This article attempts to analyse Alevi cosmology within heterodox Islamic tradition. The main primary source is a recording made in 2009 in Istanbul. The Alevi creation myth (told by a 92-year-old man from the Dersim [Tunceli] region) offers a remarkable combination of symbols and an interpretation of why mankind was created. The role Archangel Gabriel fulfils from the beginning to the creation of the first man, and the notion of ‘looking for a second one’ as the cause of creation, are the most striking features of this myth. The story has given me the opportunity to explore the cosmological views of certain Shi’i sects. Interesting parallels with the cosmological speculations of Ismailis cannot be underestimated. The Alevi studies mainly focus on the period after the thirteenth century. Analysis of this creation myth, on the other hand, in which Archangel Gabriel plays the leading role, leads us, at least on theological matters, to reconsider the formation and circulation of ‘heretical’ ideas from the tenth to the thirteenth century in the Middle East in general and in Seljuk realms in particular.
Locating Hell in Islamic Traditions Edited by Christian Lange, University of Utrecht
Leiden: Brill, 2015
Available open access, as noted in a previous mailing, this volume has 2 articles of potential interest to this list:
11 ‘Ismaʿili-Shiʿi Visions of Hell: From the “Spiritual” Torment of the Fāṭimids to the Ṭayyibī Rock of Sijjīn’
Daniel De Smet
13 ‘Curse Signs: The Artful Rhetoric of Hell in Safavid Iran’
Call for Papers
“Shia Minorities in the Contemporary World: Migration, Transnationalism and Multilocality”
University of Chester, Chester (UK), 20-21 May 2016
Global migrations flows in the 20th century have seen the emergence of Muslim diaspora and minority communities in Europe, North America and Australia. In addition to these new Muslim presences in the global “West”, there have been, since the late 19th century, migration flows from the Middle East (Lebanon and Syria in particular) to South America and West Africa. Likewise, South Asian Muslims settled in East and South Africa in the 19th century. While there is a growing body of research on these Muslim minorities in various regional contexts, the particular experiences of Shia Muslim minorities across the globe has only received scant attention.
As “a minority within a minority”, Shia Muslims face the double-challenge of maintaining an Islamic as well as a particular Shia identity in terms of communal activities, practices, public perception and recognition. Often coming from minority contexts of marginalisation and discrimination, their experience of migration and settlement in other parts of the world, whether enforced or voluntary, is often different from those of other Muslim immigrants. The rich tradition of Shia ritual practices and the authority structures specific to different forms of Shia Islam likewise shape the post-migratory minority experience of Shia.
The conference will bring together researchers working on Shia minorities outside of the so-called “Muslim heartland” (North Africa, Middle East, Central and South Asia). The conference will focus on Shia minorities in Europe, North and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, the Pacific Rim and East Asia that emerged out of migration from the Middle East and South Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries, in particular. The papers presented at the conference will offer unique comparative insights into Shia minorities in a variety of contexts across the globe.
Paper proposal can address but are not limited to the following topics:
– dynamics between centre and periphery in global Shia Islam
– multilocality and transnationalism of global Shia networks
– transnational impact of events in the Middle East on post-migratory Shia minority communities
– institutionalisation and organisation of post-migratory Shia minorities
– public representation and perception of post-migratory Shia minorities and their interaction with state and majority-societies
– sectarianism and Sunni-Shia relations in minority contexts
– gender and generational dynamics within post-migratory Shia minorities
– ritual practices and their adaptation in post-migratory minority contexts
– adaptation of legal practices and legal reforms in minority contexts
– role of clerical authority and leadership (whether transnational or local) in Shia minority contexts
Key note speakers:
Prof Liyakat Takim, McMasters University, Canada
Dr Sabrina Mervin, L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris / Centre Jacques Berque, Rabat
Dr Mara Leichtman (Michigan State University) will launch her book Shi‘i Cosmopolitanisms in Africa: Lebanese Migration and Religious Conversion in Senegal (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015) at the conference.
The conference is organised by the new Chester Centre for Islamic Studies and held in conjunction with a research project on transnational Shia networks that operate between Britain and the Middle East, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. A limited number of travel bursaries is available for PhD students and early career researchers whose paper proposals are accepted. The publication of a selection of papers in an edited volume is also planned.
The deadline for abstract submission is 15 December 2015. Abstracts of up to 300 words and a short bio of (up to 200 words) should be sent in MS Word format as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Notifications of acceptance of papers will be sent out by 20 January 2016. Early career researchers should indicate whether they would like to receive a travel bursary when submitting the abstract.
Presentations of papers should be 15 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussions. Full papers should not exceed 8,000 words, including references and footnotes, and should be submitted, in full, prior to the conference by 1 May 2016.
For general enquiries, email Prof Oliver Scharbrodt, Director of Chester Centre for Islamic Studies, email@example.com.
Abstract submission: 15 December 2015
Notification of acceptance: 20 January 2016
Full paper submission: 1 May 2016
Conference: 20-21 May 2016
NAHJUL BALAGHA CONFERENCE 2015
Islamic Thought has the privilege of organising its third Nahjul Balagha Conference. This conference aims to explore in depth the wide-ranging themes within the sermons, letters and sayings of Imam Ali contained within the book.
The conference will feature the following speakers:
Sheikh Khalil Jaffer
Professor Robert Gleave
Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Ali Shomali
Revd Dr. Ian G. Williams
Sheikh Shahnawaz Mahdavi
Dr. Ejaz Hussain
Sayed Mohamed al Musawi
Maulana Abdul Hameed
Poetry on Nahjul Balagha by: Nouri Sardar, Taher Adel
Venue: Marriott Hotel, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 6GB
Date: Sunday, 11th October 2015
Conference Fee: £15
Three-Course Lunch and refreshments will be provided
Ladies & Gents Welcome. Book exhibitions will also be held.
There are very limited places available, so register online before 1st October 2015 as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.
For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: Maulana Maqbool Hussain Alavi: 07983 992 746
CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION
RELOCATING THE CENTERS OF SHĪʿĪ ISLAM:
RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY, SECTARIANISM, AND THE LIMITS OF THE TRANSNATIONAL IN COLONIAL INDIA AND PAKISTAN
Simon Wolfgang Fuchs
Princeton University PhD, September, 2015
This dissertation rethinks the common center-periphery perspective which frames the Middle East as the seat of authoritative religious reasoning vis-à-vis a marginal South Asian Islam. Drawing on 15 months of archival research and interviews conducted in Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, and the United Kingdom, I demonstrate how Shīʿī and Sunnī religious scholars (ʿulamā) in colonial India and Pakistan negotiate a complex web of closeness and distance that connects them to eminent Muslim jurists residing in the Arab lands and Iran. The project attempts to move beyond scholarly paradigms that investigate the transnational travel of ideas in terms of either resistance and rejection, on the one hand, or wholesale adoption, on the other. Rather, I show how local South Asian scholars occupy a creative and at times disruptive role as brokers, translators, and self-confident pioneers of modern and contemporary Islamic thought.
Relying on unexplored sources in Urdu, Arabic, and Persian, the dissertation examines these dynamics through the lenses of sectarianism, reform, and religious authority. It demonstrates how Indian Shīʿīs in the 1940s were haunted by the specter of Pakistan as a potentially exclusively Sunnī state. These substantial cleavages resurfaced in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Khomeini’s model of the Rule of the Jurisprudent led sectarian Deobandīs to frame Shīʿīs as detrimental to their vision of creating a model Sunnī Islamic polity which was supposed to fulfil the promise of Pakistan. In the context of internal Shīʿī debates, I pay close attention to modernist challenges to Lucknow’s Shīʿī clerical establishment in the late colonial period. Building on this conflict, I discuss how both reformist ʿulamā and their traditionalist, esoteric critics sought to appropriate the authority of leading Iranian and Iraqi Ayatollahs in order to emphasize their faithfulness to the Shīʿī mainstream. Both groups advanced their own, diverging vision of how to achieve a rapprochement with the Sunnī majority. The question of religious authority also plays a central role during the succession struggle after the death of a major “Source of Emulation” (marjaʿ al-taqlīd). I highlight the ability of Pakistani scholars to acquire religious clout during such periods of uncertainty. Similar agency is reflected in the unique ways in which Pakistan’s Shīʿīs gradually made sense of the Iranian Revolution and how they filtered its transnational implications through the prism of their local religious needs.
This study in its transnational scope speaks to historians of South Asia, the Middle East, and Islam, as well as to scholars working in the fields of Islamic thought, transnational history, Shīʿī studies, and religion more broadly.
Islamic Stories of the Prophets: Semantics, Discourse, and Genre
Napoli, Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale, Palazzo Dumesnil, via Chiatamone, 61
14–15 October 2015
Wednesday 14 October
Tilman Nagel (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
“How to achieve an Islamic interpretation of the qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ”
PANEL 1: What is ‘Islamic’ about qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ?
Carol Bakhos (UCLA)
“The case of al-Kisāʾī”
Gottfried Hagen (University of Michigan)
“Between Yūsuf and Karbalāʾ: suffering and salvation history in Fuẓūlī’s Garden of the Felicitous”
Brannon Wheeler (United States Naval Academy)
“In the footprints of the Buddha: comparing the qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ to the Jatakas”
PANEL 2: Defining the Genre and Corpus of qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ
Roberto Tottoli (Università di Napoli L’Orientale)
“Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ texts and editions: bibliographical questions regarding al-Thaʿlabī’s ʿArāʾis al-majālis”
Marianna Klar (SOAS, University of London)
“Textual stability in al-Kisāʾī’s Shuʿayb narrative”
Jens Scheiner (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
“Did the quṣṣāṣ narrate qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ?”
PANEL 3: Qiṣaṣ Materials of the Mamlūk Period as Case Study
Camilla Adang (Tel Aviv University)
“Tales of the prophets in al-Maqrīzī’s al-Khabar ʿan al-bashar: from Saul to Solomon”
Joseph Sadan (Tel Aviv University)
“The prophet Job (Ayyūb) and his wife Raḥma: a post-qurʾanic dramatic composition”
Walid Saleh (University of Toronto)
“On a Mamlūk treatise on al-Khiḍr: Ibn Imām al-Kāmiliyya (d. 874/1470) and India Office Islamic 1529”
Thursday 15 October
PANEL 4: The Political Implications of qiṣaṣ Materials: Shīʿī Examples
Michael Pregill (Boston University)
“When is a qiṣaṣ not a qiṣaṣ? Taʾwīl, propaganda, and political prophetology”
George Warner (SOAS, University of London)
“Qiṣaṣ al-aʾimma? The true, the miraculous, and the interesting in Imāmī Shīʿī stories of the prophets and imāms”
Omid Ghaemmaghami (SUNY Binghamton)
“And there befell the Israelites a period of concealment: notes on Moses and the Shīʿī messiah in early Twelver apologetic literature”
PANEL 5: Qiṣaṣ Outside the Bounds of qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ
Helen Blatherwick (SOAS, University of London)
“Solomon legends in Sīrat Sayf Ibn Dhī Yazan”
Ayşe Polat (University of Chicago)
“The human Jesus: a 1922 Ottoman periodical debate”
Shari L. Lowin (Stonehill College)
“Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ in an Andalusian poem of desire”
PANEL 6: Qiṣaṣ at the Edges of Islam
Herbert Berg (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
“Elijah Muhammad’s prophets: the white Adam, the black Jesus, and the black Christ”
Reuven Firestone (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles)
“The Story of the Ten Sages: an Israelite story of the Prophet, or a Jewish qiṣṣa of counter-history”
Meira Polliack (Tel-Aviv University)
“The term qiṣṣa/qiṣaṣ in medieval Judeo-Arabic biblical exegesis and its wider implications”
Concepción Castillo (University of Granada)
“Forty years in qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ: a retrospective”
This conference is co-organized by Roberto Tottoli, Marianna Klar, and Michael Pregill. The conference is co-sponsored by Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale and ILEX Foundation. Those seeking more information or to attend the conference should contact us at email@example.com.