The response to a speech made by Egypt’s President ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ al-Sīsī in January 2015 on the occasion of the Prophet Muḥammad’s birthday celebrations that asked for “religious revolution” demonstrates the continuing importance of examining discursive trends in Islamic thought. The strategies of a fifteenth-century scholar, al-Suyūṭī, who framed his own identity as a jurist in his legal writing casts light on how contemporary scholars are using his legacy to define who they are in a time of crisis and upheaval in modern Egypt. Understanding how Islamic thinkers justify their interpretation of Sharīʿa can inform a positive response to the geopolitical realities that the Muslim world faces today.
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