Sajida S. Alvi

Professor, Emerita

Email: sajida.alvi [at] mcgill.ca (Sajida S. Alvi)

Education

B.A. (Honours) Punjab University

M.A. Punjab University ( Persian Language, Literature, and Iranian History) First Class standing; Gold Medalist

Ph.D. Punjab University (Mughal History, Classical Persian Language and Literature). Doctoral Dissertation Title: "Mir’at al-Alam: History of Emperor Awrangzeb ‘Alamgir" (included edited and annotated text of the seventh part of Mir’at al-‘Alam, a primary source in Persian, covering the political, religious, literary and intellectual history of the first decade of Mughal Emperor Awrangzeb from 1658 to 1668; and a comprehensive Introduction).

Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto. (Modern Persian Literature with special reference to Bozorg ‘Alavi’s [1904-1997] writings from prison. ‘Alavi was one of the most prominent leftist literary figures and political activists in Iran during the twentieth century).

Teaching and research interests

History and Thought: Sufis and Sufi Orders (Chishtis and Naqshbandis) in the Indo- Pakistan  region (17th-19th Centuries); Socio-political, institutional and intellectual history of Muslims in Mughal India and Safavid Iran; Indo-Islamic political thought; Modern Islamic developments in Indo-Pakistan subcontinent; Religion and politics in Iran and Pakistan; Urdu and classical Persian languages and literature.

Teaching Experience

Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, January 1992 to 2010.

Visiting Professor in Indonesia under the auspices of McGill Indonesia IAIN Development Project, January-March, 1993; and September-December 1996.

Associate Professor with tenure, Appointed to the Chair in Urdu Language and Culture, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, 1986-1991.

Associate Professor with tenure, Department of South and Southwest Asian Studies, University Minnesota, 1980-1986.

Assistant Professor, Department of South Asian Studies, Uni­versity of Minnesota, 1977-1980.

Assistant Professor, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, 1974-77.

Lecturer, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, 1972-74.

Lecturer, Islamic College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan, 1962-66.

Teaching Specialization

History: Sociopolitical, institutional and intellectual history of Muslims in India and Pakistan; Mughal India; Safavid Iran; and Modern Islamic Developments in Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent and Iran.

Language and Literature: The languages include Urdu language and literature,and classical and modern Persian.

Seminars:

Modern Islamic Developments in India and Pakistan (1707 to Present)

The Safavids and the Mughals: A Comparative Study of Social, Institutional and Religious Developments in Mediaval India and Iran.

Medieval Indo-Islamic and Iranian Society: A Comparative Study of Political, Social, and Religious Developments.

History of Medieval Islam in India (711-1757)

Muslims in Modern Indian History

Muslim Culture and Civilization in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Islam and Politics: Modern Iran

Islam and Politics: Pakistan

Language Courses:

Urdu I, II, III

Persian I

Seminars on Urdu Literature at the University of Minnesota (1977-86)

An Analytical Survey of Urdu Literature (1750-1856) for an Understanding of Crisis in Indo-Muslim Civilization

Dabistan-i Lakhna'u: An Analytical Survey of Urdu Literature of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries in Awadh

A Study of the Muslim Community's Response to the Challenges of Modernity in the Light of Urdu Literature (1857-1920)

Partition of the Subcontinent and its Aftermath: An Analytical Study of Urdu Literature

Different Faces of Women in Urdu Fiction: A Study of the Works of Sa‘adat Hasan Manto and ‘Ismat Chughta'i

Readings: Urdu Texts Covering: Folklore, Wit and Humor, and Religion

Intellectual Trends as Reflected in Urdu Writings of the Eighteenth Century Delhi

Iqbal and His Urdu Poetry: Major Themes

Publications

Indo-Islamic History

Books:

Mir'at al-‘Alam: History of Emperor Awangzeb ‘Alamgir (Political History), vol. 1 (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, University of Punjab, 1979), 490 pp.

Mir'at al-‘Alam: History of Emperor Awangzeb ‘Alamgir (The Biographies of the ‘ulama', Sufis, Calligraphers and Poets), Vol. II (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, University of Punjab, 1979), 400 pp.

Articles and Notes:

"The Historians of Awangzeb: A Comparative Study of Three Primary Sources." Essays on Islamic Civilization Presented to Niyazi Berkes, D.P. Little, ed., (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976), 57-73.

"Tarikh-i Husayniyah: An Unknown Source for the History of Awadh." Der Islam Hamburg, West Germany, 58,1(1981): 136-146. Refereed.

"Ahmad ‘Ali Hashemi Sandilavi," (late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Century tazkira writer). Encyclopaedia Iranica, London, 1984, vol. 1, 646.

"Alam II, Shah," (Mughal ruler, 1759-1806). Encyclopaedia Iranica, London, 1985, vol. 1, 791.

"Muhammad Bakhtawar Khan (d. 1685)," an historian of Mughal emperor Awrang­zeb. Encycolopaedia Iranica, New York, 1988, vol. 3, 541-42.

Political Thought, Religion and Politics

Books:

Advice on the Art of Governance: An Indo-Islamic Mirror for Princes (Mau‘izahi Jahangiri) of Muhammad Baqir Najmi Sani Persian Text with Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 224pp.

Articles:

"Mazhar-i Shahjahani and the Mughal Province of Sind: A Discourse on Political Ethics." Islam and Indian Regions, Texts, Beitrage zur Sudasienforschung Sudasien-Institut Universitat Heidelberg, 145, Anna.L. Dallapiccola and Stephanie Z. Lallemant, eds., (Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart, 1993), vol. 1, 239-258.

"Shi‘ism in India During Jahangir's Reign: Some Reflections." Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society Karachi, Pakistan, 27, 1(1979): 39-65.

"Religion and State During the Reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1605-27): Nonjuristical Perspectives." Studia Islamica, Paris, France, 69(1989): 95-119.

Islam, Sufism, Islamic Renewal and Reform

Articles and Notes:

"Qazi Sana'-Allah Panipati, An Eighteenth-Century Indian Sufi-‘Alim: A Study of His Writings in Their Sociopolitical Context." Islamic Studies Presented to Charles J. Adams, W. Hallaq and D. Little, eds., (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1991), 11-25.

"The Mujaddid and Tajdid Traditions in the Indian Subcontinent: An Historical Overview." Journal of Turkish Studies SchimmelFestschrift), Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 18 (1994): 1-15.

"Islam in South Asia." The Muslim Almanac: A Reference Work on the History, Faith, Culture, and Peoples of Islam, Azim Nanji, ed., (Gale Research Inc., 1995), 55-72.

"Foreword," Islam: Its Roots and Wings, A Primer, V. S. Behiery and A. M. Guenther (Canadian Council of Muslim Women: 2000), i-ix.

The Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Sufi Order’s Ascendancy in Cenral Asia Through the Eyes of its Masters and Disciples (1010s-1200s/1600s-1800s). Reason and Inspiration in Islam: Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism in Muslim Thought, essays in Honour of Hermann Landolt, Todd Lawson, ed., (London: I. B. Tauris, 2005), 418-431.

“Introduction to Islam and Islamic Tradition.”( 2005). See Islam

Islamic Sites in Montreal, editor and supervisor. Asian Religion and Ethics Research Unit McGill University. See Islamic stites

Encyclopaedia Notes:

"Muhammad ‘Ali Lahori (1874-1951)," (a leading scholar of Islam and founder of the Lahori branch of the Ahmadiyya movement). The Encyclopaedia of Religion, New York, 1987, vol. 8, 423.

" 'Abd al-'Aziz, Shah (d. 1824)". Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995, 99-101.

"Thanesari Shaykh Djalal al-Din (d. 1582)". Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Leiden, 1999, vol. 10, 442.

“Wali Allah, Shah (d. 1762). Encyclopedia of Religion, Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference, 2005, Vol. 14, 9665-9667.

Women’s Issues

Books:

Wanita Dalam Masyarakat Indonesia: Akses, Pemberdayaan dan Kesempatan (Women in Indonsian Society: Access, Empowerment and Opportunity), co-edited with Atho Mudzhar (Yogyakarta: Sunan Kalijaga Press, 2001), 364pp. (Collection of essays in Bahasa Indonesia, presented at the international conference held in Jakarta, Indonesia, December,1997).

Women in Indonesian Society: Access, Empowerment and Opportunity, co-edited with Atho Mudzhar (Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Sunan Kalijaga Press, 2002). 246+xvi pp.

The Muslim Veil in North America: Issues and Debates, co-edited with Homa Hoodfar and Sheila McDonough, (Toronto: Women’s Press, 2003), 306+xxiv pp.

Chapters and Articles:

“Unpacking the symbolism of the Muslim Veil,” co-authored with Sheila McDonough, Ecumenism (Women of Faith in the World’s Religion), No. 115, September (1994).

“Muslim Women and Society,” (comprises an introduction and editing of two excerpts taken from Fatima Mernissi’s The Forgotten Queens of Islam ,and Ruth Moore’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Women and Warriors@in An Anthology of Islamic Studies, Howard M. Federspiel, ed. (Montreal: Institute of Islamic Studies, 1996), vol. 2, 235-285.

“Evidence, Inheritance, “Hudud”: Introduction and Comparative Perspective” in the Proceedings, International Conference on Islamic Laws and Women in the Modern World>/cite>,1996. (Islamabad n. d.): 96-97, 129-132, 147-149, 165.

“Career Development of Women in Indonesian Society: A Study of Highly Successful Career Women,” co-authored with Sabir Alvi, in Women in Indonesian Society: Access, Empowerment, Opportunity: Conference Proceedings, Jakarta, Indonesia. (Yogyakarta: 2002), 111-133.

“The Canadian Council of Muslim Women: A Chapter in the History of Muslim Women in Canada,” co-authored with Sheila McDonough, The Muslim World, nos. 1&2 (Spring 2002): 79-98.

“Muslim Women and Islamic Religious Tradition: A Historical Overview and Contemporary Issues,” The Muslim Veil in North America: Issues and Debates, co-edited with Homa Hoodfar and Sheila McDonough, (Toronto, Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2003), 145-180.

“Introduction,” ibid, xi-xxiv, co-author.

Persian and Urdu Literature

“Buzurg Alavi’s Writings from Prison.” The Muslim World. Hartford Seminary Foundation, 67,3(1977): 205 222. Reprinted in Critical Perspectives on the Literature of Iran, Thomas M. Ricks, ed., and compiler (Washington, D. C., Three Continents Press, 1984), 274 291.

“Urdu Literature from Prison: Some Reflections on the Writings of Pakistani Prisoners of War in India.” Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan. Lahore, Pakistan, 19, 3(1982): 43 54.

Pedagogy and Textbooks

Urdu for Children: Book One, Junior and Senior Kindergarten & Grade One, comprising (Two textbooks, Teacher’s Manual, Workbook & two Audio cassettes), editor and project director, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997.

Urdu for Children: Book Two, Grades Two and Three comprising (Two textbooks), Let’s Read Urdu, 2 volumes, Teacher’s Manual, Workbooks, 2 volumes & two CDs, editor and project director, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004.

Details of Urdu books are provided at the following links:
See More information and Order Urdu Books.
(Book reviews excluded)

Representative publications

Urdu for Children: Book Two, Grades Two and Three comprising Stories and Poems. 2 volumes, Let’s Read Urdu. 2 volumes, Teacher’s Manual, Workbooks. 2 volumes & two CDs, editor and project director, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004.

The Muslim Veil in North America: Issues and Debates. co-edited with Homa Hoodfar and Sheila McDonough (Toronto: The Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2003).

Urdu for Children: Book One, Junior and Senior Kindergarten & Grade One. comprising (Two textbooks, Teacher's Manual, Workbook & two Audio cassettes), editor and project director, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997.

Advice on the Art of Governance: An Indo Islamic Mirror for Princes (Mau'izah-i Jahangiri) of Muhammad Baqir Najm-i Sani. Persian Text with Introduction, Translation, and Notes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989).

Mir’at al-'Alam: History of Emperor Awangzeb Alamgir (The Biographies of the ‘ulama’, Sufis, Calligraphers and Poets). Vol. II (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, University of Punjab, 1979).

Mir’at al-‘Alam: History of Emperor Awangzeb ‘Alamgir (Political History). vol. 1 (Lahore: Research Society of Pakistan, University of Punjab, 1979).

Current projects

Khanqah, Madrasah and Chishtiyyah Sufis: Agents of Social Change and Spiritual Rejuvenation in the British Punjab (1750-1900).

The first of a two-volume study, it covers Nur Muhammad Maharavi (1730-1790) and his five major khalifas (successors) – all Sufis of highest order with sound training in Islamic sciences. They established madrasahs/ khanqahs (Sufi lodges, open to Muslims and non-Muslims for learning and living together) in remote parts of Punjab and in areas bordering the Sind province. They played an active role in society by serving as qadis, teachers, physicians, or by tilling the land and breeding animals.

The first part of this volume is devoted to the biographical and intellectual profiles of six Sufi masters; and the second comprises textual analysis of a large number of published and many still unpublished pertinent hagiographical accounts, narratives of congregational meetings (malfuzat), historical and literary primary sources designed to identify the most discussed key ethical, religious and mystical concepts. These texts, especially the malfuzat, make references to Qur’an (including the often-repeated story of Yusuf and Zulaikha, for example), hadith, the life and times of Prophet Muhammad and his companions, earlier great Sufi masters and their writings, and Sufi poetry in Persian, Punjabi and Urdu. The objective of this analysis is to discern how the untutored audience in the rural Punjab while attending the congregational meetings of their Sufi masters internalised these concepts and historical details and unconsciously used them in their daily lives. Did these factors set in motion the process of socio-religious change? The rural masses initiated in the Chishtiyyah order, however, were active participants in the social and political life of this region, be that armed confrontation with the Sikhs or resistance to the British rule, as history attests.