Hosted by the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London), 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 find below the information on the fourth lecture of the series, which will be delivered online by Dr Salimeh Maghsoudlou, and will be followed by a discussion with Dr Fârès Gillon (IIS, London) and Dr Janis Esots (IIS, London).
“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.
Thursday 17 June 2021
To attend the online lecture, please register here.