Annual Conference of the British Association for Islamic Studies

Monday 15th-Tuesday 16th May 2023

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

10 Handyside Street, London, N1C 4DN


Conference Programme 

 Day 1: Monday 15 May


10.00 - 10.10: Words of Welcome (ACR)


Jonas Otterbeck (ISMC) and Fozia Bora (University of Leeds, Chair of the British Association for Islamic Studies)


10.10 - 11.20: Opening Keynote (ACR Lecture Theatre)


Professor Sarah Bowen Savant and the KITAB Project team (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations)

'When will ChatGPT write my next book?’'  How AI and Digital Methods are Changing Islamic Studies'


11.20-11.30: BRAIS - De Gruyter Prize Announcement (ACR Lecture Theatre)


11.30 – 12.00: Refreshments (Atrium)


12.00-13.30: Panel Session 1 


Islamic Law: Constructing Meaning and Responding to Changing Contexts (Room 220)

Chair: Muhammad Mansur Ali (Cardiff University)

Elias Saba (Grinnell College) Evading the Canon: Al-Qarafi and His Furuq 

Hatice Kubra Memis (University of Exeter) Understanding of Beginning of Human Life in Classical Islamic Jurists 

Shahanaz Begum (University of Exeter) Meaning making in the formative period: Muḥammad b. Ḥasan al-Shaybānῑ and the role of language in law 


Muslim Minorities and the State (Room 221)

Chair: Jonas Otterbeck (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations)

Anika Kabani (University of Oxford) The Exclusionary Sovereign: Terrorism, Asylum, and Ambiguity in the U.S. Humanitarian Immigration System 

Xiaokun Jiang (Utrecht University) Reshaping and Being Reshaped: The Active Adaption Strategy of Salafis in Xi’an, China 

Egdunas Racius (Vytautas Magnus University) Institutional churchification of Islam in Eastern Europe 

Daniel Vekony (Corvinus University of Budapest) State-sponsored illiberal academic knowledge production on Muslims and migration in Hungary 


Muslim Interfaith and Intercultural Encounters (ACR)

Chair: Jon Hoover (University of Nottingham)

Saeko Yazaki (University of Glasgow) Forming knowledge of the Other: Modern Japanese encounter with Islam 

Hina Khalid (University of Cambridge) Form Informs Us of the Formless: The Finite-Infinite Relation in the Thought of Muhammad Iqbal and Rabindranath Tagore 

Sainulabdeen Mohammed Thameem (University of Birmingham) Interfaith Relations in Medieval Sri Lanka in the Eyes of Ibn Battūta (1304-1368) 


Islamic Responses to the Economy: Dealing with the Nation State, Wealth and Capitalism (Room 219)

Chair: Haroon Sidat (Cardiff University)

Alena Kulinich (University of Oxford/Seoul National University) Debating wealth in 9th-century Baghdad: al-Muḥāsibī’s refutation of a wealthy learned man 

Ahmad Fathan Aniq (McGill University) The political backdrop to Indonesia’s enactment of Islamic economic law 

Sharaiz Chaudhry (University of Edinburgh) Islam and Capitalism: Towards developing an Islamic Liberation Theology to tackle economic inequality 

Muhammad Zulkifly (Durham University) Islamic liberation theology and the hegemony of capital 


Practicing Sufism: Spirituality, Rituals and Resistance in Modern Sufism (Room 216)

Chair: Gavin Picken (Hamad Bin Khalifa University)

Hafza Iqbal (Coventry University) Sufi Hybrids: an exploration of Sufism in contemporary Britain 

Ramisha Rafique (Nottingham Trent University) Exploring the spiritual journey of the British Muslim flâneuse: the inner-Sufi 

Khalid Alnassar (University of Glasgow) The Sufi Responses to the Salafi Refutational Arguments In Saudi Arabia 


13.30-14.30: Lunch (Room 110)


14.30-16.00: Panel Session 2 


Approaching the Qur’an: Historical and Contemporary Debates (Room 220)

Chair: Jaan Islam (University of Edinburgh)

Simon Loynes (University of Edinburgh) Revelation in the Qur'an 

Aysenur Cam (Princeton University) An Approach to Environmentalism through a Qur’anic Epistemology of Divine Names 

Younus Abdud Dayyan (University of Birmingham) The Contribution of Indian Scholars to Tafsīr in Non- Indian Language Arabic 

Sheam Khan (University of Leicester) and Nayef Al-Shamari (Qatar University) Synonymy (tarāduf) or congruence (taṭābuq) ? The problem of denying synonymy in the Qur’ān 


Islamic Knowledge in Sub Saharan Africa: Transmission, Authority and Epistemology (Room 219)

Chair: Ousmane Kane (Harvard University)

Hadiza Kere Abdulrahman (University of Lincoln) Lessons from the margins, an(other) way – Northern Nigeria’s Qur’anic Schools and pedagogical responses for alternative ways of knowing and being. 

Ezgi Guner (University of Edinburgh) Politics of memory and the contested legacy of Abu Bakr Effendi 

Haroon Leon Forde (Birkbeck/SOAS) The fate of Islamic education in Sudan under the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium 1900-14 

Gafar Ibrahim (Nyala University, Centre for Darfur Heritage) Safeguarding Islamic manuscripts of the Darfur region of Sudan: An epistemological diplomatic analysis 


Decolonising the Study of Islam: Institutional Visions, Practices, and Challenges (Room 221)

Chair: Dr Siti Sarah Muwahidah (University of Edinburgh) 

Noorhaidi Hasan (Indonesia International Islamic University) Decentring Islamic Studies: Seeking an Academic Direction for Indonesian International Islamic University 

Siti Sarah Muwahidah (University of Edinburgh) A ‘Decentring’ Approach to Studying the Globalised Muslim World

Kholoud Al-Ajarma (University of Edinburgh) Studying and Teaching Islam as Insider/Outsider in The Netherlands: Embracing Multiple Entanglements 


The Dynamics and Evolution of Islam in Finland (Room 216)

Chair: Alyaa Ebiarry (University of Durham)

Aytan Bashirova (University of Helsinki) ‘What physicists cannot explain is already in the Qur’an’. Building bridges in search of reaffirmation of Muslimness. 

Riina Sinisalo (University of Helsinki) Dimensions of Muslim place-making in Helsinki 

Rahma Hersi (University of Eastern Finland) Finnish Somali Women’s Path to Higher Education- What are the religious /cultural obstacles they face in their Path? 

Saila Kujanpää (University of Helsinki) Institutionalizing Islamic education in Finland: the case of IRE teacher education 


What is Islamic Studies? European and North American Approaches to a Contested Field (ACR)

Chair: Philip Wood (ISMC)

Yasmin Ilkhani (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations) 

Philip Wood (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations) 

Sana Iqbal (Institute of for Ismaili Studies) 


16.00-16.30: Refreshments (Atrium)


16.30-18.00: Panel Session 3 


Theology, Philosophy and Nature: On Traditionalist, Arab and “foreign” Science in Early and Classical Kalām (ACR)

Chair: James Weaver (University of Zurich)

Omar Anchassi (University of Bern) Against Ptolemy? Cosmography in Early Kalām 

Ignacio Sánchez (University of Warwick) The Parrot’s Speech and the Muʿtazila: The Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ’s Critique of the Mutakallimūn in The Case of Animals versus Man 

James Weaver (University of Zurich) A clash of Cosmologies: Prophetic and “Foreign” Science in the Hands of some Theological Historians 


Indonesian Muslims and the West: Diaspora, Residence, and the Reinvention of Identity (Room 216)

Chair: Kholoud Al-Ajarma (University of Edinburgh)

Zacky Umam (SOAS, University of London) Nahdlatul Ulama’s New Internationalism and Its Challenges 

Yanwar Pribadi (Indonesian International Islamic University) The Dutch Chapter of the Nahdlatul Ulama: Indonesian Muslims in Constructing Religious Identity in the West 

Zezen Mutaqin (Indonesian International Islamic University) Islamophobia and Indonesian Muslim Diaspora: Negotiation and Reinvention of Identity in the United States 


The future of teaching in the Islamicate Digital Humanities: a Round Table Discussion (Room 220)

Chair: Mathew Barber (AKU-ISMC)

Over the last decade the field of Digital Humanities (DH) has grown enormously, especially in Islamic Studies. Areas such as historiography, manuscript studies and social and political science have been shaped by this transformation. The need to prepare future scholars to critically engage with digital research and use digital methodologies is felt acutely within various humanistic disciplines.

DH is rapidly becoming a part of the university curriculum and many institutions now organise their own dedicated courses. With much of teaching and research now being through digital means, it is time to reflect on DH teaching within our field. This is especially important as we face the rise of AI tools such as ChatGPT, which potentially threaten traditional approaches to evaluating student performance.

In this roundtable discussion we bring together specialists who are presently involved in delivering DH courses for an open and productive conversation about this exciting moment in teaching. We hope to bring the audience into this discussion, and hear from the varied experiences of BRAIS attendees.


Navigating Power and Otherness: Identity, Exclusion and Gender (Room 219)

Chair: Sharaiz Chaudhry (University of Edinburgh)

Laura Sani (Ayaan Institute) Multicultural perspectives in a monocultural environment:  Female British Muslims navigating their religiosity in Bulgaria  

Enrico Maria la Forgia (University of Padua) Islam as a reaction to exclusion: the re-discovery of Muslim identity among Arab immigrants' descendants in Marseille  

Qudsia Mirza (University of East London) Partition, Justice and Abducted Women: Memorialisation in Pakistan  

Lujain Getlawi (University of Edinburgh) Navigating Libyan Isms: Libyan women, Secularism and Islamism 


Islamic Art & Architecture Across Time and Space (Room 110)

Chair: Hilary Kalmbach (University of Sussex)

Hamza El Fasiki (Craft Draft) The Tale of at-Tasṭīr—Moroccan Geometric Arts: Authenticity, Colonial Interference and Hybridity 

Azadeh Sarjoughian (University of Birmingham) A “local” view on exotic (un)veiled women's bodies in contemporary art from the Middle East 

Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem (Nottingham Trent University) The British Mosque: The conceptualisation of the authenticity, modernity and socio-spatial practices of mosque architecture 


Salafism, politics, and ‘authenticity’ across Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority contexts (Room 221)

Chair: Guy Eyre (Lancaster University/University of Edinburgh)

Iman Dawood (University of Cambridge) From “Salafi” to “Muslim”: The Politicization of British Salafism 

Guy Eyre (Lancaster University/University of Edinburgh) Salafism, authenticity, and national belonging in Morocco 

Azhar Majothi (University of Nottingham) The Return of the “Phantom” Wahhabi 

Alessandra Bonci (Laval University) Ilmi Salafi Women in Tunisia after the Revolution: What Kind of Quietism? 


18.00-19.00: Reception hosted by the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (Atrium)


18.30-19.30: Special Panel: Advice for Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers in Islamic Studies (ACR)

BRAIS is committed to supporting Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers as part of its focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Islamic Studies. In doing so, BRAIS aims to create an academic community that is both open and inclusive for those who are not yet established in their fields. We hope that this panel will be the beginning of many more initiatives to support the development of the next generation of scholars across the many sub-disciplines of Islamic studies.

Chair: Alyaa Ebbiary (Durham University/BRAIS EDI Officer)

Walaa Quisay (University of Edinburgh) Applying for postdoctoral fellowships

Sophie Gilliat-Ray (Cardiff University) Funding proposals and managing large research projects

Usaama Al-Azami (University of Oxford) Publishing as an Early Career Researcher

Louise Hutton (Edinburgh University Press) Advice from a Commissioning Editor


Day 2: Tuesday 16 May


10.00-11.30: Panel Session 4 


Islamic Law in Theory and Practice: Modern Challenges and Approaches (ACR)

Chair: Muhammad Mansur Ali (Cardiff University)

Arwa Abahussain (Cardiff University) The Hermeneutics of Khaled Abou El Fadl's Concept of Renewal 

Mariam Sheibani (Cambridge Muslim College) Licentiousness by Another Name? Secret Marriages Between Invalidity and Immorality 

Umar Shareef (Georgetown University) The Marriage Crisis in Egypt: Restricting Verbal Divorce to the Courts 

Yomna Helmy (University of Cambridge) Maqāṣid Discourse from Islamic Modernism to Theorising Authoritarianism 


Mosque architecture & the changing paradigms of design, culture and perception (Room 216)

Chair: Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem (Nottingham Trent University)

Majdi Faleh (Nottingham Trent University) This is Home Now: Contemporary British Mosques in Leicester, Manchester and Birmingham 

Noha Hussein (Nottingham Trent University) Rereading The Dome of The Rock’s Earliest Quranic Inscriptions in the light of the Objectives Theory 

Dijana Alic (University of new South Wales) Melbourne Grand Mosque: Building communities and faith 

Nourelhoda Mazen (Nottingham Trent University) A Theoretical Foundation of Ornamentation in Mosque Architecture: A Historical Enquiry of Terminologies 


Traditional Concepts, Contemporary Classrooms - Drawing from Islamic Educational Theory to meet the needs of young Muslims (Room 219)

Chair: Farah Ahmed (University of Cambridge)

Dina El Odessy (University of Oxford) and Farah Ahmed (University of Oxford) A systematic review of holistic Islamic education conceptual frameworks 

Safaruk Chowdhury (Cambridge Muslim College) Assembling a Holistic Conceptual Framework for Education in Muslim Contexts based on an Islamic Worldview 

Claire Alkouatli (Cambridge Muslim College) In Search of a Tawhid Methodology: Towards Constructing Paradigms for Islamic Educational Research 

Farah Ahmed (University of Cambridge) Facilitating international teacher-research exchange in Islamic educational contexts through an online platform 


Being Muslim in Britain: Personal and Institutional Responses (Room 220)

Chair: Shamim Miah (University of Huddersfield)

Sophie Gilliat-Ray (Cardiff University) The Sisters, the Imam, and his Wife: new perspectives on Muslim women in Britain 

Riyaz Timol (Cardiff University) British Imams between Institutionalisation and Autonomy: A Conceptual Typology of Roles 

Rabiha Hannan (University of Leeds) Muslim women, Islamic texts and Muslim discourses: The struggle for authenticity in the modern world 


The Multiplicity of Muslim Belief: Negotiating Sectarian and Ideological Differences (Room 221)

Chair: Usaama Al-Azami (University of Oxford)

Mashal Saif (Clemson University) Between a Textual Archive and Oral History: Pakistani Shi'a 'Ulama's views on Politics and Sectarianism 

Julia Katarina, (Islamic College of Advanced Studies) Arkan al-Islam: Pillar of Faith and Practice in Seven Denominations 

Zhicheng Ye (SOAS, University of London) The Imams and their legendary disciples: figures, lineage and interactions between early Sufis and Shiites 

Aseel Azab (Brown University) ‘Do what you can to keep the recitation of the Good Word Alive ’: Formation of Salafi Selves & Subjectivity in Contemporary Egypt 


11.30-12.00: Refreshments (Atrium)


12.00-13.30: Panel Session 5 


Towards Contemporary Theological Hadith and Sira Studies (ACR)

Chair: Besnik Sinani (Tübingen University)

Ruggero Vimercati Sanseverino (Tübingen University) The Hadith as transmitted testimony: Perspectives of a theological approach to hadith 

Besnik Sinani (Tübingen University) The Theology of the Modern Understandings of the Sira: Hadith Sources, Reform, Tradition and Postcoloniality 

Hossam Ouf (Tübingen University) Controversial Hadiths (mushkil al-ḥadīth) Revisited: The Hermeneutics of a Theological Understanding of Hadith 


The ‘Muslim Question’: Micropolitics of Normalizing Islam and Muslims (Room 219)

Chair: Alexander Henley (Institute of Ismaili Studies)

Matt Sheedy (University of Bonn) Six or Eleven Theses on ‘Islamic’ and ‘Christian’ Terrorism in America 

Martijn de Koning (Radboud University Nijmegen) Responsible Muslims and Normalizing Islam: Dutch Muslims and the Politics of Responsibility 

Alexander Henley (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Normalization through Religious Representation: A Lebanese Druze Response to the ‘Muslim Question’ 

Aaron Hughes (University of Rochester) Respondent


Intercultural Entanglements: Unstaged Muslim-Jewish Encounters in Europe (Part 1) (Room 216)

Chair: Alyaa Ebiarry (University of Durham)

Yulia Egorova (University of Durham) ’This is What I Like about This Religion’: Solidarity and Ethics in Inter-community Dialogue 

Arndt Emmerich (University of Heidelberg) In Search of Conviviality - Jewish-Muslim encounters in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel 

Sami Everett (University of Southampton/Parkes Institute) Curating commonality: the French Museum of Immigration exhibition on Jewish and Muslim migration from North Africa to France 

Ben Gidley (Birkbeck, University of London) Eating (with) the other? Muslims, Jews and shared food in urban Europe 


The Importance of the Word: Manuscripts and Literature in the Islamic Past and Present (Room 221)

Chair: Walid Ghali (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations)

David Vishanoff (University of Oklahoma) The Afterlife of an Ascetic Pseudo-Scripture: Methods and Motives for Mapping Complex Families of Manuscripts

Fozia Bora (University of Leeds) Beyond “genre”: literary variety and text preservation in Ibn Khallikān’s biographical dictionary

Gianluca Parolin (The Aga Khan University) From Fiqh Orthodoxy to Fictional Doxa: The Case for (Islamic) Law & Literature


The Path of the Mystic: Sufi Religious Thought (Room 220)

Chair: Saeko Yazaki (University of Glasgow)

Arief Arman (SOAS, University of London) When An Existentialist Meets a Sufi: Similarities and Differences of Existential and Religious Thought on Death 

Gavin Picken (Hamad Bin Khalifa University) Traversing the Nexus of the Physical and the Metaphysical:  Negotiating Travel and Travel Writing in Sufism 

Jonas Otterbeck (Aga Khan University/Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations) For the love of the beloved: The creative use of Sufi tropes by Peter Murphy 

Najam Abbas (Institute of Ismaili Studies) Rasikh’s Reflections on Mystic Metaphor of Jalaluddin Rumi 


13.30-14.30: Lunch (Room 110)


14.30-16.00: Panel Session 6 


Historical Debates in the Islamic Sciences: Developments and Refutations in Kalam and Hadith (ACR)

Chair: Omar Anchassi (University of Bern)

Usaama al-Azami (University of Oxford) Ibn Taymiyya, al-Dhahabi and the Attribution of al-Nasiha al-Dhahabiyya 

Tariq Mir (SOAS, University of London) Taftāzānī and Metaphysics After Rāzī: Developments in Kalām Metaphysics in the Post-Mongol Islamic East 

Belal Alabbas (Bristol University/Exeter University) Rationalising the Akhbār of the Imāms? Al-Ṭūsī (d. 460/1067) on the Theory of Twelver Hadith Criticism 

Ramon Harvey (Cambridge Muslim College) Exploring an Islamic “Theological Turn” in Husserlian Phenomenology 


Political Islam and the Nation State: Challenges, Responses and New Horizons (Room 220)

Chair: Sharaiz Chaudhry

Alina Alak (University of Vienna) Salafi-Jihadi Hermeneutics 

Kassim Alsraiha (University of Cambridge) New Social Contract in The Gulf States?: The Thought of Contemporary Reformist Islamic Intellectuals 

Jaan Islam (University of Edinburgh) Decolonial Jihadis? Jihadi-Salafism in Conversation with Critiques of Hegemony and the Modern State 

Hussain Muhammad (University of Erfurt) ʿUlama, Pakistan and Politics: Islamist hermeneutics 


Intercultural Entanglements: Unstaged Muslim-Jewish Encounters in Europe (Part 2) (Room 216)

Chair: Sami Everett (University of Southampton)

Alyaa Ebbiary (University of Durham) To address or to avoid? Israel-Palestine and Muslim-Jewish Relations in Manchester and beyond 

Dekel Peretz (University of Heidelberg) The Politics of Music: Jewish-Muslim musical cooperations in Berlin 

Elodie Druez (Sciences Politique Paris) Singing & dancing together: Jewish-Muslim Mediterranean commonalities 

Daniella Shaw (Birkbeck, University of London) Local Muslim-Jewish Encounters: Religious Spaces in the London Borough of Barnet 


Islam and Modernity: The Experience and Legacy of Colonialism in the Muslim World (Room 219)

Chair: Fozia Bora (University of Leeds)

Nia Deliana (International Islamic University of Indonesia) Global South Diplomacy: Coromandel Networks and Fluidity Between Sumatra and the Ottoman 

Ahmed Arfaoui (University of Erlangen–Nuremberg) Malek Bennabi´s View Of Religion 

Hafsa Kanjwal (Lafayette College) Islam, Solidarity and the Question of Kashmir

Diietrich Reetz (Freie Universität Berlin) Din wa Duniya – The binary of Religion and World in Muslim discourse in South Asia in its complex diversity


Shi’ism:  Preserving and Recovering Memory, Adapting to New Challenges (Room 221)

Chair: Adam Ramadhan (Al-Mahdi Institute)

Amina Inloes (The Islamic College) Astrology in Twelver Shīʿī Ḥadīth 

Imran Visram (University of Oxford) Sound recording technologies and the preservation of Indo-Ismaili Muslim gināns 

Akif Tahiiev (Max Planck Institute) Dynamic Ijtihad in Shiism 

Aslisho Qurboniev (AKU-ISMC) Tusi and his Ismaili writings: a reconsideration of the earliest revision of Akhlāq-i Nāṣirī – MS Punjab 1557 


16.00-16.30: Refreshments (Atrium)


16.30-18.00: Closing Keynote (ACR)


Professor Ousmane Kane (Harvard University) 

‘Decolonizing the Study of Islam in Africa’