Dr Tajul Islam


I have a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies (University of Leeds) and a PhD in Islamic Theology from the University of Exeter. I am also a theologian having studied in traditional madrasahs/ulama across the Muslim world including (Mauritania, Egypt and Pakistan) and licences (ijazahs) from numerous channels (dars-i-nizami – mahadir shinquit, al-azhar, sham, sudan and others). I have been a member of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Leeds since 2009, and I hold a visiting position at the University of the Punjab in Lahore. 

My work combines both critical methodologies and traditional Islamic textual hermeneutics in a fusion which centres Islamic sensibilites and Muslim subjectivity. As co-founder of Critical Muslim Studies at Leeds, I also deploy CMS as a framework in teaching and research. This forms my contribution to decolonising higher education. My teaching approach is distinguished for its inclusive approach and sensitivity to the concerns of Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism in knowledge production.

My research outputs include a monograph titled On Muslim Unity (Theological Minimalism), a well cited co-authored article on Hanafi fiqh, and British Muslims and cultured meat and also an article on Qur’anic phonetics. I have contributed to Judeo-Islamic, biblical and kalam studies.



A Dictionary of Arabic Idioms and Expressions. Co-authored with El Mustapha Lahlali. Forthcoming, Edinburgh University Press, 2023. 

On Muslim Unity. Forthcoming, I.B. Tauris.

Doctoral Thesis 

Scholastic Traditional Minimalism: A Critical Analysis of Intra-Sunni Sectarian Polemics. University of Exeter, 2015.

International peer-reviewed journal articles

Papers in progress

  • T.Islam, ‘The Zanj and the Decolonial Imagination’, co-authored with M. Sheikh (forthcoming).

Encyclopaedia entries

Ibn Mujahid for the I.B. Tauris Biographical Dictionary of Islamic Civilisation. Edited by Mustafa Shah.

The Bible and Violence: Islamophobic deployment of Biblical verses. The Shiloh Project. Co-editor Johanna  Steibert.

Conferences, symposia and public talks

  • 26 November 2022: 'Epistemology of Racism: Reification of Prejudice'. Talk for Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Council of Mosques.
  • 7 June 2021: ‘Cross Madhhab Fatwa borrowing: The Deoband Seminary’s stance on Talfiq’. Paper presentation for the University of Exeter.
  • 28 Frebruary 2021: ‘Islamicate Afro-Futurism: Fulani, Zangistani and decolonial imaginations’. Paper for the Iqbal Centre Annual Lecture.
  • 23 January 2020: ‘The Principles of Ijtihad, Islah and Tajdid in Islam’. Paper for the Islamic Renaissance Front, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
  • 24 January 2020: ‘Islam and Reform in the Contemporary Age’. Paper for the Islamic Renaissance Front, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
  • 15 November 2019: ‘The Madrasa and the University: Building a Sustainable Future’. Lecture delivered with Dr Mustapha Sheikh for the Faculty of Islamic Studies and the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Punjab, Lahore.
  • 13 November 2019: Paper presentation at the International Conference on Religion and Society, University of Punjab, Lahore. This conference was organised in collaboration with the University of Leeds.
  • 13 November 2019: ‘Tackling Islamophobia: cross border and cross-cultural strategies, opportunities and challenges’. Panel member, University of Punjab, Lahore.
  • 7 July 2019: ‘The Zanj and the Decolonial Imagination’. Paper presentation on joint panel with Dr Mustapha Sheikh (University of Leeds) and Professor Hatem Bazian (University of Berkley California), Palestine Expo 2019, Olympia London. 
  • 26 June 2019: ‘Theological Ecumenism in Pan-Islamist movements: a Critical Muslim Studies approach ’. Paper presentation at BRISMES 2019 conference, ‘Joining the Dots: Interdisciplinarity in Middle Easter Studies’, University of Leeds.
  • 31 January 2019: ‘On the liberation theology of Hasan al-Banna’. Paper presentation at the Percorsi di Resistenza in Medio Oriento e Nord Africa/Paths of Resistance in the Middle East and North Africa conference, XIV Convegno SeSaMO, Torino.
  • 18 October 2017: ‘A Theology of Tolerance: Amimul Ehsan’s Ecumenism’. Talk given at the public event, 'A Theology of Tolerance: Amimul Ehsan's Ecumenism', University of Leeds. 
  • 20 March 2017: 'Bilal and the Formation of the Early Islamicate'. Black History Month, University of Leeds.
  • 6 Dec 2016 – Apr 2017: 'Schooling Islam: Criticality, Identity, Change'. Sadler Seminars series, co-convened with Dr M. Sheikh. 
  • 19 November 2016: 'Canon to Critique: The Future of Islamic Education', Being Human Festival 2016 event delivered with Dr M. Sheikh at the Bait ul Aman Mosque, Bradford.




  • Co-Director Iqbal Centre for Critical Muslim Studies
  • Visiting Scholar University of Punjab

Research interests

My major research intrests are in Islamic Theology (kalam, sectarianism, sunni, shiah, sufi, salafi), Arabic Poetry (‘urud and translation) Qur'anic Studies/ (exegesis, linguistics, translation), Hadith Studies, Islamic Law (branches, principles, maqasid, fatawa), Islamic Philosophy, Islamism (political science, ethno-nationalism), Islamophobia/Antisemitism/Racism, Genocide Studies (Srebrencia, Holocaust), Biblical Studies (Ahl al-Kitab, Judaeo-Islamic heritage), Madrasa studies (matn historiography).

To learn more about my research activities, visit the Iqbal Centre for Critical Muslim Studies 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA Arabic and Islamic Studies (The University of Leeds))
  • Phd in Arab and Islamic Studies (University of Exeter)

Professional memberships

  • Co-founder of the Iqbal Centre for Critical Muslim Studies
  • Visiting Scholar for the University of the Punjab

Student education


Islamic Theology (kalam)

Qur’anic Studies

Hadith Studies

Global Jihad

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise PhD research in all areas of Islamic Studies. I am currently supervising the following doctoral projects:

  • Mohammed Ali Rizvi (UK): 'The Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan and the Barelwi Movement'.
  • Rushna Ali-Sadler (UK): ‘Birth and belonging in this sceptre'd isle: How free are free choices in (re)formulating identity for young Muslim women in London's East End?’
  • Mahboob Hussain (UK): ‘Jewish anecdotes in Qur'anic exegesis’.
  • Abedal-Mutaleb al-Zuweiri (KSA): Teaching metaphors in second language context perceptions of Arabic language teachers in the UK
  • Amani Abulwardi (KSA): Threshold concepts in translation education: Identifying troublesome areas for Saudi undergraduate translation students in project-based learning
  • Sarah Alkahtani (KSA): Semantic challenges in translating different words conveying the sense of "fear" in Holy Quranic verses into English
  • Iram Bostan (UK): Exemplars of excellence or intellectually deficient temptresses? Constructing female religious authority in the Islamic tradition
  • Yousuf Farooq (UK): The ecumenism of the Jamat-E-Islami of Pakistan
  • Samy Khattab (UK): Peaceful co-existence in societies from the past to the present; A critical analytical study in the light of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah
  • Haris Lloyd (UK): A study on Ribah

Successfully completed PhDs

  • Shaheen Kattiparamibil (India): ‘Reorienting Muslimness in Postcolonial India’ (2023)
  • Abdurahman Albalawi (KSA): ‘A comparative study of the comprehensibility and readability of four English translations of the holy Qur'an’ (2022). 
  • Dimah Alharthi (KSA): ‘Identity contradiction: A socio-cultural investigation of Saudis’ translations of Orientalists’ writings about Saudi Arabia’ (2022)
  • Sanah Mehnaz (UK): ‘The concept of honour within Islam and Muslim communities’ (2022).
  • Abdulrahman Alqahtany (KSA): ‘Structural coherence of the Qur’ān and its implications for the meaning of the text’ (2022).
  • Khadija Alsaleh (KSA): ‘Impact of the Different Qirā’āt on English Translations of the Qur’ān’ (2022)
  • Majed Alturki (KSA): ‘The translation of God's names in the Quran: A descriptive study’ (2022).
  • Majdi Alzahrani (KSA): ‘Translating syntagmatic figures of poetry in Shakespeare's sonnets into Arabic’ (2022)
  • Maryam Fargin (UK): ‘Permissibility of organ donation in Islam - The opinion of the English Lay-Muslim’ (2021)
  • Nur Kamaruzaman (Malaysia): ‘The application of the Hudud ordinances in the Malaysian context’ (2020).
  • Haroon Bashir (UK): ‘To free the slave or enslave the free? Reading and re- reading slavery in the Islamic tradition’ (2020).
  • Mohammed Abed (KSA): 'Al-Mahdi, the Imamate and Bay’ah: A Critical Hadith Analysis in Twelver Shi’i and Sunni Canonical Literature’ (2020).
  • Sofia Rehman (UK): Ā’isha’s corrective of the companions: A translation and critical hadīth study of al-Zarkashī’s al-Ijāba li-Īrādi mā Istadrakathu 'Ā’isha 'ala al Sahāba (2020)
  • Marzouq al-Suheil (KSA): 'Hadith-Amali Sessions: A Historical Study of A Forgotten Tradition in Classical Islam' (2015).
  • Taher Hamed Adheidah (UK): 'Forced Marriage in the British Muslim Community from an Islamic Law Perspective: A Critical Study' (2015).
  • Mohammed Hasan (Egypt): ‘Bridging the linguistic and cultural gap between Arabic and English: Polysemy and culture-specific expressions in Qur'ān translation’ (2014)
  • Mansour Alshammari (KSA): 'Takfir and Terrorism: Historical Roots, Contemporary Challenges and Dynamic Solutions' (2013).

Research groups and institutes

  • Arabic
  • Cultural studies
  • Conflict
  • Digital Cultures
  • History

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>