This article analyzes theories and practices of Islamic knowledge as articulated among Muslims in Africa and examines the relationship between epistemology and ideology as it plays out in the field of Islamic knowledge. The paper follows three lines of investigation. First, it posits the theme of Islamic epistemologies at the center of inquiry into the transformation of Islamic knowledge practices and, by extension, of Muslim societies in Africa. Second, it distinguishes three modalities of knowing, introduced as distinct paradigms but not conceived of as given entities: the sanad (chain of transmission) paradigm, the dalīl (evidence) paradigm, and the maqāṣid (purposes, objectives) paradigm. Third, the paper proposes a relational perspective on Islamic knowledge in Africa in order to explain how the complex web of relations connecting and producing the three paradigms has yielded hybrid and, at times, even contradictory results.

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