Constructing the Self: Insights from an Early Modern Muslim Intellectual's Notebook
Qutb al-Din Muhammad al-Nahrawali al-Makki(d. 1582), a Muslim intellectual from Gujarat, India, rose in the ranks of his scholarly community to become the pre-eminent jurist in Mecca. For several decades of his life in Mecca, he carried with him a daftar or notebook in which he kept an account of several of his journeys to Medina, Cairo and Istanbul, jotted down recollections, poetry, excerpts from other books, and included material on a variety of other subjects. This talk is a preliminary foray into what al-Nahrawali's notebook reveals about the author, his friendships, his rivalries and his place in the elite community of Mecca, al-Nahrawali's adopted home. It will show that underlying the random assortment of notes is a commentary on the complicated nature of belonging and identity in the early modern Muslim scholarly world.