Ajam Podcast #15: ‘Ayn al-Quzat’s Defense of Satan

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In this episode, Rustin speaks with Mohammed Rustom, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University. He is the author of The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla Sadra (State University of New York Press, 2012).

Dr. Rustom sheds light on the figure of Iblis (or Satan) in the writings of ‘Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani, the 12th century Sufi mystic and jurist. While many believe Iblis to be a force of evil in Islamic theology, ‘Ayn al-Quzat argued that he is, in fact, the ultimate embodiment of selfless divine love.

After outlining the role of Iblis in Islamic mysticism, Dr. Rustom compares ‘Ayn al-Quzat’s representation with other religious and literary traditions– including Satan of the Christian Bible, Paradise Lost, and the Brothers Karamazov. The conversation concludes with how and why ‘Ayn al-Quzat was killed by the Seljuk State, as well as what we can learn about human agency and determinism from his defense of Iblis.

(Cover Photo: A Depiction of Iblis from from a 14th century copy of Abu Maʿshar’s Book of Nativities)


Mohammed Rustom

Mohammed is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University. He obtained a PhD from the University of Toronto in 2009, specializing in Islamic thought, Quranic exegesis, and Persian literature. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the NYUAD Library of Arabic Literature,

Mohammed Rustom | Professor of Islamic Studies



Rustin Zarkar

Ajam Editor

Rustin (@RustinZ) on Twitter

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