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Religions 2018, 9(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040091

Doors to the Imaginal: Implications of Sunni Islam’s Persecution of the Ahmadi “Heresy”

New Social Research Programme & Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere, Finland
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract

This article focuses on the implications of Sunni persecution of Ahmadiyyat by analyzing texts by the movement’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to identify the epistemological basis of his claims to prophecy in 19th century India. Rather than situating the claims within an Arabist, juridico-theological lineage, as is normally done, the analysis emphasizes their points of convergence with Persianate, Illuminationist theosophy of the 12th century mystic, Suhravardi. This convergence rests on acknowledging the existence of an intermediate cosmological realm that Henry Corbin termed the mundus imaginalis, which can be accessed by the subtle imagination of spiritual adepts and prophets. Situating Ahmadiyyat within the Persianate theosophical tradition sheds new light on the community’s persecution. In declaring Ahmadiyyat as “heresy,” and in Sunnism’s symbolic violence against Ahmadiyyat, the theosophical features of Ahmad’s thought have also been marginalized. Consequently, Sunni Muslims around the world are excluding Muslim access to the imaginal realm. The conclusion points out how other communities have faced and are facing similar exclusion on similar grounds, and argues for further investigation into the axiom that exclusion of the imaginal is a feature of modernity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ahmadiyyat; heresy; Islam; Persianate; Sufi; imaginal; theosophy Ahmadiyyat; heresy; Islam; Persianate; Sufi; imaginal; theosophy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Qadir, A. Doors to the Imaginal: Implications of Sunni Islam’s Persecution of the Ahmadi “Heresy”. Religions 2018, 9, 91.

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