The Ideal Way to Shed Traditions and Embrace First Principles


This printed work by Nūr al-Ḥasan b. Ṣiddīq b. Ḥasan Khan (also seen as al-Qannawjī) deals with taqlid (adherence to Islamic tradition) and ijthad (flexible interpretation of religious principles), issues that have occupied Muslim thinkers for 1,400 years. Al-Ṭarīqah al-muthlá fī al-irshād ilá tark al-taqlīd wa-ittibāʻ mā huwa al-awlá (The ideal way to shed traditions and embrace first principles) is in itself less important than the context in which it was published. The author was from the Muslim court of Bhopal in India. He was the son of a prolific author, Muḥammad Siddīq Ḥasan Khan, consort of the reigning begum of that Indian principality. The family was distinguished in the Islamic sciences and the politics of the age. The present work was published at the Jawa’ib Press in Istanbul, where several books written by both father and son were issued in Arabic. The father is known to have corresponded with Ottoman sultan Abdülhamid II and presumably influenced him in his thinking. The topic of taqlid was hotly debated at this time in all parts of the Muslim world. It also was of interest to the imperial British authorities, who wished to limit its influence in the spread of Wahhabism. The volume is incomplete, lacking the final stanzas of the terminal qasidah (poem). The book has guidewords and the signatures are numbered. The printing suffers from a broken and worn type font. In the biographical literature and in library catalogues, this work is often attributed to the author’s father. It was republished in Beirut in 2000.

Publication Information

al-Jawa’ib Press, Constantinople


Title in Original Language

الطريقة المثلى في الإرشاد الى ترك التقليد والتباع ما هو الأولى

Type of Item

Physical Description

59 pages ; 22 centimeters


  1. Al-Alwani, Taha J., “Taqlid and Ijtihad,” The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 8, number 1 (1991).

Last updated: August 8, 2014