By Samer Akkach
During this exact examine a key determine within the Islamic enlightenment, Samer Akkach examines the lifestyles and works of 'Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (1641-1731) of Damascus: a latest of many significant thinkers, scientists, poets, and philosophers of the eu Enlightenment. frequently characterised exclusively as a Sufi saint, his notion and teachings have been of a wider remit. via a clean studying of his unpublished biographical assets and massive physique of often unpublished works, Akkach examines early expressions of rationalism between Arab and Turkish students, and argues that 'Abd al-Ghani helped bring in the start of modernity within the Arab international.
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Additional info for Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment
When Darwish Basha built his grand mosque, al-Darwishiyya, and appointed two principal teachers to teach the Shafi‘i and Hanafi laws, he chose Isma‘il for the Shafi‘i post and set up an endowment to keep it in al-Nabulusi’s family. He also gave him the teaching post in the great ‘Adiliyya School (Kawakib, 3:135). Isma‘il was known for his eloquent, engaging, and inspiring presentations, which were described by his colleagues as “the gentle breeze when it blows, and the flourishing garden when the fragrance of the blossom flows” (Haqiqa,1:62).
The seeker of spiritual attainment, murid in Arabic, is often expected, as many Sufi texts explain, to go through rigorous training and initiation rituals. With ‘Abd al-Ghani, however, the situation was different. He first appeared in his encounter with the leader of the Qadiriyya as a fully-fledged Sufi master. When he rose to eminence at the age of twenty-five, as we have seen, it was his exceptional rhetorical and poetic skills that were celebrated and not his spiritual insights and mystical attainments.
In these gatherings, poetic exchanges, exhibiting wit, literary skills, knowledge, and imagination, were the main form of entertainment. Despite their apparently informal setting,the gatherings tended to stage sophisticated and intellectually demanding performances. Participating in such performances in the presence of leading poets, linguists, and literary figures that often involved instantaneous, rhymed, and metered responses to several participants, could be intimidating for young scholars.
Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment by Samer Akkach