Conversations on Islam and the Human Sciences


This project is funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and is a collaboration between the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford and the Initiative on Islam and Medicine at the University of Chicago. The overall aim of this project is to fill a major lacuna within academic discourse on the scholastic traditions of Islam and the human sciences. Truly, the core challenges for the Islamic tradition as it engages the human sciences emerge from competing ontological visions, epistemic frameworks, and theologies of life and living. Within this broad area of scholarship, we will be focusing on the relationships between Islamic theology and metaphysics on the one hand, and biomedicine on the other; and how theological and metaphysical constructs within Islam interface with the science and practice of medicine. Additionally, our outputs will address the question of integration: how might scientific knowledge inform, and work with, the various Muslim theologies on the nature of being and life. By bringing together theologians, medical practitioners, and intellectual historians, the project seeks to initiate conversations about these challenges and provide resources for dedicated research at these intersections. 



Abstracts          Videos

Symposium Videos

Edited Book

Scholarly Cohort

Dr. Aasim I. Padela

Dr. Aasim I. Padela is a clinician, health researcher, and bioethicist at the University of Chicago. He utilizes diverse methodologies from health services research, religious studies, and comparative ethics to examine the encounter of Islam with contemporary biomedicine through the lives of Muslim patients and clinicians, and in the scholarly writings of Islamic authorities. His work seeks to develop intellectual frameworks through which the Islamic theology (both moral and scholastic) can engage with contemporary natural and social scientific data.

Professor Peter E. Pormann

Professor Peter E. Pormann is a teaches Classics and Graeco-Arabic Studies at the University of Manchester. His teaching and research investigates the many historical and intellectual connections between Muslims, Jews, and Christians writing in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic, be it in Medieval or modern times.

Professor Ayman Shabana

Professor Ayman Shabana is an Associate Research Professor and Director of the Islamic Bioethics Project at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q). His teaching and research interests include Islamic legal history, Islamic law and ethics, human rights, and bioethics. 

Professor Afifi al-Akiti

Professor Afifi al-Akiti is a trained theologian and philologist in both the Islamic and Western traditions at the University of Oxford. His doctoral work involved a systematic study of the works of the great scholastic theologian of Islam, al-Ghazali (d. 1111), on metaphysics and natural philosophy. His research focuses on relationships between Islamic theology, philosophy and science and he has expertise in medieval Islamic astronomy.


Professor Ahmed Ragab

Professor Ahmed Ragab is a physician and a scholar of science and religion at Harvard University. His work studies the history of science and medicine, science and religion and the development of cultures of science and cultures of religion in the Middle East and the Islamic World. He also studies various questions related to science and religion in the US with a focus on US Muslim communities.

Dr. Mehrunisha Suleman

Dr. Mehrunisha Suleman is a postdoctoral research associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and a classically-trained Islamic scholar. Her research involves an analysis of the experiences of end-of-life care services in the UK, from the Muslim perspective.

Mufti Kamaluddin Ahmed

Mufti Kamaluddin Ahmed is a final year DPhil candidate in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, an Islamic Bioethics lecturer, and a classically-trained Islamic scholar. His thesis focuses on the relationship between textual traditions and legal reasoning in the intellectual history of Islamic law in the third Islamic century.

Dr. Rafaqat Rashid

Dr. Rafaqat Rashid is a physician, a traditionally-trained Muslim scholar, and an academic in the field of Islamic medical ethics and medical law. He is the co-founder, Academic Director, and Course Director of Al-Balagh Academy. He specializes in Islamic Fiqh and ethics as they relate to organ transplantation, immunizations, family planning, and end-of-life decisions.

Dr. Asim Yusuf

Dr. Asim Yusuf is a consultant psychiatrist with a special interest in Islamic Spirituality. He has been granted an ijaza (formal religious authorization) to instruct students in the art and science of Islamic thought by scholars from four continents, and is the founder and Director of the Path to Salvation course (in Classical Islamic Studies), one of the largest Muslim grass-roots teaching organizations in the UK.