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Abstract

This thesis employs theoretical frameworks from the work of philosopher Giorgio Agamben to explore the relationship of Sufism and the law in The Remedy for the Questioner by Ibn Khaldun. Considering the lack of attention given to this treatise in Khaldunian studies, I argue for its utility in understanding his view of Sufism and its incorporation. I also argue for the analysis of Ibn Khaldun’s religious and mystical beliefs as a productive line of inquiry. I make an intervention in our understanding of Ibn Khalduun and his views of Sufism by exploring his views of Sufism through Agamben’s ideas of rule, law, and form of life. My methodology relies on close textual analysis of the treatise, incorporating comparison to Ibn Khaldun’s other works. My analysis reveals that Ibn Khaldun viewed Sufis who had fulfilled the Sufi path as above the law, capable of providing legal insights and guidance because of their divine knowledge. I suggest that Ibn Khaldun’s view of Sufis portrays a Sufi form of life in which their ascetic practices and behaviors place them within a unique status in society. In applying Agamben’s theory to an Islamic context, I make an intervention in ascetic studies and open up future lines of inquiry into Ibn Khaldun and Sufism.

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