What is Traditional Islam? - Seyyed Nasr

"What is Traditional Islam?

Two centuries ago, if a Westerner, or for that matter a Chinese Confucian or a Hindu from India, were to study Islam, he would have encountered but a single Islamic tradition. Such a person could have detected numerous schools of thought, juridical and theological interpretations and even sects which remained separated from the main body of the community. He would moreover have encountered both orthodoxy and heterodoxy in belief as well as in practice. But all that he could have observed, from the esoteric utterances of a Sufi saint to the juridical injunctions of an ?dim, from the strict theological views of a Hanbalite doctor from Damascus to the unbalanced assertions of some extreme form of Shi’ism, would have belonged in one degree or another to the Islamic tradition: that is, to that single tree of Divine Origin whose roots are the Quran and the Hadith, and whose trunk and branches constitute that body of tradition... that has grown from those roots over some fourteen centuries in nearly every inhabited quarter of the globe".

To read further, Traditional Islam in the Modern World - Seyyed Nasr

This post is part of our series of lecture reading excerpts from Sanad Foundation's 2018 course 'Islamic Scholarly Tradition' taught by Sidi Mohamed Acharki in Melbourne.


The Islamic Scholarly Tradition: Sunday Intensives with Br. Mohamed Acharki


Find the course readings below

Subject 1: Introduction to Islamic Scholarly Tradition


Lecture 1: Introduction, Defining the ‘Islamic Scholarly Tradition’
Prologue: What is Traditional Islam?, from ‘Traditional Islam in the Modern World’, S.H, Nasr. pps. 13-16

Lecture 2: Foundations: Quran
Chapter 3 from Introduction to At-Tasheel, Ibn Juzay pps.9-12

Lecture 3: Foundations: Sunnah
Character of the Prophet, A.A, Nadwi

Lecture 4: Authenticity of the Quran
Chapter 2: Transmission of the Quranic Revelation (first four pages), from ‘Ulum Al-Quran’, A.V, Denferr.

Lecture 5: Integrity of the Sunnah
Introduction, pps.6-10, from ‘A Textbook of Hadith Studies’, M.H, Kamali

Lecture 6: Islamic Sciences and Centrality of Spirituo-Ethics
1) Character of the Prophet, A.A, Nadwi
2) Chapter 2: The Decline of Knowledge and the Rise of Ideology in the Muslim World, pps. 53-54

Lecture 7: Arabic, the Vibrant and Universal Language of the Islamic Scholarly Tradition
Arabic Literature

Lecture 8: Establishment and Development of Islamic Sciences
1) Chapter 2: The Basis of the Teaching System and the Educational Institutions (The Classification of the Sciences) pps. 59-64 from ‘Science and Civilization in Islam’, S.H, Nasr.

2) Fourth section: Translation as a Source of Knowledge

Lecture 9: Continuity and Change
Chapter 6: The Various Kinds of Sciences, sections 34-38 from the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun

Lecture 10: Islamic Scholarship and Modernity
1) Islam and Modernity pps.32-45 from ‘Winning the Modern World for Islam’, A, Yassine


Subject 2: Introduction to the Proofs of Islamic Law (Usuul Al-Fiqh)

Lecture 1: Introduction
Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence (Chapter 1), Taha Jabir Alwani

Lecture 2: Legal Ruling (Al-Hukm As-Shar’i)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H.Kamali
Chapter 17, Hukm Shar’I Law or Value of Shariah pps. 279-293 (Last paragraph of page 279 beginning “Hukm Shar’i is divided into the…”)

Lecture 3: The Quran and Sunnah & Part One of ‘Significations of Utterances’ (Dilaalaat Al-Alfaadh)
The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H. Kamali
Chapter 4, Rules of Interpretation 1: Deducing the Law From its Sources pps. 84-892) Chapter 5, Rules of Interpretation 2: Ad-Dilaalaat (Textual Implications) pps. 118 & 124-130

Lecture 4: Part Two of ‘Significations of Utterances’
The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
1) Chapter 4, Classification 2: The ‘Aam (General) and the Khass (Specific), pps. 101-110
2) Chapter 4, Classification 3: The Absolute (Mutlaq) and the Qualified (Muqayyad) pps. 110-112

Lecture 5: Scholarly Consensus (Ijmaa’) and the Practice of the People of Madeena (‘Amal of Ahlul-Madeena)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
Chapter 8, Ijma’ or Consensus of Opinion, pps. 155-158

Lecture 6: Analogical Reasoning (Qiyaas) and Juridical Preference (Istihsaan)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
Chapter 9, Qiyas (Analogical Deduction), pps. 180-183
Chapter 12, Istihsan, or Equity in Islamic Law, pps. 217-222

Lecture 7:  Custom (‘Urf) and Interest (Masaalih Al-Mursala)
Chapter 13, Maslaha Mursala (Considerations of Public Interest) pps. 235-238
Chapter 14, ‘Urf (Custom), pps. 248-253

Lecture 8: Conflict (i.e. between evidences) and Preference (Ta’arud Wat-Tarjeeh)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
Chapter 18, Conflict of Evidences, pps. 307-314

Lecture 9: Higher Objectives of the Shari’ah (Maqaasid)
1) Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
Chapter 13, Maslaha Mursala (Considerations of Public Interest) pps. 238-241 & 243-247

2) The Legal Maxims of Islamic Law (Excluding Five Leading Legal Maxims) and Their Applications in Islamic Finance

Lecture 10: Independent Legal Reasoning (Ijtihad)
Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, M.H, Kamali
Chapter 19, Ijtihad or Personal Reasoning, pps. 315-318