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Taming the Dissenters: Shiism and the Concept of the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs (al-khulafāʾ al-rāshidūn) in Early Islam

When Jan 29, 2018
from 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM
Where Faculty Common Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01223 765038
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Middle Eastern Studies Special Lunchtime Seminar given by Dr I-Wen Su, National Chengchi University, Taipei.

Please feel free to bring lunch!

This talk derives from the speaker's project, “ʿAlī and early Sunnīs: the Genesis of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs”, which sets out to elucidate the factors that brought all the Sunnīs or proto-Sunnīs together under the belief in the privileged status of the khulafāʾ rashīdūn. The project started in June, 2017. Thus, it is still in its early stage. The talk seeks to entertain one of the aspects covered by this project, that is, how the traditionists labeled as rafḍ, ghuluww, tashayyuʿ, or their derivatives, came to be admitted to the community of the ahl al-sunna wa-l-jamāʿa. As this group tends to be the source of the aḥādīth about ʿAlī’s virtues, when some of them are admitted to the jamāʿa, with their reliability accepted, they become potential contributors to the elevation of ʿAlī to the rank of the khulafāʾ rashīdūn. Thus, how their muḥaddith colleagues assess them provides insights into the process of the reorientation of the Sunnī ideology from the three-caliphs thesis to the four-caliphs thesis.

Dr I-Wen Su is Assistant Professor at the Department of Arabic Language and Culture, at the National Chengchi University, Taiwan. She holds a PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh, with her research focussing on Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani's Kitab al-Aghani. Her publications include "Writing history under the patronage: the representation of Sulaymān b. ‘Abd al Malik in the Ansāb al-ashrāf and its relation to the ‘Abbāsid court culture" (Foreign Language Studies 24 (2016)) and “The Family History of Abū al-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī: the Ninth-Century ʿAbbāsid Political Elite and the Ṭālibids in Sāmarrāʾ” (Journal of Islamic Studies, forthcoming).


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