Virtue, Piety and the Law: A Study of Birgivī Meḥmed Efendī’s al-Ṭarīqa al-Muḥammadiyya

Publication Year



Katharina Anna Ivanyi, Ph.D. 2012

In Virtue, Piety and the Law Katharina Ivanyi examines Birgivī Memed Efendī’s (d. 981/1573) al-arīqa al-muammadiyya, a major work of pietist exhortation and advice, composed by the sixteenth-century Ottoman jurist, adīth 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 anafī 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.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Frequently Cited Sources 
Note on Transliteration and Transcription 


Birgivī in Context 
 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 

The Intellectual Framework 
 1 The anafī Tradition—Law and Ethics 
 2 Post-Classical fatāwā Handbooks 
 3 Abū al-Layth al-Samarqandī 
 4 Other anafī Literature 

 5 The Corruption of Times 
 6 Legal Sources beyond the anafī School 

 7 Birgivī and the anbalīs 
 8 Birgivī and adīth 
 9 Sufism 
 10 Science of the Hearts 
 11 Ghazālī 
 12 Emulation of the Prophet 
 13 Birgivī in Contemporary Comparison: Shāhzāde orud 

 14 Birgivī and the Ottoman naīat-nāme: Muṣṭafā ʿĀlī 
 15 Birgivī and Ottoman Jurisprudence: Ebūʾs-Suʿū

The Fundamentals of Piety: an Overview of the Structure and Contents of al-arīqa al-muammadiyya 
 1 Introduction 
 2 A Note on the Textual History of al-arīqa al-muammadiyya 

 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 

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 (ikhlā and isān) 

 6 Truthfulness (idq) 
 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 

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 

Series Title
The Ottoman Empire and its Heritage
Series Volume
Leiden and Boston
Cloth: 9789004419865; ebook: 9789004431843