Introduction

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 second half of the Hashiya in 74 recorded lessons, unpacking its meanings, and relating them to contemporary theological problems related to modern science, Western philosophy, and Wahhabi theology. These include the transcendence of Allah Most High; the figurative interpretation of Qur’anic verses and hadiths that seem to imply that Allah Most High resembles His creation; the “problem” of evil and suffering; the “problem” of divine omnipotence; the reality of natural causation; the relationship between morality and God; the meaning of the concept of “God”; the kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God; the Big Bang and the beginning of the universe in modern cosmology; the philosophy of numbers and mathematics; and miracles. 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: Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (1) – Nonexistence, Beginning to Exist, Ceasing to Exist, and Resembling Created Things (8 lessons)
  • WEEK 2: Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (2) – Neediness, Not Being One, and Not Being Powerful (7 lessons)
  • WEEK 3: Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (3) – Not Having Will, Ignorance, Death, Deafness, Blindness, and Muteness (7 lessons)
  • WEEK 4: Matters that are Possible for Allah Most High and the Proof of Allah Most High’s Existence (9 lessons)
  • WEEK 5: The Proof of Allah Most High’s Existence (5 lessons)
  • WEEK 6: The Proofs of Allah Most High’s Beginninglessness, Endlessness, Transcendence, Independence, and Oneness (5 lessons)
  • WEEK 7: Proofs of Allah Most High’s Agency, Hearing, Sight, and Speech + Matters that are Necessary, Impossible, and Possible for His Messengers (7 lessons)
  • WEEK 8: Proofs of Messengers’ Attributes (6 lessons)
  • WEEK 9: The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (1) (5 lessons)
  • WEEK 10: The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (2) (7 lessons)
  • WEEK 11: The Meaning of Muhammad Rasul Allah (1)
  • WEEK 12: The Meaning of Muhammad Rasul Allah (2) + Author’s Conclusion

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:

  • Bajuri’s Commentary on the Sanusiyya (Part I) BLBS350B
  • Previous study in Arabic grammar, Aqida and Logic is recommended

Course Format: 12 prerecorded classes & 3 live classes

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.