Muslim Scholars

Ahmet Alibasic
Ahmet Alibasic is assistant professor in the Faculty of Islamic Studies, University of Sarejevo, where he teaches “Introduction to the Study of Islamic Civilization”, “Survey of Islamic History”, and “Genocide Studies”. His doctorate, completed at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Sarajevo, focused on Islamic opposition in the Arab world. He is the director of the Center for Advanced Studies, Sarajevo, a senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, and chairman of Gazi Husrev Bey Library. He is one of the editors of Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (2009–2013) and Journal of Muslims in Europe. From 2003 to 2007 he served as deputy president of the Association of Islamic Scholars in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Vincent J. Cornell
Vincent J. Cornell is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Middle East and Islamic Studies and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. From 2000-2006, he was Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas. From 1991-2000, he taught at Duke University. His published works include over 40 articles, three books, and one book set, including The Way of Abu Madyan (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996) and Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1998). His most recent publication is the five-volume set Voices of Islam, Vincent J. Cornell General Editor (Westport, Connecticut and London: Praeger, 2007). His academic interests cover the entire spectrum of Islamic thought from Sufism to theology and Islamic law. He is currently finishing The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Islamic Spirituality with Bruce Lawrence of Duke University. He has often appeared on television and radio, including interviews on the National Public Radio show, “Speaking of Faith.” From 2002-2012 he was a key participant in the Building Bridges seminars of Christian and Muslim scholars conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Jamal Elias
Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies at Penn State University, Jamal J. Elias teaches courses on Islamic thought, culture and history, with a focus on Sufism, Islamic and modernity, as well as visual and material culture in the Middle East and South Asia. A recipient of many grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council (among others), he has lectured and published broadly on history, religion, literature and material and visual culture in the medieval and modern Islamic world. His two most recent books are On Wings of Diesel: Trucks, Identity and Culture in Pakistan (Oxford 2011) and Aisha’s Cushion: Religious Art, Perception and Practice in Islam (Cambridge, MA, 2012).
Eric Geoffroy
Éric Geoffroy is a scholar, translator, educator, and writer who is Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Strasbourg, France. He also teaches at the Open University of Catalonia, at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), and at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (Paris). Dr. Geoffroy specializes in Islam and its mystical dimension, Sufism, often focusing on aspects of sainthood. Among others areas, his research also extends to comparative mysticism, and to issues of spirituality in the contemporary world (e.g. spirituality and globalization; spirituality and ecology, etc.). In addition, he is a member of an international research group on Science and Religion in Islam, through the Université Interdisciplinaire of Paris.
Timothy Gianotti
Prof. Timothy Gianotti is an associate professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies at Renison University College, University of Waterloo (Canada). His publications include Al-Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul, a study of controversies surrounding the soul and the afterlife in medieval Islam, and In the Light of a Blessed Tree: Illuminations of Islamic Belief, Practice, and History, an experientially textured introduction to Islamic belief, practice, and history. His current work focuses on moral theology and spiritual formation within traditional Islamic frameworks, and he is a strong advocate for spiritual education both within and beyond the Muslim community.
Chirzin Habib
Director of the Center for Peace and Human Security Studies, HAMKA University, Jakarta, Indonesia, Habib was the founder and the president of Forum on Peace and Development Ethics Studies, Indonesia, in 1982. He received the Ambassador for Peace from Universal Peace Federation in Seoul, Korea, 2003. His priorities are Civil Society, Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Education, Gender, Human Rights, Humanitarian Relief, Security.
Akbar Hyder
Syed Akbar Hyder is HUF’s Associate Director and Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Islamic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. His primary research interests lie in South Asian aesthetics, particularly those related to Urdu literature and mystical Muslim traditions. His first book, Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory, underscores the complexity that religious symbols carry in varying contexts. Hyder reveals multiple and often conflicting interpretations of the Karbala story, and investigates the varying ways in which the story is used for personal and communal identity in South Asia. His second book, A’iye Urdu Parhen: Let’s Study Urdu, was co-authored with Ali Asani, Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard. This textbook for beginning Urdu students has received significant acclaim as an effective and authoritative tool for teaching Urdu.
Marcia Hermansen
Dr. Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago where she teaches courses in Islamic Studies and the academic study of religion. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In the course of her research and language training she lived for extended periods in Egypt, Jordan, India, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan and she conducts research in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu as well as the major European languages.
Her books include Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians(forthcoming), Shah Wali Allah’s Treatises on Islamic Law (Fons Vitae 2010) andThe Conclusive Argument from God, a study and translation (from Arabic) of Shah Wali Allah of Delhi’s, Hujjat Allah al-Baligha (Brill 1996). She was an associate editor of the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2003). Dr. Hermansen has also contributed numerous academic articles in the fields of Islamic Thought, Sufism, Islam and Muslims in South Asia, Muslims in America, and Women in Islam.
Muzaffar Iqbal
Muzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islam and Science (, Canada, and editor of Islam & Science, a semi-annual journal of Islamic perspectives on science and civilization. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1983), and then left the field of experimental science to fully devote himself to study Islam, its spiritual, intellectual and scientific traditions. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, he has lived in Canada since 1979. He has held academic and research positions at University of Saskatchewan (1979-1984), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-85), and McGill University (1986). During 1990-1999, he pursued his research and study on various aspects of Islam in Pakistan, where he also worked as Director, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) between 1991-96 and as Director, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1998-99). During 1999-2001, Dr. Iqbal was Program Director (Muslim World) for the Science-Religion Course Program of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), Berkeley, USA. Dr. Iqbal has written, translated, and edited twenty-one books and published nearly one hundred papers on various aspects of Islam, its spiritual and intellectual traditions and on the relationship between Islam and science, Islam and the West, the contemporary situation of Muslims, and the history of Islamic science. He is the General Editor of the forthcoming seven-volume Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, the first English-language reference work on the Qur’an based on fourteen centuries of Muslim reflection and scholarship. He is also the Series Editor for Ashgate publication’s Islam and Science: Historic and Contemporary Perspectives (2012), dealing with various aspects of the relationship between Islam and science.
Mr. Ahmed Jalali
President of the General Conference of UNESCO; from 2014, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate of the Islamic Republic of Iran to UNESCO. H.E. Mr. Ahmad Jalali previously served as Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Islamic Republic of Iran to UNESCO from 1997 to 2007. In 2001 he was elected President of the 31st General Conference of UNESCO; from 2003 to 2004 he was President of the General Assembly of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention; and he has been a member of the Council of the United Nations University since 2001. He has held various diplomatic and university posts in Iran and other countries. During recent years he has been very much involved in promoting dialogue among cultures and civilizations, a field in which he has published various articles.
Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani
Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani: A prominent scholar of mainstream, traditional Islam, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani has spent his life spreading the teachings of peace, tolerance, respect and love that are the message of Islam throughout the world. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, the Chairman of American Muslim Assistance relief organization, the Founder of Kamilat, an international Muslim women’s organization, the Chairman of the As-Sunnah Foundation of America, and the Founder and President of Muslim Magazine, a top-rated, moderate, English-language Islamic news magazine.
Mohammed Kagee
Mohammad Kagee is a member of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative and involved with Interfaith outreach with the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. The Initiative began in the late 70’s by religious leaders, but the need for conversation has increased amid the crime and violence which has grown since the end of apartheid in 1994.According to Kagee, Muslims felt alienated by secular society post-apartheid, while previously found comfort in the strict Calvinist doctrines of the Reformed Church.Kagee notes, “religious apartheid still exists… legally it was eliminated, but not on a personal level.”Therefore hisorganization’s work is needed to stand up to “media propagated hate speeches” which result in a “backlash against people from non-majority faiths.”While Western institutions viewed with suspicion, according to Kagee, “the religious community plays an important role in diffusing the situation”.
Sheikh Abdelsalam Manasra
Sheikh Abdel Salam Manasra of Nazareth, Secretary General of the High Suffi Council in the Holy Land, has been involved in interfaith dialogue since 1987.
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr is Muslim theologian, leader of a Sufi community and one of the most prominent Islamic scholars worldwide, who teaches at George Washington University.
Qadi Muhammad Abu Obied
Qadi Muhammad Abu Obied is the Qadi of Baka al-Gharbiyye, one of nine Israeli Sharia` courts. Previously he served as Qadi (judge) in Nazarteh. He earned a law degree at Essex University (U.K.) and a B.A. in Sharia law at the al-Qasemi Academy in nearby Umm el Fahm. Abu-Obied worked for 8 years as a lawyer and directed the Al-Mizan human rights organization for 4 years. Currently he lectures in continuing education courses for the Israel Bar Association and at Tel Aviv University in the field of Islamic trusts (awqaf). Qadi Abu-Obied was the senior Muslim representative who greeted Pope Bendict XVI when he visited Nazareth in 2009.
Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Palazzi was born in Rome, Italy to an Italian Catholic father who converted to Islam and a Muslim mother of Syrian descent. After completing his secular and religious education in Rome and Cairo in 1987, he served as an Imam for the Italian Islamic Community. In addition to numerous master’s degrees, Palazzi holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences from the Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Naples. He was appointed a member of the board of directors of the Italian Muslim Association in 1989, and is now the secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly Since 1991, he is a director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, with a program based on the development of Islamic education in Italy, refutation of fundamentalism andfanaticism, and deep involvement in inter-religious dialogue, especially with Jews and Christians, but also with Buddhists and others. In 1997, Palazzi joined the International Council of the Root and Branch Association and his essay entitled “The Jewish-Moslem Dialogue and the Question of Jerusalem” was published by the Institute of the World Jewish Congress. He has also been a lecturer in the Department of the History of Religion at the Università della Terza Età in Velletri, nearRome. In 1998, Palazzi and Asher Eder (Jerusalem) co-founded the Islam-Israel Fellowship, promoting a positive Muslim attitude towards Jews and Israel based on what Palazzi believes are the authentic teachings of Muhammad as expressed in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Palazzi serves as Muslim co-chairman of the Fellowship.
Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at the Oxford University (Oriental Institute, St Antony’s College) and also teaches at the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He is Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, (Qatar) and the University of Malaysia Perlis; Senior Research Fellow at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and Director of the Research Centre of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) (Doha, Qatar).
He holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Geneva. In Cairo, Egypt he received one-on-one intensive training in classic Islamic scholarship from Al-Azhar University scholars (ijazat in seven disciplines). Through his writings and lectures Tariq has contributed to the debate on the issues of Muslims in the West and Islamic revival in the Muslim world. He is active at academic and grassroots levels lecturing extensively throughout the world on theology, ethics, social justice, ecology and interfaith as well intercultural dialogue. He is President of the European think tank: European Muslim Network (EMN) in Brussels.
He is a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
Feisal Abdul Rauf is a Kuwaiti American Sufi imam, author, and activist whose stated goal is to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West. From 1983 to 2009, he served as Imam of Masjid al-Farah, amosque in New York City.
He has written three books on Islam and its place in contemporary Western society, including What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, and founded two non-profit organizations whose stated missions are to enhance the discourse on Islam in society.
Abdul Aziz Satchedina
Mohammed Taleb
Algerian philosopher, Mohammed Taleb teaches ecopsychology at the Academy for Social Education in Lausanne. He has the environmental education training (University of Quebec in Montreal), and chairs the association of philosophy “Universal singular.” For many years, he worked on the interactions between ecology, spirituality, metaphysics, social criticism, intercultural dialogue and new scientific paradigms. It lies within the philosophical perspectives opened by Karl Marx, Alfred North Whitehead, Carl Gustav Jung, Gilbert Durand, Edward Said or James Hillman. His personal approach is based on the neo-Platonic conception of nature and the sacred, and in particular the forms it has taken in the Arab-Muslim tradition and the German Romantic idealism. He has published Living Nature and Soul pacified (Arma Artis, 2014) and Ecology for South (The Blood of the Earth, 2014), and directed Sciences and Archetypes. Philosophical Fragments for a re-enchantment of the world. Tribute to Professor Gilbert Durand (2002 Dervy). He also participated in several collective books on Alfred North Whitehead, on dialogue Islam / Buddhism, theology of liberation. Mohammed Taleb is a regular contributor of the World Religions.
Muhammad Suheyl Umar
M. S. Umar received his classical (school) education at Central Model School, Lahore, Forman Christian College, Lahore, Govt. College, Lahore, BA (English, Philosophy) Govt. College, Lahore, MA (English); along with acquiring Arabic, Persian and traditional Islamic Sciences (Arabic, Persian, Tajwid and Hifz). Further studies included M. Phil. (Iqbal Studies), Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad and Ph.D. Department of Philosophy. Punjab University Lahore. Topic: Ibn ‘Arabi and Iqbal – Comparative Study of Key Philosophic Concepts. Since 1984 he has worked with the Iqbal Academy Pakistan, a government research institution for the works and teachings of Iqbal, the poet Philosopher of Pakistan, first as Deputy Director and then as Director of the Academy. He also worked as the Academic Director, Institute of Islamic Culture, Chief Editor, Al-Ma‘arif and later on as Visiting Scholar to International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is the Founder-Editor of Riwayat, intellectual journal of Urdu Language, Editor, Iqbal Review; Quarterly Journal, published alternately in Urdu and English (with occasional issues in Persian, Arabic and Turkish) devoted to the study of the works and teachings of Iqbal as well as to Islamic Studies, Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Literature, History, Arts and Sociology. Its Persian, Arabic and Turkish issues were planned and inaugurated by him. He also edited Studies in Tradition, Quarterly Journal devoted to traditional studies on Metaphysics, Philosophy, Literature, Art and Science. Well versed in Urdu, English, Arabic, and Persian, he has contributed a number of articles on Islamic and literary themes to the reputed academic journals apart from publishing works in English, Urdu and Persian on Iqbal, Islamic Studies, literature and Sufism.
Abdurrahman Wahid (deceased)
Abdurrahman Wahid, born Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil, colloquially known as Gus Dur, was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001.
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