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Etched in Stone: Migration, Monotheism, and the Subject of Change in the...

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Etched in Stone: Migration, Monotheism, and the Subject of Change in the works of Muhammad Iqbal

The partition of Hindustan in August 1947 marks the break of the geopolitical landscape of South Asia into the independent nation states of India and Pakistan. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) roughly 14 million Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others were displaced during the partition, making it one of the largest forced migrations in human history.

At the heart of this displacement was the work of poet-philosopher and politician Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), whose poetics of the self (khudi) found posthumous fame as the call for Muslim self-determination in the hands of nationalists and separationists alike. Standing between multiple worlds, namely, that of British colonialism and post-colonial India, tradition and modernity, East and West, Iqbal asks: how does one think unity in diversity (ikhtilaf mein itihad)?

In this webinar, we will read the struggle for self-definition (khudi) that lies at the centre of Iqbal’s thought as an ethical imperative to ‘reconstruct’ the narrow visions of tauhid (‘to make One’) as a unity of expression towards tauhid as an expression of unity.

This will be accomplished by moving beyond conventional notions of khudi as a self-enclosed ego-ideal, and towards a reading of khudi as a dynamic force. As the fulcrum where the theological and the ideological meet, khudi subtends the relation between the celestial (vertical) and the terrestrial (horizontal) which constitutes the focal point of Iqbalian philosophy in particular, and Islamic philosophy (Abrahamic monothiesm) in general.

Ultimately, reading Iqbal’s poetics beyond the ideals of a self-sovereignty (self as one’s-ness), I argue, lays the critical grounds to think Pakistan beyond a State unity (nationalistic one-ness) and Islam beyond an Arab uniformity (monistic one-ness).

The webinar is divided into three parts:

  1. Introducing Iqbal and situating his thought in relation to the socio-cultural context and the unique challenges faced by Muslim intellectuals in early 20th century Colonial India.
  2. Investigating Iqbal’s vision of the individual and community as both informing and being-informed-by his multiple affiliations (‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’).
  3. Connecting Iqbal’s dynamic vision of self-hood to the prophetic heritage of Abraham (as) and Iqbal’s critical engagement with religious thought on the question of a settled faith.

Would you ensnare the phoenix of knowledge?
Rely less on belief and learn to doubt.


About the lecturer:
Kamran Ahmed is a Doctoral candidate at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at Western University (Canada). Kamran is a part-time instructor for the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at King's College Canada.

The webinar takes place on Saturday, Oct. 21 2017 at the following time:

Toronto/New York: 4pm = London 9pm = Berlin 10pm


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The webinar will be recorded. After the webinar we will provide a link to watch and download the video.

Learn more about us on www.kauthar.de


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When do I get the link to join the webinar?

We will send you an email with detail information on Oct. 21 2017 approx. 45min before we start. Please consider your time zone.

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