My research, in general, focuses on the broad area of contemporary Muslim thought, particularly concerning the negotiation of text and context. Given that I am based in a Western country, my focus is naturally on issues that concern Muslims in the West, and in my writings I address these issues. I argue for the reform of Islamic thought where necessary, the need to find new ways of engaging with foundational Islamic texts (the Qur’an and Sunnah) in light of our current social, political and intellectual contexts, and the need to put forward new ideas that will assist us to engage with the modern world while remaining faithful to the most fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam. In doing so, I write on areas such as the interpretation or reinterpretation of the Qur’an, ijtihad and Islamic law reform, Muslims in the West, extremism in Muslim societies, and Islam and human rights. The following are my broad areas of research interest:
Contemporary approaches to the interpretation of the Qur’an
This is an ongoing research project that aims to examine how Muslims today engage with and interpret the Qur’an. In particular, the project looks at how the ethico-legal texts of the Qur’an are interpreted today by Muslims and the ideas proposed by contemporary Muslim thinkers concerning interpretation of these texts.
Ijtihad and Reform of Islamic Law
This project aims to examine the notion of ijtihad, how it functions today and the contemporary ideas that are emerging concerning the reform of classical Islamic law. In particular, it looks at how ijtihad functions in a Western context.
Islamic family law in the West
This project explores how Muslims in the West are coming to terms with Western family laws, the debates on the need to establish Islamic family law for Muslims in a number of Western countries and the challenges that generally exist in Western countries to implementing classical Islamic family law. The project particularly focuses on Muslim women’s experiences, views and arguments in the West.
Being Muslim in a Western Context
This is an on-going research project that focuses on issues that Muslims living in the West face concerning how Islam as a religion and a system of values functions in this environment. In particular, it considers the views of second and third generation Muslims on this issue.
Freedom of religion in Muslim thought and practice
This is an on-going research project that aims to understand how the notion of freedom of religion functioned in Muslim societies from the time of the Prophet, and the kinds of challenges that exit to implementing this right today, particularly in Muslim majority countries.
Aspects of extremist thought in contemporary Muslim societies.
This project examines the various manifestations of ‘extremism’ (with particular reference to militant-extremism) that can be found in certain trends of Muslim thought today. It aims to examine the social, political, intellectual, ideological and theological factors that play a role in such thought.