On 5th June 2017 Dr. Wahid M. Amin (AMI Research Fellow in Muslim Philosophical and Theological Traditions) participated in the Shared Intellectual Spaces: Muslims and Christians in the Islamicate World after Avicenna workshop held at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.The workshop brought together a number of academics specialising in the reception and intellectual heritage of the eleventh century philosopher Avicenna among Christians and Muslims of the post-classical period (ca. 12th-18th century).
In his paper Dr. Amin spoke of the importance of the 12th century Ash’arite theologian Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī and the significance of his Kitāb al-Muḥaṣṣal, in particular, for the development of post-Avicennan kalām in the period coinciding with the political ascendency of the Mongols in Islamic lands. Dr. Amin showed that in spite of the socio-political upheavals caused by the Mongol invasions during the relatively short period between 1221-1258, the intellectual activity of scholars in this period not only continued but thrived soon after through Mongol patronage at Maragha and Tabriz well into the 14th century, thus questioning some of the unfounded assumptions of earlier Orientialist scholarship and eurocentric-inspired narratives of decline. By looking at the Kitāb al-Muḥaṣṣal and its commentaries, Dr. Amin explored some of the varying exegetical strategies adopted by al-Rāzī’s commentators to demonstrate just how provocative some of al-Rāzī’s ideas had been for key intellectual figures of the 13th century, figures such as Quṭb al-Dīn al-Miṣrī, Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd al-Mu’tazilī, Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī and Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī.
Other participants at the workshop included Dr. Salam Rassi and Dr. Jens Schmitt, both of whom discussed Barhabraeus’s engagement with Avicenna, Dr. James Broucek who spoke Abū al-‘Abbās al-Shammākhī’s defense of Ibāḍī theology, and Professor Sajjad Rizvi who presented on 18th century Iranian scholars’ criticisms of the doctrine of waḥdat al-wujūd. The workshop was accompanied by an exhibition of manuscripts at the Jafet Memorial Library
For more information on the workshop please click here