I am currently a doctoral researcher in Islamic intellectual history under the supervision of Dr Ayman Shihadeh and Professor Hugh Kennedy, with a particular focus on Islamic philosophical theology (ʿilm al-kalām) and Arabic philosophy (falsafa) in the Islamic East. My doctoral research focuses on implementing current scholarly approaches in the study of post-Mongol Islamic intellectual history to explore, analyse, and contextualise the theology of the Tīmūrid philosophical theologian Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī (1322-1390).
I began my research at the University of Cambridge, completing my BA and MPhil (2011-2015) in Theology and Religious Studies, during which I became deeply interested in Islamic theology and Arabic philosophy, Hellenic philosophy, and the mediaeval Christian theological tradition. The overlap between these three interests prompted me to investigate the rich history of Hellenic philosophy in the Islamic intellectual landscape and its effects on and interactions with Islamic theology. Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to explore the effects of the Mongol Conquests on the Islamic intellectual landscape particularly in the Islamic East and China.
Following my departure from Cambridge, I taught Theology and Philosophy at GCSE and A-Level for three years between 2015-2018. I then came to SOAS as a Visiting Research Student in January 2019 in preparation for doctoral research and spent a few months in Tokyo working as an educational consultant and undertaking independent research before finally returning to SOAS to start my PhD in autumn 2019.
I am very grateful to have been awarded an AHRC Doctoral Studentship funded by CHASE to support my research.
That the Fall of Baghdad in 656/1258 dramatically changed the Islamic world is unquestionable. Newer scholarship has documented how the unprecedented political shifts in the Islamic world under the Mongols would prompt a number of significant socio-cultural, educational, and intellectual developments. However, whilst this newer scholarship has been paving the way for a more accurate investigations, as a result of previous narratives, post-Mongol Islamic philosophical theology and its major representatives, texts, and trends remain understudied, neglected, or yet to be discovered. Such is true of the thought of the Tīmūrid-era theologian Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī (d. 792/1390).
This project will be one of the first studies dedicated to explicating and contextualising Taftāzānī’s thought. With these newer historical attitudes to post-Mongol history in mind, this project opens up a new line of enquiry into a crucial aspect of Taftāzānī’s intellectual enterprise: his conception of reality. As a quintessential representative of this period, I argue that Taftāzānī’s conception of reality is an exemplary account of the formulations offered by what I term “the post-Mongol philosophical theologians”.
This examination of Taftāzānī’s conception of reality will also prompt a much-needed contextualisation of Taftāzānī in light of his intellectual heritage and the major geopolitical, socio-cultural, and educational changes caused and facilitated by Mongol rule in order to explain what specific factors, sources, and influences shaped Taftāzānī and his intellectual enterprise.