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Kecia Ali, Professor of Religion, Boston University | Interdisciplinary Programs

Mar 6, 2018
4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

STEPS Building - 101
1 West Packer Avenue
Bethlehem PA 18015

Jenny Chao Office of Interdisciplinary Programs

"Contesting Muhammad: Contemporary Controversies in Historical Perspective" Muhammad has been a contested figure since he lived a millennium and a half ago. His life story has been by both Muslims and non-Muslims, in myriad ways.
Muslim praise has highlighted different aspects of his persona, from spiritual luminosity to diplomatic skill, as time and context demanded. Non-Muslims criticisms have been deeply shaped by preoccupations closer to home: Muhammad has been, variously, a pagan, an arch-heretic, an antichrist, and an imposter. Yet over the last two centuries, hagiographic and polemical writings have merged into a single, contentious, story, usually devoting substantial attention to Muhammad’s relationships with women, especially his first wife, Khadija, and his young favorite, Aisha. Modern Muslim accounts of these marriages arose in tandem and in tension with Western depictions, and were shaped by new ideas about religion, sexuality, and marriage. Exploring these contested images of Muhammad as a husband illuminates key forces in contemporary Muslim thought, illustrates connections between Muslim and Western views of the Prophet, and shatters the illusion of timelessness in ideas about Muhammad.

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