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Rediscovering the Islamic ClassicsHow Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition$
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Ahmed El Shamsy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174563

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174563.001.0001

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The Backlash against Postclassicism

The Backlash against Postclassicism

(p.172) Chapter 7 The Backlash against Postclassicism
Rediscovering the Islamic Classics

Ahmed El Shamsy

Princeton University Press

This chapter introduces some of the key figures in the emerging networks of reformist ʿulamāʾ (the Muslim scholarly class). In particular, the chapter discusses Maḥmūd Shukrī al-Ālūsī in Baghdad and Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī in Damascus. It describes their efforts and motivations in discovering, circulating, and printing classical books. The chapter focuses on the search for and publication of writings specifically on religious thought and practice by these reformists. The reformist ʿulamāʾ were a small but active and intellectually high-powered group who diverged from the scholarly mainstream of their day by attacking esoteric Sufi beliefs and practices as superstitious, irrational, and contrary to Islamic ideals and by criticizing the Islamic legal status quo, which they saw as a fossilized doctrine unresponsive to the actual challenges Muslims were facing.

Keywords:   ʿulamāʾ, Maḥmūd Shukrī al-Ālūsī, Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī, postclassicism, classical books, religious thought, religious practice

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