September 25 2022 3:24 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Royal efforts to revive Islamic legacy

Khalid Dalal
Khalid Dalal is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, a former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for business development at Al-Ghad and Jordan News. (Photo: Jordan News)
For several reasons, it is not an overstatement to say that a large part of Islamic scholarly legacy has been neglected, lying under layers of dust despite the fact that these works represent the backbone of religious knowledge for millions of Muslims and those interested in Islamic studies across the world.اضافة اعلان

Jordan has been aware of this fact and has taken steps that can be seen as an extension of the Hashemites’ long history of consideration paid to religious knowledge and scholars.

Despite the scarcity of resources, Jordanian Waqf authorities have established several chairs for the study of four prominent and revered scholars of Sunni Islam, the latest of whom is the seventh century Hijri Imam Al-Nawawi.

Upon the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah, the “King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein Waqf for the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Nawawi’s Work” was launched last Sunday.

According to a Royal Court statement, “the JD2 million Waqf is aimed at shedding light on Imam Al-Nawawi’s works by establishing a scholarly chair dedicated to studying his legacy and writings at Al–Salt Grand Mosque and at the World Islamic Sciences and Education University (WISE)”.
These four scholars belong to the Shafiite school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, which has for centuries been the mainstream in the Levant and Egypt, with influence in other places like Hijaz.

“Over the past years, three Waqf chairs had been established, also upon Royal directives, to study the works of Imams Al-Ghazali at the University of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque; Al-Razi at the University of Jordan, WISE University, and the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque; and Al-Suyuti at Al Husseini Grand Mosque,” according to the statement.

These four scholars belong to the Shafiite school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, which has for centuries been the mainstream in the Levant and Egypt, with influence in other places like Hijaz.

The four scholars that are receiving this special attention by the King and religious authorities in Jordan remain prominent figures in the scholarly history of Islam, but little has been done in recent times to acknowledge their deserved value at a time when other countries dedicated huge resources to reprint and disseminate books concerning other lines of Islamic religious literature and reach out to Muslim communities in the four corners of the world.

Jordan seems to be spearheading a new trend to revive the literature of figures like Al-Ghazali and Al-Nawawi, the latter famous for his in-depth commentary on Sahih Muslim, the second important collection of Hadith, or the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad.

The nation needs this integral part of its identity; it needs to get acquainted with the spirituality of these four scholars, and the moderate religious thought they preached.

The four chairs should be one step in a bigger enterprise seeking to revive Islamic legacy. One other aspect that should be considered is educating mosque imams and preachers in this line of thought and incentivizing young scholars and Sharia students to engage in scientific research into the works and biographies of these great imams.

Officials in charge of the project should also communicate with scholarly institutions across the Muslim world and in Muslim communities in Asia, Europe, and North America to coordinate this mission and involve as many clerics as possible in this endeavor that should follow a transparent strategy and have a clear roadmap.


The writer is a former advisor at the Royal Hashemite Court, a former director of media and communication at the Office of His Majesty King Abdullah, and works currently as a senior advisor for business development at Al-Ghad and Jordan News.


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