The Foundation of Knowledge Herndon, VA: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2014. 214 pages.

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Louay Safi



The interlinked nature or interconnected dimension of al-‘ulūm al-Islāmīyah
(Islamic sciences), which comprise such areas as syntax, morphology, semantics,
linguistic philosophy, logic, legal theory and jurisprudence, prosody, rhetoric,
exegesis, hadith, and one or two related others, has arguably remained
an unsung story in contemporary scholarship. Such an interesting feature of
Islamic traditional knowledge should not be obscured, especially in view of
the centrality of such areas of learning to uṣūl al-fiqh (the science of Islamic
jurisprudence), which cannot be a functional whole if any of them are absent.
The work under review, The Foundation of Knowledge, has done creditably
well by not only underscoring such interconnectedness, but also by analyzing
(somewhat comparatively) the classical Muslim and modern western methods
with a view to exposing the inadequacy of established methods before attempting
a creative synthesis of the two.

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