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Level: Two

Instructor: Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary

Course Overview

This is a Level Two Course in the Islamic Studies Curriculum. It is based on the text Umm al-Barahin (Summary of the Theological Proofs) by Imam Sanusi.

Allah Most High sent His Messengers with “clear signs” (Qur’an, 57:25). They called people to abandon the blind imitation of the false religions and customs of their ancestors and to use their minds to discern what was true and then to follow it wholeheartedly.

The science of Islamic theology (Kalam) formalized the arguments of Allah’s Messengers and then used them to respond to the questions posed by Greek philosophy.

Take this course to learn Islamic theology, how it developed, and how to apply it to contemporary questions related to science, atheism, cosmological arguments, human freewill, infinity, and classical conditioning. Students will also learn how it relates to natural causation, anthropomorphism, miracles, modal logic, and the problem of evil.

About the Text

The Sanusiyya has arguably been the most popular introduction to mainstream Islamic theology ever since it was written five hundred years ago by the learned and pious West African theologian, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Sanusi.

This book is also called Umm al-Barahin (The Summary of Theological Proofs), which is a description of its contents. The book begins with an introduction to the methods of reasoning, then lists the attributes of Allah Most High. It then summarizes the rational arguments for those attributes, lists the attributes of Allah Most High’s Messengers, and summarizes the rational arguments for those attributes. Finally, it concludes by showing how the testification of faith summarizes everything that has been mentioned in the book.

A translation of the text is provided to all registered students of the course.

About the Author

Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Sanusi (d. 895 AH / 1489 CE) was a North African theologian and mystic. He is widely known for his series of theological manuals. He penned an entire curriculum of theological treatises of varying lengths and for varying pedagogical levels.

He authored a long work called al-Sanusiyya al-Kubra (The Long Sanusiyya), a middle-sized work called Sanusiyya al-Wusta (The Medium Sanusiyya), a short work called Sanusiyya al-Sughra (The Short Sanusiyya), and an even shorter work called Sughra al-Sughra (The Tiny Sanusiyya). The most popular of these works, however, has been Sanusiyya al-Sughra (The Short Sanusiyya), which is the textbook for this course.

Learning Outcomes

- Describe the historical development of mainstream Islamic theology.

- Explain what Muslims believe about Allah Most High and His messengers.

- Prove why these beliefs are true.

- Respond to common objections to belief in Allah Most High and His messengers.

- Appreciate the scholarly depth of the Islamic theological tradition.

About the Instructor

Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary is a researcher in Islamic intellectual history and a teacher of Islamic traditional sciences. He’s currently a teacher of Hadith, Usul, Logic, and Kalam at Rawdatul-Naim under the supervision of Habib Ali al-Jifri; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismail Sadiq al-Adawi (RA), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.

Shaykh Ahmed studied Anthropology at American University in Cairo and received his training in Leadership Communication from Tulane University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is also a life-long learner. He holds a diversified portfolio of almost 50 certificates in a variety of subjects – extending from Teaching Character and Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People to Complexity Theory, Model Thinking, and Conflict Analysis.

Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss various advanced-level texts, over a long period of time. Shaykh Ahmed has more than 70 Ijazas from scholars from all over the Muslim world.

Besides a number of forthcoming edited works in Islamic pedagogy, linguistics, and Hanafi Usul, Shaykh Ahmed has authored ‘Ruh al-`Ilm’ – a treatise in the art of scientific investigation, based on a survey of roughly 200 traditional Islamic texts. This work has been endorsed by Dr. Jamal Faraq, the Dean of Islamic Da`wah College at al-Azhar University and Dr. Ahmed Mamduh, the Chair of Division of Research at Dar al-Iftaa’ al-Masriyah.

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Short Intro: This course is an introduction to Islamic theology based on Imam Sanusi’s Summary of Theological Proofs. It summarizes the rational arguments for the attributes of Allah Most High and His Messengers (upon them be peace).
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Weightage: 2
Skill Level: Beginner
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