Islamic Criteria for Moral Judgment: Selected Readings from Tilamsani’s Miftah
Instructor: Dr. Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
Starting Date: Weekend of 9/15/17
Number of Lessons: 10 (9 + 1 Q&A session)
Dates: 9/16/17 – 11/18/17
Times: Saturdays 1230 pm EST/930 am PST USA
This course is a study of the well-acclaimed work of the Algerian jurisconsult Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Tilamsani (1370 CE). The book’s title is Miftah al-Wusul ila Bina al-Furu’ ‘ala Al-Usul (The Key to Connecting Branches to Roots). It is a work of legal import covering the Islamic discipline known as Usul al-Fiqh (Legal Foundations). It is fair to reason that reliance upon different sources of morality will likely result in different moral claims. It is even more challenging when views differ when the sources are shared between disputants. What constitutes evidence? How much authority is afforded to reason? How does one know if he is being driven by fancy or divinely sanction action? Is there a “Muslim” way of judging societal mores? What are the criteria for verifying truth claims? These are just some of the questions this course will answer. Its goal is to help students achieve a healthier sense of diversity and understand the roots of Islamic truth and moral claims. Beginning, intermediate, and advance students of Islam are all encouraged to register for this course.
Bio of Tilamsani
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad—known as Abu ‘Ali al-Sharif al-Tilamsani (1311-1370 CE)—lived during the 8th century AH/14th century CE. He was born in the village of Al-‘Alawiyini, a district of Tlemcen in the northwest of modern day Algeria. He was an accomplished jurist, and is most remembered for his remarkable work on comparative legal theory entitled Miftah al-Wusul ila Bina al-Furu’ ‘ala Al-Usul. He was also a masterful theologian, mathematician, and considered by many to be a scholar of juristic autonomy (mujtahid). He was the greatest authority on Maliki jurisprudence of his time, and regularly responded to written queries from scholars residing in different parts of the empire. Among his most celebrated students are Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi and Ibn Khaldun.
Course Instructor: Dr Abdullah bin Hamid Ali
Abdullah bin Hamid Ali is the founder of Lamppost Productions and the Lamppost Education Initiative, and he is the head of Zaytuna College’s Islamic law program. He teaches family law, inheritance law, business law, jurisprudential principles, and hadith science at Zaytuna College. He is a lifelong student of the Islamic tradition being born to Muslim parents having begun a serious study of Islam in his early teens. He attended Temple University for 2 years (1995-1997) prior to pursuing studies that culminated in a 4-year collegiate license (ijaza ‘ulya) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fes, Morocco (1997-2001). He has also served as adjunct professor of Arabic at UC Berkeley (2013), and adjunct professor of Intro to Islam at the Graduate Theological Union (2014). He holds a BA (ijaza ‘ulya) in Islamic Law (Shar’ia) from the prestigious Al-Qarawiyin University of Fez, Morocco, an MA in Ethics & Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union. In 2016, he completed his dissertation work (The “Negro” in Afro-Arabian Muslim Consciousness”) and received his Ph.D in Cultural & Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley).
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Abdullah relocated with his family by invitation from Zaytuna College’s Board of Trustees in 2007 to the Bay Area to instruct pilot seminarians in the Islamic rational sciences (theology, legal theory, hadith science) after spending 5 years as assistant full-time chaplain at the State Correctional Institution of Chester, PA (SCI Chester). Abdullah is a very active member of the Bay Area community who regularly delivers the Friday service address at a number of mosques, and conducts regularly scheduled online classes. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Northstar Islamic School.