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AIC Lecture: Ijtihad, Tradition and Reform in the Modern Muslim World

American Islamic College

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (CST)

AIC Lecture:  Ijtihad, Tradition and Reform in the...

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Ijtihad, Tradition and Reform in the Modern Muslim World

Speaker: Dr.Junaid Quadri

The term ijtihad is often invoked in public discourse to mean not only the disciplined method by which jurists arrive at answers to matters of law, but also a general ethos of innovative and independent thought. When deployed in this way, there is often a cultural critique at play that casts doubt on the ability of Islam to “keep up with the times.” This presentation examines how ijtihad was understood and argued for by Hanafi jurists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, paying particular attention to the ways in which these jurists’ conceptualization of the term was conditioned by modernist critiques of the period.

Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
Time: 6pm Light Refreshments; 6:30pm Talk
Where: Conference Hall, Main Bldg, American Islamic College

BIO: Junaid Quadri teaches courses in Middle Eastern civilization, Islamic intellectual history, and colonialism and modernity in the Muslim world. In addition to his appointment in History, he participates in the program in Religious Studies and serves as co-director of the Jewish-Muslim Initiative at UIC.

Quadri holds a PhD from the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. His research attempts to better understand developments in Islamic law in the modern period. In particular, he studies the encounter between Islamic law and colonial power, especially with reference to contemporary discourses surrounding the fundamental categories of reform, tradition, authority, science, and religion/secularism. Though his previous work has focused primarily on Egypt, he is currently investigating the transnational networks that defined Islamic learning for centuries, and served to both enable and constrain the conceptual moves undertaken by Islamic jurists in this new context.

In a separate but related project, he examines the mechanisms through which Islamic legal texts sought to carve out a space for the cultivation of ethical virtues through techniques of habituation and discipline.

Quadri has previously been the recipient of fellowships from the American Center for Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan; the American Research Center in Egypt; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In the 2014-2015 academic year, he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies in Doha.

Have questions about AIC Lecture: Ijtihad, Tradition and Reform in the Modern Muslim World? Contact American Islamic College

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American Islamic College
640 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60613

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (CST)

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American Islamic College


AIC is currently an independent and urban-based institution in Chicago that serves a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and socio-economically diverse student population. The College was established in 1981 as a private, not-for-profit, four-year institution offering programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies.

In March 1982, the college purchased its present landmark building on Lake Shore Drive, previously the Immaculata Sisters High School, designed in 1922 by Barry Byrne, who had been trained in the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the first of Byrne’s designs in Chicago. Anticipating the construction of Lake Shore Drive, the building was built facing south. The building features slate roofing, classical windows, fine molding, marble flooring, and stunning stained glass. It was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

AIC began its first academic semester in September 1983 as the first Islamic institution of higher education in the United States and may have been an idea ahead of its time, as ultimately efforts to offer degree programs were suspended in the 1990s. In 2010 American Islamic College reopened under a new administration and is rapidly moving forward, having recently received Degree Granting Authority for both a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree in Islamic Studies. In addition, AIC offers a variety of non-degree classes that include: Islamic art (Arabic calligraphy and Ebru), music, and Arabic and Turkish languages. Numerous positive developments continue to enhance the campus. AIC has completely renovated its facility, including the auditorium, classrooms, offices, dormitory, and parking.

In Fall 2014 AIC welcomed its second cohort of BA and MA students after achieving both Operating & Degree Granting Authority from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. On December 1, 2014, AIC received Degree Granting Authority for its Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies (Islamic chaplaincy, Spirtual Formation, Muslim Leadership). The College is therefore now authorized to confer BA, MA, MDIS degrees.


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AIC Lecture: Ijtihad, Tradition and Reform in the Modern Muslim World
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