Mohamed Aidarus Noor


PhD Candidate


Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion


I am a member of the CanCode project

My current research project focuses on analysing changes taking place in Islamic legal texts through the study of the processes of canonisation of Minhāj al-ṭālibīn in Swahili society. It examines the modes upon which the text was canonised in the 19th and 20th centuries. Minhāj al-ṭālibīn wa ‘umdat al-muftīn, by the Syrian jurist and ḥadīth scholar Muḥī al-Dīn Abī Zakariya Yaḥyā b. Sharaf al-Nawawī (d. 693/1277) is a Shāfi’ī’ (an Islamic legal school of thought) legal text and is considered one of the critical legal texts in the school that derives the aura of authority from the fact that its textual genealogy is directly traced back to Kitāb al-umm the magnum opus of the founder of the madhhab Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfi’ī (d. 202/820).

The study of canonisation of Minhāj al-ṭālibīn in the Swahili coastal region is linked to the CanCode project 2020-2024, specifically in work package A (Canonization processes on the pre-modern and colonial Swahili coastal region) and work package E (theory building). This research project studies an Islamic legal text on the Swahili coast, pre-dating the colonial era. The text (as shall be argued) has had a significant impact in informing juristic discourse, and Islamic practises in various legal and academic contexts. The importance of Minhāj al-ṭālibīn is determined by its prevalent use in almost all traditional Islamic centres and learning circles across East Africa as a key reference in Islamic jurisprudence. Therefore, the project seeks to validate formations of new forms of canonicity in the Swahili socio-political context by focusing on a study of Minhāj al-ṭālibīn that was canonised through selection and validation by actors, institutions and processes of varying degrees of authority.