05 Nisan 2022

Negotiations of the Multiple Meanings of Jihad Concerning Pre-Modern and Modern Hermeneutics

ILEM Istanbul Talks 7

We will continue ILEM Istanbul Talks in April with a new and very striking topic! This time, Asma Afsaruddin (Speaker) and Tahir Kılavuz (Moderator) will discuss “Negotiations of the Multiple Meanings of Jihad Concerning Pre-Modern and Modern Hermeneutics”.

The Arabic word jihad in its fundamental sense refers to struggle, exertion, and effort. The frequently-encountered phrase al-jihād fī sabīl allāh therefore broadly means “struggling/striving in the path of God.” It is however commonly assumed in many circles in the West, that jihad refers exclusively to fighting and is inevitably aggressive by nature. In this talk, Asma Afsaruddin will focus on three (mis)conceptualizations of jihad endemic in the Western academy and subject them to a critical analysis. She will refer to the interpretations of key verses in the Qur’an by some of the most prominent Muslim commentators in the pre-modern and modern periods and provide an overview of the key debates concerning the purview of military jihad. These prominent scholars will include Muqatil ibn Sulayman (d. 150/767), Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310/923); Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (d. 606/1210); Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1273) and Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) in the pre-modern period. For the modern period, contemporary scholars, such as Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905), Muhammad ‘Imara, and ‘Ali Jum‘a, will be considered. The talk will be concluded by assessing whether the predominant (mis)conceptualizations prevalent in the Western academy can be supported based on the Qur’an and its interpretations.


Featured Speaker

Asma Afsaruddin

Asma Afsaruddin is a Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington. She received her Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Johns Hopkins University and previously taught at Harvard and Notre Dame universities. Her research interests include Islamic religious and political thought (both modern and pre-modern); Islamic intellectual history; Qur’an and hadith; interfaith relations and gender in Islam. She is the author and editor of many books, including Jihad: What Everyone Needs to Know (2021); Contemporary Issues in Islam (2015); Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought (2013), The First Muslims: History and Memory (2008). She also has many research articles and book chapters on topics as diverse as Qur’anic hermeneutics, hadith criticism, pluralism in Islamic thought, Christian-Muslim relations, war and peace in the Islamic tradition; Islamic feminisms, and modern reform movements in Muslim-majority societies. Her edited volume The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Women is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2023. In addition, Professor Afsaruddin is currently a member of the academic council of the Prince al-Waleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion.


Tahir Kılavuz

Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. After being graduated from International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University, he completed his MA in the International Relations Program at Koç University. Then, he completed a second MA in Political Science Program at the University of Notre Dame, where he also received his doctorate in the fields of comparative politics and international relations. His research interests include authoritarian regimes, regime transition and democratization, coup d’état, Middle Eastern and North African Politics (Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt), experimental design, religion and politics, mixed research methods, and survey analysis. He has many academic and non-academic works including peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and opinion and commentary papers.


Contact: For questions about the program, send an email to

*This event will be available in English.



ILEM Istanbul Talks, her ay gerçekleştirilmesi planlanan yeni bir program serisidir. Sosyal bilimler alanında çalışmalarını sürdüren akademisyenler bu programda moderatör eşliğinde konuşmalarını gerçekleştirmektedirler. Serinin yedinci oturumunda Asma Afsaruddin “Negotiating the Multiple Meanings of Jihad - Pre-Modern and Modern Hermeneutics” başlıklı bir konuşma gerçekleştirecek ve konuşmanın moderatörlüğünü Tahir Kılavuz yürütecektir.


*Program dili İngilizce’dir.


Başlangıç Tarihi Başlangıç Saati Bitiş Tarihi Bitiş Saati Yer
22 Nisan 2022 21:00 22 Nisan 2022 23:00 İLEM TV