Christian Lange, born in Berlin,Germany, in 1975. Ph.D. from Harvard University, USA. Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Utrecht University.
Fellow (1 September 2015 – 31 January 2016)
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s (d. 1350) Urging Souls Forward Towards the Lands of Happiness: A Critical Translation and Study
During my time at NIAS, I want to pursue the question how a key thinker of the late Islamic Middle Ages, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya from Damascus (d. 1350), conceived of the otherworld, that is, paradise and hell, and how, in particular, he thought about the possibility of seeing God in this life and the next.
The Damascene Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 1350) is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the traditionalist, puritanical Muslim movement known as Salafism. Neo-Salafis accord him an iconic status; he is, arguably, one of the most visible and influential classical Muslim thinkers today. Although central to his oeuvre, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s work on death and resurrection, called Urging Souls Forward Towards the Lands of Happiness, still awaits study by scholars of Islam. This project aims to produce such a study in the form of a monograph, accompanied by an annotated translation of the text. This seems an important desideratum because no in-depth, book-length study of Salafi ideas (whether classical or modern) about death and resurrection exists in the scholarly literature. In general, Salafi doctrines about paradise and hell, which seem stubbornly resistant to any modern attempts at scientific reduction and de-mystification, are poorly understood.
1) Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015
2) The Discovery of Paradise in Islam (Inaugural Lecture, Utrecht University, 16 April 2012). 25 pp. Utrecht: University Press, 2012 (open access: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/th/2012-0713-200425/UUindex.html)
3) Justice, Punishment and the Medieval Muslim Imagination. 290 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.