Islam and intellectual traditions in the Arab world

Ihya Ulumuddin, Imam Khairul Annas
Al-Ghazali, The Revivification of the Religious Sciences (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

Arabic, as the language of the Islamic revelation, plays a pivotal role in the history and culture of the Islamic world. Our research is based on a thorough engagement with the Arabic language and with the scriptural foundations of the various Arabic-speaking communities living in the Islamic world. We likewise stress the importance of studying the historical dynamics that have shaped, and continue to shape, the Islamic world.

At the same time, we aim to conduct research on Islam and on the Islamic world in ways that point beyond narrowly Arabocentric or Shariacentric concerns relating to “classical” Islam in the premodern period. Islam is a living, evolving tradition, a tradition with multiple centers and peripheries. Accordingly, in our research and our teaching we seek to reveal the astonishing cultural diversity that characterizes the Islamic world in historical perspective. This means that we do not only study the normative theological and legal expressions, but also the philosophical and mystical variants of Islam, as well as the imaginaries and embodied practices that undergird them.