Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment by Samer Akkach

By Samer Akkach

During this distinctive examine a key determine within the Islamic enlightenment, Samer Akkach examines the existence and works of 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (1641-1731) of Damascus: a modern of many significant thinkers, scientists, poets, and philosophers of the ecu Enlightenment. frequently characterised exclusively as a Sufi saint, his concept and teachings have been of a wider remit. via a clean studying of his unpublished biographical assets and massive physique of ordinarily unpublished works, Akkach examines early expressions of rationalism between Arab and Turkish students, and argues that 'Abd al-Ghani helped bring in the start of modernity within the Arab international.

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Upset by the incident, Isma‘il decided to acquire the Hanafi law from its leading masters. 095 07/12/2006 3:17 PM Page 24 24 ‘ABD AL-GHANI AL-NABULUSI succeeded in earning a license to give legal opinions (fatwa) in, and to teach, the Hanafi law. The benefits of aligning with the Ottomans must have outweighed the loss of his key teaching post. Soon after, Isma‘il was appointed as a supervisor on the Syrian pilgrimage caravan and was generously supported by the Prince of the Syrian convoy. To establish credibility as a Hanafi scholar, Isma‘il commenced on writing his largest work, a voluminous commentary on a key law text, but he did not live long enough to complete it.

The Damascenes maintained strong political and cultural ties with Istanbul. As key official appointments were initiated there, Damascene scholars would regularly travel to Istanbul to seek the favours of the Ottomans. They would take account of prestigious genealogy and distinguished scholarly abilities in making their appointments, but unwavering family loyalty to the Ottomans was the decisive criterion. This fostered corruption among Ottoman officials and their Damascene cronies that generated dissent among the locals.

Its significance evidently lies in its symbolic meaning rather than its historical truth, pointing to the importance of ‘Abd al-Ghani. Shaykh Mahmud, who named him and predicted his future, was to become his guardian. At a critical moment of severe illness, at the brink of death, he was to appear to the young ‘Abd al-Ghani, save his life, and help him recover. 095 07/12/2006 3:16 PM Page 11 PART ONE: HIS LIFE 11 of his doctrine. Again, this prediction tends to emphasize that ‘Abd al-Ghani’s adoption of Ibn ‘Arabi as his spiritual master was also by destiny rather than choice.

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