Friday, June 12, 2020

"Islam's Loneliest Cosmopolitan: Badr Al-Din Hai Weiliang, the Lucknow–Cairo Connection, and the Circumscription of Islamic Transnationalism"


Badr al-Din Hai Weiliang (1912–?), a Chinese Muslim from rural Hunan, led a deeply transnational life. Hai was the only Chinese Muslim known to have studied in both India and Egypt in the modern period, spending considerable time at both the Nadwat al-‘Ulama in Lucknow and al-Azhar in Cairo. After Chinese, he learned four more languages in two decades: Arabic, Urdu, English, and Persian. While the Second World War transformed him into a longtime Guomindang diplomat, his time at the Nadwa and al-Azhar in the 1930s was largely devoted to questions of Islamic unity. Hai first pursued these questions in a doctrinal mode informed by Salafi currents, then in a political mode influenced by his translation of Iqbal’s “Allahabad address.” His move to Cairo brought him closer to the network of al-Fath and its editor Muhibb al-Din al-Khatib, a strong voice on behalf of Islamic unity, but geopolitics soon intervened. Disillusioned by the failure of the East Turkistan Republic, Hai coped by turning toward a cultural-historical mode of imagining Islamic unity, one that did not require specific political action. The eventual result was his Arabic-language opus Relations between the Arabs and China. Overall, Hai’s story defies both Sino-centric and peripheralized characterizations of Chinese Islam, showing that early-twentieth-century Chinese Islam can be used to write a highly integrated history of the Islamic world. This article contrasts Hai’s numerous Arabic and Chinese writings to show how he embodied the tensions felt across the Islamic world during this period between the national and transnational community.
John Chen, ReOrientVol. 3, No. 2 (Spring 2018), pp. 120-139 (20 pages).

e: Just found the title and abstract fascinating!..

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Recording: Life & Achievements of Sh. Muhammad Mustafa al-Azami

Shaykh Mustafa al-A‘zami was one of the leading Islamic scholars of the modern age, with numerous works in Arabic and English (with an emphasis on Hadith). His initial Islamic studies were at Darul Ulum Deoband, India. After obtaining a Master’s degree at al-Azhar University, Egypt, he successfully completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge on the subject of Hadith. Thereafter he held various lectureships at the universities of Oxford, Princeton, Michigan and Colorado, amongst others. He later taught in universities in Saudi Arabia, and was granted Saudi citizenship. He was the recipient of the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies in 1980 for his contribution to Hadith studies. He passed away in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 20 December 2017. 
Speakers and Topics: 
Shaykh Akram Nadwi, ‘The Distinction of Shaykh Mustafa al-A‘zami’ 
Ustadh Imtiyaz Damiel, ‘Reflections on 15 Years in the Company of Shaykh al-A‘zami in Saudi Arabia’ 
Ustadh Sohaib Saeed, PhD, ‘The Contribution of Shaykh al-A‘zami to Quranic Studies’ 
Andrew Booso, ‘Shaykh Mustafa al-A‘zami in Western Academia’

Sunday, May 3, 2020

New Book: Travelling Home: Essays on Islam in Europe by Abdal Hakim Murad

Released May 1, 2020. Available as an e-book at B&N.

"A forceful study of Islamophobia in Europe in an age of populism and pandemic, considering survival strategies for Muslims on the basis of Qur'an, Hadith, and the Islamic theological, legal and spiritual legacy."

See interview about the book here.