This is a traditional word-by-word explanation of a hashiya (gloss) on Shaykh al-Sanusi’s popular matn in Islamic theology, Umm al-Barahin. Hamza Karamali carefully works through the first
half of the Hashiya in 68 recorded lessons, unpacking its meanings, and relating them to contemporary theological problems related to modern science, Western philosophy, and Wahhabi theology. These include the distinction between tawhid al-rububiyya and tawhid al-uluhiyya;
the nature of causation in the universe; propositional modalities; modal metaphysics; the nature of moral responsibility; the relationship between morality and God; the relationship between the mind and reality; the nature of the physical universe; and
the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human freewill. This is a course for experienced students of knowledge who have studied the Islamic sciences for many years.

Curricular Context

  • Fluency in Arabic reading is a prerequisite for taking this course
  • Prior knowledge of the foundational Islamic sciences
  • Proficiency in traditional Arabic grammar is a prerequisite for taking this course
  • Previous experience reading traditional mutun is a prerequisite for taking this course
  • Beliefs: Sanusi’s Umm al-Barahin – Foundational Proofs for Why Islam is True is a prerequisite for taking this course

Course Outline

SESSION 1 Author’s Introduction and
the Basmala (6 lessons)
SESSION 2 The Hamdala (3 lessons)
SESSION 3 The Blessings on the
Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) (6 lessons)
SESSION 4 An Introduction to the Science of Tawhid (3 lessons)
SESSION 5 The Three Kinds of Hukm (6
SESSION 6 The Hukm ‘Aqli (9 lessons)
SESSION 7 The First Obligation of
Morally Responsible Agents (6 lessons)
SESSION 8 Divine Existence, Divine Beginninglessness, Divine Endlessness, and Divine Dissimilarity to Created Things (6 lessons)
SESSION 9 Divine Independence, Divine Oneness, Entity-Attributes, and Privative Attributes (8 lessons)
SESSION 10 Existent Attributes, Divine Power, and Divine Will (8 lessons)
SESSION 11 Divine Knowledge, Divine Life, Divine Hearing, and Divine Sight (5 lessons)
SESSION 12 Divine Speech and Implied Attributes (3 lessons)
SESSION 13 Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (1) – Nonexistence, Beginning to Exist, Ceasing to Exist, and Resembling Created Things (8 lessons)
SESSION 14 Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (2) – Neediness, Not Being One, and Not Being Powerful (7 lessons)
SESSION 15  Matters that are Impossible for Allah Most High (3) – Not Having Will, Ignorance, Death, Deafness, Blindness, and Muteness (7 lessons)
SESSION 16  Matters that are Possible for Allah Most High and the Proof of Allah Most High’s Existence (9 lessons)
SESSION 17 The Proof of Allah Most High’s Existence (5 lessons)
SESSION 18 The Proofs of Allah Most High’s Beginninglessness, Endlessness, Transcendence, Independence, and Oneness (5 lessons)
SESSION 19 Proofs of Allah Most High’s Agency, Hearing, Sight, and Speech + Matters that are Necessary, Impossible, and Possible for His Messengers (7 lessons)
SESSION 20 Proofs of Messengers’ Attributes (6 lessons)
SESSION 21 The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (1) (5 lessons)
SESSION 22 The Meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah (2) (7 lessons)
SESSION 23 The Meaning of Muhammad Rasul Allah (1)
SESSION 24 The Meaning of Muhammad Rasul Allah (2) + Author’s Conclusion

What You Will Learn:

  • Develop the skill of reading the mutunshuruh, and hawashi of the Muslim scholarly tradition
  • Deepen your understanding of traditional Islamic theology (both Ash‘ari and Maturidi)
  • Distinguish between those parts of traditional Islamic theology that are “pure theology” and those that are “theology in light of pre-modern science”
  • Learn how to update traditional Islamic theology in light of modern scientific discoveries

About the Course Text

This course is a traditional word-by-word exposition of one of the most popular Azhari manuals in Islamic theology, Shaykh Ibrahim al-Bajuri’s (d. 1276 A.H. / 1860 C.E.) Hashiya on the Umm al-Barahin of Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Sanusi. Shaykh al-Bajuri was a prolific scholar, authoring commentaries and glosses in many different Islamic disciplines, including theology, logic, hadith, Sacred Law, estate division, Arabic morphology, Arabic grammar, and Arabic literature. His works have been highly regarded by generations of teachers and students for their precision, comprehensiveness, and depth of scholarship. He studied and taught at al-Azhar, becoming its foremost scholar and rector (Shaykh al-Azhar) in 1263 A.H. / 1847 C.E., a position that he retained until his death. His Hashiya on the Umm al-Barahin is one of his most widely studied works.