Jonathan A. C. Brown

American scholar of Islamic studies (born 1977)

Jonathan Andrew Cleveland Brown (born 1977) is an American scholar of Islamic studies. Since 2012, he has been associate professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He holds the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University.

Jonathan A. C. Brown
Jonathan A. C. Brown


  • For much of Islamic history, the unit through which the Sunna was preserved, transmitted, and understood has been the hadīth (Arabic plural, ahādīth ), or a report describing the words, actions, or habits of the Prophet. Unlike the Quran, the hadiths were not quickly and concisely compiled during and immediately after Muhammad’s life. Because hadiths were recorded and transmitted over a period of decades and even centuries, they are not in and of themselves contemporary historical documentation of what Muhammad said and did.
    • Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Oneworld Publications. 2009. p. 3. 
  • Shah Wali Allah had been a late addition to his family. His father, Shah 'Abd al-Rahim, had long been one of the most respected ulama in the Mughal real, and his talents and austere piety had won him and then cost him royal favor decades before his most famous son was born. When Shah Wali Allah was five, his father placed him in the school he supervised, and by seven the boy had memorized the Qur'an. He mastered Arabic and Persian letters soon thereafter and was married at fourteen. A childhood spent studying at his father's feet meant that by sixteen he had completed the standard curriculum of Hanafi law, theology and logic along with arithmetic and geometry. A year later, Shah Wali Allah would recall poignantly, his father and greatest teacher 'Voyaged onward to the above of God's mercy.' The young student's ambition to seek ilm remained strong, and by nineteen he had exhausted the Knowledge of Dehli's scholars. So Shah Wali Allah voyaged across the Indian Ocean to perform his hajj pilgrimage and pursue his studies in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In the Prophet's mosque in Medina, at the feet of scholars from across the Muslim world, he studied a book to which he became exceedingly attached and which he viewed as the foundation for understanding the Prophet's Sunna. It was the Muwatta, the 'Well Trodden Path,' of the eight-century scholar of Medina, Malik bin Anas.
  • No compulsion in religion’ (2:256) was a Qur'anic command revealed in Medina when a child from one of the Muslim families who had been educated in the town's Jewish schools decided to depart with the Jewish tribe being expelled from Medina. His distraught parents were told by God and the Prophet in this verse that they could not compel their son to stay. The verse, however, has been understood over the centuries as a general command that people cannot be forced to convert to Islam.
    • "3. The Fragile Truth Of Scripture". Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. 2014. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-78074-420-9.

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