God is His Own Proof: The Quest for Certainty in Islamic Mysticism, Theology, and Philosophy

Professor Yousef Casewit, University of Chicago Divinity School
Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Abu al-Hasan al-Shushtari (d. 1269) won widespread recognition as a Sufi poet and composer of popular songs that continue to be chanted in Sufi ritual and popular devotional gatherings to this day. This talk will discuss one of his heretofore unpublished texts, entitled "The Furthest Goal" (al-Risala al-Qusariyya), in which Shushtari draws upon Islamic theology, mysticism, and philosophy to describe the nature, modes, and levels of certainty that can be achieved by the spiritual wayfarer. This treatise offers a window into the vast philosophical and mystical theories of knowledge in Islam which both diverged and overlapped in remarkable ways.

Yousef Casewit is Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research areas include Qur’anic Studies, medieval commentaries on the ninety-nine names of God, intellectual history of North Africa and al-Andalus, and Muslim perceptions of the Bible. His first book, The Mystics of al-Andalusia, is a study of the life and teachings of Ibn Barrajan (Cambridge University Press, March, 2016). He is currently working on a study, translation and critical edition of a commentary on the divine names by the Algerian scholar ʿAfif al-Din al-Tilimsani (d. 1291).

(Seminar start at 5.00 p.m.)