This is a traditional word-by-word explanation of a hashiya (gloss) on Shaykh al-Sanusi’s popular matn in Islamic theology, Umm al-Barahin. Hamza Karamali carefully works through the first half of the Hashiya in 68 recorded lessons, unpacking its meanings, and relating them to contemporary theological problems related to modern science, Western philosophy, and Wahhabi theology. These include the distinction between tawhid al-rububiyya and tawhid al-uluhiyya; the nature of causation in the universe; propositional modalities; modal metaphysics; the nature of moral responsibility; the relationship between morality and God; the relationship between the mind and reality; the nature of the physical universe; and the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freewill. This is a course for experienced students of knowledge who have studied the Islamic sciences for many years.

Curricular Context

  • This is a Step Three course that presupposes prior knowledge of the foundational Islamic sciences
  • Fluency in Arabic reading is a prerequisite for taking this course
  • Proficiency in traditional Arabic grammar is a prerequisite for taking this course
  • Previous experience reading traditional mutun is a prerequisite for taking this course

Course Outline

  • WEEK 1: Author’s Introduction and the Basmala (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 2: The Hamdala (3 lessons)
  • WEEK 3: The Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 4: An Introduction to the Science of Tawhid (3 lessons)
  • WEEK 5: The Three Kinds of Hukm (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 6: The Hukm ‘Aqli (9 lessons)
  • WEEK 7: The First Obligation of Morally Responsible Agents (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 8: Divine Existence, Divine Beginninglessness, Divine Endlessness, and Divine Dissimilarity to Created Things (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 9: Divine Independence, Divine Oneness, Entity-Attributes, and Privative Attributes (8 lessons)
  • WEEK 10: Existent Attributes, Divine Power, and Divine Will (8 lessons)
  • WEEK 11: Divine Knowledge, Divine Life, Divine Hearing, and Divine Sight (5 lessons)
  • WEEK 12: Divine Speech and Implied Attributes (3 lessons)

What You Will Learn:

  • Develop the skill of reading the mutun, shuruh, and hawashi of the Muslim scholarly tradition
  • Deepen your understanding of traditional Islamic theology (both Ash‘ari and Maturidi)
  • Distinguish between those parts of traditional Islamic theology that are “pure theology” and those that are “theology in light of pre-modern science”
  • Learn how to update traditional Islamic theology in light of modern scientific discoveries

Course Requirements:

  • Previous study in Arabic grammar, Aqida and Logic is recommended.

About the Course Text

This course is a traditional word-by-word exposition of one of the most popular Azhari manuals in Islamic theology, Shaykh Ibrahim al-Bajuri’s (d. 1276 A.H. / 1860 C.E.) Hashiya on the Umm al-Barahin of Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi. Shaykh al-Bajuri was a prolific scholar, authoring commentaries and glosses in many different Islamic disciplines, including theology, logic, hadith, Sacred Law, estate division, Arabic morphology, Arabic grammar, and Arabic literature. His works have been highly regarded by generations of teachers and students for their precision, comprehensiveness, and depth of scholarship. He studied and taught at al-Azhar, becoming its foremost scholar and rector (Shaykh al-Azhar) in 1263 A.H. / 1847 C.E., a position that he retained until his death. His Hashiya on the Umm al-Barahin is one of his most widely studied works.

Significant Dates

Registration Opens: September 30, 2019

Registration Closes: November 25, 2019

Note: Course material will be available on the first day of classes, October 21, 2019.

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“Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward”– The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)