Enrolment options

Level: Three

Instructor: Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary

Course Overview:

This is a Level Three course in the Islamic Studies Curriculum of SeekersGuidance. It’s a traditional word-by-word explanation of Imam al-Sanusi’s commentary on his primer Umm al-Barahin (The Foundational Proofs), which covers a distilled theological exposition of Sunni creed based on the methodical approach of the Ash`ari school.

About the Text

Umm al-Barahin (The Foundational Proofs) of Imam al-Sanusi is one of the most fundamental primers in Islamic Theology and is considered historically as an elemental text in traditional Islamic education in the Maghreb, Egypt and al-Sham. Studied and memorized for centuries, Umm al-Barahin offers readers a structured and distilled outline of Sunni Creed, according to the methodical approach of the Ash`ari school of theology. Imam al-Sanusi in Umm al-Barahin supports the tenets of the Sunni Creed with rational and textual arguments that are free from confusion and ambiguity.

Sharh Umm al-Barahin, also known as Sharh al-Sanusiyya, is a lucid commentary written by Imam al-Sanusi himself on his primer Umm al-Barahin, in which he unpacks the essence of his theological arguments. In his commentary, Imam al-Sanusi divides his primer into passages that are followed by erudite explanation. This commentary attracted many scholars to write on it super-commentaries in which many intricate theological concepts and ideas were discussed. The commentary alongside its super-commentaries remain till this very day as a repository for late Asha`ri theological discussions.

About the Author

Born sometime after 830 (Hijri) in Algeria, Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Sanusi is one of the most prominent Ash`ari theologians in the Islamic tradition. He has written a number of primers and commentaries in theology that form an entire curriculum for theological studies. His works were adopted by institutions, from the time they were written and till this present day, particularly in the Western Islamicate - Maghreb, Egypt and al-Sham. Imam al-Sanusi’s contributions are not limited to theology, he has important contributions in Logic, Sufism, Medicine and Astronomy. He influenced numerous scholars who came after him and his systematic theological approach was adopted by many theologians for the past five centuries.

Who is This Course For?

- This course is useful for anyone who wants to understand the rational arguments related to our belief in Allah Most High and the method and nuances of Islamic Theology; to appreciate the depth and richness of the Islamic intellectual tradition; and learn the methods of thinking and analysis applied by Muslim scholars.

- This course is for adults.

- It is beneficial for students of knowledge in general and students of theology in particular.

Learning Outcomes:

- Explain the logical proofs for the attributes of Allah Most High.

- Break down the proofs for the existence of Allah Most High step by step.

- Explain the attributes of His Messengers (peace be upon them) and their proofs.

- Understand how all of these meanings are contained in the statement of Divine Oneness: there is no god but God.

- Understand how to unpack the terse expressions of classical Islamic texts and works on theology.

- Cultivate a deep method in thinking required from a student of knowledge.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Introducing the Author and the Text

Lesson 2: Author’s Preface and the Importance of Theology

Lesson 3: Judgment and Its Types

Lesson 4: What is Obligatory in the Sacred Law, Knowledge and Conformism

Lesson 5: The Necessary Attributes for Allah, The Negating Attributes

Lesson 6: The Predicative Attributes

Lesson 7: On the Beneficence of Allah, Companionship and Ambitious Desire

Lesson 8: What is Impossible for Allah

Lesson 9:What is Possible for Allah

Lesson 10: The Rational Proof for Allah’s Necessary Existence

Lesson 11: The Proofs for Allah’s Pre-Eternality, Endlessness and Absolute Dissimilarity from Contingent Beings

Lesson 12: The Proofs for Allah’s Self-Subsistence and Oneness

Lesson 13: The Proofs for the Qualitative Attributes

Lesson 14: The Proofs for the Impossibilities and that Allah Can Affect the Possible or Leave It

Lesson 15:What is Necessary for the Messengers and What is Possible for Them

Lesson 16:The Proofs for What is Necessary for the Messengers

Lesson 17:The Proof that is Possible for the Messengers to Possess Incidental Qualities

Lesson 18:How the Meanings of this Creed are Contained within the Meaning of the Two Testimonies

Lesson 19:The Grammar of La Ilaha illa Allah and Its Implications on How We Understand It

Lesson 20:The Inclusion of Belief in the Qualitative Attributes within the First Testimony

Lesson 21:The Inclusion of Belief in Angels, Books and All Messengers with the Second Testimony

Lesson 22:On Iman and Islam and the Etiquette of Repeating La Ilaha illa Allah as a Supplication

Study Effort:


- Fluency in Arabic reading.

- Proficiency in traditional Arabic grammar.

-Prior knowledge of the foundational Islamic science.

- Previous experience reading traditional primers (mutun).

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, Usūl, Logic and Kalam at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (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 advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Shaykh Ahmed has more than 70 Ijazas from scholars from all over the Muslim world.

Beside a number of edited works about to be released in Islamic pedagogy, linguistics and Hanafi Usūl, Shaykh Ahmed has authored Rūh al-`Ilm – a treatise in the art of scientific investigation, based on a survey of roughly 200 traditional Islamic texts, and has been endorsed by Dr. Jamāl Fārūq, the Dean of Islamic Da`wah College at al-Azhar University and Dr. Ahmed Mamdūh, the Chair of Research Division at Dar al-Iftaa’ al-Masrīyah. Rūh al-`Ilm will be published by Tabah Foundation in the early of summer of 2019.

Display on Both categories: Yes
Short Intro: This course covers a distilled theological exposition of Sunni creed based on the methodical approach of the Ash`ari school. It is a traditional word-by-word explanation of Imam al-Sanusi’s commentary on his primer Umm al-Barahin (The Foundational Proofs).
Category Featured: No
Show in catalog: No
Weightage: 0
Skill Level: Beginner
Monday: No
Tuesday: No
Wednesday: No
Thursday: No
Friday: No
Saturday: No
Sunday: No
Learning outcomes:
Self enrolment AUTO (Student)