The Ulama of Farangi Mahall and Islamic Culture in South Asia

The Ulama of Farangi Mahall and Islamic Culture in South Asia

Product ID: 16895

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Author: Francis Robinson
Publisher: Permanent Black
Year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 282
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178241196


The learned and holy men of Farangi Mahall were the consolidators in India of the rationalist traditions of Islamic scholarship derived from Iran. These were encapsulated in a renowned and widely used syllabus which they created and which became the dominant system of Indian Islamic education from the eighteenth century.

These traditions represented a confident and flexible Islamic understanding which, many felt, had the capacity to preserve Islam even while selectively adopting social, cultural and technological changes from the West. Between 1780 and 1820 these traditions were arguably poised to bring forth some form of Islamic enlightenment. But over the course of the nineteenth century they were overcome by the twin forces of Islamic reformism and Western education.

This is the first full-length treatment in English of this important body of Islamic scholars, teachers and leaders. Based in large part on their writings, records and private papers, it addresses a variety of issues that are of fundamental importance for any proper understanding of Islam in India. The work of the Farangi Mahallis is also placed in the context of an Islamic world system based on shared systems of formal and spiritual knowledge.



1. Perso-Islamic culture in India from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century.

2. Scholarship and mystricism in early eighteenth-century Awadh.

3. The Ulama of Farangi Mahall and their Adab.

4. Problems in the history of the Farangi Mahall family of learned and holy men.

5. Al-Nizamiyya: a group of Lucknow intellectuals in the early twentieth century.

6. Abd al-Bari and the events of January 1926.

7. Ulama, Sufis and colonial rule in north India and Indonesia.

8. Ottomans-Safawids-Mughals: shared knowledge and connective systems.