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Q&A | February 27, 2014

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Islamic Reform and Conservatism: Al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The famed reform debates at al-Azhar Madrasa in nineteenth-century Cairo - one of the most influential centers of religious study in Sunni Islam - were enormously influential for twentieth-century Islamic thought. In this book Indira Gesink argues that narratives of these debates overemphasize the roles of famous modernists like Muhammad 'Abduh, obscuring important themes. By restoring conservative voices to the debate, she shows that conservative 'ulama engaged many of the same issues as reformers and led committees that generated and implemented reforms; ultimately, conservative leaders at al-Azhar provided crucial legitimacy for the reforms to become rooted in public life. Drawing on obscure, but important, archival sources to illustrate the important contributions of conservative scholars to the evaluation of twentieth-century Sunni Islam, Islamic Reform and Conservatism is indispensable for all those interested in the modern Middle East, religious history, secularism, modernism and religious reform.

Synopsis:

The famed reform debates at al-Azhar Madrasa in nineteenth-century Cairo - one of the most influential centers of religious study in Sunni Islam - were enormously influential for twentieth-century Islamic thought. In this book Indira Gesink argues that narratives of these debates overemphasize the roles of famous modernists like Muhammad 'Abduh, obscuring important themes. By restoring conservative voices to the debate, she shows that conservative 'ulama engaged many of the same issues as reformers and led committees that generated and implemented reforms; ultimately, conservative leaders at al-Azhar provided crucial legitimacy for the reforms to become rooted in public life. Drawing on obscure, but important, archival sources to illustrate the important contributions of conservative scholars to the evaluation of twentieth-century Sunni Islam, Islamic Reform and Conservatism is indispensable for all those interested in the modern Middle East, religious history, secularism, modernism and religious reform.

About the Author

Indira Falk Gesink is Associate Professor of History at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. She received her PhD in History from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000, and lived in Egypt in 1995-1996 and 1998.

Table of Contents

Introduction * Religion and the State: al-Azhar during Muhammad 'Ali * Order and Disorder: The Evolving Critique of Madrasa Education (1834-1870) * Progress, Nationalism and the Negative Construction of al-Azhar 'Ulama (1870-1882) * A Conservative Defense of Taqlid * Efficiency, Mission and the Meaning of 'Ilm (1882-1899) * The Syrian Riwaq Cholera Riot * Muhammad 'Abduh and Ijtihad * Who Reformed al-Azhar? * Conclusion * Notes * Selected Bibliography * Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781780764276
Author:
Gesink, Indira Falk
Publisher:
I. B. Tauris
Subject:
Middle East
Subject:
Islam -- History.
Subject:
Islam - Sunni
Subject:
World History-Middle East
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Al-Azhar and the Evo
Publication Date:
20140227
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Islam » History
Religion » Islam » Sunni

Islamic Reform and Conservatism: Al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages I. B. Tauris & Company - English 9781780764276 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The famed reform debates at al-Azhar Madrasa in nineteenth-century Cairo - one of the most influential centers of religious study in Sunni Islam - were enormously influential for twentieth-century Islamic thought. In this book Indira Gesink argues that narratives of these debates overemphasize the roles of famous modernists like Muhammad 'Abduh, obscuring important themes. By restoring conservative voices to the debate, she shows that conservative 'ulama engaged many of the same issues as reformers and led committees that generated and implemented reforms; ultimately, conservative leaders at al-Azhar provided crucial legitimacy for the reforms to become rooted in public life. Drawing on obscure, but important, archival sources to illustrate the important contributions of conservative scholars to the evaluation of twentieth-century Sunni Islam, Islamic Reform and Conservatism is indispensable for all those interested in the modern Middle East, religious history, secularism, modernism and religious reform.
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