- Study a classical commentary cover-to-cover in Arabic
- The entire series of four courses is spread over one full academic year
- Start developing the knowledge and skills necessary to access classical texts
- See first-hand how a classical text is explained by a teacher trained in a maddhab
- Gain first-hand exposure to the sharia principles of the Hanafi maddhab
- Maraqi al Falah focuses entirely on ‘ibadat. Part 1 covers the Book of Purification
About the Course
Part 1 of Maraqi al Falah shall cover the Book on Purification (Kitab at Taharah) over the course of 10 weeks. The course shall be taught entirely in Arabic, and shall focus on exposing students to broad sharia principles of the Hanafi maddhab which they can use to revise rulings for ‘ibadat. In explaining the text, and providing an opportunity for students to deepen their grasp of the underlying principles in the maddhab, extensive use of case studies and practical real-life scenarios shall be made. Being directly based on the Arabic text itself, the course is also an ideal opportunity for students to develop the fiqh-specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills necessary to directly access old legal texts.
The course will consist of weekly Live Sessions and a Final Examination. Students are highly encouraged to post their questions in the Forum over the course of the week, which are answered during the Live Sessions. Dr. Ashraf shall hold weekly office hours where students can consult with him one-on-one.
Weekly Time Commitment
The course shall require an estimated 1 to 1.5 hours per week outside the Live Sessions to review the material and take notes.
The text for the course Maraqi al Falah shall be provided to students in pdf format
The is conducted entirely in Arabic and assumes students can read and understand the language with the level of proficiency required to attend a class, take notes, ask questions, and read a text in Arabic.
From a fiqh perspective, it is also recommended students have finished the 4-part course Quduri’s Manual Explained.
Why is this course so special?
This course is being taught directly in Arabic. No translations, no secondary sources – here students shall read from the actual Arabic commentary of a classical work of fiqh with a qualified teacher. This presents a level of exposure to the science of fiqh, and the Hanafi school of law, that is simply beyond the reach of a course being taught in English.
Why? Simply because working with the actual Arabic words themselves, and not with a translator’s explanatory rendition, is the only way students can get a feel for what it means for the vocabulary of a text to be specific to that science (the science of fiqh in this case); and how even within the science of fiqh the same vocabulary can mean entirely different things across the different schools and across different times. Reading the text directly in Arabic therefore offers a window of insight into this crucial dimension of understanding, and correctly interpreting, the legacy of scholarship we have been left with.
Studying directly in Arabic to get a direct feel for the scholarly tradition of Islam. This is the real thing.
Why is Traditional Learning key to understanding such classical texts?
Studying under a qualified teacher who can explain the text and its technical vocabulary to the students, and give students the correct context for the different positions that exist in a maddhab, is the only way to access the classical texts of the various sciences without falling into misinterpretation.
Lets take a simple example of technical vocabulary: In Arabic, ka’b refers to the ankle, a usage that applies within works of fiqh as well, for instance in chapters concerning wudu’ (wash the feet including the ankles!). In Egypt, the same word is used to refer to the heel, not the ankle. While in certain Hanafi fiqh works, and specifically in the chapters on Hajj, the same word is used to refer to the upper part of the foot that must be left uncovered whilst fulfilling the Pilgrimage rights in a state of ihram! What is more, one may find both the latter and the former usage of ka’b across different chapters within the same text.
Someone who does not read such a text directly with a teacher who is familiar with these nuances of the tradition, and then proceeds to act upon his own uninformed reading of the text, is in serious danger of falling into fundamental mistakes. Such people may find themselves on Hajj, wearing sandals that cover the top of the foot (mistakenly thinking ka’b had referred to either the heel or the ankle), and thereby not fulfilling one of the conditions of ihram – all the while feeling assured that they have observed the rites and conditions of the Pilgrimage.
This technical knowledge – the specific details and the greater context of all the different positions that exist in a maddhab – is not found in the texts themselves. The texts of the tradition are written by specialists, who assume that the reader shall already be familiar with the technicalities. This knowledge can only be taken from people who have directly sat with teachers of the tradition and thereby learnt how the tradition works and is applied. This knowledge is the key to correctly understanding the tradition of our deen. This is traditional knowledge.
And it is not found by reading on one’s own. One must therefore learn from the scholars of the tradition.
What shall I know coming out of the course?
The 4-part series on Maraqi al Falah is designed to introduce students to the knowledge and skills necessary to directly access classical works of fiqh in the Hanafi school of law. The year-long series shall provide students with numerous opportunities to see how a traditional scholar explains a classical text by putting it into the context of the overall positions of the maddhab. With time and study, this allows students to develop these skills themselves, through deepening their understanding of the principles of the sharia and the specificities of a certain maddhab.
Dr. Ashraf shall guide students through this process by adding his own commentary and explanation on the text, comparing different positions within the maddhab, and focusing on the broad principles governing the practical application of the rulings.