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Christian Kübler (2015 - 2017)


Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī (1866-1914): Life, Network and Legacy of a Damascene Salafī

Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī (1866-1914): Life, Network and Legacy of a Damascene Salafī


In the past 15-20 years, an increasing number of Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī’s (1866-1914) hitherto unpublished works have been edited and published by adherents of the contemporary salafiyya in order to revive his teachings. A century earlier, al-Qāsimī himself set out to revive the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and other prominent ḥanbalī scholars by employing quite similar means. A prolific author himself, Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī played a decisive role in popularizing works of those ʿulamāʾ that were highly esteemed amongst proponents of Islamic reform (iṣlāḥ).

This project aims to reconstruct al-Qāsimī’s network by scrutinizing his interpersonal relations with fellow reformers, sponsors and other individuals who in some way or other supported al-Qāsimī’s endeavors and thus contributed to promoting the political and religious ambitions of the emerging salafī trend within the Islamic reform movementin the late Ottoman Empire. Shifting the hitherto marginalized al-Qāsimī and his network into the center of discussion may illuminate a more complex picture of the emergence and genesis of the salafiyya, beyond the omnipresent triumvirate of Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī, Muḥammad ʿAbduh and Rašīd Riḍā. This project also aims at detecting al-Qāsimī’s intriguing interrelations with sufism as well as the Wahhābiyya and some of their prominent exponents. In a concluding chapter, I envision outlining al-Qāsimī’s impact on the contemporary salafiyya in order to better assess his relevance to current debates.

The bulk of the relevant literature will be composed of Arabic source material, extensively relying on al-Qāsimī’s published and unpublished works and correspondences, teaching permissions (pl. ijāzāt), and biographical dictionaries. With a balance of qualitative and quantitative methods, the collected data and findings shall be visualized in various ways. Employing network analysis as a methodological and analytical tool, while largely drawing upon written sources, may in itself contribute to furthering the applicability of network analysis in the discipline of Middle Eastern studies.


First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gudrun Krämer