Our PhD students conduct research in a wide variety of subject areas--to find out more about their work click on the tabs below.

Meshal Alenezi

Thesis title: The Position of the Kingdom of Tlemcen Ruled by the Zayyanid Dynasty Regarding the Granada War and the Persecution of the Muslims of Granada 1482–1530

Abdullah Alghamdi

Thesis title: How can dialogue resolve sectarian conflicts in Saudi Arabia


About: Lecturer at King Faisal University in Saudi

BA in "Islamic Culture" from Imam Mohammed Bin Saud University

MA in "Intercultural Studies" from Om Alqura University

MA in "Arts" from Manchester University

PhD student in "Dialogue" at Aberdeen University


Paul Cantz

Thesis title: A Critical Comparison Between Hebraic and Ancient Greek Myths and Motifs Concerning Aging and Death

Research: My research spans the domains of psychoanalysis, mythology, and religious studies. I have published and presented on the topics of the intellectual foundations of psychiatry, the dynamics of religious conversion, death anxiety, cross cultural concepts of femininity, psychodynamics of music, the historical uniqueness of baseball, the connection between misogyny and Antisemitism, the bio-ethical ramifications of the anti-aging movement, and most recently on the rise in popularity of dystopian films and television programs. I am a licensed, board certified clinical psychologist and Associate Director of Training/Associate Professor at Adler University, Chicago, IL; Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine; Coordinator for the UIC Program in Religion, Spirituality & Mental Health and an adjunct faculty member at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

Jawhar Dawood

Thesis title: Lexical Cohesion in the Qur’an. The surah: disjointed or interwoven?

Research: My research examines how the Qur’an uses vocabulary selection to create lexical unity for the surah. At a cursory reading, the surah might appear to be a collection of disjointed passages that are put together randomly without a clear sense of organization. A closer reading, however, reveals that the surah’s different passages share common linguistic features that give them a distinct lexical unity. Every surah seems to have a dictionary of its own from which it takes its building blocks: phonemes, words, and structures. The way these basic linguistic elements are used in the qur’anic corpus suggests that the Qur’an has a special mechanism for selecting its lexical resources and grammatical structures. Words seem to come together to form ayahs and ayahs to form surahs, not only to convey a certain content, but also to create a certain form. The product of this selection mechanism is an unmistakable identity for both the form and content of the Qur’an. Far from being an assortment of randomly collected passages, the surah seems to be a tightly-organized text whose parts are interconnected through an intricate network of linguistic components. The purpose of my research is to uncover and reveal this complex lexical cohesion in the surah and, as a corollary, to show that such highly accurate deployment of linguistic elements can only be the result of an intentional design.


Muhammad Ishak

Thesis title: The principle of consequences in Islamic finance 

Research: My research in general tries to find a better approach for the current Islamic financial system. In fact, this industry has been developed dramatically since the late of 21 century, in Muslim countries and several non-Muslim countries, like the United Kingdom, the United State, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, as a young player, Islamic finance faces a number of challenges and restrictions, which have affected its system. The most obvious obstacle is that its products have to compete with interest-based conventional products that sometimes seem to be more attractive to the myriad of customers. Consequently, most of the Islamic products are designed based on debt-based financing like their conventional counterpart as some critics claim that they are just mere imitations of conventional products in Islamic ‘make-up’.

In this regards, under the supervision of Dr Dawoud El-Alami, I choose to apply the principle of consequences in analysing and improving some of Islamic financial products. This principle is a practical method to ensure the consequences of the Islamic practices do not deviate from their original objectives. In regards to Islamic finance, it is important to realize the spirit of Islam in structuring the financial products as well as their formations. In other words, instead of restricting the view of the form of contract and legal technicalities, financial facilities in Islam must ensure justice, equity, transparency, circulation of wealth among the people, as well as preserving them from harm and hardship.

Huzaifa Aliyu Jangebe

Thesis tittle: Islāh and tajdīd on Matters of ʿibādāt twentieth century Northern Nigeria: A Special Reference to the Selected Books of Abubakar Gumi (1924- 1992)

Research: Tajdīd was not a new phenomenon in Northern Nigeria. It was a continuation of the process began with the advent of Islam in the area. The first proponent of tajdīd in Northern Nigeria was the famous North African scholar and theologian, Muhammad Abdulkarīm al-Maghīlī (d. 1504/5) in the fifteenth century. Then, in the eighteenth centuries, came the tajdīd period of Shehu ibn Foduye (d. 1817); Shehu was a jihadist and mujaddid (revivalist) who fought to reform the lax Muslims in Northern Nigeria. However, in the twentieth century, Abubakar Gumi carried the flag of tajdīd in the area. He articulated and emerged his islāh activities to revive the practices of Muslims and was regarded as one of the mujaddids of his period. His most outstanding efforts within the Northern Nigerian community of his time was the tajdīd in ʿibādāt practices. The reawakening of the spirit of islāh and tajdīd by Gumi, has yielded various outcomes in the history of Islam in Northern Nigeria.

In this regard, my research examines tajdīd ideas brought by Gumi to revive the ʿibādāt practices in Northern Nigeria. In so doing, his ideas would be analysed as an individual thinker rather than a school of thought, even though his views have persuaded the emergence of an Islamic movement in the region. Thus, to achieve the set objectives of my research, some selected works of Gumi has been identified as a case study, under the supervision of Dr. Zohar Hadromi-Allouche and Dr. Dawoud El-Alami.

Spencer Reese

Thesis title: The Fantasist’s Chrysopoetics

Research: My thesis examines George MacDonald’s Phantastes, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday as specific examples, if not ideal starting points, for the study of Victorian British fantasy literature as myth. 

Jane-Anne Shaw

Thesis title: Life and Afterlife: Athanasia (immortality) and the figure of Orpheus 

Research: My research examines the history and myth of Orpheus, the ancient world the Thracian inhabited and, inter alia, mapping an overview of his origins. In unravelling discrete strands of the myth, I examine aspects of its development, including ancient Greek concepts of immortality and where the figure of Orpheus has been adapted, adopted and utilised down to contemporary times.

I analyse three modern uses of the myth, re-drawing versions of the figure: a ‘Once & Future Orpheus,’ his metamorphoses as an outsider and agent of change, and his passage symbolism – ‘Don’t look back’. My MA dissertation was in the field of religion and the individual in ancient Greek society. The Greeks were obsessed with the past; it suffused every facet of their culture. The poets and tragedians established in the Greek mind the composition of divine order, and reason (‘logos’) did not remove myth (‘muthos’) from ancient society. The cumulative legacy, and the emotional and social support it provided, was very potent.