ILSP: SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: Apocalypticism and the Mahdi in Early Islam
May 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Mohammad Sagha, SHARIAsource Editor and Iran Project Coordinator at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will discuss Ibn al-Munādī’s Kitāb al-Malāḥim and sectarian identity in the ḥadīth corpus of Shīʿī and Sunnī law schools. The role and identity of the Mahdī in early Islamic thought is an important concept shared almost universally between Muslim schools of thought. However, the process of ḥadīth crystallization between mainstream Sunnī and Shī’ī law schools has privileged certain narratives and orthodox interpretations of who the Mahdī is and what he represents. By highlighting a relatively newly published manuscript written in the 4th/10th century by the author Ibn al-Munādī with significant emphasis on eschatology and the Mahdī, this presentation will contextualize the wider spectrum of early Islamic thought on the Mahdī and provide analysis on how the scholastic process of ḥadīth collection and the political context of revolution under the Abbasids has impacted scholarly understanding on the Mahdī throughout time.
Mohammad Sagha is the Iran Project Coordinator at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is concurrently undertaking his PhD studies in Islamic History and Civilization at the University of Chicago, where he is also Co-Director of the Shi’i Studies Group and facilitates the university’s annual Shi’i Studies Symposium. He is additionally an editor for SHARIAsource at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Sagha’s research focuses on the origins of Muslim sectarian identity and political institutions, early Islamic transregional religious movements and military organization, and the historical development of Islamic political thought. In particular, he studies early Shi’i underground social networks and the foundation of Shi’i dynastic power under the Buyids and their contemporaries.