Auxiliary Disciplines Courses

Classical Islamic Studies courses comprise both what is traditionally called “auxiliary disciplines” (disciplines that are instrumental in understanding and interpreting classical texts) such as grammar (ṣarf and naḥw), logic (mantiq), rhetoric (balāghah), and the core disciplines. The courses on Classical Islamic Studies will follow the curriculum and methods of traditional education in Islamic Civilization, specifically the Ottoman madrasah system, which consists of reading a classical text from each discipline under the supervision of an instructor.

ARABIC GRAMMAR (Morphology and Syntax

 The Goal of the Seminar and Learning Outcomes

Classical Arabic is one of the most fundamental prerequisites for understanding and interpreting religious texts. Since the language of the Quran and the hadīth is a highly refined and sophisticated Arabic, the student should receive this linguistic training in depth and with the utmost care and discipline. Seminars in classical Arabic provide the student with a comprehensive knowledge of Arabic grammar using the dual framework of the two sub-disciplines: ṣarf (morphology) and naḥw (syntax). The former deals with declinations and the structure of the individual word, while the latter concerns rules of syntax, sentence structure, and syntactical declination (iʿrāb).

In classical Arabic seminars, instructors will use texts that were highly regarded in the classical Ottoman educational establishment, as well as more recent sources. In order to supplement theory with application and practice, regular text readings according to the level of the students will be held. The expected outcome of these seminars is linguistic mastery sufficient to read fundamental Islamic texts.  

 Main Sources

  • Amthilah, Bināʾ, Maqṣūd (Classical Ottoman Arabic teaching texts)
  • Imām Birgiwī, ʿAwāmil, Iẓhār
  • Ibn Hishām al-Anṣārī, Qaṭr al-Nadā, Qawāʿid al-Iʿrāb


 The Goal of the Seminar and Learning Outcomes

Incorporated within the ranks of classical Islamic disciplines by al-Ghazālī, the discipline of logic attained a vital status in the tradition of Islamic thought, becoming one of the most indispensable instrumental sciences. So much so that the saying “The knowledge of the one who does not know logic cannot be trusted” came to be axiomatic. The goal of the seminars on logic is to increase the ability of discernment, protect the mind from falsehoods, and teach systematic thought.  

The logic seminars will be based on Isāghūjī, which is the fundamental text of classical logic in the Islamic intellectual tradition. The themes will be studied further in depth through commentaries on the Isāghūjī, as well as more recent sources. It is expected that by the end of these seminars, students will have gained mastery of the fundamental objectives of logic and will be able to understand the argumentation process in classical texts.

 Main sources

  • Athīr al-Dīn al-Abharī, Isāghūjī
  • Maḥmūd Ḥasan al-Maghnīsī, Mughni al-Ṭullāb Sharḥ Matn Isāghūjī
  • Molla Fenārī, Fenārī ʿalā Isāghūjī
  • Ahmed Cevdet Paşa, Miʿyâr-ı Sedād

WAḌʿ (Philosophy of Language)

The Goal of the Seminar and Learning Outcomes

A correct understanding and interpretation of classical Arabic texts depends on sufficient knowledge of linguistic disciplines, which scrutinize the language in which these texts have been penned. The discipline of waḍʿ (philosophy of language) treats Arabic wording and expressions from the lens of the concept of waḍʿ, which entails giving names to entities and attributing meaning to words and expressions. In regards to its content and function, waḍʿ is equivalent to philosophy of language.

The seminars on waḍʿ will rely heavily on epistles that were highly regarded within Ottoman scholarly circles, as well as some contemporary texts. This seminar aims to give the student mastery over the language of the texts in the field of waḍʿ and to impart an understanding of how waḍʿ relates to other Islamic disciplines. The student will also gain familiarity with the main contested issues in philosophy of language and be acquainted with the leading texts of the field.

 Main Sources

  • ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī, Risālat al-Waḍʿ
  • Eğinli İbrahim Hakkı Efendi, Risālah Maʿmūla fī al-Waḍʿ
  • Muhammed Emin Er, Jāmiʿ Mutūn al-Dirāsiyyah

BALĀGHAH I-II (Rhetoric)

 The Goal of the Seminar and Learning Outcomes

The discipline of balāghah emerged as a comprehensive field in the wake of an in-depth scrutiny of the Arabic language, which aimed at a correct understanding of the Quran. It is closely connected to Arabic language and literature, Qur’anic Studies, tafsīr (exegesis), waḍʿ (philosophy of language), munāẓarah (disputation), uṣūl al-fiqh (jurisprudence), and kalām (rational theology). The discipline of balāghah examines how/when an expression is correct (fasīḥ) and eloquent (balīgh). The discipline is divided into the three sub-disciplines of bayān, maʿānī, and badīʾ.

Relying on notable works of balāghah from the Islamic scholarly tradition, these seminars aim to equip the students with the skill to identify and analyze semantic and literary figures in the Arabic language and the fundamental classical texts. The student will also master the methodology of interpreting classical texts and build the necessary substructure to understand the arguments in jurisprudence and kalām.

 Main Sources

  • Khaṭīb al-Qazwīnī, Talkhīṣ al-Miftāh
  • Sa’d al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī, Kitāb Mukhtasar al-Maʿānī
  • Various, Shurūh al-Talkhīs

ĀDĀB AL-BAHTH WA AL-MUNĀZARA (Method of Discourse and Argumentation)

 The Goal of the Seminar and Learning Outcomes

The science of argumentation has held an important place within the edifice of classical Islamic intellectual tradition. This discipline has attracted the attention of knowledge-seekers because it has a strong practical aspect in addition to its theoretical component. It has also come to the fore thanks to leading scholars, who addressed controversies and disagreements with other scholars using the methodology of munāzara. This discipline aims to set detailed rules and guidelines regarding the foundation on which an academic argument rests. The process of disputation, on the other hand, aims to uncover the truth through the clash and reconciliation of ideas. 
These seminars will be based on texts that were traditionally used by the Ottoman educational establishment. The goal of the seminars is to give the students the ability to defend a thesis properly, criticize an opinion in an appropriate and scholarly manner, protect themselves from error in the process of argumentation, and at the same time understand the disputations in classical texts correctly. 

 Main Sources

  • ʿAḍud al-Dīn al-Ījī, Ādāb al-Bahth wa al-Munāzara
  •  Saçaklızâde, Ar-Risālat al-Waladiyya fī Ādāb al-Bahth wa al-Munāzara   
  • Taşköprülüzâde, Ādāb al-Bahth wa al-Munāzara
  • Gelenbevî, Ādāb al-Bahth wa al-Munāzara   
  • Ṣādiq Ḥabannakah al-Maydānī, awābit al-Maʿrifah
  • Ahmed Cevdet Paşa, Âdâb-ı Sedâd