Showcasing Islamic Studies in the UK

BRAIS was pleased to host its Inaugural Conference in Edinburgh on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th April 2014. See the programme below. Plans are now underway for the 2nd BRAIS conference, taking place in London in April 2015.

To view photos of the Inaugural Conference on Flickr, click HERE   

We encourage you to sign up as a Member, Associate Member or Student Member of BRAIS. Click HERE to sign-up as a member of BRAIS to receive a discount at the next Conference.

Conference Programme

Day 1: Thursday 10th April


SESSION 1: PLENARY (9.45 – 11.15)

Venue: Pentland Suite – Chair: Hugh Goddard

Formal opening by Professor Alvin Jackson and ‘Introducing the British Association for Islamic Studies’ by BRAIS Co-Chairs Dr Ayman Shihadeh and Dr Shuruq Naguib, with plenary lecture:

Prof Bruce Lawrence (Duke University): Rethinking Islamic Studies: Civilisational Moorings/Cosmopolitan Options



Panel 1: Theology

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Sophia Vasalou  

Abdullah Sliti (University of Durham) Ibn al-Qayyim’s Four-Fold Theodicy of Optimism

Ramon Harvey (SOAS, London) Theodicy and the Limits of the Possible: ?ikmah and Takw?n in M?tur?d? Thought

Omar Anchassi (Queen Mary, London) What has Athens to do with Mecca?  Fazlur Rahman and Falsafa

Gregor Schwarb (Free University of Berlin) The capability of voluntary action (al-isti??‘a) between Kal?m and Falsafa

Panel 2: Islam and Politics

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: David Taylor

Yahia Baiza (Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) Afghanistan: jihad, politics and education

Regina Chatruch Del Rio (University of Madrid) Theoretical Reflection on the Origin of Arab Secularism

Panel 3: Representation of Islam in Europe

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Jorgen Nielsen

Asmaa Soliman (University College London) Young Muslims in Germany and their Visibility in New Media – Emerging Counterpublics

Des Delaney (Dublin City University) Perceptions of Mis/Recognition: The Experience of Sunni Muslims in Dublin, Ireland

Nasar Meer (University of Northumbria) Semantics, scales and solidarities in the study of Islamophobia in Europe

Panel 4: Qur’anic Studies

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: Stephen Burge

Ahmad Achtar (Heythrop College, London) The role of majaz in theological discourse: Interpreting anthropomorphic verses in the Qur’an

Somia Qudah-Refai (University of Leeds) Toward A Universal Qur’anic Translation Quality Assessment Model

Shuruq Naguib (University of Lancaster) Rhetoric and Hermeneutics in the post-classical period  

Nuha al-Sha’ar (The American University of Sharjah) The Citation of the Qur’an and Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih’s al-‘Iqd al-Farid

Panel 5: Inter-Religious Relations in Islamic Thought

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Hugh Goddard

Bader Mousa Al-Saif  (Georgetown University) Christians and Jews in Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab’s Kitab al-Tawhid: A Reversal of the “Nearest in Amity” (Q 5:82) Principle?

Youshaa Patel (Lafayette College, Pennsylvania) The Social Imaginary of a 17th  century Sufi-Jurist: Najm al-Din al-Ghazzi on Jews, Christians and Others  



 Panel 1: Philosophy

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Judith Pfeiffer  

Roy Jackson (University of Gloucestershire) What is Islamic Philosophy?

Ayman Shihadeh (SOAS, London) A New Reading of al-Razi’s Commentary on Avicenna’s Pointers

Khairul  Anam (University of Exeter) Avicenna on the Possibility of Knowledge

Panel 2: Law and Ethics in Shari’ah

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: Shuruq Naguib

Omar Farahat (Columbia University) The Inner Morality of Shar?a: Arguments from Reasonableness in Early Islamic Jurisprudential Debates on God’s Commands

Panel 3: Identity and Integration In Muslim-Minority Societies

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Oliver Scharbrodt

Masoumeh Velayati (Al-Maktoum College,  Dundee) Formation of Religious Identity among Muslim Women in the UK

Mohammed Elshimi (University of Exeter) Identity, Citizenship, and Security: What is Deradicalisation?

Panel 4: Representations of Religion, Society and the Economy in Early Islamic Historical Writing

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: Andrew Marsham

Nicola Clarke (Newcastle University) “He lashed his mawl? with a whip, and shaved his head”: masculinity and hierarchy in early Andalus? chronicles

Hannah Hagemann (University of Edinburgh) “We do not seek the glory of this world”: al-?abar? on activist and quietist Kharijism during the caliphate of Mu‘?wiya b. Ab? Sufy?n

Andrew Marsham (University of  Edinburgh) ‘He made all the Muslims’ wealth that was pleasant … into something for his own glory’: accusations against the Umayyads in Ab? ?amza’s sermon (747 CE)

Ulrika Martennson (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) Social Contract and Written Law: The Rise of Islam and Weber’s Instrumental Rationality

Panel 5: Material Culture

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Omar Ali-de-Unzaga

Ian Heath (Independent research archaeologist)   So what can one object tell us? Museological processes, agency and the museum visitor   

Linda Monckton (English Heritage) Mosques in Britain: Architecture, Identity and Heritage

Jenny Wright (Subject Specialist Network for Islamic Art and Material Culture) Mapping Public Collections of Islamic Art and Material Culture Throughout the UK and Ireland. 



Panel 1: Acts of the Human (Philosophy and Theology)

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Ayman Shihadeh

Ahmed al-Wishah (Pitzer College, Los Angeles) Avicenna On Self-Cognition and Self-Awareness

David Bennett (University of Göttingen) The “non-act” in pre-Ash‘arite kal?m

Yasser Ahmed Qureshy (University of Cambridge) Al-Juwayn? on the Human Act

Jan Thiele (SOAS, London) Al-B?qill?n?’s teaching on human agency

Panel 2: Islamic Law: Legislation, Governance and Social Practice 

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: Anicée van Engeland

Rana Alsoufi (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg) Islamic Criminal Law and the Challenge of Modernity: reflection on the Muslim legal theory and contemporary discourse of human rights

Tahrat Shahid (University of Oxford) Sexual equality in family laws for Muslims in Bangladesh: A fear of change

Mirina Paananen (As-Suffa Institute, Birmingham) Face veiling: to what extent is the Niqab an Islamically-mandated practice?

Panel 3: New Trends in Research on Shi‘is in the UK

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Oliver Scharbrodt

Oliver Scharbrodt (University College, Cork) “Karbala in London” – Using a Spatial Methodology in Researching Sh’i Transnational Networks in London

Yafa Shanneik (University College, Cork) Shii Religious Rituals in London – The Role of Muhaddithat in Political and Migratory Discourses

Kathryn Spellman (Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations) Discourses of Difference – New Shii Spaces in the UK

Reza Gholami (Middlesex University) Non-Islamiosity within London’s Iranian Diaspora – Research Implications and Possibilities

Panel 4: Religious Thought

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: John Shepherd

Zohar Hadromi-Allouche (University of Aberdeen) The wheat and the barley: Feminine (in-)fertility in Eve and Adam narratives in Islam

Theodore Gabriel (University of Gloucestershire) The Concept of Resurrection in Islam: a comparative approach

Saeko Yazaki (University of Glasgow) Ethics and the self: a comparative analysis of the worship of the absolute in Sufism and the veneration of the imperfect in Japanese Zen

Panel 5: Global Muslim Identities

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Carool Kersten

Mark Gould (Haverford College, Philadelphia) Double Consciousness: Full Inclusion for the Muslim American!

Ahmed Fawaz (University of Aberdeen and Cairo University) Muslims in Russia: Between Integration and Resistance

Nazli Alimen (London College of Fashion) Faith and Consumption: The Menzil Community in Turkey

SESSION 5 (18.00 – 19.30)

Venue: Pentland Suite – Chair: Mona Siddiqui (University of Edinburgh)

Open Lecture: Mr Aaqil Ahmed (Head of Religion and Ethics, BBC):

“Why We Need Religious Programming”

Followed by a reception.

DAY 2: Friday 11th April 


Panel 1: Avicenna’s Thought and its Immediate Reception

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Laura Hassan

Fedor Benevich (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich) What is Essential for a Subject? Avicenna’s Theory of “Essential Accidents” as a Key to his Epistemology and Metaphysics.

Andreas Lammer (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich) Avicenna on the Presocratics and the Methodology in his Kit?b al-Šif?’

Eric van Lit (Utrecht University) Negative Reception of Avicenna: His Idea of Using the Imagination after Death

Panel 2: Violence, Muslim Women, Islamic Family Law

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: Mohammed Mesbahi

Nehad Khanfar (Islamic College, London) Critical analysis of the concept of “beating” wives based on understanding Qawama and Nushuz Verse

Ali Al-Hakim and Mohammed Mesbahi (Islamic College, London) Honor killing amongst Muslims: A holistic analysis, examining the Shari’ah Law standpoint

Mohammed Mesbahi and Islam Uddin (Islamic College, London) Muslim Family Law: The rights of the wife, in theory and in practice, according to religious texts, when facing violence

Isa Jahangir (Islamic College, London) Symbolic Violence in Family; an Islamic Perspective

 Panel 3: Islam in the UK: Local and Regional Studies 

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Hugh Goddard

Hugh Goddard (University of Edinburgh) Muslim communities in Scotland

Sevket Akyildiz (SOAS) Eastbourne’s seaside, bandstand and mosque!: the historical and social developments of a small mosque community in small town of England – Read by Hugh Goddard

Fayaz Alibhai (University of Edinburgh) Participating in the Public Sphere: Muslim Spaces of Gathering in Edinburgh, Scotland

Panel 4: Citations of the Qur’an in Islamic Literature

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: Shuruq Naguib

Omar Ali-de-Unzaga (Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) “Over it are nineteen” (Q. 74:30): Qur’anic Citations, Referentiality and Deixis: The case of the Ras?’il Ikhw?n al-?af?

Stephen Burge (Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) The Use of Qur’anic Citations in Medieval and Modern Tafs?r: A Case Study of the Verses on Fasting (Q. 2:183-185)

Panel 5: Education: Theory and Method

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Lisa Bernasek

Ibrahim Lawson (Institute of Eduction, London) Questioning builds a way: Heidegger, Islam and education

John Shepherd (University of Cumbria) Islam in Religious Studies: Teaching Islam Critically?     

Jakob Werdelin (Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies, Norwich) The Student-Centred Classroom & the Self-Centred Student           

Hossein Godazgar (Al-Maktoum College, Dundee) What does ‘Islamisation of education’ mean in the context of Iran?



Panel 1: The Later Avicennian Heritage in Kalam, Falsafa and Usul Al-Fiqh

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Andreas Lammer

Nora Kalbarczyk (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum) Some Aspects of Avicennian Philosophy of Language and its Adoption in Islamic Legal Theory (u??l al-fiqh)

Laura Hassan (SOAS) Sayf al-D?n al-?mid?’s Reception of Avicenna in his Discussion of the Creation Debate in al-N?r al-b?hir f? l-?ikam al-zaw?hir

Sumeyye Parildar (University of Exeter) How Avicennian is Mulla ?adr??

Panel 2: Islam in the UK: Community Experiences 

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: Ali Bhojani

Bill Gent (University of Warwick) The role & life-experiences of huffaz within the British Muslim community                 

Aydin Bayram (Istanbul University) The perception of religious authority among young Sunni British Muslims in Britain

Yahya Barry (University of Edinburgh) Islam: From Implication in Sex Grooming to Inspiration of EDL Identity

Nasreen Mansoor (University of Manchester) The Concept of Honour and Shame for South Asian British Muslim Men and Women  

Panel 3: Global Politics, Representation and Everyday Scottish Muslim Experiences (organised by the Muslims in Britain Research Network) 

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Sean McLoughlin

Gurchathen Sanghera (St Andrews) and Rowena Arshad (Edinburgh) The Everyday Geopolitics of young Muslims in Scotland: Challenges, Opportunities and Transformations

Stefano Bonino (University of Durham) Surviving the Crisis and Resisting the Stigma: The Emergence of a Muslim Consciousness in Post-9/11 Scotland

Michael Munnik (University of Edinburgh) From voice to voices: identifying a plurality of Muslim sources in the British news media

Panel 4:  Islamic Finance

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: Jonathan Ercanbrack

Zehra Betul Ustaoglu (SOAS, London) Cash Waqfs system of the Ottomon Empire as a root of the early Islamic Banking System

Nehad Khanfar and Ahmad Bawab (Islamic College, London) An Overview of the model of Islamic bonds (Sukuk) issued in the U.K

Panel 5: Education II: Practice

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Hossein Godazgar

Farid Panjwani (Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education, Institute of Education, London) Faith schools and religious diversity: The case of Muslim schools - read by Mike Diboll.

Nader Al-Refai (Yarmouk University, Jordan) Reforming Islamic Education in Britain: A Study of Six Muslim Secondary Schools

Iqtidar Cheema (City Hasanat College, Birmingham) Developing and Managing Academic Collaborative Partnerships for Islamic Studies in Quality Context       

Khurshid Sana (Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Afghanistan) The School Education System, Medium of Instruction and Dimensions of Power Politics in Pakistan

12.30 – 13.00: Business meeting for BRAIS (including election of committee) Venue: Pentland East



Panel 1: Ibn Taimiyya’s Theology and its Reception

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Ayman Shihadeh

Sophia Vasalou (Oxford Brookes University) Ibn Taymiyya’s uses of fi?ra in context

Jon Hoover (University of Nottingham) Ibn Taymiyya’s refutation of Fakhr al-D?n al-R?z? on God’s relation to body and space

Mustapha Sheikh (University of Leeds) Taimiyyan Influences in an Ottoman-Hanafi Milieu: the case of Ahmad al-Rumi al-Aqhisari

Panel 2: Challenges for Islamic Law in the 21st Century

Venue: Pentland West – Chairs: Carool Kersten and Anicée van Engeland

Carool Kersten (King’s College, London) Masqasid Al-Sharia’h: The travel of an idea through space and time 

Anicée van Engeland (SOAS, London) Shii Islamic Law at a crossroads

Jonathan Ercanbrack (SOAS, London) Breaking Ranks with the Sharia’h: The transformation of Islamic Law in global finance markets

Panel 3: Islam in UK Institutions/Organisations and Everyday Muslim Religious Lives (organised by the Muslims in Britain Research Network)

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Sean McLoughlin

Tania Saeed (University of Oxford) Beyond the ‘vulnerable’: Islamic societies and Muslim student activism in English universities

Anna Piela (Leeds Trinity University) For the love of God: British niqabis’ religious and social identities

Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (University of Derby) Young Muslims, Islam and Modern Britain – Hyphenated British-Muslim Identities

Carl Morris (Leeds Trinity University) Young Muslims, Music and Cultural Change in Contemporary Britain

Panel 4: Islam in Africa             

Venue: Salisbury –  Chair: Iqtidar Cheema

Kelechi Chinemerem Mezieobi (University of Derby) Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future in Nigeria

Salahudeen Yusef (Federal College of Education, Kano) Politics and religion: Negotiation for Islamic values under liberal democracy in Nigeria 2003-2011

Panel 5: Art and Calligraphy

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: David Taylor

Francesco Stermotich-Cappellari (University of Edinburgh) Fractures and continuity: contemporary Islamic calligraphy

Richard McClary (University of Edinburgh) The Power of the Word: Monumental Epigraphy on the Architecture of Medieval Anatolia    



Panel 1: Religious Thought

Venue: Pentland East – Chair: Andrew Marsham

Yasmin Amin (University of Exeter) Blasphemy, Quranophilia or Simply Intimacy? An analysis of the motives behind use/abuse of the Qur’an in Jocular Literature

George Warner (SOAS, London) Aesthetics, Authenticity and Eclecticism in Early Twelver Sh?‘? ?ad?th   

Su I-Wen (University of Edinburgh) Writing history under patronage: the Ans?b al-ashr?f and al-Bal?dhur?’s ninth-century audience  


Panel 2: Strategies of Authority, Legitimation and Power in Islam (Panel organised by British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) 

Venue: Pentland West – Chair: Hilary Kalmbach

Lloyd Ridgeon (University of Glasgow)   The thought of Imam Khomeini and the legitimisation of velayat-e faqih through mysticism

Hilary Kalmbach (University of Sussex)   Blurring boundaries:  Aesthetics and the radical reform in Islamic leadership in Egypt from the 1930s

Vincent Durac (University College Dublin)  Islamism, Democracy, and Human Rights:  The Case of Yemen’s Islah Party

Panel 3: Islam in UK Institutions/Organisations and Everyday Muslim Religious Lives (PechaKucha session organised by the Muslims in Britain Research Network)

Venue: Prestonfield – Chair: Sean McLoughlin

Abdul-Azim Ahmed (Cardiff University) The Everyday at a Mosque

Sartini Wardiwiyono (Huddersfield Business School) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Islam: A Case Study in a UK Halal Shop

Matthew Vince (University of Exeter) Expressing Islam within a Christian-centric education system: lessons from a young British Muslim RE teacher.

Shamim Miah (University of Huddersfield) Muslims, Asabiyya and the Question of Integration

Khadijah Elshayyal (Royal Holloway, London) British Muslim perspectives on freedom of speech: a trajectory

Riyaz Timol (Cardiff University) Religious Travel and British Muslim Identities: Researcher Reflexivity, Preaching and Tablighi Jama’at Activists

Sean McLoughlin (University of Leeds) Mapping Hajj Tour Operators in the UK

Panel 4: Classical Legal Theory

Venue: Salisbury – Chair: Jon Hoover

Rami Koujah (University of Oxford) Islamic Legal Maxims and the Ontology of Ma?la?a in the Legal Philosophy of al-‘Izz b. ‘Abd al-Sal?m

Kamaluddin Ahmed (Free University of Berlin) Fiqh between Hadith and Ra`y: the Shar? ma‘?n? al-?th?r of Ab? Ja‘far A?mad ibn Mu?ammad al-?a??w? (239/853 – 321/933)

Panel 5: Contemporary Muslim Practice

Venue: Holyrood – Chair: Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor

Emy A-Jalil (University of Hull) Halal Compliance within Food Logistics (UK perspective)

Mansur Ali (Cardiff University) More Than Bosom Friends: British Muslims and Milk Banks

Sohaib Saeed (SOAS, London) Fiqh al-Jih?d and Responding to Violent Interpretations of the Qur’?n