Research Lecture - Job Talk

When and Where

Thursday, March 04, 2021 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Online lecture via Zoom


Dr. Arafat A. Razzaque


Speaking of Sin: The Zuhd Movement in Early Islam and the Legacy of the Desert Fathers
Dr. Arafat Razzaque, a candidate for the Assistant Professor Islamic History position

Early Islamic Iraq in the eighth century CE witnessed an influential ascetic subculture that has been a subject of growing interest in recent scholarship. This so-called movement for pious renunciation (zuhd) gave rise to some of the first thematic books of hadith in the ninth century, and would come to be claimed as a forebear of Sufism. But the early Muslim ascetics were also products of their own time, and their relationship to the wider religious context of the late antique Near East deserves attention. Through a study of ideas about sinful gossip and the ethics of the tongue, this talk will demonstrate how the zuhd movement engaged with the discursive legacy of the Desert Fathers of the Christian monastic tradition. The Muslim renunciants practiced a cultivated detachment from the world, but the realities of urban social life animated serious anxieties about the morality of mundane talk, which they articulated in typically late antique cultural idioms. Confronted by the specter of human difference, they redefined the meanings of gossip in order to negotiate communal identity and belonging in an imperial society. Early Muslims thus creatively reappropriated earlier traditions of wisdom in the context of their own world.

To attend, click the zoom link on Thursday, March 4 at 2 PM
Meeting ID: 845 2997 5585
Passcode: 050782