Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ahmad Dallal on Shāh Walī Allah of India (1703-1762)

Although he [Shāh Walī Allah] was concerned with political division and disintegration, the solution he prescribed was to be found outside the immediate realm of politics. He believed that political authority is important for practical purposes, but what ultimately counts is society. While the outward caliphate (khilāfat al-ẓāhir) is in charge of implementing superficial order, the inward one (khilāfat al-bāṭin) is responsible for social order in all its details. [24] The guardians of the inward order are the scholars ('ulamā'), and it is their duty to ensure that daily life is conducted in harmony with God's created nature (fiṭra). [25] Political corruption is but an outcome of the scholars' neglect in performing their duties properly. [26] Extreme intellectualism or "profundity" (ta'ammuq), [27] severity, [28] false consensus, [29] opportunism, [30] and claiming monopoly over truth [3l] are some aspects of this neglect.
-Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 343.