ʿAlam al-ǧaḏal fī ʿilm al-ǧadal
Author: Sulaimān Ibn-ʿAbd-al-Qawī aṭ-Ṭūfī
Editor: Wolfhart Heinrichs
2nd edition, Beirut 2018 (1st edition 1987), 313 pp., arabic/german, ISBN: 9783879976621
The book ‘Alam al-jadhal fī ‘ilm al-jadal gives an impressive overview about the theological and juridical knowledge in the 8th/14th century. Dispute and the technique of debating, “jadal”, which is one of the most important pillars of Islamic law (uṣūl al-fiqh) is well applied by al-Ṭufī. He reconsidered the state of the ‘ulūm al-Qur’ān of his time that would become structured and organized into eighty branches only some generations later by Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṯī. In the Qur’ān itself dispute (jadal) plays an important role in the relationship to religious communities in the contextual environment of the first listeners of the Qur’ān during the lifetime of the prophet Muḥammad. Apologetical and even polemical disputes on religious and theological contents forms itself an integral part of Qur’ānic discourse in a multireligious environment that al-Ṭūfī rediscovers and redefines for his own time. By giving deep insight into theological and juridical knowledge of different discursive traditions, al-Ṭūfī explains as well the practice and technique of debating within an Arabic and Islamic framework.
Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī al-Ḥanbalī (d. 716/1316) was one of the most important theologians and Ḥadīth scholars of his time. During his lifetime al-Ṭūfī was often misunderstood and accused as a Shī‘ī scholar due to his theological and juridical views that represented alternative Ḥanbalī approaches to Islamic jurisprudence and Qur’ānic sciences. In contrast to his contemporary Ibn Ṭaimiyya, al-Ṭūfī unfortunately remains less known in both scholarship and in Muslim discourses.
The book is a reprint of the 1987 edition by Wolfhart Heinrichs, who was a distinguished James Richard Jewett professor of Arabic in Harvard. He died in 2014.