The Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI)


Director: Professor Sajjad Rizvi

The Centre for the Study of Islam, based in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, brings together the core teaching staff in Islamic Studies, other staff who have an interest in Islamic culture and civilisation, and all interested postgraduate students (at MA and PhD level).

We sponsor visiting speakers in Islamic Studies, hold regular workshops and conferences, and convene the CSI Lunchtime Seminar (which takes place on Wednesdays alternate weeks during term time).  All are welcome to our events, and to join the mailing list, you should email Ms Sarah Wood . At our lunchtime seminars, we regularly hold Arabic text reading sessions.  Text session attendees should be aware that competence in reading classical Arabic and Islamic texts in Arabic is assumed; attendees receive a copy of the Arabic text one week in advance of the class (by pdf email attachment) and are expected to have read the text before attending.



Professor Sajjad Rizvi

(Specialisms: Islamic philosophy and theology, Quranic exegesis, Shīʿī thought and theories of authority in Shīʿī Islam)

Islamic Studies teaching staff

Dr Mustafa Baig

(Specialisms: Islamic Law, Muslims living in non-Muslim contexts)

Professor Robert Gleave 
(Specialisms: Islamic law and legal theory, Shīʿī jurisprudence and exegesis, violence and its justification in Islamic thought)

Dr Istvan Kristo-Nagy

(Specialisms: late antiquity and early Islam, the role of the intellectual in Islamic civilisation, violence and heresy in early Islam) 

Professor Bruce Lawrence - Al-Qasimi Visiting Professor in Islamic Studies 

(Specialisms: Translation and interpretation of the Qur’an, Islam in South Asia, Muslim belief and practice)

Professor Emeritus Ian Netton

(Specialisms: history of Islamic philosophy and theology, ritual and Muslim practice, literature, orientalism and Islam)

Dr Emily Selove

(Specialisms: Medieval Arabic Literature, Magic in Medieval Islamic  Culture, Medieval Arabic medical texts)

Dr Suha Taji-Farouki

(Specialisms: Modern Islamic thought, political Islam and modern Muslim movements, Islamic mysticism in contemporary Islam)

Research Fellows

Dr Paul Gledhill

(Law and Learning in Imami Shiite Islam research fellow project; specialisms: early Islamic law and the formation of the law schools)

Dr Sejad Mekic 

(Specialisms: Islamic law and jurisprudence, fatwas ands their interpretation in the odern period, Islamic law in the Balkans)

Dr Davide Pettinato 

(Specialisms: Islamic charities in the Europe, NGOs and International Development in the Muslim World, Islamic perspectives on Climate Change)

Visiting Fellows

Dr Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

(Specialisms: Islamic mysticism, Sufism, religion and modernity, comparative mysticism, Persian literature)

Research projects

Current research projects

The CSI brings together existing research projects including:

  • Understanding Shari'a: Past Perfect/Imperfect Present ( - This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 649307. Postdoctoral research fellow: Dr Sejad Mekic.

  • Law and Learning in Imami Shi'ite Islam (LAWALISI) - A 5 year project funded by the European Research Council. Postdoctoral research fellow: Dr Paul Gledhill.

  • Islam and water management in a changing climate: building ‘faith-based evidence’ – a six-month project, funded by the GCRF Facilitation Fund, examining religious engagement with climate change in the Muslim world, with a focus on Tunisia, and in collaboration with Institut des Régions Arides (Tunis) and the Centre for Water Systems (Exeter). Postdoctoral research fellow:  Dr Davide Pettinato

Past research projects

Events and activities

All are welcome to attend any of the events. If you have any questions contact the Centre’s Director: Associate Professor Sajjad Rizvi

Events for the summer term 2019 


Monday 23rd April 2019: Understanding Shari’a project workshop:  Marriage and Divorce in Modern Islamic Law:  A half-day workshop, with contributions from Dr Sejad Mekic (outgoing USPPIP fellow) and Dr Nijmi Edres (current USPPIP visiting fellow).


Thursday 16th May 2019: Lunchtime Seminar: Ramadan Issues: Mustafa Baig and Rob Gleave look at a legal issue of the Ramadan fast through the texts of the various Muslim schools of law.

Venue and time: IAIS Building Seminar Room 1 @ 12.30 – 1.30


Thursday 23rd May 2019: Lunchtime Seminar Papers: Two papers from CSI doctoral students: Mr Mohammad-Payam “Qiyās upon Qiyās: al-Shāfiʿī’s analogical arguments for analogy and their reception” and Mr Alex Khaleeli “Re-evaluating the state of Twelver Shi'ism in pre-Safavid Iran - the case of Ibn al-Makki (k. 1384) and the Sarbadars”

Venue and time: IAIS Building Seminar Room 2 @ 12.30 – 1.30


PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE: originally scheduled for 6th June

Tuesday 11th June 2019:  Lunchtime Seminar Arabic Texts Session led by Kumail Rajani

Venue and time: IAIS Building Seminar Room 1 @ 12.30 – 1.30


Monday 10th June 2019: CSI visiting scholar workshop: New Directions in Islamic Thought in Modern Iran with research presentations and a lecture from our visiting scholar Professor Katajun Amirpur (University of Cologne).

Venue and time: IAIS Building Lecture Theatre 1 @ 1.30 – 5.30


PLEASE NOTE DATES NOW TBC: originally scheduled for 27th & 28th June

Workshop: Muslims, Sustainable Development  and Climate Change: Rob Gleave, Davide Pettinato and partner researchers from Tunisia present research on how Muslim ethical perspectives can be employed in promoting action against climate change.

Venue and time: IAIS Building Lecture Theatre 1: Full programme and times to be confirmed


Thursday 11th July – Friday 12th July 2019: Menstruation/Menopause in Islamic Legal Cultures: 2 day workshop with Dr Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University), Robert Gleave (Exeter) and an interdisciplinary, international programme of research presentations

Venue and time: Knightley: Full programme and times to be confirmed


An archive of past events can be found here.

Postgraduate research

Academic staff within CSI supervise doctoral students with a diverse range of current research topics. If you are interested in applying for a place on our programme please see our members' specialisms.

Master of Arts Programmes

MA in Middle East Studies

Master of Research Programme

MRes in Humanities (Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies)