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1. General Muslim Studies III: Early Madina

The end is contained in the beginning. Madina is the starting point of civic Islam, the city where men and women put everything of the shari’a and sunna into practice for the first time, revealing the fullest proof of their luminous reality. This module examines early Madina as the matrix of Muslim civilisation.

The course will cover the life of Madina in the first century with respect to its family and tribal life, its economy, markets, crafts and scholarship, and its politics, governance and other institutions. We will examine the transformation that took place in Madina as the locus of power shifted first to Kufa in Iraq, then Damascus and later Baghdad, and the role that Madina came to play in the Muslim world.

  1. Madina: The New Matrix – Abdassamad Clarke FFAS, Dean
    As the context in which much of the dīn was revealed, the sharī‘a put in place and the Sunna practised, the city of Madina has not been well understood. It remained the political centre of Islam during the first three caliphates and after that continued as a major locus of learning and, more importantly, of everyday communal embodiment of the dīn. An appreciation of its life and culture is vital for a complete understanding of the Book and the Sunna, just as a proper grasp of our current society is an essential requirement for putting them into practice. 

    Abdassamad Clarke

    Abdassamad Clarke FFAS is Dean of MFAS. He is from Ulster and was formally educated in Edinburgh in mathematics and physics. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973 and later studied Arabic, tajwid and other Islamic sciences in Cairo. He has a number of translations of classical Arabic works, and is also the editor and co-author with Abdurrahman I. Doi of the revised edition of Shariah: The Islamic Law. He is currently imam and teacher at the Ihsan Mosque, Norwich, UK.
  2. Early Governance in the Islamic Umma – Aisha Bewley FFAS

  3. As the second lecture in our Early Madina module, Aisha Bewley presents “Early Governance in the Islamic Umma” which will examine the historical formation of the Umma of the Muslims and the structure of how it was governed as well as presenting an analysis of the effectiveness of this form of governance.
    Aisha Bewley
    Aisha Abdurrahman at Tarjumana Bewley is one of today’s most prolific translators of classical Arabic works into English. For more than thirty-five years she has been concerned with making the contents of many classical Arabic works more accessible to English- speaking readers. She is co-translator of The Noble Qur’an A New Rendering of its Meaning in English. Other works include Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik, and Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah a translation of the Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad.
  4. Pre-Madhhab Fiqh – a paper by Aisha Bewley

  5. When we think about fiqh, we think of the various schools or madhhabs existing today: the Malikis, the Hanafis, the Shafi’is and the Hanbalis. None of these, of course, existed in the time of the Prophet, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, or the Companions. They are the result of a historical process which extended over generations, each with its own particular process. This lecture will examine the nature of the practice of Islam before the emergence of the madhhabs and its texture.
  6. Tarbiyah – Amjad Hussain FFAS
    The lecture on Tarbiyah will discuss the original pattern of understanding, upbringing and cultivation of good character in Madinan society and how that developed in the first century of Islam. The lecture will investigate the difference between such terms as tarbiyah, ta'dib and ta'lim and the relationship between them. The paper will begin by giving a brief overview of the history of education in the Muslim world and then go on to focus on the importance of the tarbiyah brought by the Prophet Muhammad (saw).  The lecture will highlight how this edification gave the community of Madina the understanding, upbringing and character that today all Muslims aspire towards.  
Amjad Hussain

Amjad Hussain is a Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies & Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David.  Hussain has written widely on Islam and has published internationally in Britain, USA and Turkey. He has recently published the book entitled A Social History of Education in the Muslim World.
  7. Jihad – Abdassamad Clarke FFAS, Dean
    In this paper we will examine jihad and the Madinan community’s involvement in it and relationship to it over the first three generations, in the process deepening our understanding of what it is and its rulings. We will look at the jihad against apostates, people who refused the zakāh, the khawārij and the People of the Book in the context of the time and of the Roman and Persian Empires and the great tribes of Arabia. We will also examine the movement of wealth brought about by the jihad.
  1. Early Madinan Architecture and Its Civil Society – Mahmud Manning
    To provide an overview of early Madinah, touching on its geology & geography, its urban make-up and built forms. We will look at the general build construction of early Madinah and the type of materials used.
    Most importantly to look deeper into a social dynamic within the city in the light of Revelation and the Social Charter with ended divisions and internal wars; marking this new social contract as a model for future social establishment.
    In particular we will examine how the form of the ‘Hosh’ or enclosed public courtyard functioned; how families lived, shared and socialised and to reflect and measure its context for today’s community cohesion and wider society.

  2. Mahmud Manning
    Mahmud completed an MA at Birmingham City University in 2010 and is currently completing a build project in Saudi Arabia. He is working on a mesjid-build south of Madinah Munawarah with consultancy work for the Municipality of Madinah and their Comprehensive Plan for improvement of the city over the next five years.
  3. Tribes and families – Idris Mears
  4. Social welfare – Dr. Asadullah Yate FFAS
    The lecture on 'Social Welfare' will discuss to what extent one can talk about the mutual help afforded by the people of Madina as being 'social welfare', a heavily loaded term with a largely socialist colouring;  to what extent the 'official' allocations and allowances afforded certain people from the Bayt al-Mal covered the needs of the poor; to what extent the numerous Quranic injunctions to help the needy were the real basis of a vibrant social welfare - at a personal spontaneous level rather than as an institution of the developing dawlat. In other words, was social welfare a relatively static, regular institution, a dynamic personal phenomenon or a mixture of both.

    Asadullah Yate

    Asadullah Yate studied in the madrasa of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi. He has translated many works from Arabic, Persian, German and French. He currently teaches Arabic and Fiqh at the Weimar Institute in Germany.
  5. Some Thoughts on the Transmission of Qur'an and Sunna – Dr. Yasin Dutton 
FFAS, University of Cape Town

    Islam, as is well known, is based on “Qur’an and Sunna”. For well over a thousand years now, the Muslims have been accustomed to reading the Qur’an according to one of Seven Readings and activating the Sunna according to one of Four Madhhabs. But why are there “seven” readings, and “four” madhhabs? How did they come about, and where, and when? What was there before them?
    In this talk, we aim to address these questions – or at least aspects of them – hoping, if not to come up with complete answers, at least to dispel certain myths that have become associated with them. In particular, we hope to reach a deeper understanding of what led to the mashhur/shadhdh distinction with regard to the Qur’an, and, in a separate (?) development, the ‘amal/hadith distinction with regard to the Sunna. We also hope that insights gained from these investigations will help provide a better focus for our own appreciation and practice of the din, whereby we prioritise what needs prioritising and leave as marginal what is marginal.
    Dr Yasin Dutton

    Dr Yasin Dutton is currently Associate Professor in Arabic Studies and Director of the School of Languages and Literatures in the University of Cape Town, South Africa, having taught previously at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford in the UK. He is the author of The Origins of Islamic Law: The Qur'an, the Muwatta' and Madinan 'Amal (Curzon Press, 1996) and Original Islam: Malik and the Madhhab of Madina (Routledge, 2007), as well as several articles on early Islamic law, early Qur'anic manuscripts, and the application of Islamic law in the modern world, particularly in relation to economic and environmental issues. 
  6. Trade and commerce – Dr. Adi Setia FFAS
    The focus of this lecture is on the meanings of trade and commerce (tijarah) in Islam and related terms such as kasb, iktisab (earning), wealth (mal), work ('amal) as these are expressed in some salient aspects of early Medinan practice, and in their exposition by the classical 'ulama in their many authoritative works on the fiqh and adab of kasb (earning a livelihood). The lecture concludes which some reflections on how to derive insight (tabsirah) from the foregoing for a proper evaluative engagement with the modern economic context.
    Dr. Adi Setia

    Dr. Adi Setia is currently General Coordinator for the Worldview of Islam Research Academy (WIRA). He has been research fellow (1996-2004) at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) during the founding directorship of  Professor Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, before joining the Faculty of Science of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and later its Department of General Studies (2005—2010). He has also spent some years studying at the traditional Islamic madrasahs (pondoks) of Kedah, Patani and Kelantan, especially under Al-Marḥūm Tuan Guru Ḥaji ʿUmar Zuhdī of Madrasah Misbāḥul Falāḥ, Baling, Kedah; and Almarḥūm Tuan Guru Ḥaji Hāshim Abū Bakr of Madrasah Dīniyyah Bakriyyah, Pasir Tumboh, Kelantan. His research interests are in the areas of History and Philosophy of Science, Islāmic Science, the Islāmic Gift Economy (IGE), and in the operative Islāmization of both the natural and social sciences according to the conceptual framework outlined in Professor al-Attas’s The Positive Aspects of Tasawwuf: Preliminary Thoughts on an Islamic Philosophy of Science (Kuala Lumpur: ASASI, 1981) and Islam and the Philosophy of Science (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1989). Recently he has published a lightly annotated English translation of Imām al-Ghazālī’s Kitāb Ādāb al-Kasb wa al-Maʿāsh (Book 13 of the Iḥyāʾ), with the title The Book of the Proprieties of Earning and Living (Kuala Lumpur: IBFIM, 2013)
  7. Crafts, Trades and the Marketplace – T. S. Andersson MFAS, Director of Studies

    The lecture examines the history of crafts and trading among the first generations of Muslims in Madina. Besides providing an overview of the crafts, the lecture will look at social functions of the crafts, transmission of crafts, organisations of craftsmen, roles of men and women, attitudes and prestige involved in crafts, trading the produce of the crafts in the marketplace and legal regulations pertaining to these transactions. It will also consider how the crafts of the Madinan society developed during the early generations and how these developments related to other political, social and economic changes at the time. 
T. S. Andersson

Tobias Sahl Andersson was born in Sweden and formally studied history, Arabic and religious studies at Linnaeus University, Växjö. He is currently studying for a PhD in Islamic History at Edinburgh University and teaches history at the Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies, besides working on various research and translation projects relating to the early history of Islam.
  8. Early Madina – an End to Nihilism – Abdassamad Clarke FFAS

Although not yet ready to publish in book format, the unedited lecture notes are also available in both ePub and Kindle formats upon application to MFAS. Please write to: The Dean

Video recordings of the modules