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Lecture

Mystical Messianisms in the 13th Century: Sa‘d al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh and ‘Azīz-i Dīn Nasafī

  • Elizabeth Alexandrin
Date
28 March 2018
Time
Explanation
Free to visit, drinks after
Series
Spring Lecture Series in Shiʿi Studies
Address
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Room
005

There is a significant gap in the scholarly literature at present, both in terms of critical editions of Sa‘d al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh’s  (d. 1253 CE) works and publications on his thought. His works have not been explored in detail, as either a micro-study of a 13th-century Sufi thinker, or in terms of 13th-century and post-13th-century mystical messianisms. In addition, no attention has been paid to addressing Ḥamūyeh’s corpus as a whole. Ballanfat has suggested that by examining the concept of the seal in Ḥamūyeh’s short treatises it is possible to trace a shift in Ḥamūyeh’s thought (Ballanfat 2002). Another difficult research question is related to how Ḥamūyeh places himself in relation to Shī‘ism, more specifically in the Miṣbāḥ al-taṣawwuf, and more ambiguously in the Kitāb al-Maḥbūb.  Furthermore, Ḥamūyeh’s later works present a potentially catastrophic and disfigured messianism, overturning the Messiah figure through uncovering the impiety and perversity at the end of religion.

Within the 13th-century Sufi tradition, the unsettling questions raised in Ḥamūyeh’s works directly challenged the construction of mystical authority, even more so because particular terminology in Ḥamūyeh’s teachings was interpreted by contemporary and almost contemporary Sufi authors as reflecting Shī‘ī leanings with respect to the appearance of a messianic figure at the End Time. To that purpose, this presentation will focus on the Kashf al-Sirāṭ and Kitāb al-Insān al-Kāmil of ‘Aziz-i Dīn Nasafī (d.ca. 1300 CE), who, even though a student of Ḥamūyeh’s, was highly critical of Ḥamūyeh’s teachings on messianism.  In doing so, this presentation will reconsider the analyses of Molé and Landolt on the particular question of Nasafī’s ‘Alid loyalties and with respect to the shaping of mystical messianisms within the 13th-century Kubravī Sufi tradition’s formative period.

About Elizabeth Alexandrin

Elizabeth R. Alexandrin is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religion, and Senior Fellow at St. John’s College, University of Manitoba (Canada). She holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University (2006). Her first book is Walāyah in the Fāṭimid Ismā‘īlī Tradition. State University of New York Press (2017). Her current book project focuses on dreaming and sleeping in 13-14th-century Muslim societies, with a particular focus on Kubravi Sufi texts, medical treatises, and hagiographical works. As part of this project on medieval Sufism in Iran, Anatolia, and Central Asia, she is co-editing with P. Ballanfat (Galatasaray University, Istanbul) the 13th-century Sufi Sa‘d al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh’s Kitāb al-Maḥbūb.

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