Northwestern Events Calendar


Persianate Concepts of Religion in the Ā’īn-i Akbarī

When: Monday, April 15, 2019
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Rossitza Guenkova-Fernandez   (847) 491-3611

Group: Religious Studies Department

Category: Academic


Lecture By Professor Carl Ernst, Professor of Islamic studies at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract: One of the remarkable documents of Mughal India is the extensive survey of Indian intellectual traditions in Abū al-Fażl’s Ā’īn-i Akbarī, the descriptive supplement to his biography of Akbar. While early interpreters of the text have seen it primarily as a Muslim engagement with Hindu religion, Abū al-Fażl actually presents Indian science, religious thought, and ritual without any reference to Islamic religious categories. Abū al-Fażl’s avoidance of Arabic Islamic terms, and his nearly exclusive use of Persian vocabulary, will be analyzed in relation to several problems: the overall genre and structure of the Ā’īn and its relation to Mongol chronicles, the distortions in the English translations, and the organization and meaning of the section on India. The result is a presentation of Indian thought as monotheism, without imposing any Islamic framework. The paper then concludes by analyzing the structural role of the lists of kings and Sufi saints who entered India.


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