So from November 27th to December 3rd is Abdal Hakim Murad week here at Muslimology. If you recall around this time last year I dedicated a week of posts to Edward Said, and now this week, I wanted to focus on Abdal Hakim Murad. This time around however, its a little different. Last year, I crammed everything into one weeks time, which meant a lot of reading and writing in a short space of time. This time around I took a few months to prepare for Abdal Hakim Murad week, mostly because the corpus of his work is large and scattered, since is both an academic scholar, historian, singer and ‘shaykh.’
A brief introduction to Abdal Hakim Murad is in order. Hamza Yusuf and Habib Ali have likened him to the ‘Imam Ghazali’ of our time, though I think that is an exaggeration, it is not without precedent. Abdal Hakim Murad (or his pre-Islamic name, Timothy J. Winters) is vastly knowledgeable, has a command of multiple languages, an amazing command of the English language, has traveled the Muslim world, from Turkey to Toouba, Senegal. He has translated a few texts which reflect on his thoroughly Ghazalian outlook on Islam. Much of his content is available at Br. Mas’ud’s website, some of his articles and his Jumah khutbahs are regularly updated at Cambridge Khutbahs Etc. Besides this he is working on establishing a mosque at Cambridge university and he is also an eclectic munshid, remixing Islamic nasheeds to traditionally British tunes, in his group Harmonia Alcorani (I have uploaded many of the nasheeds on my Youtube channel here). You can read his list of works in his resume.
Now why is the work of Abdal Hakim Murad worth dedicating time to? Well, in short, he is one of the pioneers of a British Islam, or a European Islam. He is one of the few Muslim thinkers who has tackled many of the issues facing Muslims (politics, modernity, gender, globalization, etc.) from a grounding in Islam. His work will instantly appeal to the contemporary Muslim of any school of thought because it speaks to the problems faced by Muslims and bridges the gaps in our own understanding of our religion and society. But because casts such a wide net, his work is far from complete, nonetheless he has broken that ground and gotten Muslims thinking, bolstered our intellectual courage and pointed us in a direction. In many ways, he brings an izzah (honour) to the deen that it deserves.
For the next week I will be sharing some of my own reflections on his work, highlight excerpts of his work, and for the main course go through his popular collection of aphorisms and truisms, the ‘Contentions’ or at least the first 15 collections of them (there are 17 but I didn’t get that far).