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Sumaiya Hamdani

North African judge and author, was born sometime around the turn of the tenth century CE (or early 900s), into a North African Sunni family residing in what is today Tunisia, and yet he rose to become the preeminent author and legal authority for a Shia dynasty that established itself in North Africa in 909 and eventually ruled an empire that included Egypt, Syria, and Arabia until 1171. His full name was Al-Qadi (or judge) Abu Hanifa al-Nuʿman (first name) b. (son of) Muhammad b. Mansur b. Ahmad b. Hayyun al-Tamimi (tribal name).

Although al-Nuʿman was prolific and prominent, extremely little is known of his family and life before he joined the service of this Shiite dynasty, the Fatimids, in 925. A North African biographical dictionary from a slightly later period notes that his father Muhammad was among the few Sunni Muslim ulama or religious scholars of North ...

Article

North African scholar of Islamic law, theology, and mysticism, and leader and founder of the Sanusiyya brotherhood (tariqa), was born on 22 December 1787 in Wasita, near Mostaghanem in western Algeria. He was a sharif, or descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised and educated in his early years by his paternal aunt Fatima, and then by the leading scholars of nearby Mazuna and Mascara.

Sometime between 1805 and 1809 al-Sanusi moved to Fez, Morocco, to pursue more advanced studies at the Qarawiyyin Mosque, the celebrated university. There he studied the traditional curriculum with many of Morocco’s most prominent scholars of the time and quickly achieved academic distinction in their courses. He became an avid practitioner of Sufism and an active member in a number of several turuq (Ar. sing. tariqa mystical way or organization including the Shadhiliyya the Nasiriyya ...

Article

Stephen Cory

Moroccan Maliki legal scholar, was born and lived in Fez, where he became a noted expert in the study of hadith and qurʾanic exegesis until he was exiled to Marrakesh toward the end of his life. He is also known as Abu al-Hasan ʿAli ibn Hirzihim. He is best remembered as a vocal critic of the Almoravid regime in Morocco and a proponent of the teachings of the noted scholar, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, whose works the Almoravids had banned. Ibn Hirzihim was also influential in the early scholarly career of Abu Madyan, who would become one of the most famous Sufi saints in North Africa during the late medieval period. Better known as Sidi Harazem, Ibn Hirzihim is the patron saint of a spring located near Fez and, as such, his name is used to market drinking water in Morocco to this day.

ʿAli Ibn Hirzihim was born into a ...

Article

David S. Powers

Maliki scholar, jurist, and mufti, was born in Jabal Wansharis (Ouarsenis), a mountain massif in the Central Algerian Tell, 31 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of Algiers. When Ahmad was five years old, his father moved the family to Tlemcen, where he studied the Qurʾan, Arabic language, and Maliki law and jurisprudence with distinguished scholars.

In 1469 at the age of forty al Wansharisi incurred the wrath of the Zayyanid sultan Muhammad IV who ordered that his house be ransacked and plundered Leaving everything behind al Wansharisi fled to Fez where he was welcomed by the scholarly community receiving food and shelter from the jurist Muhammad al Sughayyir He moved into a house near the Muʿallaq mosque in the Sharratin quarter of Fez al Qarawiyyin and was appointed professor of Maliki law at the Madrasa Misbahiyya His knowledge of the law was proverbial He who has not studied with al ...