This is the first volume of Goldziher's "Muslim Studies," which ranks highly among the classics of the scholarly literature on Islam. Indeed, the two volumes, originally published in German in 1889-1890, can justly be counted among those that laid the foundations of the modern study of Islam as a religion and a civilization. The first study deals with the reaction of IslamThis is the first volume of Goldziher's "Muslim Studies," which ranks highly among the classics of the scholarly literature on Islam. Indeed, the two volumes, originally published in German in 1889-1890, can justly be counted among those that laid the foundations of the modern study of Islam as a religion and a civilization. The first study deals with the reaction of Islam to the ideals of Arab tribal society, to the attitudes of early Islam to the various nationalities and more especially the Persians, and culminates in the chapter on the Shu'ubiya movement which represents the reaction of the newly converted peoples, and again more especially the Persians, to the idea of Arab superiority. The second essay is the famous study on the development of the Hadith, the "Traditions" ascribed to Muhammed, in which the Hadith is shown to reflect the various trends of early Islam: Goldziher's name is mainly associated with the critical study of the Hadith, of which this essay is the chief monument. The third essay is about the cult of saints, which, though contrary to the spirit and letter of the earliest Islam, played such an important part in its subsequent development. These essays, with the author's marvelous richness of information, profound historical sense, and sympathetic insight into the motive forces of religion and civilization, are today as fresh as at the time of their original publication and their reissue is indispensable for the growing number of students of Islam. Hamid Dabashi contributes a major eighty-five-page study of Goldziher's life and scholarship, situating both in the intellectual and political currents of his own time while evaluating his work in the context of the current debate over Orientalism....more
Paperback, 254 pages
May 19th 2006
by Transaction Publishers
(first published November 1st 2005)
Recommended to Uwais by:
University Course Reading
Goldziher is considered one of the four founding fathers of modern-day Western Islamic Studies. Vol. 2 of Muslim Studies is by far the most thorough appreciation of Hadith prior to him and set grounds for works like Schacht's monumental Origins to follow. However, I cannot urge readers enough to get a fuller picture of the author and the workings that have gone on in this writing.
Goldziher had spent a year out in the Middle East, 'the happiest and most glorious year of his life', where he becamGoldziher is considered one of the four founding fathers of modern-day Western Islamic Studies. Vol. 2 of Muslim Studies is by far the most thorough appreciation of Hadith prior to him and set grounds for works like Schacht's monumental Origins to follow. However, I cannot urge readers enough to get a fuller picture of the author and the workings that have gone on in this writing.
Goldziher had spent a year out in the Middle East, 'the happiest and most glorious year of his life', where he became somewhat of a Muslim. He became convinced of Islam's superiority but didn't convert because he had plans to elevate Judaism and reform it to a similar level. Back from the Middle East, he was barred from lecturing due to his religion and took upon a job at a busy synagogue. His diary reveals how much he hated that job and its rich organisers who had little knowledge and were egotistic, much like the stereotypical committee members of a Mosque! Also, Hungarian Judaism, influenced by modernity, was taking directions Goldziher detested. Another important point to remember is that Goldziher understood the Hadith scholars to be on par with strands of orthodox Judaism he hated, he was more fond of the rationalist strands of Islamic scholarship.
Anyways, before I present some citations, here's a wonderful story about him going to read Friday prayers:
"Because I was not a Muslim they did not admit me to the Friday divine service; but I wished to bend my knee before God with the believing thousands and, calling out my 'Allahu akbar', to sink with them in dust before God the One, the Almighty. I was determined to participate actively in the Friday divine service, and on the Friday before the Ashura I proceeded, in Arab guise, to the proper fulfilment of this intention. A Syrian colleague, Abdullah al-Shami, surmised my wish and helped me to fulfil it. A special chapter of my diary relates the details of this adventure, how I gave proof of my genuine belief by visiting the tomb of the Imam al-Shafi in the Qarafa (Cemetery), and from there, in turban and kaftan, rode through the streets directly to mosque to listen to the prayer and sermon. My friend was full of anxiety, but the daring enterprise was successful. Among the thousands of the pious, I rubbed my forehead on the floor of the mosque. Never in my life was I more devout, more truly devout, than on that exalted Friday."
Here are some quotes from his diary:
"My formal way of thinking was through and through oriented toward Islam; subjectively, my emotional empathy also drew me hither. I called my monotheism Islam, and I did not lie when I said that I believed in the prophecies of Muhammad. My copy of the Qur'an can bear witness to how I was inwardly inclined to Islam. My teachers earnestly awaited the moment of my profession to faith."
"In those weeks, I truly entered into the spirit of Islam to such an extent that ultimately I became inwardly convinced that I myself was a Muslim, and judiciously discovered that this was the only religion which, even in its doctrinal and official formulation, can satisfy philosophic minds. My ideal was to elevate Judaism to a similar rational level. Islam, as my experience taught me, is the only religion, in which superstitious and heathen ingredients are not frowned upon by rationalism, but by orthodox doctrine."
And here's Siddiqui's brilliant observation:
"Goldziher had seen enough of Islam to be convinced of its truth. Yet so total was his conceit, so absolute his academic obsession, that he refused to follow his teacher Vambery into an honest and open declaration of faith; opting instead for this private agenda of reforming the religion he had inherited. It is perhaps a symptom of the inner pain he experienced from living this kind of reverse hypocrisy, whereby he privately acknowledged the superiority of Islam and yet remained in public a busy synagogue official, that he should have embarked on a policy of attempted demolition of the literary sources of Islam, by borrowing those techniques of academic 'higher criticism' which had already undermined belief in the textual integrity of the Hebrew scriptures. His thesis, that the Hadiths are to a large degree the fraudulent propaganda of rival legal theorists of the early second century, was in many ways a characteristic product of his troubled and instinctively polemical mind."
Goldziher later on recognised his depiction of the Ummayads and Abbasids, the political factions of early Islam was a 'too stark'. Like with most writers of this field, however, it's a shame they don't write up official announcements resigning from previously written theses!
Other technicalities, like demonstrating how Goldziher misconstrued texts and made inappropriate uses of them (at least according to the tradition that provided the texts in the first place), have been addressed by Dr. Mustafa as-Sibai'i in his as-Sunnah Wa Makanatuha Fi at-Tashri' al-Islami and Mustafa Azami in a number of his works.
I like Goldziher.
I'm quite fond of his writings and prefer them over many others.
This book will only make sense once the above is considered and his thesis is thoroughly contextualised....more
Wonderful beginner's book! Read on recommendation from my department head. Goldziher is a must read for gaining a basic knowledge of Islam and what is considered Islamic (not necessarily Arab) culture.
Ignác Goldziher was a Hungarian orientalist and scholar of Islam. Along with the German Theodore Nöldeke and the Dutch Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, he is considered the founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe. He represented the Hungarian government and the Academy of Sciences at numerous international congresses, and in 1889 he received the large gold medal at the Stockholm Oriental Congress.Ignác Goldziher was a Hungarian orientalist and scholar of Islam. Along with the German Theodore Nöldeke and the Dutch Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, he is considered the founder of modern Islamic studies in Europe. He represented the Hungarian government and the Academy of Sciences at numerous international congresses, and in 1889 he received the large gold medal at the Stockholm Oriental Congress. His eminence in the sphere of scholarship was due primarily to his careful investigation of pre-Islamic and Islamic law, tradition, religion and poetry, in connection with which he published a large number of treatises, review articles and essays contributed to the collections of the Hungarian Academy. Most of his scholarly works are still considered relevant. And in addition to his scholarly works, Goldziher kept a relatively personal record of his reflections, travel records and daily records. This journal was later published in German as Tagebuch. In his numerous books and articles, he sought to find the origins of Islamic doctrines and rituals in the practices of other cultures. In doing so, he posited that Islam continuously developed as a civilization, importing and exporting ideas....more