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18.8.07

Presenting Ithaf al-Dhaki in the 'Orientalistentag'

On 24-28th September 2007, the 30th German Congress of Oriental Studies (Deutscher Orientalistentag) will be held in Freiburg, Germany under the motto "Oriental Studies in the 21st Century: Which Past - Which Future". The ‘Orientalistentag’ is organized every three years by the Board of the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Morgenl√§ndische Gesellschaft, DMG).

This conference is the most massive one I ever know, in which around 1000 participants are expected to attend. I will be one of the speakers to present part of my current research of Ithaf al-Dhaki manuscript from the standpoint of philology and codicology, adjusting the Panel Section installed. Then, I will not discuss there the content of this manuscript ---which is very interesting actually in the term of a very comprehensive moderate interpretation of Sufism and Islamic law (Shari’a) presented by the author, Ibrahim al-Kurani--- rather I will talk about the various philological and codicological aspects of this manuscript.

In fact, further development of my research indicates that Ithaf al-Dhaki is one of the awfully popular works in the past. There are not only 8 copies kept in several libraries in the world as I mentioned earlier, but some other copies also found in other libraries (30 copies so far). Regarding this, I am indebted to Husain Kadodia from Durban, South Africa, who has informed me through a comment in this blog of the existence of these other copies.

It is Husain also who has told me that there are another 10 copies of Ithaf al-Dhaki in Turkey, and one of them is notified as written by the author’s own hand. This copy is kept in Ahmad Pasha Collection in Koprulu Library, and stated in the Library’s Catalogue as a handwritten copy of the author (bi-khat al-muallif).

As it happened, I still assume that there are other copies of Ithaf al-Dhaki somewhere. However, based on the finalized edition of 8 copies I carried out, I believe that I already have a clue regarding the complete text of this amazing work by Ibrahim al-Kurani, even though I am certainly trying to get the Koprulu copy, since the ‘original’ is very important word in the term of philology, especially Indonesian philology, in which the ‘original copy’ of manuscript is rare to come.

I hope to publish this entire result of my further research of Ithaf al-Dhaki soon, and give contribution, especially to the Sufism and Islamic Law discourse in Indonesia. I have to thank to The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for their extended fellowship, so that I have much more time and opportuniy to finalize this research, and also to Prof. Edwin Wieringa for his utmost support as my academic host.

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