Reflections on the Story of Ali in Sunni Islam

Saturday October 2, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM

Poster design by Farzan Kermani

Date & Time:
October 2 | 4pm (PDT)
Location: online via Zoom
This talk will be presented in English.
Free & open to the public. Click the link below to register for the event.

Registration link:

Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali, can be considered one of the most revered figures in Islamic history. His nearly universal portrayal in Muslim literature as a pious authority obscures a centuries-long process that entailed the rehabilitation of his character. For many years, some Muslims disliked Ali and considered him an illegitimate ruler. In his new book, Opposing the Imam, Nebil Husayn considers the diverse ways in which early Muslims remembered Ali and contextualizes the rise of both Sunnism and Shi’ism. This presentation discusses key findings from this recent publication.  

Guest Speaker:

Nebil Husayn is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. His research broadly considers the development of Islamic theology, historiography and debates on the caliphate. Husayn obtained his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and an M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. Husayn is the recipient of a Fulbright award and the University of Miami Fellowship in the Arts and Humanities. He is the author of Opposing the Imam (Cambridge University Press, 2021).


Javad T. Hashmi is a board-certified emergency physician, fmr. Fellow of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and a PhD candidate in the Study of Religion (Islamic Studies) at Harvard University. In addition to his medical training, Dr. Hashmi holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Arabic & Islamic Studies from U.C. Berkeley and Harvard respectively.

About the Alireza Ahmadian Lectures in Iranian and Persianate Studies: Alireza Ahmadian (1981 – 2019) was an enthusiastic researcher, a consummate socio-political analyst, and an opinion leader on foreign policy who nurtured the virtues of diplomatic dialogue and liberal democracy. Alireza was a proud and devoted UBC alumnus, supporter of UBC’s Asian Studies department, and beloved member of Canadian-Iranian Community. UBC’s Asian Studies department renamed this lecture series in his honour in 2019. The Ahmadian family and friends have provided funding to support this series, and this generous gift will see these important academic and community engagement events supported through to the end of the 2025/2026 academic year. To access the full list of events, click here.


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