Curriculum and Certification: Elements of Structure in Islamic Education as Reflected in al-Sakhāwī's Biographical Dictionary 公开

Kellert, Alexis (2011)

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This study draws on the first eleven volumes of Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi's biographical dictionary, al-Daw' al-lami' li-ahl al-qarn al-tasi', in an attempt to describe and analyze the character, stages, and status of Islamic medieval education in Mamluk Egypt and its adjacent regions. First, it examines Cairo's historical emergence as a major cultural center of scholarship in order to elucidate the setting of al-Sakhawi's intellectual biographies of ninth/fifteenth-century scholars. Second, it responds to Jonathan Berkey, Daphna Ephrat, and Michael Chamberlain's assertions that there was no structured curriculum and that the process of Islamic learning during the later middle ages was instead highly informal. I found evidence in al-Sakhawi's text of distinct stages of learning and also of specific texts that were studied in high frequencies among the students who are recorded. Lastly, it provides additional evidence for George Makdisi and Devin J. Stewart's arguments that the license to grant legal opinions and teach law (ijazat l-ifta' wa 'l-tadris) was a physical document and a formal certificate that bestowed a legal credential upon the recipient. While further research is needed to understand fully how this kind of license (ijazah) was related to the institution of the madrasa, the research compiled here suggests that there existed clear links between madrasas and the formal structure of Islamic education including the practice of granting ijaazahs.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Scope of this Study...1

The Importance of Knowledge and Islamic Legal Education...2

Recent Scholarship on Islamic Legal Education...3

Al-Sakhawi, His Work, and Biographical Dictionary...12

Chapter One: Migration, Cities, and Learning...20

Chapter Two: Reconstructing the Curriculum...39

Chapter Three: A System of Degrees...62



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