A writer of obscene and humorous Arabic poetry from Yemen, ‘Ali b. al-Hasan “al-Khafanji” (d. 1767) mined the theological controversies of his day between Zaydi Shi‘is and Sunnis, the world of madrasa students, and their casuistic arguments for humor. This lecture will explore how al-Khafanji, and other literati like him, found humor in Islam.
Mark Wagner is Associate Professor of Arabic at Louisiana State University. He is a specialist in Arabic literature with a particular interest in literary and legal texts from Yemen and in the cultural interactions between Muslims and Jews. He is the author of Jews and Islamic Law in Early 20th Century Yemen (Indiana University Press, 2014) and Like Joseph in Beauty: Yemeni Vernacular Poetry and Arab-Jewish Symbiosis (E.J. Brill, 2008).