"Deconstructing Memories of Ali in Sunni and Shi'i Islam"
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Nebil Husayn, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of Miami.
Payam Mohseni, Director, Project on Shi’ism and Global Affairs. Lecturer on Government, Department of Government, Harvard University.
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Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali, can be considered one of the most revered figures in Islamic history. His nearly universal portrayal in Muslim literature as a pious authority obscures a centuries-long process that entailed the rehabilitation of his character. For many years, some Muslims disliked Ali and considered him an illegitimate ruler. In his new book, Opposing the Imam, Nebil Husayn considers the diverse ways in which early Muslims remembered Ali and contextualizes the rise of both Sunnism and Shi'ism. This presentation discusses key findings from this recent publication.
Nebil Husayn (PhD) teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. His research explores authoritarianism in the Middle East, debates on the caliphate, and the development of Islamic thought. Husayn also serves as a Senior Research Advisor for Mipsterz, an arts and culture collective curating, enabling, and amplifying artists of marginalized backgrounds through illustration, film, and music. He is the recipient of a Fulbright award and the University of Miami Fellowship in the Arts and Humanities. Husayn obtained his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and an M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of Opposing the Imam (Cambridge University Press, 2021), which examines the history of early Muslims who were hostile to Islam's fourth caliph, Ali, and his descendants.