1OttomonscholarsTwo alumni from our Diploma year 2013-14, married couple Shams Tameez and Halimah Shams-Tameez, had the opportunity to participate in an exchange trip with the Istanbul-based institution iSAR this summer.  They write:

This was both a unique and rare opportunity. An opportunity which would lead to many new openings.

Istanbul as a city is unique; full of history, knowledge and experience. All three are vital ingredients for a healthy Muslim existence.

The exchange trip was between the Cambridge Muslim College and iSAR; two organisations built upon a noble cause, a cause of reviving Ihsan – excellence in every usage of the word – within those who wish to study the religion of Islam.

Since being in Istanbul, we have had the opportunity to study Turkish and Islamic Logic at iSAR. Aside from this, being in Istanbul has allowed us to study with some of the great scholars of our age, including many who have travelled over from the Levant. This has led us to remain in Istanbul for the purpose of continuing our studies.

It has also exposed us to Ottoman scholars, their works and their methodologies. The likes of Shaykh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri come immediately to mind. He engaged and challenged much of Western Philosophy and its forerunners. He spoke from a traditional seat about the likes of Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Berkeley, et cetera. This is vital for students of theology to use as a manual and guideline of how Islamic scholastic theology – Kelam – must be engaging issues of the day.

This reminds us of the immense contribution made to Islamic scholarship by the great scholars and Awliya of the Ottoman heritage. A heritage which is to be benifited from and used as a spring board to reach new heights and understandings.

We are thankful to the Cambridge Muslim College and iSAR for allowing us this rare opportunity to peak through the Sultan’s keyhole and see the beauty of the Ottoman chamber.

Shams Tameez, November 2015