Tunisia Islam in Tunisia expanded during Ummayyad Chaliphate era

is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway
between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile
Delta. It is
bordered by Algeria on the west and southwest
and Libya on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30° and 38°N, and longitudes 7° and 12°E. An abrupt southward turn of the
Mediterranean coast in northern Tunisia gives the country two distinctive
Mediterranean coasts, west-east in the north, and north-south in the east.The
number of population of Tunisia around 11.93 million and 99% of them muslim.
Most of the muslim in Tunisia were sunni and they are Malikite mazhab. They are
small number of sufi in this country. Most of them are following malikite
mazhab. There are shiah, wahabi and salafi follower but just small in number.
The leader of the republic of Tunisia was muslim. Originally, Tunisia is
control by Ummayyad Chaliphate but after certain period, the republic was
controlled by France after the falling of Islamic chaliphate system. Islam in
Tunisia expanded during Ummayyad Chaliphate era in 6th century after
the long term conflict of Byzantine Empire. The native Berbers silently
converted to islam after recognize the similarities between the arab culture
and their culture during the Byzantene conflict. This is where the fundamental
element of Islamic civilization was established in Tunisia. Tunisia was
controlled by Ummayyad Chaliphate and Otthoman Chaliphate before the state fall
in French in 1881. Before 1881, islam were separated about 1000 year in
Tunisia. During this era, Tunisia become powerful and teaching of islam can be
separated easily.

meaning of hadith is a collection of traditions containing sayings of the
prophet 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 on
number of narrator. First is khabar al Mutawwatir or known as khabar al masyur,
and khabar al wahid. Hadith sahih is hadith that transmitted through an
unbroken chainof narrators whom are sound of character and memory. Hadith hasan
is transmitted through unbroken chain of narrator but weak memory. Da if which
cannot gainthe status of hasan because lack of element of hasan. Maudu’ is a
fabricated              and not a word
from the prophet. Maqlub is where the name of narrator has been changed. Khabar
mutawwatir is reported by large number of reporter. khabr al wahid is signifies
a historical narrative that falls short of yielding certain knowledge.        

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Chaliphate control the power in Tunisia in year 661. Ummayyad founded the first
Islamic city in north Africa by constructing the mosque of Uqba or known as The
Great Mosque of Kairouan in 670. This is the first and oldest most in Tunisia
and become a masterpiece for muslim world because of the mosque was build
according to Islamic art and architecture. This mosque made Kairouan become the
center of of Islamic teaching in Tunisia. The Muslim Arab govenors of Tunis
founded Aghlabid Dynasty to rule Tunisia and kairuan became the most important
center of learning in the Maghreb in the field of law and Theology.

Tunisia have many
greater scholar and intelligence that contribute in Islamic society. One of
them 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 of
the 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 collector
and alse a hadith critic. He usually consider the sources of hadith before
criticize the hadith. Ibn Khaldun become the reference of Tunisian because of
his ilm. In his book, Mukaddimah, he include the sources of hadith and his book
become the reference for muslim in Tunisia as well as other country. His
contribution in hadith lead him to be one of the well known scholar that born
during the glory time of islam.

During the life of Ibn
Khaldun, he has criticized some of weak hadith. One of them was the hadith
about the coming of imam Mahdi before the prophet Isa. There are some reason
why Ibn khaldun criticized that hadith is not an sahih hadith. This problem was
explained in detail by Ibn Khaldun in his book Mukaddimah.his first point that
stated that is not hadith because the advent of Mahdi is proven through
consensus or ijma. Second reason of this problem is the narration of al-Mahdi
is mutawatir. His other reason was criticism of al-Mahdi is disputed. He also
claimed that the consensus was reached before the criticized narrator. He also
criticized on the authenticity and Meaning of the Hadith, “There is no Mahdi
except ‘Isa” from the hadith. He criticized between al-Mahdi and the saying of
the sufi. There are many contradict between the hadith and the sources. So, Ibn
Khaldun put his stand to criticized this hadith based on the reasons that state
in Mukaddimah. He explain in detail each point to avoid the misunderstood fo
muslim 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 muslim
empire. Al-Azhar university, allocated in Egypt become the well known
university in the muslim world. In this university, there were many cources
that related to Islamic study. Most of Tunisian came to Al-Azhar and learn more
about islam. Some of them learn Hadith and right after that they back to
Tunisia and separated the knowledge of hadith. Some of them become a teacher
and teach their student in mosque or school. Before 1956, there is no official
university allocated in Tunisia. They learn more about islam and hadith in
mosque and unofficial school. But in 1956, the official university named
University of Ez-Zitouna allocated in Kairouan was open and this university
consists of Higher Institude of Theology and Higher Institute of Islamic
Civilization. There were no specialized in hadith for this university but the
teaching of hadith can be separated because this university offer the Islamic


The prime resources of
getting more knowledge of hadith is came from mosque and Islamic Classes. They
learn the teaching of hadith by the authorized imam that paid by government to
teach more about islam. In Tunisia, the salary imam is paid by government. Those
authorized imam are able to teach the knowledge of islam in mosque. When
Tunisia got their independent from france in 1956, the geopolitics in Tunisia
changed. Under the first president of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, the Tunisia became
the country that support secularism in their culture. Tunisia considered as the
most westernized country in north African country. Habib Bourguiba dismantled University of Ez-Zitouna, replacing it with a faculty of Shari`a and Theology
attached to the Tunis University in 1958.
The government start to control everything related to islam. They control the
content 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 and
making a law that forbid all activities and meeting in mosque by people other
than those who were appointed by government in 1988. People of Tunisia sometime
interrogated if they are suspect for being seen in street and separated Islamic
teaching or practicing Islamic culture. People who practicing sunnah like
having beard, wearing hijab, wearing robe for men, wearing sarban and other
teaching of prophet Muhammad will be harassed by government. They can be charge
by government and will be punished under provocation act. Many Sufis left the
country after Tunisia got independence. This is because government take their
religious building and land reverted to the government. Before the independence
of Tunisia, all citizen are allow to practice their religion and culture
freely. Those building become the place for muslim separate the teaching of Al
Quran and hadith in Tunisia. Most of sufi feel unsave under secular government
and most of them migrate to Egypt, Syria, and Algeria to continue their life
and practicing islam for their daily life. But still small community of sufi
stay in Tunisia and they practicing the Islamic life but they not publicly show
their lifestyle.

In 2010, the wave of
Arab spring started to triggered many Arab country. Tunisia faces the arab
spring and the president of Tunisia during that time, named El Abidine Ben Ali
resign in 4 January 2011. the arab spring lead by Egypt was a big revolution
and lead Tunisia to do so. The cause of Arab spring in Tunisia was because of
high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, poor living but high living
cost, and asking for freedom in political ideology. The muslim community in
Tunisia start to fight for their right. New leader of Tunisia start to give the
freedom for muslim in Tunisia to follow the Islamic life. The class of Islamic
teaching 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 the
structure of government. It designates the government as the “guardian of
religion” and the president must be a muslim. The government also give their
word in freedom of believe, conscience, and let the sitizen to done their religious
practice in mosque and houses. The new law of government lead muslim to learn
islam in mosque and the mosque become the center of knowledge for muslim. The
imam start teach the teaching of islam freely in without and barrier and
blockage from government. Government of Tunisia also promise that they will pay
for the salary of all imam in mosque andthey recognized and declare the
importance day of muslim like Muharram, Maulid, Eid Fitr and Eid al-Adha as the
national holidays in Tunisia.

Tunisia have change
from the islamic country in 6th century to become secular country in
20th century. This change lead to the change in system of education,
culture, learning process and islamic law in Tunisia. In 6th
century, 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 problem
in their way to searching of knowledge. Most of sufi which is the real follower
of islamic teaching migrate from Tunisia to other country because of the
problem of politic issue in Tunisia. Tunisian were lack of sources of islamic
teacher as well as sources because of policy made by government. There are
limited info from my sources to find the way of studies hadith in Tunisia because
their government are not provide any good and services for their citizen to
practice islam. As Malaysian, I feel grateful because in my country, there is
no blockage from the government. We are taught about islam since kindergarden
without any obstacle from my government. Muslim are allow to practice their
believe without any obstacle of our government.