International Conference “Presence of the Prophet and his Heritage” – Marrakesh 4-7 November 2018

Mithāl al-ni’āl al-nabawiyya al-sharīfa (The Prophet’s sandals), Marocco, Royal Library num. 7875. In : al-Shaykh Muḥāmmad al-Mu’ṭā ibn al-Ṣāliḥ, Dhakhīrat al-muḥtāj fī ṣalāt ʿalā ṣāḥib al-liwā’ wa-l-tāj (Preliminary Pages), published by  the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs of the Kingdom of Marocco, Rabat, 2009. 

Presence of the Prophet and his Heritage: Piety, Dissent and Revival in Muslim Culture since the Early Modern Period

The conference, which is hosted by the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs, combines two central themes of the ANR/DFG Project on The Presence of the Prophet. Muhammad in the Mirror of his Community in Early Modern and Modern Islam. Representations of the figure of the Prophet in the sphere of knowledge and literary expression and performance shall be discussed together with his function in political and eschatological movements of revival and reform and in the formation of early modern Muslim polities. Pious and political mobilization centering on the Prophet involves the double relation of the Muslim believers to the human and, at the same time, to the supra-human realities of his person. This found expression in a wide range of emotions in everyday practice and in the spirituality of the Sufi paths, and it provided a strong focus for eschatological expectation as well as for the formation of individual, social and political identities. The double relation to the Prophet generated far-reaching controversies over his personal status and that of his Sunna for the believers. At the same time, important collections of prayers in praise of the Prophet were created that have retained their importance to this day.

At the beginning of the early modern period (15th-16th centuries), an intensification of the Prophet-centered piety can be observed in all regions of the Muslim world, in a historical turn which largely coincided with the emergence of the large Muslim empires of the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals and of a number of other Muslim regional states. In a period of intense religious and socio-political struggles, eschatological expectations gained in fervor among Muslims, Christians and Jews on both sides of the Mediterranean, in larger parts of the Middle East and in Central and South Asia. Muslim leaders and conquerors from North and West Africa to Southern Europe, Iran and India attached their achievements to the Prophet and presented themselves as renewers and defenders of his community. They sought the blessing of Sufi leaders, encouraged public celebrations in honor of the Prophet, and largely patronized the Sufi brotherhoods, sometimes even claiming a superior religious authority for themselves. In the Safavid context, the Twelver Shi‘a became a state confession to the exclusion of others.

            Muslim opposition to the imperial states and their religious claims also reclaimed the authority of the Prophet, often directing fierce criticism against popular and public forms of piety. Since the 17th century this opposition fed into religio-political reformist movements calling for a return to the Prophetic Sunna, some of them emerging within Sufi communities, others like the Wahhābiyya taking on a strongly anti-Sufi and anti-Shi‘ite tendency.

            The early modern period saw likewise the emergence and spread of descendants of the Prophet in various societal spheres, henceforward strongly shaping Muslim society and culture. Their reputation not only gave them a high social status and privileges in many urban as well as rural Muslim communities, but also led to their emergence as political leaders and founders of states in different parts of the Muslim world, with the Safavid empire, the Moroccan sultanate of the Sa‘dites and Alawites and the Zaydi imamate in the Yemen as the most outstanding examples. As the respect and love for the descendants of the Prophet as „living links“ to him (K. Morimoto) was widely regarded as a meritorious act and even as a religious duty, leadership of the shurafāʾcould extend to different political and cultural fields. They can be regarded as providing crucial bridges between the religious and other socio-cultural and political spheres, a status that finally lead to attempts at their central organization by the state.

The full program in English, here.

تحميل البرنامج بالعربية هنا
Le programme, en français, ici.


Sunday, 4 November 2018

17.00-19.00 – Inauguration

Welcome by Jaafar Kansoussi

Address by the Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs Dr. Ahmed Tou-fiq

Denis Gril (Université Aix-Marseille): keynote speech

19.00-20.00 Inauguration of the Exhibition “The Light of Muḥammad. Treasures of Moroccan Calligraphy” in Association with the Royal Library, the Na-tional Library, the University of al-Qaraouiyine, and the Ben Youssef Library

20.00   Reception and Sufi Chant Session in Praise of the Prophet (Samāʿ)


Monday, 5 November 2018

9.00-9.30        Introduction by the principle investigators of the ANR/DFG project Ra-chida Chih (Cetobac-Ehess, Paris) and Stefan Reichmuth (Ruhr-University, Bochum)

Session I: The Prophetic Figure and his Presence in the Literature, the Arts, and Devotional Expressions I

9.30-10.00      Mohamed Thami El Harrak, (President of the Supreme Body of Samaa and Madih Associations, Morocco) La présence du Prophète dans l’art du madîh et du samâ‘ : caractéristiques et exemples

10.00-10.30    Abd al-Rahman Malhouni (Independent Researcher, Marrakesh), Présence du Prophète dans le Melhoun marocain

10.30-10.45    Discussion

10.45-11.00    Coffee Break

11.00-11.30    Jaafar Kansoussi (Advisor to the Cabinet of the Minister of Habous, Morocco), Le rôle de la poésie et de la musique dans la Tijâniyya et son impact social

11.30-12.00    Nelly Amri (University of Manouba, Tunisia), « Je l’ai mandatée afin qu’elle vole vers toi sur les ailes de mon ardent désir ». Lettre au Prophète rédigée par Lisân al-Dîn b. al-Khatîb (m. 776/1375) au nom du Nasride de Grenade.

12.00-12.30    Gottfried Hagen (Michigan University, USA), The Prophet Muhammad at the Center of Pietas Ottomanica

12.30-13.00    General Discussion

13.00-14.30    Lunch


Session II: Shurafāʾ as Living Links to the Prophet: Religious, Social-Cultural, and Political Dimensions of Sharifism

14.30-15.00    Jaafar Ben Hajj Soulami (Abd al-Malik al-Sa‘dî University, Tétouan, Morocco), La Niqâbat al-Ashrâf : fonction religieuse et rôle historique

15.00-15.30    Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen (Sorbonne University IV, Paris), Vérification des ansâb dans l’Égypte contemporaine : le Syndicat des descendants du Prophète (niqâbat al-ashrâf)

15.30-15.45    Discussion

15.45-16.00    Coffee Break

16.00-16.30    Abdellah Cherif el-Ouazzani (Moulay Driss Foundation for Religious and Historic Studies, Casablanca), La Présence et la représentation du Prophète chez les Ashrâf et les soufis : l’exemple de la Tarîqa Wazzâniyya

16.30-17.00    Christoph Werner (Phillips University Marburg, Germany), The Razavi Sayyids of Mashhad and Islamic Genealogical Legitimacy in Early Modern Iran

17.00-17.30    Soraya Khodamoradi (University of Erfurt, Germany), Revisiting Siyāda in Early Modern Period: A Solution for Sunni-Shiʿa Sectarian Conflict in India

17.30-18.00    General Discussion

20.00   Dinner

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Session III: The Prophetic Figure and his Presence in the Literature, the Arts, and Devotion-al Expressions II

14.30-15.00    Nozha Bensaadoun (Director of the Manuscript Department, National Library, Rabat), Calligraphie et ornementation des ouvrages consacrés au Prophète dans la Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (Dalâ’il al-khayrât, Shifâ’, Dhakhirat al-ghanî wa l-muhtâj)

15.00-15.30    Khalid Zahri (Royal Library, Rabat), Entre écriture et image dans la Dhakhîrat al-muhtâj

15.30-15.45    Discussion

15.45-16.00    Coffee Break

16.00-16.30    Hiba Abid (Post-Doc, Collège de France, Paris) and Francesco Chi-abotti (INALCO, Paris), The World of al-Qandūsī (d. 1861), Part II. New Remarks on Calligraphy and Prophetology in 19th Century Fes

16.30-17.00    Alexandre Papas (CNRS-Cetobac, Paris), Mi’râciyye : L’ascension du Prophète dans la littérature dévotionnelle turque et tatare (XVe-début du XXe siècle)

17.00-17.30    Marc Toutant (CNRS-Cetobac, Paris), Le voyage céleste du Prophète (mi‘rāj) à la cour des princes timourides : du guide sotériologique à l’exemplum mystique

17.30-18.00    General Discussion

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Session IV: The Heritage of the Prophet and the Centrality of the Prophetic Reference in Religious Renewal I

9.30-10.00      Caterina Bori (University of Bologna, Italy), Taqī al-Dīn al-Ḥiṣnī (d. 829/1426), against Ibn Taymiyya’s Diminishing of the Prophet’s Standing

10.00-10.30    Samuela Pagani (Salento University of Lecce, Italy), Amour et discorde : la vénération du Prophète dans l’adab de ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī

10.30-10.45    Discussion

10.45-11.00    Coffee Break

11.00-11.30    Lejla Demiri (University Tübingen, Germany), From Prophetic Universalism to Theological Inclusivism: ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī (1641-1731) on Religious Pluralism

11.30-12.00    Martin Riexinger (Aarhus University, Denmark), Making the Prophet Transformative Again: The Muḥammad of Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s sīra in the Light of Stephen Sharot’s Sociology of Religion

12.00-12.30    Stefan Reichmuth (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany), The Prophet in a Muslim Age of Revolutions (ca. 1775-1850)

12.30-13.00    General Discussion

13.00-14.30    Lunch


Session V: The Heritage of the Prophet and the Centrality of the Prophetic Reference in Religious Renewal II

14.30-15.00    Nafissa Dehbi (Institute for Scientific Research, University Mohamed V, Rabat), La présence du Prophète dans les expériences mystiques marocaines

15.00-15.30    Jean-Jacques Thibon (INALCO, Paris), Le rôle du Prophète dans l’éducation spirituelle d’après l’enseignement du shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Dabbāġ (mort à Fès en 1131/1718)

15.30-16.00    Rachida Chih (CNRS-Cetobac, Paris), La voie muhammadienne (tarîqa muhammadiyya) et le renouveau soufi à l’époque moderne

16.00-16.15    Discussion

16.15-16.30    Coffee Break

16.30-18.00    General Discussion and Conclusion