A work of history richly informed by the anthropology of religion and art, The Millennial Sovereign traces how royal dynastic cults and shrine-centered Sufism came together in the imperial cultures of Timurid Central Asia, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India. By juxtaposing imperial chronicles, paintings, and architecture with theories of sainthood, apocalyptic treatises, and manuals on astrology and magic, Moin uncovers a pattern of Islamic politics shaped by Sufi and millennial motifs. He shows how alchemical symbols and astrological rituals enveloped the body of the monarch, casting him as both spiritual guide and material lord.
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Ultimately, Moin offers a striking new perspective on the history of Islam and the religious and political developments linking South Asia and Iran in early-modern times. Post a Comment.
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Some thoughts on:. New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN paperback.
The Millennial Sovereign is the sort of contribution to the field that forces everyone to take note and to engage. A highly original construction of an argument that draws upon a variety of sources, including especially the visual that will appeal to the art historian, Moin contends that we need to reconceive radically our notions of Mughal kingship in the light of what is becoming a mainstream position in the study of Timurid Iran and its legacies, namely that in the fifteenth century beginning with Timur there was a convergence of notions of authority that produced the king and the saint, whose progeny was a sacral notion of kingship in which the sovereign himself was both a political ruler and a messianic redeemer of the last days.
Arguably, this development was due to the fact that Sufism had, by the early modern period, become the dominant idiom for expressing sanctity, spirituality and authority in the Persianate context if not farther beyond.
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Kingship was performative and socially embodied and appealed to popular notions of the sacred even if our sources for them are irreducibly elite. The argument is developed in five chapters: on Timur as lord of the conjunction, on Babur as the visionary messiah and dynast, on Humayun and his alchemical court, on Akbar as the archetypal millennial sovereign, and on Jahangir as lord of time.
There is then a brief conclusion on Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. There is also an assumption that the world had dramatically changed by so he makes no effort to discuss eighteenth century Mughals which is a shame because the use of royal iconography and reference to 'lords of the conjunction' did not disappear from either painting or literary representation.
The eighteenth century remains rather understudied outside of the teleology construction of the backdrop to colonial modernity. Before considering elements of his argument, it seems useful to flag the theoretical contributions and developments of certain positions in the book.
Hikmat: Messianism, ʿAlid loyalism, and the Millennium in Connected Histories of early modern India
This is history in the grander scheme with its emphasis on ideology, on self-fashioning and producing the icon of the sacral monarch, and paying attention to the illocutionary elements of royal-sacral speech acts which de-emphasising the centrality of the narrative textual traditions. In one sense, this shift is merely recognition that what we considered to be a textual in times past was far too narrow. The second allied point is the turn towards connected histories as articulated by the likes of Cornell Fleischer and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, that we need to move beyond nationalist historiographies and recognise the interconnected nature of the early modern world which requires us to look at regions and across regions as well as across disciplines.
Part of the argument is that the connectedness then allows us to spot and nuance where the links fail. At the same time, the broader context may dupe us into failing to see specificities of the local and spend too much time on the superficialities of the common.
This was directly expressed in a number of studies on India and Iran that juxtaposed the courts of the Sufi and the Shah and considered them to constitute two opposing notions of authority. Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: or. Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you. Advanced Search Find a Library. Your list has reached the maximum number of items. Please create a new list with a new name; move some items to a new or existing list; or delete some items. Your request to send this item has been completed.
The Millennial Sovereign : Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam
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The Politics of Saint Shrines in the Persianate Empires
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