Registration form - ReOrienting the Global Study of Religion

October 28, 2020

01:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Speaker: Fitzroy Morrissey, All Souls College, University of Oxford

Title: Ibn Khaldūn on Sufism: Mysticism through the Lens of History, Philosophy, and Law


The nature of Ibn Khaldun’s relationship to Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam, is a complex and much-debated issue. The great North African historian and philosopher of history has variously been described as a critic of the Sufis, an admirer of Sufism, or even a Sufi himself. Through a close look at Ibn Khaldun’s discussion of Sufism in the Muqaddimah and other relevant sources, this talk aims to shed further light on the issue.

Placing Ibn Khaldun’s treatment of Sufism in the context of his wider intellectual project, we shall consider how his views on Sufism tie into his famous philosophy of history and other essential aspects of his thought. In this way, the talk aims to elucidate not only Ibn Khaldun’s relationship to mysticism, but also his thought more generally.

Fitzroy Morrissey is a Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford. A specialist in Sufism and Islamic intellectual history, he is the author of Sufism and the Perfect Human (Routledge, 2020) and Sufism and the Scriptures (I.B. Tauris, forthcoming).

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