The British Association for Islamic Studies and the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations have taken the decision to postpone the BRAIS 2020 Conference in response to the escalation of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.  
Many of our delegates are facing increasingly stringent travel restrictions and the situation is developing very quickly. As disappointed as we are to be postponing this much-anticipated conference, continuing would not be in the best interests of our delegates and we feel the decision to postpone is therefore unavoidable.


Annual Conference of the British Association for Islamic Studies 

Monday 6th-Tuesday 7th April 2020 

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khan University, London


Provisional Programme 

Please note: This programme is subject to change. 

Monday 6th April


09.00 – 10.00: Registration


10.00 – 10.15: Words of Welcome


10.15 – 11:30: Plenary 1:


Islam and Print in South Asia: Continuity and Rupture in Knowledge Production

Nur Sobers-Khan (The British Library)


11.30 – 12.00: Coffee/Tea


12.00 – 13.30: Panel Session 1 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. Conversion to Islam in the Modern World

Fatou Sambe (Cardiff University) Muslim Convert Families and the Experiences of Convert Children

Amir Sheikhzadegan (University of Fribourg) Becoming Muslim in Switzerland: A new typology of conversion motifs

Farrah Sheikh (Konkuk University) An Ethnographic Perspective on Conversion to Islam in “Multicultural” South Korea and the Struggle for Belonging

Michael Nollert (University of Fribourg), Diverse life stories and social ties: How Muslim converts decide between integration, co-existence and violent jihad


  1. Studies in Shiʿi Exegesis at the Institute of Ismaili Studies

Toby Mayer (Institute of Ismaili Studies) The Hermeneutic of Parables and Symbols in Shahrastani’s Keys to the Arcana

Alessandro Cancian (Institute of Ismaili Studies) The Birth of Shiʿi Sufism in Early Modern Iran and the Juridical Opinions in Sultan ‘Ali Shah’s (d. 1909) Qur’anic Commentary Bayan al-sa‘ada

Stephen Burge (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Ritual in a Contemporary Context: Fadl Allah on Fasting and Charitable Giving

Attash Sawja (Aga Khan University) Reception of the Qur'an among the Satpanthi Ismaili Khojas of Gujarat, in the contemporary period


  1. Early Modern and Modern Islamicate Art

Olga Nefedova (Orient-Institut Beirut) Religious Symbols in the Age of Religious Conservatism: Graduation Works of Iraqi Artists – Students of the USSR Art Institutions in 1959-1979

Nooshin Sahafiei (The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts) The functions of the Saqqa-Khaneh in Iran

Sara Choudhrey (University of Kent) Hybrid Materiality - Contemporary Islamic Art

Charlotte Bank (Independent Scholar) Queer Heavens: Articulating Gender Fluidity through Garden Imagery in Contemporary Middle Eastern Art


  1. Building Egalitarian Ethics and Jurisprudence of Marriage: A Musawah Panel

Mulki Al-Sharmani (University of Helsinki) and Amira Abou-Taleb (University of Helsinki) Researching Qur’anic Ethics: Methodological Reflections from Two Studies.

Shadaab Rahemtulla (University of Edinburgh) Towards an Egalitarian Islamic Masculinity: Prophet Muhammad, Khadijah, and the Politics of (Patriarchal) Memory (co-authored with Sara Ababneh)

Ziba Mir-Hosseini (SOAS) Rethinking Tamkin (wife’s duty of sexual obedience) in Muslim Family Laws

Lynn Welchman (SOAS) Trajectory of Reform of Muslim Family Laws (co-authored with Marwa Sharafeldin and Zahia Jouirou)


  1. Sufis, Salafis, Islamists and Copts: Inter- and Intra-faith Polemics after the Arab Spring

Ermin Sinanovic (Shenandoah University) Political Theology of Obedience and Competitive Authoritarianism in the Middle East

Rahma Bavelaar (University of Amsterdam) Mobilising Gendered Salafi Activism in Egypt in the Shadow of the Arab Spring

Usaama al-Azami (University of Oxford) Responding to Despotism in Modern Islam: The Contrasting Political Philosophies of Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī and ʿAbdullāh b. Bayyah

Besnik Sinani (Freie Universität Berlin) The Responses of Saudi Sufi Scholars to the Arab Spring: An Investigation of Religious Conceptions, Positionality, and Histories that Inform Scholarly Political Choices


  1. “Are You Sure?”: Post-Avicennan Ashʿarīs on Observation of the Physical World as a Means to Knowledge 

John Moffatt (SOAS) Reasoning and Reimagining the Ash‘arī Universe: Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī on Atoms, Time and Souls

Laura Hassan (University of Oxford) Ash‘arī Atomism in Decline? Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī on the Proof from Accidents

Hannah Erlwein (Max Planck Institute) On Knowledge of the Unobservable Through the Observable in kalām and falsafa

Fariduddin Attar (McGill University) Metaphysics and the Cosmic System in Post-Avicennian Ḥikma: The Transcendental Individuation of Human Souls according to Abū al-Barakāt al-Baghdādī and Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī


13:30 – 14:30: Lunch


14:30 – 16:00: Panel Session 2 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. “Sufish”: New Socio-anthropological Perspectives on Sufi Narrative and Practice Beyond the Tariqa Model 

Fabio Vicini (McGill University) Sufism Beyond Sufism: Reading Practices, Sufi Cosmologies, and the Muslim Self

Nasima Selim (Freie Universität Berlin) “Who Are You in the Story [of Mushkil Gushā]?” Trickster Nafs, Nomadic Subjectivity, and Sufish Storytelling in Post-Secular Berlin

Francesco Piraino (KU Leuven) Secular Sufish: Abdennour Bidar and his Self-Islam

Naoki Yamomoto (Ibn Haldun University) Liu Zhi’s Five Phases of the Moon: Sayr wa Suluk literature in Chinese Islam


  1. The Qur'an: Ontology, Revelation and Hermeneutics

Khalil Andani (Harvard University) From God’s Speech to Gabriel’s Words: Sunni Ashʿarī Conceptions of Qur’ānic Revelation

Wahid Amin (Al-Mahdi Institute) Sadīd al-Dīn al-Ḥimṣī (d. ca. 600/1204) on God’s Created Speech:  A Twelfth Century Shīʿī Critique of “Inner Speech” (kalām nafsī)

Syed Zaidi (Emory University) The Brethren of Purity’s Use of the Qur’ān in their Treatise on Love

Joseph Lumbard (Hamad Bin Khalifa University) Building upon Izutsu: Using Integrated Semantic Fields in Quranic Studies


  1. English Engagements with Islam and the Islamic Worlds Through Time

Lubaaba Al-Azami (University of Liverpool) Performance and Profit at the Mughal Court: Sir Thomas Roe and Empress Nur Jahan

Mr Charles Beirouti (University of Oxford) Reading the Religious Diversity of the Seventeenth-Century Ottoman World: An Anglican Traveller’s Perspective

Eva Momtaz (University of Birmingham) Literary Representations of Eve: Quranic vs Miltonic

Sheam Khan (University of Leicester) A Critical Analysis of Mystical Interpretations in Laleh Bakhtiar’s Translation of The Sublime Qur’an.


  1. Studies in Islamic Law and Theology

Tarek Makhlouf (The University of Melbourne) Between Muʿtazilī Heritage and Ẓāhirī Imperative: Abū Ḥayyān al-ʾAndalusī’s (d. 745/1344) Philological Practice

Daniel Lav (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Ibn Taymiyya on Ontological Dependence and Its Ground

Mahmoud Afifi (Lancaster University) Bint al-Shāṭīʾ: A Tradition-Based Feminist Voice for Women’s Emancipation

Amr Osman (Qatar University) Abortion between two discourses: Harm Aversion vs. Rights and Freedoms


  1. Gender and Aesthetics in Shia Religious Culture

Nada Al-Hudaid (University of Birmingham) Agency and materiality among Shia women artists in Kuwait

Fouad Marei (Max Weber Centre) Objects of walāya, or the power of ‘things’ in Shii political ecologies

Stefan Williamson Fa (University of Birmingham) Images of Mourning: Ritual Change and ‘Anti-Muharram’ Visual Culture in Azerbaijan

Yafa Shanneik (University of Birmingham) Does Shia aesthetic need a theory?


  1. Saladin Revisited: New perspectives on the life and legacy of Saladin

Abdul Rahman Azzam (Kitab Project) Men of the Turban, Men of the Swords

Mathew Barber (Aga Khan University) Saladin and al-Afdal b. Badr al-Jamali: (Mis)remembering the Fatimid counter-crusade

David Nicolle (Nottingham University) Arms from East and West: The Arms and Armour of Saladin's Armies, a mixed heritage

Gowaart Van Den Bossche (Aga Khan University) The Life and the Reader: a diachronic study of manuscript circulation of the Biographies of Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn


16:00 – 16:30: Coffee/Tea


16:30 – 18:00: Panel Session 3 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. Islamic Law through the Ages

Salman Younas (University of Oxford) Authority in the Early Ḥanafī School: The Emergence of Ẓāhir al-Riwāya

Elias Saba (Grinnell College) Author and Genre: A Study of an Unknown Text of Legal Distinctions

Rezart Beka (Georgetown University) The Jurisprudence of Reality (fiqh al-wāqiʾ) in Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī’s Thought

Abdul Rahman Mustafa (University of Paderborn) Islamic Secularism? The Politics of Ritual in Ibn Taymiyyah's Fatāwā


  1. Identity constructions among Britain’s Twelver Shi‘i communities: Engaging the Sunni “other”

Emanuelle Degli Esposti (University of Cambridge) “We’re not that kind of Muslim”: Islamophobia, intolerance, and the differentiation of (Shia) Muslim identity in Britain

Oliver Scharbrodt (University of Birmingham) Sectarianism, authenticity and the transnational politics of Twelver Shiism: the case of Yasser al-Habib

Carlos Mendez (The University of Edinburgh) Anti-Sunni provocations, ‘moral panic’ and ‘folk devil’ in Britain’s Shi'i Rafida trend

Elvire Corboz (The University of Edinburgh) A Shi‘i Discourse on Islamic Unity in the UK: Reconfiguring Majority-Minority Relations within Islam


  1. Early Qur’anic Studies

Merve Özaykal (İstanbul University) The Criticism by al-Jassās of his Predecessors on Abrogation

Martin Whittingham (CMCS, Oxford) Early Qur'anic Exegesis on Positive Verses about the Previous Scriptures

Ali Aghaei (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy) and Michael Marx (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy) Explicit vs Implicit Variant Readings of the Quranic Text in early Quranic exegesis: The Case of Tafsīr of Muqātil ibn Sulaymān (d. 767)

Sumayyah Bostan (University of California, Berkeley) Abu Hanifa’s opinion on reciting the Qur’an in Persian in the prayer as it appears in the post-classical commentary tradition


  1. Diachronic Studies in Law, Gender and Sexuality

Muhammad Zubair (Lahore University of Management Sciences) Regulation of Sex under Islamic Legal System: Application of Islamic Criminal (Hudood) Laws in Pakistan (1980-2018)

Mostafa Movahedifar (University of Birmingham) The position of content criticism within early Shīʿī hadith scholarship: the case study of the legal punishment of committing zinā with a female slave of one’s wife

Muhammad Faisal Khalil (University of Oxford) The Family as the Ordinary within Islam

Azadeh Sarjoughian (University of Birmingham) Homoerotic Scene in a Muslim Society: New Representation of Iranian Masculinity in Sadegh Tirafkan’s Photographs


  1. Modern Islamic Movements

Dietrich Reetz (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient) Amir or Shura: How to lead a global missionary movement of Islam like the Tablighi Jama’at

Alexander Weissenburger (Austrian Academy of Sciences) The return to purity: Husayn al-Huthi's ideas and their structural resemblance to Sunni fundamentalism

Khalidah Ali (University of Toronto) Political Subjectivity in the Muslim Brotherhood Project

Sara Tonsy (CHERPA, Institut d’Etudes Politique-Aix) An Alternative Political Economy in Egypt: the case of the Muslim Brotherhood


  1. Islamic Intellectual History

Mohammed Al Dhfar (University of Nottingham) Tafsīr and the conflict of the Empires in the 14th Century al-Subkī on al-Zamakhsharī’s Kashshāf

Neelam Hussain (University of Birmingham) Tracing Reception Histories and Readership through Manuscript Traditions: Sirr al-Asrar

I-Wen Su (National Chengchi University) ʿAlī b. al-Madīnī: a Critical Review and Reconstruction of His Biography

Hany Rashwan (University of Birmingham) Reconsidering the aural intertextuality of Ḥadīth literature: Abū Manşūr al-Thaʿālibī’s book, The Inimitability and Conciseness as a case study


Tuesday 7th April


09.00 – 09:45: BRAIS AGM


09.45 – 11:00: Plenary 2


Critical Muslim Studies: Decolonizing the Islamicate?

S. Sayyid (Leeds University)


11:00 – 11.30: BRAIS-De Gruyter Prize presentation


11:30 – 12.00: Coffee/Tea


12.00 – 13:30: Panel Session 4 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. Transnational Studies of Islamophobia

Ibrahim Suberu (University of Port Harcourt) Global Discrimination and Anti-Muslim Chauvinism: The Experience of Islamophobia in Contemporary Nigeria

Muhammed Babacan (University of Bristol) ‘Where are you really from?’: Islamophobia operated as everyday racism

Tatia Tavkhelidze (European University Viadrina) Boundaries between the living concept of Islamophobia and the term 'being Islamophobic'

Durali Karacan (Brunel University London) An Exploration of the Challenges of Bearded Muslim Men in the UK in the Age of Islamophobia


  1. Identity in Secular Spaces

Daniel DeHanas (King's College London) Discussing Race in the Muslim Atlantic

Ibtihal Ramadan (The University of Edinburgh), Muslim Academics Defining their Professional identity: Faith, Challenges, and Career Success

Carool Kersten (King's College London) From Abstraction to Sublimation: Literary writings & Muslim identity

Haroon Sidat (Cardiff University) The ‘Ulamā are Backwards: Looking at the Past to Navigate the Present


  1. Philosophical Dimensions of Qur’anic Studies

Raiyan Azmi (Independent) Perspectives from the analytic philosophy of religion on the Ashʿari doctrine of apologetic miracle (muʿjiza)

David Vishanoff (University of Oklahoma) Five Facets of the Anthropological Turn in Qur’anic Hermeneutics: History, Linguistics, Ideology, Phenomenology, and Postmodernism

William Stevenson (University of St. Thomas) Classical Political Rationalism and Qur'anic Revelation in al-Farabi's "The Attainment of Happiness"

Kayhan Özaykal (İstanbul Üniversitesi) al-Maturidi on al-ʿAql in metaphysics and ethics


  1. Aspects of Medieval History and Historiography

Fozia Bora (University of Leeds) Archives and archival sensibilities in Middle Period Arabic historiography

Essam Ayyad (Qatar University) Medieval Muslim Katātīb between Independent Thinking and Learning by Rote

Pascal Held (The American University in Cairo) Accounts of existential crisis and spiritual conversion in medieval Islam

Jennifer Griggs (Osnabrück Universität) Inter-Religious Exchange under the Mongols: Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī and Bar Hebraeus


  1. Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Interactions in Modernity

Saeko Yazaki (University of Glasgow) Zionism as the return to Judaeo-Islamic tradition: A.S. Yahuda (d. 1951), his scholarship and identity

Vanessa de Obaldia (DoSt-I Istanbul) New Churches in the Tanẓimāt Era: An Insight into the Ottoman Empire's Relations with the Latin Catholic Church

Johnson Elijah Amamnsunu (University of Wales Trinity Saint David) Negotiating Experience, Meaning and Social Realities of Faith Communities in Africa, A case of the Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria

Hanan Fara (University of Birmingham) Cultural Capital, Habitus and Social Capital impact on Muslim student’s university experiences?


  1. The Reception of the Past in Contemporary Iranian Shi’i Thought and Culture

Christopher Pooya Razavian (University of Birmingham) The Concept of Fitra: from Ibn Taymiyyah to Morteza Motahari

Amina Inloes (The Islamic College) Contemporary Shi‘ism through the Lens of the Mokhtārnāmeh

Alexander Khaleeli (University of Exeter) Historical narrative and state legitimacy in post-revolutionary Iran: The Sarbadars imagined as medieval Islamic revolutionaries

Mohsen Najafi (University of Exeter) Islamic Reform Project and the Nature of the Qur’an: The Case of Mojtahed Shabestari


13.30 – 14.30: Lunch


14.30 – 16.00: Panel Session 5 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. Law, Authority and Learning in Imami Shi‘ite Islam

Raha Rafii (University of Exeter) Envisioning the Medieval Judge in the Genre of Adab al-qāḍī, “The Protocol of the Judge”

Amin Ehteshami (University of Exeter) The Four Books: A Reception History

Kumail Rajani (University of Exeter) Even if the Prophet did not say it

Cameron Zargar (University of Exeter) Muftis, Marāji‘, and the Freedom to Pursue Fatwas


  1. The Māturīdī Theological Tradition

Safaruk Chowdhury (Whitethread Institute) A Very Heated Affair: Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī’s Justification for Hell’s Unending Chastisement

Ramon Harvey (Ebrahim College) The Case of the Missing Disciple: Abū al-Ḥasan al-Rustughfanī (d. ca. 345/956) and the Reception of the Theology of Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī (d. 333/944) before Māturīdism

Kamaluddin Ahmed (University of Oxford) The Kitāb talkhīṣ al-adilla li-qawāʿid al-tawḥīd of al-Ṣaffār al-Bukhārī (d. 534/1139): Crafting a Historical Genealogy of the Māturīdī School of kalām

Najah Nadi (Cambridge Muslim College) Īmān as taṣdīq in the Works of Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī (d. 792/1390)


  1. Islamic Law in the Medieval and Modern World

Hakime Reyyan Yasar (Mardin Artuklu University) From Fatwa Books to Codification: The Maintenance Code (Nafaka Kanunu) in Ottoman Family Law

John Burden (University of Chicago) The Logic of Iftāʾ: Ibn Marzūq’s Fatwā on European Paper

Josef Linnhoff (University of Edinburgh) A modern-day Ẓāhirī -The Legal Thought of Muhammad Asad (d. 1992)

Rami Koujah (Princeton University) How to Get Away with Murder: Homicide and Culpability in Islamic Law


  1. Islam and Society in the Britain

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Coventry University) Amongst the last to leave: Understanding the journeys of Muslim Children in Care in Britain

Seán McLoughlin (University of Leeds) Mapping the UK’s Hajj Sector: Moving towards communication and consensus

Riyaz Timol (Cardiff University) Mapping the British Imamate: A National Profile of Britain’s Muslim Prayer Leaders

Fouzia Azzouz (University of Bristol) British Muslim marriage and divorce practices: Avenues for regulation


  1. Modern Sunni Trends

Hilary Kalmbach (University of Sussex) Hybridity, capital, and Islamic authority:  The emergence of “new religious intellectuals” in 20th century Egypt

Fabian Spengler (Tel Aviv University) The Limited Appeal of Salafiyya and Wasatiyya for Muslims in Europe

Mira Baz (University of Birmingham) Locating the British Muslim charity iERA within the Salafi tradition

Emine Bal (Queen Mary University) Modern adaptations of Al-Shāṭibī’s Maqāṣid theory


  1. Teaching and Learning Islam: Case Studies from Denmark, Sweden and Germany

Maria Lindebæk Lyngsøe (University of Copenhagen) Managing Tradition: Danish Muslim Women’s Islamic Education

Maximilian Lasa (University of Copenhagen) Expanding Horizons of Higher Islamic Education

Kasper Ly Netterstrøm (University of Copenhagen) Deciphering the ”Muslim” in Danish Muslim private schools

Simon Stjernholm (University of Copenhagen) Brief Reminders: Muslim Preachers, Mediation, and Time


16.00 – 16.30: Coffee/Tea


16.30 – 18.00: Panel Session 6 (6 concurrent panels)


  1. What does it take to be a citizen? Islam, belonging and the politics of ‘culture’ in anxious times (round table discussion)

Khadijah Elshayyal (University of Edinburgh) ‘From conditionality of engagement to conditionality of citizenship – Muslims in a brave new Britain’

Daan Beekers (University of Edinburgh) Culturalisation of citizenship in the Netherlands: sexual diversity, belonging and moral citizenship

Idil Akinci (University of Edinburgh) Culture in the ‘Politics of Identity’: Conceptions of national identity and citizenship among second generation non-Gulf Arab migrants in Dubai

Yahya Barry (University of Edinburgh) Negotiation and reconfigurations of citizenship: a case study of second generation and convert Muslims in Sweden and Denmark

Alexis Blouët (University of Edinburgh) “Is laicity a French legal tradition? The polemic around the right of Muslim mothers accompanying school trips to wear hijab.”


  1. Colonialism and the Empire of Law

Rozaliya Garipova (Nazarbayev University) Colonial Rule and the Legality of Marriage in the Russian Empire

Alexandre Caeiro (Hamad Bin Khalifa University) Justice before Oil: Pearl Trade, Diving Courts, and the British Legal Order in the Arabian Peninsula (1860s-1950s)

Sohaira Siddiqui (Georgetown University) A Subtle Imbibe: Islamic law in 19th Century Colonial Courts in India

Aishani Gupta (Stony Brook University) Colonial Women in Ajmer’s Dargah Sharif: gendered identities, exploitation and inscription of power in a Sufi sacred space.


  1. Who Owns History? References to Tradition among Bosnian Muslims as an Arena for Conflict, Negotiation and Concord

Catharina Raudvere (University of Copenhagen) Alerting, Guiding and Confirming: Prayer Circles among Bosnian Muslim Women and the Access to History

Zora Hesová (Charles University, Prague) The Meanings of Tradition in a Dense Religious Landscape of Bosnia-Herzegovina after 1995

Zora Kostadinova (University College London) Deploying Tradition and Sufi Practice: Young Naqshbandis in Sarjevo

Piro Rexhepi (Northampton Community College) Decolonial Islam and Izetbegović's Islamic Declaration


  1. Studies in Medieval and Modern Shiʿism

Mohammad Mesbahi (The Islamic College & Birmingham University) Interaction between the Hawza of Najaf and Qum in the latter half of the 20th century

Yousif Al-Hilli (University of Birmingham) The Forgotten Uprising: The 1991 Intifadha and The Political Role of Shia Clerics in Iraq

Samer El-Karanshawy (University of Exeter) The Memory of Husayn: the Drama of “History” and Ritual

Shayesteh Ghofrani (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Understanding Wilāya in Formative period of Shiʿism



  1. Diachronic Studies in Sufism

Gavin Picken (Hamad Bin Khalifa University) “Observing” Spiritual Purification:  Disciplining the Soul in al-Muḥāsibī’s Kitāb al-Riʿāya li Ḥuqūq Allāh

Omneya Ayad (The University of Uskudar) The Synthesis of Love and Sin in the Thought of Ibn ‘Ajība

Yahya Nurgat (University of Cambridge) ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī and the Hajj: Sacred Space, Ritual Practice and Religious Experience.

John Zaleski (New York University Abu Dhabi) “The Inheritance of Hunger”: The Making of an Ascetic Ideal in Early ‘Abbasid Baghdad


  1. Gender in Modern Fatwas and Education

Alyaa Ebbiary (SOAS) “You can teach the sisters”: Muslim Women, Education and Religious Authority in Britain

Laiqah Osman (Cardiff University) Muslim Women in Britain and the Authority of online Islamic Content

Hakimeh Ayoobiyan (Shiraz University) Examining the Corpus-Based Representations of Muslim Women:  A Critical Discourse Analysis

Emad Mohamed (RGCL/University of Wolverhampton) Gender Differences in Fatwa