Annual Bonham-Carter Lecture

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 18:00 to 20:00
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

This lecture will introduce one of Baghdad’s iconic Sufi shrines – that of the 12th-century Sufi mystic Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, which has managed to weather challenging times in recent decades. Secularism, Arab Nationalism, Baath Party Dictatorship, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and sectarianism, have tested this Shrine and its community, its survival and its evolvement.  Some of these multi-faceted trials and their legacies have been recorded through field research carried out between 2009 and 2018, and the findings will be presented here.    

Noorah Al-Gailani is a trained museum curator and holds the post of Curator of Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums.  Noorah researched the subject of this lecture for her Ph.D. degree in Theology at the University of Glasgow.  Her thesis is titled “The Shrine of ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī in Baghdad & the Shrine of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Jīlānī in ʿAqra: Mapping the multiple orientations of two Qādirī Sufi shrines in Iraq.”

Dr Noorah Al-Gailani's PhD thesis on the shrine of Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī in Baghdad is available as a free PDF here.