St. Bonaventure University

News, Publications & Research

Fr. Michael Calabria to explore ‘The Language of the Taj Mahal’ in Feb. 14 Zoom discussion

Feb 10, 2022

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a story of love and faith.

On Monday, Feb. 14, St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab & Islamic Studies and the Department of World Languages and Cultures will present a conversation with Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M., Ph.D., on his new book, “The Language of the Taj Mahal.” The program will be held via Zoom from 4 to 5 p.m.

The program will be hosted by Dr. Leigh Simone, assistant professor of Spanish, with an interview by Dr. Megan Walsh, professor of English and acting dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

St. Bonaventure faculty book The Language of the Taj MahalFr. Michael, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, writes and speaks widely on various aspects of Islam and Islamic culture including the Qur’an, Islamic spirituality, art and architecture, and Christian-Muslim relations.

His book “The Language of the Taj Mahal: Islam, Prayer, and the Religion of Shah Jahan” (I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury 2021) provides a deeper understanding of the Taj Mahal and its builder by examining its inscriptions within their architectural, historical and biographical contexts. The texts adorning the Taj Mahal comprise verses from 22 different chapters of the Qur’an but their meaning and significance escapes most non-Muslim visitors or those unable to read them. This book is the first dedicated solely to the inscriptions in the monument, providing translations, commentary and interpretation of the texts.

As well as offering a unique approach to the study of the building, the book uses the inscriptions to expound the foundational elements of Islam, the faith of Shah Jahan and also what the Taj Mahal still means today.

The Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666 CE) as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631 CE), is considered exceptional in the history of world architecture.

The public is welcome to join the online program.

Zoom information:
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 952 3818 4678
Passcode: 763997