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CANCELLED | New Remarks on the Problematic Nature of the Qurʾanic Text: Muhammad and Ali Between Apocalypse and Empire

  • Mohammed Ali Amir-Moezzi
Tuesday 17 April 2018
Free to visit, followed by drinks
Spring Lecture Series in Shiʿi Studies
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


Due to unforseen circumstances, unfortunately Mr Moezzi's lecture has been cancelled. There is no new date for his lecture at this time. We apologise for the inconvenience. 

Muhammad and Ali between Apocalypse and Empire

For all those interested in the religious history of the Near and Middle East during Late Antiquity, the advent of Muḥammad in Arabia and the beginnings of Islam are exciting fields of research. The present study tries to put these subjects into perspective within the broad historical and spiritual context of the 6th and 7th centuries. It is based on a sort of syllogism: Muḥammad and his message belong to Jewish, Christian or Judeo-Christian monotheisms (as attested by the Qurʾān and the Ḥadīth); Muḥammad’s first messages seem to announce the imminent end of the world (as is evident from many Quranic passages and several very early ḥadīths); so Muḥammad cannot but announce the coming of the Messiah as the Savior of the End of the world. On this last point, the Qurʾān remains curiously silent, but according to a large number of ancient ḥadiths, Muḥammad actually announces the imminent coming of the Messiah and the latter is none other than Jesus. At the same time, for some followers of Muḥammad, ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib seems to have been the second Jesus, Christ and Messiah of the apocalyptic times. After the death of Muḥammad and ʿAlī, the non-advent of the end of the world, the ridda wars, the Arab conquests and the establishment of the empire, events evolved into different directions than expected at the beginning.

About the speaker

Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi is Professor at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne) where he holds the chair of classical Islamic thought occupied in the past by Louis Massignon, Henry Corbin and Daniel Gimaret. Member of the Ambrosian Academy (Milano), he is the author of many articles and books, among others: The Divine Guide in early Shi’ism (State University of NY Press, 1994), The Spirituality of Shi’i Islam. Beliefs and Practices (I.B.Tauris).

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