Academic Programs 
      

Classical Islamic Philosophy*   (TH-684)
Winter/Spring 2010

This course explores the evolution and main debates of Islamic philosophy (falsafa)
from
the
great
translation
movement
of
ancient
Greek
texts
under
the
‘Abbâsid
dynasty
(8th-­9th
centuries)
until
the
golden
age
of
inter-­disciplinary
intellectual,
scientific
and
spiritual
debates
under
the
Mamlûks
of
Egypt
and
the
Mongols
of
Iran
(13th-­14th
centuries).
Besides
the
major
falâsifa
known
to
the
medieval
Latins
(Kindî,
Fârâbî,
Avicenna,
Ghazâlî,
Averroes…),
attention
will
also
be
given
to
several
other
thinkers,
generally
less
famous
in
the
West,
but
nevertheless
important:
the
Ikhwân
al-­Ṣafâ’,
Miskawayh,
Ibn
Ṭufayl,
Râzî,
Ṭûsî,
Qûnawî…
A
selection
of
representative
texts
will
be
read
in
English
translation
and
commented
on.
A
basic
knowledge
of
Greek
philosophy,
Islam
and
the
history
of
Muslim
societies
(7th-­14th.
centuries)
would
be
u seful
for this course.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Mondays, 6 p.m. – 8:20 p.m., beginning Jan. 26.

Yahya Michot
Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, Editor, Muslim World

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9530
email: ymichot@hartsem.edu

Professor Michot's web page

 

Course Syllabus



Course Objectives

  1. Students should be able to find their way around in the major works of Ibn
    Taymiyya and the studies of his time, life, thought and influence.
  2. They are expected to gain an acquaintenance with the most important past and present debates and controversies concerning this thinker.
  3. They should also be able to have an informed opinion on the developments that Ibn Taymiyya’s ideas can contribute to for a modern Islamic theology.
  4. They should be able to benefit from the methodological approaches adopted in these classes and apply them for their own studies and/or research projects.

Course Requirements

  1. It is strongly recommended that the student arrive at the first class already having a general knowledge about the religion of Islam, as well as about the history and geography of Muslim peoples, particularly Mamlûk Egypt and Syria.
  2. Weekly readings, class participation (including presentations of assigned readings), regular attendance. If you are unable to attend class, please contact the Professor.

A final research paper and a viva voce, as described infra.
The final grade will be based upon the following:

  1. Class participation (25%).
  2. A final research paper of a least 15 pages* on an aspect of the life, thought, or
    influence of Ibn Taymiyya. The topic should be chosen by the end of class VI in
    consultation with the Professor. This paper will be due by the end of class XII (45%).
  3. A final viva voce exam discussing the course, with an emphasis on the final
    research paper submitted (30%).

* All written work is to conform to the seminary writing guidelines, which can be
found online at: http://www.hartsem.edu/student/forms/researchpaperguide.pdf. The
Hartford Seminary Grading Guidelines will be the standard of evaluation for work in
the course.

Class Schedule
I. January 26. Introduction: A Controversial Figure

Reading Assignments:

LITTLE, Donald P., Did Ibn Taymiyya Have a Screw Loose?, in Studia Islamica, XLI, Paris, 1975, p. 93-111. — Reedited in his History and Historiography of the Mamlûks, VIII, London, Variorum Reprints, 1986.

YouTube: Faruk715, 14 September 2007, Why Ibn Taimiyyah was a Kafir - Fatwa. Http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=fClK1DKf0Vw.

YouTube: Rnjigga, 5 September 2008, The Legend of Ibn Taymiyya. Http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=gciShZ6EsiA.

YouTube: Vklttb, 14 March 2008, Who was Ibn Taymiyyah? Http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=TEssyjGBJ5I.

Find on internet two articles illustrating the controversial character of Ibn Taymiyya.

II. February 2. Amazing Times: 700 H. - 1300 C.E.

General reference:
LEVANONI, A., A Turning Point in Mamluk History. The Third Reign of al-Nâsir Muhammad Ibn Qalâwûn (1310-1341), « Islamic History and Civilization. Studies and Texts, 10 », Leyde, Brill,
1995.

Reading Assignments:
LITTLE, D. P., Religion under the Mamluks, in The Muslim World, Hartford, t. LXXIII, 1983, p.165-181.

AMITAI-PREISS, R., Ghazan, Islam and Mongol Tradition : a View from the Mamlük Sultanate, in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, LIX, 1996, p. 1-10.

III. February 9. The Life and Works of an Activist-Theologian

Reading Assignments:
MICHOT, Y., Ibn Taymiyya: Chronology of the Life of an Activist-Theologian, in Muslims under Non-Muslim Rule. Ibn Taymiyya on fleeing from sin, kinds of emigration, the status of Mardin (domain of peace/war, domain composite), the conditions for challenging power. Texts translated,
annotated and presented in relation to six modern readings of the Mardin fatwa. Foreword by J. PISCATORI, Oxford-London: Interface Publications, Dec. 2006, xviii & 190 p. ISBN 978-0-9554545-6-1. Pages 149-169.

BORI, Caterina, A new source for the biography of Ibn Taymiyya, in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 67/3, Londres, 2004, p. 321-348.

YouTube: NyuAkatsuki, 1 July 2008, Ibn Taymiyyah. Http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=f5GfjOxGQ9s.

IV. February 23. The Middle Way of Islam

General references:
MICHEL, Thomas F., A Muslim Theologian’s Response to Christianity. Ibn Taymiyya’s Al-jawâb al-sahîh. Edited and translated, « Studies in Islamic philosophy and science », Delmar - New York, Caravan Books, 1984, ix & 465 p. — The introduction.

BELL, J. N., Love Theory in Later Hanbalite Islam, « Studies in Islamic Philosophy and Science », Albany, State University of New York Press, 1979. — Ch. 3 : The Reaction to Ash‘arism : Ibn Taymiyya; Ch. 4 : Divine Will and Love in the Theology of Ibn Taymiyya; Ch. 5 : Ibn Taymiyya
on Love between God and Man,
p. 46-91.

Reading Assignments:

SWARTZ, Merlin, A seventh-century (A. H.) Sunni creed: The ‘Aqîda Wâsitîya of Ibn Taymîya, in Humaniora Islamica. An Annual Publication of Islamic Studies and the Humanities. Ed. by Herbert W. MASON, Ronald L. NETTLER, Merlin L. SWARTZ, Jacques WAARDENBURG, La Haye -
Paris, Mouton, t. I, 1973, p. 91-131.

ABRAHAMOV, Binyamin, Ibn Taymiyya on the Agreement of Reason with Tradition, in The Muslim World, v. LXXXII, 3-4, 1992, p. 255-273.

V. Mars 2. In and Out of Jail

Reading Assignments:
JACKSON, Sherman A., Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus, in Journal of Semitic Studies, XXXIX, 1, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 41-85.

LITTLE, Donald P., The historical and historiographical Significance of the Detention of Ibn Taymiyya, in International Journal of Middle East Studies, t. IV, Cambridge, 1973, p. 311-327.
— Also in his History and Historiography of the Mamlûks, Variorum Reprints, London, 1986, VII.

MURAD, Hasan Qasim, Ibn Taymiya on trial: a narrative account of his mihan, in Islamic Studies, Islamabad, The Islamic Research Institute, t. XVIII, 1979, p.1-32.

VI. Mars 9. Resisting the Tatars

Reading Assignments:
MICHOT, Yahya, Muslims under Non-Muslim Rule. Ibn Taymiyya on fleeing from sin, kinds of emigration, the status of Mardin (domain of peace/war, domain composite), the conditions for challenging power. Texts translated, annotated and presented in relation to six modern readings of
the Mardin fatwa. Foreword by J. PISCATORI, Oxford-London: Interface Publications, Dec. 2006, xviii & 190 p. – ISBN 978-0-9554545-6-1.

PETERS, Rudolph, The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihad: Ibn Taymiyya on Jihad, chap. V. de Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam. A Reader, « Princeton Series on the Middle East », Princeton, Markus Wiener, 1996, p. 43-54.

VII. Mars 16. « The Vain Religion »

General reference:
MICHEL, Thomas F., A Muslim Theologian’s Response to Christianity. Ibn Taymiyya’s Al-jawâb al-sahîh. Edited and translated, « Studies in Islamic philosophy and science », Delmar - New York, Caravan Books, 1984, ix & 465 p. — The translation.

Reading Assignments:
O’KEEFFE, Benjamin, Mas’alat al-Kanâ’is (The Question of the Churches). Presented and translated, in Islamochristiana (Dirâsât Islâmiyya Masîhiyya), 22, Rome, 1996, p. 53-78.

ROBERTS, Nancy N., Reopening the Muslim-Christian Dialogue of the 13th-14th Centuries: Critical Reflections on Ibn Taymiyyah’s Response to Christianity in al-Jawâb al-Sahîh li-man Baddala Dîn al-Masîh, in The Muslim World, LXXXVI, n° 3-4, 1996, p. 342-366.

VIII. Mars 23. The Poison of Philosophy

General reference:
HALLAQ, Wael B., Ibn Taymiyya Against the Greek Logicians. Translated with an Introduction and Notes, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993.

Reading Assignments:
MICHEL, Thomas F., Ibn Taymiyya’s Critique of Falsafa, in Hamdard Islamicus, Karachi, t. VI/1,
1983, p. 3-14.

HOOVER, Jon, Ibn Taymiyya as an Avicennan Theologian, in Theological Review, 27, 2006, p. 34-46.

MICHOT, Yahya, Misled and Misleading… Yet Central in their Influence: Ibn Taymiyya’s Views on the Ikhwān al-Safā’, in The Ikhwān al-Safā’ and their Rasā’il. An Introduction. Edited by Nader EL-BIZRI. Foreword by Farhad DAFTARY, Oxford, Oxford University Press, in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, « Epistles of the Brethren of Purity », 2008, p. 139-179. — On internet: muslimphilosophy.com.

IX. Mars 30. The True Friends of God

General reference:
IBN TAYMIYYA, The Decisive Criterion Between the Friends of Allaah & the Friends of Shaytaan -Al-Furqân bayna Awliyâ’ al-Rahmân wa awliyâ’ al-shaytân, by Shaykh ul-Islaam Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah. Translated by ABU RUMAYSAH, Birmingham, Daar us-Sunnah Publications, 1421/2000, 384 p.

Reading Assignments:
HOMERIN, Th. E., Ibn Taimîya’s Al-Sûfîyah wa-al-Fuqarâ’, in Arabica, XXXII, Leiden, 1985, p.219-244.

KNYSH, Alexander D., Ibn Taymiyya’s Formidable Challenge, Chap. IV of his Ibn ‘Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition. The Making of a Polemical Image in Medieval Islam, « SUNY Series in Islam », Albany, State University of New York Press, 1999, p. 87-111, 313-323 (notes).

MAKDISI, George, Ibn Taymiyya : A Ṣûfî of the Qâdiriya Order, in American Journal of Arabic Studies, t. I, 1973, p. 118-129. — Reedited in his Religion, Law and Learning in Classical Islam, VII, « Collected Studies Series, CS347 », London, Variorum, 1991.

MICHOT, Yahya, Ibn Taymiyya’s Commentary on the Creed of al-Hallâj, in A. SHIHADEH (ed.), Sufism and Theology, Edimbourg, Edinburgh University Press, 2007, p. 123-136.

X. April 13. The Power of Muhammad’s Community

General reference:
FARRUKH, ‘Umar A., Ibn Taymiyya on Public and Private Law in Islam. Or Public Policy in Islamic Jurisprudence. Translation, Khayats, Beyrouth, 1966, 202 p.

Reading Assignments:

AHMED, Shahab, Ibn Taymiyyah and the Satanic verses, in Studia Islamica, LXXXVII, Paris, 1998, p. 67-124.

FRIEDMAN, Yaron, Ibn Taymiyya’s Fatâwâ against the Nusayrî-‘Alawî Sect, in Der Islam, 82,2, 2005, p. 349-363.

SCHALLENBERGH, Gino, Ibn Taymîya on the ’Ahl al-Bayt, in U. VERMEULEN & J. VAN STEENBERGEN (eds.), Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and mamluk Eras III. Proceedings of the 6th, 7th and 8th International Colloquium organized at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in May 1997, 1998 and 1999, « Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 102 », Louvain, Peeters, 2001, p. 407-420.

XI. April 20. The Shaykh al-Islam

General reference:
MEMON, Muhammad U., Ibn Taymîya’s Struggle against Popular Religion. With an Annotated Transl. of his Kitâb iqtidâ’ as-sirât al-mustaqîm mukhâlafat ashâb al-jahîm, « Religion and Society, 1 » (The Hague - Paris: Mouton, 1976).

Reading Assignments:
MICHOT, Y., For a grave in Damascus... Text and photos. Translated by J. QURESHI, 1427/2006.

Internet: www.interfacepublications.com/~interfa3/images/pdf/IbnTaymiyya_Tomb.pdf
—, Ibn Taymiyya on Astrology. Annotated Translation of Three Fatwas, in Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 11/2, Oxford, May 2000, p. 147-208.

RAHMAN, Fazlur, Revival and reform in Islam. A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism. Edited and with an Introduction by Ebrahim MOOSA (OXFORD: Oneworld, 2000), ix, 226 p., 1-85168-204-X. — Chap. 4, p. 132-165 : Later Medieval reform : Ibn Taymiyya.

XII. April 27. From Birgi to Delhi

General reference:
BIRGIVI, Imâm, The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals and Ethics. Interpreted by Tosun Bayrak, 2005.

Reading Assignments:
ABDUL-MAWJÛD, Salâhud-Dîn ‘Alî, The Biography of Imâm Ibn al-Qayyim. Translated by Abdul-Râfi Adewale IMÂM, Riyadh - London, etc., Darussalam, 2006, 314 p., 9960-9829-5-5. — P. 73-96: His Relationship With ibn Taymiyyah.

NIZÂMÎ, Khalîq Aḥmad, The Impact of Ibn Taymiyya on South Asia, in Journal of Islamic Studies, I, Oxford, 1990, p. 120-149.

ZILFI, M. C., The Kadizadelis: Discordant Revivalism in the Seventeenth Century Istanbul, in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 45, 1986, p. 251-269.

RADTKE, Bernd, Birgiwîs Ṭarîqa Muḥammadiyya. Einige Bemerkungen und Überlegungen, in Journal of Turkish Studies, 26/1, 2002, Harvard, p. 159-174.

XIII. May 4. Our Modern “Age of Ignorance”

Reading Assignments:
BENJAMIN, Daniel - SIMON, Steven, The Age of Sacred Terror, New York, Random House, 2002. — Ch. 2, p. 38-94: Ibn Taymiyya and His Children

SIVAN, E., Ibn Taymiyya : Father of the Islamic Revolution. Medieval Theology & Modern Politics, in Encounter, t. LX/v, 1983, p. 41-50.

ABOU EL FADL, Khaled, Rebellion & Violence in Islamic Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001. — P. 271-279, etc.: Ibn Taymiyya as a revisionist.


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