Tunisia Islam in Tunisia expanded during Ummayyad Chaliphate era

             Tunisiais situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midwaybetween the Atlantic Ocean and the NileDelta. It isbordered by Algeria on the west and southwestand Libya on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30° and 38°N, and longitudes 7° and 12°E.

An abrupt southward turn of theMediterranean coast in northern Tunisia gives the country two distinctiveMediterranean coasts, west-east in the north, and north-south in the east.Thenumber of population of Tunisia around 11.93 million and 99% of them muslim.

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Most of the muslim in Tunisia were sunni and they are Malikite mazhab. They aresmall number of sufi in this country. Most of them are following malikitemazhab. There are shiah, wahabi and salafi follower but just small in number.The leader of the republic of Tunisia was muslim. Originally, Tunisia iscontrol by Ummayyad Chaliphate but after certain period, the republic wascontrolled by France after the falling of Islamic chaliphate system. Islam inTunisia expanded during Ummayyad Chaliphate era in 6th century afterthe long term conflict of Byzantine Empire. The native Berbers silentlyconverted to islam after recognize the similarities between the arab cultureand their culture during the Byzantene conflict.

This is where the fundamentalelement of Islamic civilization was established in Tunisia. Tunisia wascontrolled by Ummayyad Chaliphate and Otthoman Chaliphate before the state fallin French in 1881. Before 1881, islam were separated about 1000 year inTunisia. During this era, Tunisia become powerful and teaching of islam can beseparated easily.              Themeaning of hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of theprophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna),constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Al Quran.There are categories of hadith. Catogaries based on realibilities are sahih,Hasan, Daif, Maudu’ and Maqlub.

there are also hadith that catagories based onnumber of narrator. First is khabar al Mutawwatir or known as khabar al masyur,and khabar al wahid. Hadith sahih is hadith that transmitted through anunbroken chainof narrators whom are sound of character and memory. Hadith hasanis transmitted through unbroken chain of narrator but weak memory. Da if whichcannot gainthe status of hasan because lack of element of hasan. Maudu’ is afabricated              and not a wordfrom the prophet. Maqlub is where the name of narrator has been changed. Khabarmutawwatir is reported by large number of reporter.

khabr al wahid is signifiesa historical narrative that falls short of yielding certain knowledge.                      UmmayyadChaliphate control the power in Tunisia in year 661. Ummayyad founded the firstIslamic city in north Africa by constructing the mosque of Uqba or known as TheGreat Mosque of Kairouan in 670. This is the first and oldest most in Tunisiaand become a masterpiece for muslim world because of the mosque was buildaccording to Islamic art and architecture. This mosque made Kairouan become thecenter of of Islamic teaching in Tunisia. The Muslim Arab govenors of Tunisfounded Aghlabid Dynasty to rule Tunisia and kairuan became the most importantcenter of learning in the Maghreb in the field of law and Theology.

Tunisia have manygreater scholar and intelligence that contribute in Islamic society. One ofthem is ibn Khaldun. Ibn Khaldun was a Tunisian that good in political science,sociology and philosophy.

His view in sociology is still been used until today.Most of his idea is quote from hadith and Al Quran. ibn Khaldun also was one ofthe hadith collector. During his life, he never stop learning and at age of 50,he migrate to Egypt. Ibn Khaldun also known as one of the good hadith collectorand alse a hadith critic.

He usually consider the sources of hadith beforecriticize the hadith. Ibn Khaldun become the reference of Tunisian because ofhis ilm. In his book, Mukaddimah, he include the sources of hadith and his bookbecome the reference for muslim in Tunisia as well as other country. Hiscontribution in hadith lead him to be one of the well known scholar that bornduring the glory time of islam.

During the life of IbnKhaldun, he has criticized some of weak hadith. One of them was the hadithabout the coming of imam Mahdi before the prophet Isa. There are some reasonwhy Ibn khaldun criticized that hadith is not an sahih hadith. This problem wasexplained in detail by Ibn Khaldun in his book Mukaddimah.

his first point thatstated that is not hadith because the advent of Mahdi is proven throughconsensus or ijma. Second reason of this problem is the narration of al-Mahdiis mutawatir. His other reason was criticism of al-Mahdi is disputed. He alsoclaimed that the consensus was reached before the criticized narrator. He alsocriticized on the authenticity and Meaning of the Hadith, “There is no Mahdiexcept ‘Isa” from the hadith. He criticized between al-Mahdi and the saying ofthe sufi. There are many contradict between the hadith and the sources.

So, IbnKhaldun put his stand to criticized this hadith based on the reasons that statein Mukaddimah. He explain in detail each point to avoid the misunderstood fomuslim before believe any sources of hadith that always mention by people.  During Ottoman empire,islam grow larger. Muslim country start to open an university in every muslimempire.

Al-Azhar university, allocated in Egypt become the well knownuniversity in the muslim world. In this university, there were many courcesthat related to Islamic study. Most of Tunisian came to Al-Azhar and learn moreabout islam. Some of them learn Hadith and right after that they back toTunisia and separated the knowledge of hadith. Some of them become a teacherand teach their student in mosque or school. Before 1956, there is no officialuniversity allocated in Tunisia. They learn more about islam and hadith inmosque and unofficial school.

But in 1956, the official university namedUniversity of Ez-Zitouna allocated in Kairouan was open and this universityconsists of Higher Institude of Theology and Higher Institute of IslamicCivilization. There were no specialized in hadith for this university but theteaching of hadith can be separated because this university offer the IslamicStudies. The prime resources ofgetting more knowledge of hadith is came from mosque and Islamic Classes.

Theylearn the teaching of hadith by the authorized imam that paid by government toteach more about islam. In Tunisia, the salary imam is paid by government. Thoseauthorized imam are able to teach the knowledge of islam in mosque. WhenTunisia got their independent from france in 1956, the geopolitics in Tunisiachanged. Under the first president of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, the Tunisia becamethe country that support secularism in their culture.

Tunisia considered as themost westernized country in north African country. Habib Bourguiba dismantled University of Ez-Zitouna, replacing it with a faculty of Shari`a and Theologyattached to the Tunis University in 1958.The government start to control everything related to islam. They control thecontent of teaching in mosque, banned a class that or authorized by government,control the power of imam in mosque, control the content of prayer services andmaking a law that forbid all activities and meeting in mosque by people otherthan those who were appointed by government in 1988. People of Tunisia sometimeinterrogated if they are suspect for being seen in street and separated Islamicteaching or practicing Islamic culture. People who practicing sunnah likehaving beard, wearing hijab, wearing robe for men, wearing sarban and otherteaching of prophet Muhammad will be harassed by government.

They can be chargeby government and will be punished under provocation act. Many Sufis left thecountry after Tunisia got independence. This is because government take theirreligious building and land reverted to the government. Before the independenceof Tunisia, all citizen are allow to practice their religion and culturefreely. Those building become the place for muslim separate the teaching of AlQuran and hadith in Tunisia. Most of sufi feel unsave under secular governmentand most of them migrate to Egypt, Syria, and Algeria to continue their lifeand practicing islam for their daily life. But still small community of sufistay in Tunisia and they practicing the Islamic life but they not publicly showtheir lifestyle.In 2010, the wave ofArab spring started to triggered many Arab country.

Tunisia faces the arabspring and the president of Tunisia during that time, named El Abidine Ben Aliresign in 4 January 2011. the arab spring lead by Egypt was a big revolutionand lead Tunisia to do so. The cause of Arab spring in Tunisia was because ofhigh unemployment, food inflation, corruption, poor living but high livingcost, and asking for freedom in political ideology. The muslim community inTunisia start to fight for their right. New leader of Tunisia start to give thefreedom for muslim in Tunisia to follow the Islamic life. The class of Islamicteaching can be conduct without any barrier for a short time. In march 2012,the president declare not to support the shariah law that asked by citizen.They keep the secularism ideology in their political system.

In January 2014,constitution declare the Tunisia as a islamic country and redesign thestructure of government. It designates the government as the “guardian ofreligion” and the president must be a muslim. The government also give theirword in freedom of believe, conscience, and let the sitizen to done their religiouspractice in mosque and houses.

The new law of government lead muslim to learnislam in mosque and the mosque become the center of knowledge for muslim. Theimam start teach the teaching of islam freely in without and barrier andblockage from government. Government of Tunisia also promise that they will payfor the salary of all imam in mosque andthey recognized and declare theimportance day of muslim like Muharram, Maulid, Eid Fitr and Eid al-Adha as thenational holidays in Tunisia.

Tunisia have changefrom the islamic country in 6th century to become secular country in20th century. This change lead to the change in system of education,culture, learning process and islamic law in Tunisia. In 6thcentury, the studies of hadith and Al Quran were easy to  learn and easy access to get the knowledge.But, after the falling of islamic empire, we can see the muslim facing problemin their way to searching of knowledge.

Most of sufi which is the real followerof islamic teaching migrate from Tunisia to other country because of theproblem of politic issue in Tunisia. Tunisian were lack of sources of islamicteacher as well as sources because of policy made by government. There arelimited info from my sources to find the way of studies hadith in Tunisia becausetheir government are not provide any good and services for their citizen topractice islam.

As Malaysian, I feel grateful because in my country, there isno blockage from the government. We are taught about islam since kindergardenwithout any obstacle from my government. Muslim are allow to practice theirbelieve without any obstacle of our government.