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[IHTLS] Scholars, Apostasy and States in Medieval Islam: Historiographical and Juridical Issues
Scholars, Apostasy and States in Medieval Islam: Historiographical and Juridical Issues

During the medieval period, theʿulamāʾ had a prominent social status in Islamic dominions and were often closely connected to the sources of political power. Yet, the historiographical sources report cases of Muslim scholars accused of apostasy and executed, thus providing examples of highly unusual socio-religious circumstances in which arbiters of good belief were themselves subjected to the ignominy of breaking with it. Contemporary scholarship has favored narratives of “murder” and “martyrdom” as two explanatory paradigms to study famous cases of scholarly apostasy. While these categories can reveal the strategies of the medieval historians who crafted iconic figures (martyrdom) and emphasized political antagonisms as the cause of the accusations and executions (murder), they fall short of explaining the myriad of social, religious and political processes at stake.
Through the examples of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt al-Hamadānī and Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī this lecture will first present how the authors of literary sources of history constructed their narratives of scholarly apostasy in accordance with their own sectarian and political affiliations. It will then present the juridical procedure at play when scholars were accused of apostasy.

Speaker: Dr Salimeh Maghsoudlou (McGill University).
Discussant: Dr Fârès Gillon (IIS, London).

Hosted by the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London) and convened by Dr Fârès Gillon, the Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series is designed to invite scholars of various international academic institutions, specialising in intellectual, social and political aspects of medieval and early modern Islamic societies, to present and discuss their research.

Please note that the lecture will be recorded and uploaded on the IIS website.

Jun 17, 2021 02:00 PM in London

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