This lecture is concerned with the ethical and social ideas ascribed to murūʾa (also spelled muruwwa) and its place in the intellectual, social and cultural life of the Muslim communities until the end of the Mamlūk period (16th century). Murūʾa is a pre-Islamic Arabic concept variously associated to nobility, honour, generosity, status, public esteem and sometimes also to masculinity and virility. This semantic uncertainty arises not only from the vagueness in its definition but also from the lack of consistency in its usage. Western researchers like Bishr Farès and Charles Pellat have claimed that murūʾa has evolved from a “concrete” to a more “abstract” notion throughout the centuries. However, no systematic study has been conducted so far on the “concrete” connotations attached to this term. Rather than trying to give a definition, this lecture aims at shedding some lights on the individual practices to be performed in order to gain murūʾa as they are described in a wide range of pre-modern Arabic sources such as adab writings, philosophical treatises, Sufi literature, books of the mirror for princes genre, biographical dictionaries and chronicles. Three major lines will be discussed: 1. murūʾa in the context of the Medieval debates about the merits of wealth and how it was used in the translation of the Aristotelian concept of “magnificence”; 2. murūʾa as the social practice of generosity and solidarity; 3. the Sufis’ resemantization of murūʾa and its place in their mystical ethics.
25.06.2019 | 18:00 c.t. - 20:00
Seminarraum 1.2052 (Erdgeschoss, Fahrstuhl)