Pious Reading as Spiritual Practice: A Biography of the Prophet Muḥammad from Twelfth-Century Iberia

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Gellner Room
Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 3:30pm
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Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Pious Reading
as Spiritual Practice:
A Biography of the Prophet Muhammad 
from Twelfth-Century Iberia

Dagmar Riedel
(Columbia University)

Thursday, February 7, 2018
3:30 PM

CEU, Nador 9
Gellner Room

Reception to follow

Abstract: Individual or communal reading of revelation and other sacred literature is a spiritual practice across faith traditions in literate societies. The Kitāb al-shifāʾ bi-taʿrīf huqūq al-Muṣṭafā ("The book of healing concerning the recognition of the true facts about the Chosen One") has been a bestseller of devotional literature with Muslim audiences for centuries, all over the world.  Its author ʿIyāḍ. Mūsā (1083–1149) was an important Maliki jurist who spent most of his professional life as a judge (qāḍī)  in Ceuta.  A loyal partisan of the Almoravid dynasty (1040–1147), Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ died in exile in Marrakesh, eventually being venerated as one of the city's seven saints.  Drawing on the evidence of manuscripts and printed versions, this lecture will use the Kitāb al-shifāʾ to explore different modes of pious reading in Muslim societies since the twelfth century.

Dagmar Riedel is Associate Research Scholar at the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies of Columbia University, where she belongs to the editorial team of the Encyclopaedia Iranica (vol. 1/1-, New York City, 1982 –; iranicaonline.org). Her research explores how books in Arabic script contributed to the transmission of knowledge across Eurasia. Between 2017 and 2019, she has been Marie Curie Fellow at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Madrid.


The MSCA project MASHQI  has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 706611