Love in Classical Islamic Texts

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Love in Classical Islamic Texts: A Day Consultation held in Oxford on 5 December 2016.

This small colloquium around love in Classical Islamic texts provided a unique opportunity for conversation and fellowship. At the centre of the day’s activities were four presentations. The first three centred on love as it appears in three specific Classical Islamic texts, with the fourth drawing out some ideas for further reflection. (See programme below.)

Our speakers were:

HRH Prof Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal of Jordan.

Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Integral Chair for the Study of Imam  Al-Ghazali’s Work at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds University.

Prof Dr Farouk Hasan, King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Razi’s Work at the King Hussein bin Talal Mosque, the University of Jordan and WISE University.

Dr Minlib Dallh, King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein Fellow for the Study of Love in Religion, Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford.

It was the first time that the Oxford-based research team, HRH Prince Ghazi, and the two scholars from Jerusalem and Amman had had the opportunity to meet and share ideas. All the participants found both the formal presentations and the informal conversations around shared questions informative and immensely fruitful.

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies kindly hosted us for the morning seminar. We were warmly welcomed by the Director, Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami, Prof. J. Mark Halstead, and Dr Talal Al-Azem. We then moved to Regent’s Park College, where the Project for the Study of Love in Religion is based, for lunch, our afternoon seminar, and more time for discussion over dinner. 

After presentations on love in the writings of Al-Ghazali, Fakr Al-Din Al-Razi, and Sufi women mystics, in particular Sayyida Al-Manubiya, the discussion turned towards what it means to ‘know’ God, and whether love can be said to be a kind of knowledge. HRH Prince Ghazi suggested that love should be seen as common ground for discussion and collaboration, but that it is often viewed only as the lowest common denominator and thus its value is removed, or ignored. Another question which arose in the group discussion was whether in every form of love, be it love for another human person or love for God, there is an element of yearning or desire. These questions will continue to be explored in the work of the Project.

We look forward to strengthening the ties created by this colloquium between Oxford, Jerusalem, and Amman, and between our project and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Programme:

Day Consultation
Love in Classical Islamic Texts
5 October 2016

Morning session at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, by kind invitation

10.00 am   Love in the Writings of Imam Al-Ghazali
By Prof. Dr Mustafa Abu Sway

10.45 am  Discussion

11.00   Coffee break

11.20 am    Love in the Writings of  Imam Fakr Al-Din Al-Razi
By Prof. Dr Farouk Hasan

12.05-12.30 pm  Discussion


Afternoon session at Regent’s Park College, Oxford (Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture)

2.15 pm     Love in the Writings of Some Sufi Women Mystics
By Dr Minlib Dallh

2.45 pm     Discussion: Al-Ghazali, Razi, Sufism and Love

3.30 pm    Tea break

4.00 pm     Reflections by HRH Prof. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and concluding discussion.

6.30 pm     Dinner in Regent’s Park College, Oxford

 

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