Speaker to explore saints, Sufi communities at lecture series


A professor of religion from Swathmore, Pennsylvania, whose research focuses on how Islamic mysticism (Sufism), Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and ethics intertwine, is the guest lecturer at the next session of the 2003-2004 Annual York-Noor Lecture Series on Feb. 8 and 9, at the Noor Cultural Centre and at York University.

Left: Scott A. Kugle

In talks entitled “Non-Violence in the Light of Qu’ran and History” and “Illumination for Desisting from Selfish Calculation,” Professor Scott A. Kugle of Swathmore College will explore the issues of how saints exercise authority, how Sufi communities coalesce around the figures of saints, and how those communities shape the political, social, devotional and literary lives of Muslims.

Kugle concentrates his research on North Africa, especially Morocco, and South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, and the surprising connections between the two. Chronologically, his interests span the early-modern period through the period of colonial modernity.

“Much of my research material comes from narratives of saints’ lives and from poetry inspired by them,” he says. “Future research is turning more sharply toward the question of gender, sexuality and the importance of bodies in Sufi devotional practices.”

Some of the projects Kugle is working on currently are: “Rebel Between Spirit and Law: Ahmad Zarruq and Juridical Sainthood in Islamic North Africa,” (a book manuscript under review at University of Indiana Press); and “Illumination for Desisting from Selfish Calculation,” (a translation from Arabic, under contract with Fons Vitae Press). He has also written for the Journal of Islamic Studies.

Details of the upcoming session of the York-Noor Lecture Series

Sunday, Feb. 8, 2-4pm
“Non-Violence in the Light of Qu’ran and History”
Noor Cultural Centre
123 Wynford Drive, Toronto (DVP/Wynford Drive)

Monday, Feb. 9, noon-2pm
“Illumination for Desisting from Selfish Calculation”
Room 010 Vanier College, Keele Campus, York University