Dr Walter Armbrust, Middle East Centre, St Anthony's College, Oxford
Lectures on Islam
Indian texts in historical context seminar: Azam Al-karamat: Making Muslim saints in early twentieth-century Hyderabad state
Islamic monotheism and Islamic piety: In conversation with Hindu perspectives
The neo-Islamicisation of public space in Egyptian cinema and television
Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Dr Michot Talk
This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.
Mystical Traditions in Comparative Perspective: Session One - Islamic mystical traditions‚ Sufis in India
Mysticism is a term that has fallen out of use in recent years, partly due to the critique of essentialism in the history of religions, partly due to the recognition that mysticism is particular to tradition and culture and partly due to the orientation to understand religion in terms of a politics of culture that sees religion purely in constructivist terms. The abstraction ‘mysticism’ is a problematic category that has been developed from Christian mystical theology (in contrast to dogmatic or natural theology). Viewing other religions through the lens of ‘mysticism’, particularly the religions of India and China, has tended to give a distorted picture to the West, underlined by Radhakrishnan’s claim, among others, that the east is ‘spiritual’ while the west is ‘material’. Of course, the historical reality of religious traditions is much more complex than this. Nevertheless, religious traditions are interested in, and develop, keen senses of inwardness that lay stress upon a direct understanding or experience of transcendence. While acknowledging the problematic nature of the category ‘mysticism,’ this series of seminars intends to explore the mystical traditions of specific religions in dialogue with Hinduism. The series is seen as an exercise in comparative theology. Short lectures on the mystical traditions would be followed by a response from a Hindu perspective and general discussion.
Mysticism in Comparative Perspective: Sufi Mysticism
Dr Samer Akkach is Associate Professor of Architecture and Founding Director of the Centre for Asian and Middle Eastern Architecture (CAMEA) at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He was born and educated in Damascus before moving to Australia to complete his PhD at Sydney University. As an intellectual historian, Samer has devoted over twenty years to the study of Ibn 'Arabi's mystical thought and intellectual legacy, and especially to their later revival by 'Abd al-Ghana al-Nabulusi (d. 1731). His Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam: an Architectural Reading of Mystical Ideas (SUNY 2005), traces the influence of Ibn 'Arabi's thought on the spatial sensibility of premodern Muslim architects; while his 'Abd al-Ghan al-Nabulusi: Islam and the Enlightenment (Oneworld 2007), and Letters of a Sufi Scholar: The Correspondence of 'Abd al-Ghana al-Nabulusi (Brill 2010), examine the intellectual contributions of an influential and prolific Sufi master who considered Ibn 'Arabi to be his spiritual master and source of inspiration.
Radical Monotheism of the Qur’an and Equitheism of the Bhagavata Purana: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Allah and Krishna
This narrowly focused essay proposes to compare the Islamic god Allah as depicted in the Qur’an with the Hindu deity Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana. This paper concentrates on how these two respective texts define the two deities. More precisely, this essay focuses on such issues as transcendence and immanence, creative power and play, obedience and love, and the relationship between God and humans. These various themes are examined from the perspective of comparative theology, which can be defined as an articulation of truths and a realization of a more complete knowledge of God in so far as it is possible by means of theology conceived broadly as inter-religious, comparative, dialogical, and confessional. This paper proposes to use a hermeneutical dialogue, which is an interpretative approach that is intended to lead to better cross-cultural understanding. Such a dialogue is risky because it entails entering the margins between oneself and the other. When the interpreter brings together the representative texts of different traditions, she forms a triadic relationship and dialogue with the context of a marginal situation.