R. Kevin Jaques
Makers of Islamic Civilization
I. B. Tauris 2013
New Books in HistoryNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network July 6, 2013 Matthew Long
Robert Kevin Jaques‘ work, Ibn Hajar: Makers of Islamic Civilization (I. B. Tauris, 2013), focuses on the life of one of the most eminent Muslim scholars, Ibn á¸¤ajar al-‘AsqalÄnÄ« (d. 852/1449). Jaques provides his readers with a concise yet intimate biography of this great scholar based on the accounts of his students, chiefly the al-JawÄhir of al-SakhÄwÄ«, and works penned by Ibn á¸¤ajar himself. Beginning life as an orphan, Ibn á¸¤ajar rose to the most prominent academic position as the chief ShÄfiâ€›Ä« judge of the Egyptian MamlÅ«k system. His accomplishment made all the more remarkable as he had to contest with countless political machinations and personal tragedies including the death of many of his children. While many of Ibn á¸¤ajar’s contemporary’s rose and fell due to their inability to successfully navigate the ever changing political landscape, Jaques ascribes Ibn á¸¤ajar’s longevity and lasting legacy to his enchanting personality, religious devotion, and inimitable acumen; qualities often ignored or downplayed by social historians studying the political intrigues of MamlÅ«k society. Jaques discusses the significance of Ibn á¸¤ajar’s historical and biographical texts, such as the InbÄ’ al-ghumr bi-anbÄ’ al-‘umr and al-Durar al-kÄmina, but he devotes much time to Ibn á¸¤ajar’s massive commentary on al-BukhÄrÄ«’s á¹¢Äá¸¥Ä«á¸¥, Fatá¸¥ al-bÄrÄ«. The study of á¸¥adÄ«th became Ibn á¸¤ajar’s way to combat personal losses and the constant threat of plague; phenomena which he believed were not occasions of Divine retribution for the transgressions of the community. Excellent in its composition and structure, Makers of Islamic Civilization: Ibn á¸¤ajar is a book which will benefit both the novice and expert in the study of Islam.