Islamic Thought and the Natural World in the Early Modern Maghreb: Revealed Science in the Age of al-Hasan al-Yusi


ACLS Fellowship Program


Arab Crossroads Studies


This project uses a contextual reading of the place and nature of the philosophical sciences in seventeenth-century Moroccan scholarship to reexamine the broader understanding of early modern Islamic thought. To do so, it alternates between a detailed local account of Moroccan scholarship and a critical reexamination of the historiography of the philosophical sciences in the Islamicate world. The central figure with whom the project begins is al-Hasan al-Yusi (d. 1691), who argued that all knowledge that benefits the Muslim community was sanctioned by God. It then turns to close readings of medical, astronomical, and astrological texts in manuscripts that were written by al-Yusi’s contemporaries. Finally, it traces the role these sciences played in legal, theological, and mystical debates of the time.