In this thesis, I describe and analyze the manifestations of modern thought in the life and works of Ḥasan al-ʿAṭṭār (d. 1835), an Egyptian Islamic scholar who served as Shaykh al-Azhar in the 1830s, in concert with Muḥammad ʿAlī Pasha. These manifestations were significantly influenced by the writings and ideas of Ottoman ʿulamāʿ and political elites which al-ʿAṭṭār would have encountered during his 10-year journey across the Empire. The thesis will also explore the content of al-ʿAṭṭār’s political, legal and social thought, which was guided by a unique form of ‘Islamic utilitarianism’ which reaches across his writings and the reforms he undertook as Shaykh al-Azhar. The thesis will also discuss al-ʿAṭṭār’s relationship with the post-classical tradition of Islamic scholarship and whether or not he can be classified as a reformist – a question which has dominated the literature on him thus far. For its sources, this thesis relies primarily on al-ʿAṭṭār's various autobiographical notes, his magnum opus of legal theory, Ḥāshiyat al-ʿAṭṭār ʿalā jamʿ al-jawāmiʿ, and his treatise on political theory, Risāla fī taḥqīq al-khilāfat al-islāmiyya, the last of which is here translated in full.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date

Winter 1-31-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Mohamed Serag

Committee Member 1

Ahmad Khan

Committee Member 2

Emad Helal


192 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item

Available for download on Wednesday, September 11, 2024