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

By Samer Akkach

During this specified 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. usually characterised exclusively as a Sufi saint, his suggestion and teachings have been of a much broader remit. via a clean examining of his unpublished biographical assets and big physique of generally unpublished works, Akkach examines early expressions of rationalism between Arab and Turkish students, and argues that 'Abd al-Ghani helped usher in the start of modernity within the Arab international.

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But the Damascenes soon adapted to the new changes and the stability and security provided by the Ottomans led to growth and prosperity. 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.

095 07/12/2006 3:16 PM Page 9 PART I HIS LIFE AView fromWithin SAINTLY PREDICTIONS Around the turn of 1641, a group of Damascene women went to visit an eccentric mystic known as shaykh Mahmud (d. 1641), who was residing in a secluded place at the foothill of Qasiyun, the mount that embraces the city, tending the tomb of a celebrated local mystic, Yusuf al-Qamini (d. 1259). They played an important social role in the Islamic society as guardians of piety and religious ethics, as sources of wisdom and esoteric knowledge, and as channels of divine blessing and mercy.

By the age of five he learned the Qur’an by heart as was the norm among gifted children. At a very young age ‘Abd al-Ghani was eager to attend his father’s lessons as well as the lessons of the renowned hadith scholar Najm al-Din al-Ghazzi, the author of the famous biographical dictionary The Orbiting Planets (Kawakib), who used to teach under the Eagle Dome of the Umayyad mosque. He attended al-Ghazzi’s classes for several years and, despite his young age, he must have earned al-Ghazzi’s respect to be included in the general licence he gave his students to report after him.

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