally called shanaqita and their country is known as Bilad Shinqit, even if locally different names were circulating in precolonial times.

Ahmad was born around 1863 64 in the Gibla region of what is today southwestern Mauritania Trarza and belonged to a scholarly family He was from one of the Idaw ...

Article

Stephen Cory

the most famous Maliki scholar to serve under Almoravid rule in Morocco, was born in the city of Ceuta on the North African Mediterranean coast. He achieved fame as a strict interpreter of Maliki law and as chief qadi (judge of religious law), both in Granada and in Ceuta. He was also a defender of Almoravid authority in the face of increasingly sharp criticism being leveled against the dynasty both in Spain and Morocco. Qadi ʿAyyad lived long enough to witness the fall of the Almoravids at the hands of the Almohad movement in 1147. He was taken captive by the Almohads to their capital in Marrakech, where he died in 1149. It is thought that he was murdered by order of the Almohad caliph, ʿAbd al-Muʾmin.

ʿAyyad s family originated in Yemen and migrated to the Islamic West at some point following the Islamic conquests taking up ...

Article

Mohammed Hassen Ali

Islamic scholar in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, was born in the village of Saphalo in Harerge. His real name was Abubakar Usman Oda. He was destined to make the village of his birth the most famous place in Harerge. In fact, “Bakrii,” the root form of which is cognate with “Abubakar,” came to be inseparably linked with the name of his village. Thus, he was generally known as Shaykh Bakrii Saphalo, and indeed, few of his admirers ever knew his real name.

He received twenty years of advanced Islamic education, becoming a shaykh (scholar-teacher). He opened his first center of teaching in Saphalo in 1927 Eventually he opened five centers of teaching in several places becoming the most famous teacher in eastern Ethiopia In addition to religious education and philosophy his teaching ranged over geography history mathematics astronomy Arabic and composition in the Oromo language During his long ...

Article

Beth Ann Buggenhagen

In his lifetime Ahmadou Bamba acquired a following of disciples who would become known after his death as the Muridiyya, a Muslim Sufi way. Sufism is an esoteric dimension of Muslim practice and thought in which disciples seek the path to divine union in this life. The Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Babou suggests that at the time of Bamba’s death in 1927, estimates of Murid disciples totaled about 100,000. The Murid path is founded on the teachings of Bamba, who is said to have produced over seven tons of scholarship, which is now housed in the Murid library in Tuba, Senegal. During his lifetime Bamba demonstrated qualities of waliyat (saintliness) and developed considerable spiritual authority. Bamba was a student of the Qur’anic sciences, which he studied with his maternal uncles. Local qadis (Qur’anic scholars) recognized that he was a master scholar. Bamba’s biography, Les Bienfaits de l'eternal ...

Article

Mauritanian teacher and Muslim scholar, was born to a scholarly family and reared in Walata, an oasis town in present-day eastern Mauritania. His full name was Muhammad abu ʿAbd Allah ibn abu Bakr as-Siddiq al-Bartili al-Walati. The main lineages that claim descent from the Bartili (or Barittayl) are the at-Talib Jibril, the ʿAli Diggan, and the at-Talib ʿAli Bannan, who formed a network of scholarly families. All of these groups have played an important role in the cultural and political life of the region of Takrur, serving as muftis (Muslim scholars qualified to formulate legal opinions on matters of Islamic law), imams, and especially teachers. In al-Bartili’s time, the name “Takrur” came to signify a Muslim cultural region stretching from the mouth of the Senegal River in the west to the Niger River bend in the east, including much of present-day Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal.

Walata was situated on a ...

Article

Jeremy Berndt

Thierno Bokar Salif Tal (b. 1875–1886, d. 1940) was a Muslim scholar and Sufi who spent most of his life teaching in the central Malian town of Bandiagara. Although Thierno left no written works of his own, his ideas have reached a wide international audience through the efforts of one of his disciples, the prolific writer and colonial/postcolonial government official Amadou Hampaté Bâ. Thierno’s “parables,” a series of philosophical remarks Bâ recorded in 1933, have attracted particular attention from Western intellectuals, who have seen in him a symbol of African Muslim spirituality, tolerance, and open-mindedness. The admiration his memory ultimately inspired in the French colonial figures Marcel Cardaire and Théodore Monod is not without irony, for at the end of his life Thierno suffered from a colonial campaign of repression then directed at followers of the controversial Sufi leader Shaykh Hamallah.

Thierno Bokar was born in Ségou ...

Article

Efraim Barak

, Egyptian writer, journalist, politician, and intellectual, was born on 20 August 1945, to a middle-class family. The eldest of five children, Fuda spent his childhood in the village of Zarqa, which is located in the district of Dumyat, on the coast of the Mediterranean. His father, ʿAli, who was a devout Muslim and very involved in community life, studied mechanical engineering at the University of Alexandria; he then went on to a career overseeing maintenance at the iron and steel firm in Hilwan. Fuda’s mother died when he was fourteen.

Fuda finished high school in 1962 and began studying agriculture at university, at the decree of the governmental coordination office, which determined higher education placement. In 1967 he graduated with honors from ʿAin Shams University in Cairo and took a position teaching there A year later he was involved in student demonstrations and was detained for two ...

Article

Tanzanian poet and scholar, was born around 1850 on Pemba Island. His father, grandfather, and great grandfather were also poets and scholars. He lived much of his life in Tanga, in what is now Tanzania. He was married to Mwanasia Suwaka, and both were buried near a mosque built by their son Hemedi Ali el-Buhriy.

Hemedi Abdallah wrote both religious and secular poetry. His published poetry was originally written in the Swahili utenzi (“narrative”) genre and in Arabic script. His most well-known poem is Utenzi wa Vita vya Wadachi Kutamalaki Mrima. This poem describes the 1888–1889 war waged by coastal peoples against the Germans Unlike other narrative poems about the conquest that were solicited by the Germans this poem openly praises the consultative leadership of Abushiri bin Salim who led the struggle and is harshly critical of the German invaders who are described as uncivilized drunken infidels The poem ...

Article

Allen J. Fromherz

was born in Valencia, Spain in Rabi II 595 (according to the Islamic calendar), or January/February 1199, and is considered one of the greatest writers of the twelfth century. His full name, Abu ʿAbd Allah Ibn al-Abbar al QudaʿI, means “Son of the Seller of Sewing Needles,” indicating that his family was probably part of the small-scale merchant class in Muslim Spain.

As a young man Ibn al-Abbar witnessed the devastating battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 which turned the tide against the Almohads in Muslim Spain Divided and defeated the Muslim west began to fracture His early master Ibn Mardanish ruler in Murcia converted to Christianity possibly as a means of forming an alliance with other Christian rulers and averting the capture of his city Although Ibn al Abbar did not follow his master in converting he had no scruples about working for an ...

Article

Russell Hopley

Egyptian Islamic theologian and traditionist, was born in Cairo. His full name was ʿAbd Allah bin Wahb bin Muslim al-Qurashi ibn Wahb. Ibn Wahb received his early training in the Islamic sciences under the tutelage of the Egyptian scholar ʿUthman ibn ʿAbd al-Hakam al-Judhami (d. 779), and he traveled thereupon to Medina to study with Malik ibn Anas (d. 795), the eponymous founder of the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn Wahb is said to have spent some twenty years in Medina studying at the hand of Malik, and this latter figure was sufficiently impressed with him that he gave the young man the title faqih reportedly the only student upon whom he bestowed this honorific Despite the esteem these two figures felt for one another they did have points of dispute between them over for example whether a Muslim should receive instruction from a non Muslim Malik reportedly ...

Article

Jonathan Miran

scholar of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), Muslim community leader, prolific writer, and first Italian-appointed Grand Mufti of Eritrea, was born in Anuqtu (on Mount Kindid in Akkele Guzay) in 1909. Shaykh Ibrahim belonged to the Saho-speaking Minifere group and more precisely the Faqih Harak clan. His father, Shaykh Ahmad Umar Kuri (d. 1924), received advanced religious education in the Hijaz (Arabia) and was a specialist in the Islamic legal sciences and the director of an Islamic school in eastern Akkele Guzay in Eritrea. Shaykh Ibrahim traveled to the Sudan in 1925 and studied in Omdurman before continuing on to Cairo in 1926 to pursue an advanced religious education. In the Egyptian capital he studied in several Al-Azhar secondary institutes (1926–1931) before enrolling at al-Azhar University. He graduated from al-Azhar in 1937 with a specialization in Hanafi jurisprudence and worked in various editorial capacities for Cairene publishers specializing ...

Article

Mohammed Bashir Salau

Qurʾanic teacher and warlord, was a Fulani originating from Kebbi in the northern part of modern-day Nigeria. His real name was Muhammadu Bangana, and he was also known as “Manko.” Very little is known about his early life. Following the conquest of a vast part of the Central Sudan by jihad forces led by Uthman dan Fodio, the Nupe came under the domination of the dynasty of the Emir of Gwandu at the turn of the nineteenth century. Mallam Dendo migrated to Nupe country at about the time when the Nupe were brought under the rule of Gwandu, specifically at about 1810. It seems likely that he had, as a Qurʾanic teacher, undertaken preaching missions to several Nupe towns prior to 1810. According to various sources, Dendo settled at Nupeland during a period of great political instability, specifically following the death of the etsu king Abdullahi Yinkanko ...

Article

Russell Hopley

jurist, was born in the Tunisian city of al-Qayrawan to a family originally from the region of Qabis (modern- day Gabès). His full name was Abu ʾl-Hasan ʿAli b. Muhammad b. Khalaf al-Maʿrifi al-Qabisi.

A close companion and cousin of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (d. 996), al-Qabisi received his early education at the hand of several Maliki scholars from al-Qayrawan, including Abu ʾl-Abbas al-Ibyani (d. 971), Ibn Masrur al-Dabbagh (d. 969), and Darras al-Fasi (d. 967). Of these, it was perhaps Ibn Masrur who played the greatest role in al-Qabisi’s intellectual formation. Ibn Masrur was himself a disciple of the eminent Maliki jurist Abu Said al-Tanukhi Sahnun, and he thus represents an important link in the transmission of orthodox Malikism between its early forebears in al-Qayrawan and its subsequent articulation by figures such as Ibn Abi Zayd and al-Qabisi.

Al Qabisi undertook the journey to the cultural and intellectual capitals ...

Article

Efraim Barak

, Egyptian Muslim cleric, Islamic leader, and well-known preacher and scholar, was born on 9 September 1926 in Sift Turab, a small village on the Nile Delta. His father, ʿAbdallah, who was, according to his son, “half peasant, half merchant,” died when Qaradawi was two years old, and he was raised by his mother and his uncle, Ahmad, a poor illiterate farmer. By the time he was nine years old, he had completed his studies of the Qurʾan at the traditional kuttab (Islamic elementary school) in his village. He then moved to a nearby city, Tanta, to continue his studies at the Islamic secondary school. Qaradawi completed the initial four years of religious studies in 1942, and that same year he joined the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1944, Qaradawi resumed his studies at the Religious Institute in Tanta. At the beginning of 1949 following the assassination of the ...

Article

Alessandra Vianello

Somali Islamic scholar and poet both in the Arabic language and in Chimini the vernacular of his hometown was born in Brava a coastal town in southern Somalia in a family that traced its origins to the al Waʾili clan of Southern Arabia Of moderate wealth mainly acquired by trade the family belonged to the learned elite of Brava Sheikh Qasim s father Muhyiddin Maie Ali was a scholar and copyist of the Qurʾan his elder brother Mohammed was a disciple of Sheikh Aweys Mohammed al Qadiri and had accompanied his teacher on his journey to Mecca In a eulogy composed at the time of her death a sister Khadija is remembered as a scholarly woman always with a book under her arm The family tradition was continued in the next generation by the youngest of Sheikh Qasim s sons Mohammed Sheikh Mohammed Sufi who became a renowned Islamic scholar ...

Article

Russell Hopley

777 855 jurist and religious scholar was born in al Qayrawan in southern Tunisia to an Arab family that originated in Syria His full name was Abu Saʿid ʿAbd al Salam ibn Saʿid ibn Habib ibn Hassan ibn Hilal ibn Bakkar ibn Rabiʿa al Tanukhi He received the nickname Sahnun while a young boy apparently in reference to a certain type of bird known for its cleverness His father most probably emigrated to North Africa in the mid eighth century as a soldier in the Muslim army that brought Ifriqiya the region encompassed by present day Tunisia and northwestern Libya under the control of the ʿAbbasid caliphate of Baghdad In return for his military service he was granted a small tract of land to live on and cultivate in the Sahel region of Tunisia and it was to this agrarian lifestyle that Sahnun would remain attached throughout his life ...

Article

Russell Hopley

polymath religious scholar, was born in Cairo to a family originally from Asyut. His full name was Abu ʾl-Fadl ʿAbd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad Jalal al-Din al-Khudayri al-Suyuti. His father was of Persian origin, while his mother had been a Circassian slave. She reportedly gave birth to al-Suyuti in the family library, a possible explanation for his sobriquet “son of books” (ibn al-kutub). The moniker is an apt one, as it is estimated that al-Suyuti went on to write no fewer than 980 works during his lifetime, a stunning output that easily makes him the most prolific author in the entire Islamic tradition.

Al-Suyuti’s father worked part-time as a qadi and served also as a preacher in the mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo He appears to have overseen al Suyuti s education from a very early age Indeed al Suyuti relates that his father ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

Egyptian scholar, reformer, and educator, was born in Tahta in Upper Egypt, to which his surname (nisba) refers. His male forebears were prominent ulama (Islamic religious and legal scholars). Following in their footsteps, Tahtawi received a traditional qurʾanic elementary education and then in 1817, at the age of sixteen, went to Cairo and enrolled in the ancient and venerable mosque-university of Al-Azhar. There he came under the influence of Shaykh Hasan al-ʿAttar (1766–1834), who acquainted him with some secular subjects outside the traditional curriculum, and with certain aspects of European thought. In 1822 Tahtawi himself became a teacher there.

Two years later, in 1824, he was appointed as a waʿiz (preacher, mentor) and imam of one of the regiments of the new Egyptian army of the ruler, Muhammad ʿAli. In 1826 Tahtawi was selected as one of four imams to accompany a military educational mission ...

Article

Salah Trabelsi

Tunisian historian and Islamologist, has devoted the best part of his career to teaching and researching medieval Maghreb and Mediterranean history. His profile is that of an atypical intellectual. After a long career teaching in primary and secondary schools, Mohamed Talbi took and passed the Arab Studies competitive examination. On the eve of Tunisia’s independence, he joined the Institute of Higher Education of Tunis. In 1955 he became the first dean of the School of Letters and Human Sciences of Tunis. He also chaired the school’s history department before devoting his full energies as director of the scientific journal Les Cahiers de Tunisie. He was born in the city of Tunis and spent most of his life there.

In 1968 Talbi defended his PhD thesis at the Sorbonne. Entitled L’émirat aghlabide 186–296, 800–909: Histoire politique (Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1966; English trans. The Aghlabid Emirate, a Political History: 184/860–296/909 ...