Universiteit Leiden

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The Art of War by Other Means: Sayyid Nūr Allāh Shūshtarī’s Polemics in Defence of Shiʿi Islam between Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires

  • Sajjad Rizvi
Wednesday 26 September 2018
Free to visit, drinks after
Fall lecture series in Shiʿi studies
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

During the Ottoman-Safavid conflict of the sixteenth century, the Shiʿa were under attack from bitter religious disputes, harshly initiated by fatwās accusing the Shiʿa of being dangerous heretics. Shiʿa scholars in turn wrote their own texts in defense of their faith. One of the most prominent of these Shiʿa scholars was Sayyid Nūr Allāh Shūshtarī (exe. 1610). This lecture will look specifically into his writings and the context in which he wrote his defenses. Central are two aspects of Shūshtarī’s output, his texts in defense of faith written in India, and his insistence that the security of India (where religious disputes were kept under control by Mughals acting as ‘millennial sovereigns’ above the particularities of religious affiliation) meant that the practice of disguising (taqiyya) was suspended. What emerges is an account of a pivotal intellectual deploying the skills of his training. Shūshtarī shows himself acutely aware of the contexts within which he was writing, engaging in a war of words which had its own rules and etiquette.

About Sajjad Rizvi

Sajjad Rizvi is Associate Professor of Islamic Intellectual History and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. His main research interest is in Islamic intellectual history in the wider Persianate world. He obtained his PhD at Cambridge in 2000, writing on the philosophy of the Safavid philosopher Mullā Ṣadrā Shīrāzī (d. c. 1635). Currently, he is working on the research project 'Mapping Islamic philosophical traditions and knowledge networks in India, 1450-1850', concerning intellectual history of philosophy in India.

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