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The Age of Fasad: Jihad, Piety and Liturgical Islam in the Indian Ocean (1500-1750)

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Duration: 0:46:42 | Added: 28 Mar 2018
Yasser Arafath speaks at the South Asia Seminar on 10 October 2017

As the entry of the Portuguese opened up a turbulent time in the Indian Ocean, Muslim scribal elites across the region presented them within the image of idolatrous infidels. Writing in Arabic, the scribes from Malabar categorised this period as the Age of Fasad (social disorder) and advocated for ‘valour’ as the counter strategy. However, by transliterating sufis and prophets, vernacular scribes in Malabar insisted on the emotion of ‘piety’ for recreating the glory of the bygone Islamic past, as the fasad situation continued. This paper examines this textual/ lyrical transition- from Arabic valour texts to Arabi-Malayalam pietistic poetry- when a large number of Muslims began moving away from maritime towns to settle down in agrarian hinterland.

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