Khalil Andani’s Presentation on the concept of Tawhid in the Isma’ili & Sufi Thought, at the University of Toronto

This is an invitation to Khalil Andani’s upcoming Conference Presentation in the NMCGSA Graduate Symposium taking place at the University of Toronto. The presentation will take place on Thursday, February 27, 2014 between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM. It will be followed by some Q/A.

The presentation deals with the all-important concept of Tawhid – the affirmation of the oneness of God – in the Isma’ili Muslim philosophy of Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani and the Sufi mystical thought of Ibn al-‘Arabi.

Khalil Andani's Presentation on the concept of Tawhid in the Isma'ili & Sufi Thought, at the University of Toronto


The Metaphysics of Tawhīd: Ismā‘īlī and Akbarī Perspectives

Khalil Andani
MA Student, Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Specialization: Islamic Theology and Philosophy

Since the first century of Islam, Muslims belonging to various theological camps have struggled to define, delineate and philosophize the exact meaning and parameters of tawhīd. This paper is a preliminary comparative study of the metaphysics of tawhīd in the thought of the eleventh century Fatimid Ismā‘īlī dā‘ī Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī (d. 1021) and the twelfth/thirteenth century Islamic mystic Ibn al-‘Arabī (d. 1240).

Recent scholarship by Ebstein has demonstrated the transmission of the Ismā‘īlī Neoplatonic doctrines in the Epistles of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ into the Andalusian mysticism of Ibn al-‘Arabī. The thought of the Ikhwān has also exerted an influence upon Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī who was evidently familiar with their epistles. What remains to be explored is how such ideas were further developed in the Ismā‘īlī and Akbarian traditions. This paper demonstrates how Kirmānī and Ibn al-‘Arabī’s share two important metaphysical positions with respect to tawhīd. Firstly, they each draw a metaphysical distinction between the ineffable and suprapersonal Essence of God and a secondary hypostatic level of reality that is the personal Divinity described by Names and Attributes – what Kirmānī and Ibn al-‘Arabī respectively call the First Intellect or the Divinity/Level. Secondly, they each maintain that the direct object or referent of tawhīd is not God as such, but rather, the hypostatic level of God’s Names. The findings of this study build upon the conclusions of prior scholarship and also demonstrate that the concept of wujūd need not be the dominant criterion in the study of Ibn al-Arabī’s thought.

Khalil AndaniBiography:

Earlier: Harvard Presentation by Khalil Andani on the “Shi’i Isma’ili Muslims: An Esoteric Tradition in Islam”

Khalil Andani - khalilandani.comKhalil Andani – is Ph.D candidate (ABD) and an SSHRC Doctoral Fellow (2014-2019) at Harvard University studying Muslim intellectual history with a focus on Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism. His dissertation in progress focuses on how Muslims understand the nature and revelation of the Qur’an, with special attention to the concepts of scripture (kitab), revelatory inspiration (wahy), and hermeneutics in the Qur’an, classical Sunni exegesis (tafsir), classical Sunni kalam theology, and Shi’i Ismaili thought. His focus area in Ismaili thought is the theology and philosophy of Nasir-i Khusraw (d. ca. 1088).

His publications include articles in the Oxford Journal of Islamic Studies, Religion Compass, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy, forthcoming chapters in A Guide to Sufi Literature and Global-Critical Philosophy of Religion, and two articles in Sacred Web. He has also taught several courses in Islamic studies and religious studies as a Graduate Teaching Fellow. His recent conference papers and academic talks are featured on his Research Blog.

Khalil holds a Master of Theological Studies degree (2014), specializing in Islamic philosophy and Ismaili thought, from Harvard University. He is Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and articled with KPMG Canada and also completed Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath) and Master of Accounting degrees at the University of Waterloo (2008).

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Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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