Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 11, No 1 (2015)

Arguing the Archive: Ṭāhā ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, Muḥammad ʿĀbid al-Jābirī, and the Future of Islamic Thought

Samuel Kigar

Abstract


This article analyzes an argument between the Moroccan philosophers, Taha ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (b. 1944) and Muḥammad ʿĀbid al-Jābirī (1936 – 2010). In the 1990s, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān claimed that al-Jābirī had misread Islamic intellectual history by failing to grasp its connection to the Arab-Muslim community. After showing that the differences between ʿAbd al-Raḥmān and al-Jābirī cannot be reduced to differences in European philosophy, this article proposes that a theory of the archive better conceptualizes their differences than MacIntyre’s notion of “tradition,” a common theoretical posture in Islamic studies. The archive, as elaborated by Jacques Derrida (to whom these thinkers are also compared), emphasizes the importance of difference, or an encounter with alterity, and repetition to Muslim intellectual history. The significance of these themes is demonstrated by showing how ʿAbd al-Raḥmān and al-Jābirī read the debate between Mattā ibn Yūnūs (d. 940) and Abū al-Ḥasan al-Sīrāfī (d. 979) on grammar and logic.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/cis.30824

References


ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, Taha. 2006. Suʾāl al-Akhlāq: Musāhima fī al-Naqd al-Akhlāqī li-l-Ḥadātha al-Gharbiyya [The question of ethics: a contribution to the critique of modern western ethics]. Casablanca: al-Markaz al-Thaqāfī al-ʿArabī.


———. 2005. Al-Ḥaqq al-Islāmī fī al-Ikhtilāf al-Fikrī [The Islamic right to thinking differently]. Casablanca: al-Markaz al-Thaqāfī al-ʿArabī.


———. 2007. Tajdīd al-Manhaj fī Taqwīm al-Turāth [Renewal of method in assessing heritage]. Casablanca: al-Markaz al-Thaqāfī al-ʿArabī.


Agrama, Hussein. 2012. Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226010700.001.0001


Ali, Mufti. 2008. “A Statistical Portrait of the Resistance to Logic by Sunni Muslim Scholars Based on the Works of Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūtī (849–909/1448–1505).” Islamic Law and Society 15(2): 250–267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156851908X290600


Asad, Talal. 2009. “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam.” Qui Parle 17(2): 1–30. https://doi.org/10.5250/quiparle.17.2.1


———. 2015. “Thinking about Tradition, Religion, and Politics in Egypt Today.” Critical Inquiry 42(1): 166–214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/683002


Benmakhlouf, Ali et. al. 2014. “Principle.” In Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon, edited by Barbara Cassin, Emily Apter, Jacques Lezra, and Michael Wood. Translated by Steven Rendall, 851–858. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Chivallon, Christine. 2016. “Between History and its Trace: Slavery and the Caribbean Archive.” Translated by Teresa Bridgeman. Social Anthropology/Anthropology
Sociale 24 (1): 67–81. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12280


Derrida, Jacques. 1996. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Translated by Eric Prenowitz. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


El-Rouayheb, Khaled. 2004. “Sunni Muslim Scholars on the Status of Logic, 1500–1800.” Islamic Law and Society 11(2): 213–232. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/156851904323178755


Foucault, Michel. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge. Translated by Alan Sheridan. New York: Pantheon Books.


Hashas, Mohammed. 2015. “Taha Abderrahmane’s Trusteeship Paradigm.” Oriente Moderno 95(1–2): 67–105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22138617-12340077


Hirschkind, Charles. 1995. “Heresy or Hermeneutics: The Case of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 12(4): 463–477.


Ibn Rushd, Abū al-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad. 1983. Faṣl al-Maqāl fī mā bayna al-Ḥikma wa-l-Sharīʿa min al-Iṭṭiṣāl [The harmony of religion and philosophy, or the decisive treatise determining the nature of the connection between religion and philosophy]. Cairo: Dār al-Maʿārif.


Jābirī, Muḥammad ʿĀbid. 1984. Naqd al-ʿAql al-ʿArabī [The critique of Arab reason]. Beirut: Dār al-Ṭalīʿa.


———. 1991. Al-Turāth wa-l-Ḥadāthah: Dirāsāt wa-Munāqashāt [Heritage and modernity: studies and debates]. Beirut: Markaz Dirāsāt al-Waḥdah al-ʿArabīyah.


———. 2009. Takwīn al-ʿAql al-ʿArabī [The formation of Arab reason]. Beirut: Markaz Dirāsāt al-Waḥdah al-ʿArabīyah.


Kassab, Elizabeth. 2010. Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective. New York: Columbia University Press.


Kersten, Carool. 2011. Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam. London: C. Hurst & Co.


MacIntyre, Alasdair C. 1988. Whose Justice? Which Rationality?. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.


Mahdi, Muhsin. 1970. “Language and Logic in Classical Islam.” In Logic in Classical Islamic Culture, edited by G. E. von Grunebaum, 51–83. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.


Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


Manoff, Marlene. 2004. “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 4(1): 9–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/pla.2004.0015


Margoliouth, David. 1905. “The Discussion between Abu Bishr Matt and Abu Saʿid on the Merits of Logic and Grammar.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Jan.): 79–129.


Massad, Joseph. 2007. Desiring Arabs. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226509600.001.0001


———. 2015. Islam in Liberalism. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Mirsepassi, Ali. 2011. Political Islam, Iran, and the Enlightenment: Philosophies of Hope and Despair. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Moosa, Ebrahim. 2006. “The Unbearable Intimacy of Language and Thought in Islam.” In How Should We Talk about Religion?: Perspectives, Contexts, and Particularities, edited by James Boyd White, 300–326. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.


———. 2014. “On Reading Shāṭibī in Rabat and Tunis.” The Muslim World 104(4): 451–464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/muwo.12072


Ricoeur, Paul. 2004. Memory, History, Forgetting. Translated by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226713465.001.0001


Salvatore, Armondo. 1995. “The Rational Authentication of Turāth in Contemporary Arab Thought: Muḥammad al-Jābirī and Ḥasan Ḥanafī.” The Muslim World 85(3–4): 191–214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-1913.1995.tb03618.x


Spevack, Aaron. 2010. “Apples and Oranges: The Logic of the Early and Later Arabic Logicians.” Islamic Law and Society 17(2): 159–184. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/092893809X12550828481792


Stern, Samuel. 2012. Abū Sulaymān Muḥammad b. Ṭāhir b. Bahrām al-Siḏj̱istānī al-Manṭiḳī.” Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill Online. http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/abu-sulayman-muhammad-b-tahir-b-bahram-al-sidjistani-al-mantiki-SIM_0255


Tarābīshī, Jūrj. 1991. Al-Muthaqqafūn al-ʿArab wa-l-Turāth [Arab intellectuals and tradition: a psychological analysis of a collective neurosis]. London: Riad El-Rayyes.


Von Kügelgen, Anke. 1996. “A Call for Rationalism: ‘Arab Averroists’ in the Twentieth Century,” In Averroes and the Rational Legacy in the East and the West, Special Issue of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 16: 97–132. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/521832


Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. 2002. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


———. 2012. Modern Islamic Thought in a Radical Age: Religious Authority and Internal Criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511973062







Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com