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Workshop: “Al-Maʾmūn on Tafḍīl ʿAlī” with Nebil Husayn, University of Miami

June 15, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

From Professor Husayn:

Salam! I am excited to share with you two fascinating texts portraying debates that occurred in the Abbasid royal court of al-Maʾmūn. For our first session, we will examine a Shiʿi text that features al-Imām al-Jawād deconstructing hadith exalting Abū Bakr and ʿUmar. For our second session, we will examine a Sunni text that features the caliph himself (al-Maʾmūn) justifying his belief in tafīl ʿAlī.

As a graduate student in Islamic studies, our instructors would give us an Arabic text and we were given one week to independently research and prepare everything we could to demonstrate that we were competent researchers and scholars by the time we appeared for our next class session.

For week 1 of our workshop, I have given you an example of how one might do this. I provide a brief introduction to the text, an annotated translation, and a brief conclusion. To get your feet wet, try reading the Arabic and translating it for yourself before looking at my annotated translation. Week 1’s text is relatively short, so hopefully, you’ll find it to be a manageable read.

Week 2 features a longer text made up of eight sections. I’m hoping students will choose one section to translate either individually or with a friend. I provide you with an introduction and a summary of each section to help you figure out what section might interest you.

All are welcome to attend. Please share this invitation with students of Arabic and those with an interest in Shi’i literature. English-only students are invited to attend, observe, and participate to the best of their ability with questions and reflections on the themes and contents of these texts.

Week 1 – Wed. 7th June @ 3 PM BST (10 am EST): Al-Jawād on the Merits of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar

Text 1:


Microsoft Teams Link to join Week 1 online:

Session 1

Week 2 – Thurs. 15th June @ 3 PM (10 am EST): Al-Maʾmūn on Tafḍīl ʿAlī

Text 2:


Microsoft Teams Link to join Week 2 online:

Session 2


June 15, 2023
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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