12 January 2021

BOOK: Katharina Anna IVANYI, Virtue, Piety and the Law. A Study of Birgivī Meḥmed Efendī’s al-Ṭarīqa al-muḥammadiyya (Leiden: Brill, 2020). ISBN: 9789004419865, € 105.00

(Source: Brill)


Series: The Ottoman Empire and its Heritage, Volume: 72

In Virtue, Piety and the Law Katharina Ivanyi examines Birgivī Meḥmed Efendī’s (d. 981/1573) al-Ṭarīqa al-muḥammadiyya, a major work of pietist exhortation and advice, composed by the sixteenth-century Ottoman jurist, Ḥadīth scholar and grammarian, who would articulate a style of religiosity that had considerable reformist appeal into modern times. Linking the cultivation of individual virtue to questions of wider political, social and economic concern, Birgivī played a significant role in the negotiation and articulation of early modern Ottoman Ḥanafī piety. Birgivī’s deep mistrust of the passions of the human soul led him to prescribe a regime of self-surveillance and control that was only matched in rigor by his likewise exacting interpretation of the law in matters of everyday life, as much as in state practices, such as the cash waqf, Ottoman land tenure and taxation.


Katharina A. Ivanyi, Ph.D. (2012), Princeton University, is External Lecturer at the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Vienna.



Abbreviations and Frequently Cited Sources 

Note on Transliteration and Transcription 


1 Please Provide Chapter Title 

 1 Context I: Birgivī’s Life 

 2 Context II: Birgivī’s oeuvre 

 3 Context III: the Bigger Picture—Early Modern Sunnitization, the Negotiation of Orthodoxy and the Pietist Turn 

2 The Intellectual Framework 

 1 The Ḥanafī Tradition—Law and Ethics 

 2 Post-Classical fatāwā Handbooks 

 3 Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī 

 4 Other Ḥanafī Literature 

 5 The Corruption of Times 

 6 Legal Sources beyond the Ḥanafī School 

 7 Birgivī and the Ḥanbalīs 

 8 Birgivī and Ḥadīth 

 9 Sufism 

 10 Science of the Hearts 

 11 Ghazālī 

 12 Emulation of the Prophet 

 13 Birgivī in Contemporary Comparison: Shāhzāde Ḳorḳud 

 14 Birgivī and the Ottoman naṣīḥat-nāme: Muṣṭafā ʿĀlī 

 15 Birgivī and Ottoman Jurisprudence: Ebūʾs-Suʿūd 

3 The Fundamentals of Piety: an Overview of the Structure and Contents of al-Ṭarīqa al-muḥammadiyya 

 1 Introduction 

 2 A Note on the Textual History of al-Ṭarīqa al-muḥammadiyya 

 3 General Structure of TM and Overview of Contents 

 4 Detailed Summary of Contents—Introduction 

 5 Innovation 

 6 Bidʿa and Sufism 

 7 Moderation 

 8 Part Two—Chapter One—Doctrine 

 9 The Legal Status of the various sciences 

 10 Part Two, Chapter Three: Piety 

 11 The Practical Manifestations of Piety—the Core of TM 

 12 The Vices of the Heart 

 13 Birgivī’s Conception of the Soul 

 14 The Vices of the Tongue 

 15 The Vices of the Ear 

 16 The Vices of the Eye 

 17 The Vices of the Hand 

 18 The Vices of the Belly 

 19 The Vices of the Private Parts 

 20 The Vices of the Leg 

 21 Vices Unspecified by Any One Part of the Body 

 22 Part Three of TM—Ritual Purity 

 23 Part Three—Chapter Two—Finance, Land Tenure and Taxation 

 24 What Holds It All Together 

4 The Slippery Slope of Piety: Birgivī on Sincerity, Sanctimony and How to Determine Right Intention 

 1 Introduction 

 2 Vocabulary and Semantics, Definitions and Classifications 

 3 Riyāʾ as Lesser Shirk 

 4 Other Types of Dissimulation 

 5 Sincerity (ikhlāṣ and iḥsān) 

 6 Truthfulness (ṣidq) 

 7 Various Taxonomies of riyāʾ 

 8 Legal Categorization 

 9 The Why(s) and How(s) of riyāʾ 

 10 The “People of Religion” 

 11 When Things Are Not That Clear-Cut 

 12 Embarrassment 

 13 How to Cure the Evil of riyāʾ 

 14 Display in Order to Guide, but How Can You Be Sure 

 15 Conclusion 

5 The Economics of Piety: Birgivī on Wastefulness, the Cash waqf and Ottoman Land Tenure and Taxation 

 1 Introduction 

 2 Basic Concepts—the Good and Bad Qualities of Wealth 

 3 Stinginess, Generosity and Waste 

 4 The Causes, Manifestations and Antidotes of Wastefulness 

 5 Charity, Poverty and Begging 

 6 Payment for Religious Services 

 7 The Cash waqf 

 8 Land Tenure and Taxation 

 9 Conclusion 



 Reference Works, Library Catalogues, Bibliographies 

 Primary Sources 

 Secondary Sources 


More information with the publisher.

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