Chaire sécable de l’IISMM-EHESS | Professeur invité : Asad Q. Ahmed (University of California, Berkeley)


Asad Q. Ahmed

Chaire : sécable de l’IISMM
Site(s): Webpage
À télécharger : Affiche




Asad Q. Ahmed is the Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.  He specializes in early Islamic social history and pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, with a special focus on the rationalist disciplines, such as philosophy, logic, legal theories, and astronomy. Although he has worked extensively on Islamic intellectual history of the so-called classical period (ca. 800-1200 CE), his current focus is the period ca. 1200-1900 CE, especially with reference to the Indian subcontinent. His books include The Religious Elite of the Early Islamic Hijaz (University of Oxford, 2011), Avicenna’s Deliverance: Logic (Oxford University Press, 2011), The Islamic Scholarly Tradition (co-ed., Brill, 2010), The Hashiya and Islamic Intellectual History (co-ed., Oriens, special issue, 2013), Islamic Cultures, Islamic Contexts (co-ed., Brill, 2015), Rationalist Disciplines in Postclassical Islam (co-ed., Oriens, special issue, 2014), Rationalist Disciplines and Postclassical Islamic Legal Theories (co-ed., Oriens, special issue, 2018) and Palimpsests of Themselves:  Logic and Commentary in Muslim India (University of California Press, 2022).  Professor Ahmed is the co-editor of the Berkeley Series in Postclassical Islamic Scholarship (UC Press), The Cambridge Series in South Asian Intellectual History (Cambridge University Press), and of the journals Oriens (Brill) and The Journal of South Asian Intellectual History (Brill).  He also serves on the advisory board of several international journals and book series. His awards include fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He has also held visiting appointments as a Term Chair at the EHESS, Paris, and a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge.

Asad Q. Ahmed will take part of the visiting Professors Program designed by EHESS, on proposal of Naveen Kanalu (CRHLaDéHisGEHM) and Fabrizio Speziale (CESAH / CeRCLEs).




Persianate and Arabic Worlds:  Reflections on Disparate Scientific Systems

The scholarly output of Muslim South Asia in the premodern period tended to be in both Persian and Arabic.  Although the same scholars produced works in both languages, the disciplinary regimes captured by the two languages were often distinct.  For example, works in logic, philosophy, theology, legal theory, and exegesis tended to be in Arabic, whereas those in Sufism, astrology, geomancy, later medicine and astronomy, and music tended to be in Persian. Nevertheless, the tradition recognized a broad interplay and interconnectivity of the various disciplines, such that those of one order provided the assumptions, premises, and axioms for others in a hierarchical relationship.  Generally speaking, the classification of the sciences recognized this hierarchy which was presented in numerous works of scientific classification.  It is worth considering, however, that the classification of sciences expressed in Arabic works was often distinct from those found in Persian works; and this is worthy of reflection, since it is the same community of scholars that was familiar with and recognized both classifications. Was there a distinct Persianate scientific world?  How could linguistic regimes legitimately reorganize tightly-structured systems of knowledge?  This lecture reflects on the disparity between the two classification schemes on the basis of works from South Asia and the broader transregional tradition.  

Dans le cadre du séminaire “Asie du Sud et culture persane (XVIe-XXe siècle). Productions savantes, traductions, interactions” animé par Fabrizio Speziale

  • Mercredi 15 mai de 14h à 17h – Salle C, EHESS, Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille


Canon and Poetic Fluidity in Pre-Modern South Asia

In recent years, scholars have brought to our attention the means through which poetic elements of South Asia were accommodated and naturalized into the pre-modern Muslim Persian and Arabic literary corpus.  Much of the work done so far has exposed important and fruitful areas of interaction in spaces pertaining to diction, figurative language, themes, intertextualities, and genre.  This lecture contributes to these investigations by bringing to light critical reactions to such cross-pollinations by the vanguards of tradition and Arabic and Persian poetic form in Muslim South Asia.  The lecture will focus on the contributions of Āzād Bilgramī and the critical reception of his work within canonical literature.  It is interesting to note that critiques of his Arabic poetry were generally grounded in its Persianization, just as critiques of his Persian poetry tended to focus on its absorption of Indic elements.  In both cases, therefore, a certain overlapping standard of tradition was assumed that was deployed in the assessment of his oeuvre.

Dans le cadre du séminaire “Interactions between islamicate and indic societies in South and South-East Asia : comparative perspectives” animé par Fabrizio Speziale, Hélène Njoto et Aditia Gunawan

  •  Jeudi 16 mai de 11h à 14h – Salle B, EHESS, Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille


The Ḥanafī Legal Object and Property Rights

Legal effects in the Islamic tradition can appear to be haphazard.  This discussion aims at finding some underlying conceptions of the legal object that can explain some aspects of the particularities of Islamic law especially as they pertain to the Ḥanafī system.  A number of specific cases that may be explained by this exercise concern matters related to property and land tenure.

I define a legal object as any entity—animate or inanimate—or act that is susceptible to some kind of legal judgment. In relation to the subject, which is my shorthand for the mukallaf, such entities and acts have a bearing on his/her status as operating within or outside the boundaries of the Law and, thereby, deserving of reward or punishment.  The thesis I am advancing may be expressed in the following terms. Postclassical (ca. 1200- 1900 CE) Ḥanafī legal objects were understood to be integral and unitary. This was the general conception whether these objects were taken to be simplexes or complexes, the latter comprising a range of contexts, conditions, and causes. If the constitutive parts of the complex objects were removed, they had to be replaced by legally-justified equivalents; it is only in this this way that the legal objects could retain their given identities. The constitutive elements could be disassembled, rearranged, appended, or discarded. However, in such a case, the Ḥanafī tradition considered the legal status to apply to a new legal object, not to that which was the original and self-same. All elements—including temporally variable and hypothetical conditions—were constitutive, such that any non-substitutionary change or modification resulted in the dissolution of the given legal object and the generation of an entirely new one. In other words, conceptually, the legal object subsisted as a whole and it collapsed with any disturbance to its elements that was not remedied by justified equivalents. The rights and obligations of the legal subject were maintained or abandoned in a corresponding fashion.  Several cases related to property rights can be explained by the application of this general framework.

Dans le cadre du séminaire “La valeur en Islam : monnaie, dette et crédit (l’empire moghol et l’Inde)” animé par Naveen Kanalu Ramamurthy

  • Mercredi 22 mai de 14h30 à 16h30 – Salle 3.02, Centre de colloques Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers


The Continuity of Legal Status in Islamic Law

What justifies one’s belief that a law once applied or a right once granted should be sustained into the future?  Is there an argument for the claim that property once relinquished to a buyer continues to belong to her in perpetuity?  Should the claim over property and inheritance be maintained in cases of doubt or a claim against it by a plaintiff?  Islamic law was concerned with this fundamental issues and offered higher order theories to produce systematic responses to these questions.  This lecture surveys some elements of the architectonics of istiṣḥāb (the presumption of legal continuity) in Islamic legal theory from the fifth century hijrī, a period during which the first sustained and sophisticated discussions on the topic appear in the sources. It posits that, during its first period of sustained analysis, the conceptual framing of istiṣḥāb reflected intuitions about proof theory. In particular, legal theorists were concerned with establishing justifiable grounds for taking positions on the status of legal judgments that transcended the scope of established legal argumentation methods, and that, in the same vein, they wished to determine whether the probative force of certain principles of legal argumentation was temporally continuous. As such, theories of istiṣḥāb were of a second order: they validated legal judgments in cases of argumentative vacuums, serving as principles of derivation out of the very absence of proof.  Such higher-order proof theory allowed jurists to pass decisions on various matters related to property.

Dans le cadre du séminaire “La valeur en Islam : monnaie, dette et crédit (l’empire moghol et l’Inde)” animé par Naveen Kanalu Ramamurthy

  • Mercredi 29 mai de 14h30 à 16h30 – Salle 3.07, Centre de colloques Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers

À retrouver sur le site de l’EHESS

Citer ce billet
Chargé de diffusion scientifique (2024, 12 mars). Chaire sécable de l’IISMM-EHESS | Professeur invité : Asad Q. Ahmed (University of California, Berkeley). IISMM. Consulté le 29 mai 2024, à l’adresse

Vous aimerez aussi...

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search