Northwestern Events Calendar


Intellectual Networks and Islamic Realization in 18th Century North Africa (Zachary Wright)

When: Wednesday, March 4, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: 620 Library Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

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

Contact: Rebecca Shereikis   847.491.2598

Group: Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

Co-Sponsor: Program of African Studies

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


Join the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa and the Program of African Studies as we provide lunch and a lecture.

Intellectual Networks and Islamic Realization in 18th Century North Africa 

Zachary Wright, liberal arts, Northwestern University-Qatar


Muslim scholars in eighteenth-century North Africa were connected with discourses of Islamic verification or realization (tahqiq) that circulated from India, the Middle East, to Sub-Saharan Africa. Fields of Islamic learning particularly affected by this interrogation included law, hadith, theology, esotericism, and Sufism. This talk highlights regional context along with global networks in exploring this intellectual vibrancy with particular reference to scholars gathered in Fez under the reign of the Moroccan king, Mawlay Sulayman. Such scholars included the likes of Hamdun Ibn al-Hajj, Abd al-Rahman al-Shinqiti, and Ahmad al-Tijani. As Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani was also the founder of the Tijaniyya Sufi order that spread throughout North and West Africa, this research also offers foundational insight on arguably Africa’s most influential Islamic movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  


ZACHARY WRIGHT is an associate professor in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, with joint appointments in history and religious studies. He teaches classes on Islam in Africa, modern Middle East history, African history, Islamic intellectual history and Islam in America. His book publications include Living Knowledge in West African Islam: the Sufi Community of Ibrahim Niasse (Brill, 2015), and On the Path of the Prophet: Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (AAII & Faydah Books, 2005, 2015). He has also translated a number of West African Arabic texts into English, with publications such as The Removal of Confusion concerning the Saintly Seal (Fons Vitae, 2010, and reprint forthcoming), Pearls from the Flood (Faydah Books, 2015), and Islam the Religion of Peace (Light of Eminence, 2013). His current research concerns eighteenth-century Islamic intellectual history in North Africa.

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