This Human Truth, Seek it in Yourself: The Islamic Humanism of ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī (1365-1428) Restricted; Files Only

Abdugafurov Rahimjon (Summer 2020)

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The current dissertation presents a detailed example of Humanism in late medieval Islam, focusing on the thought of the prominent Sufi and theologian ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī. It puts forth the following two research questions: (1) Is there a type of Humanism in Islam that promotes humanistic values, such as human equality, human freedom and human potential? (2) is there a Muslim thinker, who encompasses these humanistic themes mentioned above? By employing Christian as well as Jewish Religious Humanism as a theoretical beginning point in addition to incorporating works on Humanism in general, this study establishes that there is in fact an Islamic Religious Humanism. This study also demonstrates that ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī can be seen as the Muslim humanist par excellence. By providing evidence from Jīlī’s seventeen written works, the study demonstrates that Jīlī stands out with his humanistic views among other Muslim thinkers. The study also demonstrates that Jīlī’s intellectual heritage is important for a better understanding of the possibilities for Muslim relations with non-Muslims, particularly because his inclusive views exceed even today’s norm of religious toleration. It also argues that Jīlī should be considered a “true humanist” in the Western sense of the term because he represents an Islamic Sufi tradition of Religious Humanism that shares many elements in common with the esoteric Humanism of contemporaneous Western Renaissance figures such as Marsilio Ficino (d. 1499) and Pico della Mirandola (d. 1494). Presenting Jīlī’s Sufi theological and philosophical ideas can enrich our present-day discussions on the human being, including the concepts of human centrality, equality, freedom, and potential, and contribute to the fields of Islamic theology, philosophy, and intellectual history alike.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Question of Humanism in Islam                                                              1-15


Part I: Is There an Islamic Humanism?


Chapter 1: The Question of Humanism in Islam                                                                   16-60


Chapter 2: The Life and Works of ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī                                                      61-95


Part II: The Sufi Humanism of ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī


Chapter 3:

Al-Insān al-Kāmil

(The Perfect Human Being)                                                   96-158

Chapter 4: “The Muḥammadan Reality” (al-Ḥaqīqa al-Muḥammadiyya)                       159-210

Chapter 5: The Muḥammadan Image (al-Ṣūra al-Muḥammadiyya)                                  211-257

Conclusion: ‘Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī’s Islamic Humanism                                                    258-272


Bibliography                                                                                                                       273-283

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