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 Farooq

Where I have been:

I am a British Citizen, was born and bred in Pakistan. I am a Theology graduate with Arabic & Islamic Studies, secured Gold Medal-1990 from University of Peshawar Pakistan and also completed Bachelor of Sharia and Law (LLB four year course) Honors-1994. My Master Degrees are MA in Arabic Literature – 1993; and LL.M Sharia and Law (three years programme) with Second Position – 1998 from International Islamic University Islamabad Pakistan. In 2002 I have successfully completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Women Rights offered by the University of OSOLO Norway at Peshawar University, Pakistan. From 1996 to 2005 I had the honour to remain Lecturer-cum-Chairman of Law Department Islamia College University of Peshawar (KPK) Pakistan.


When I moved to the United Kingdom, I taught Arabic to adults as Lifelong Learning Programme in London for four years. From 2011 to 2013 I was a lecturer in language at the Defence School of Languages UK. During this time I earned Diploma to Teach in Life Learning Sector (DTLLS) UK and as professional lecturer gained the Qualified Teacher Status (QTLS) and a Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Education (OU UK). Having CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH CELTA is another evidence to show that I have passion to teach.  In March 2017, I taught English in Spain to all age group under European Language Programme. Speaking English, Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Hindi and Panjabi is another plus point in my career.


My career aspirations however, continue to lie mostly with human rights in general and the developmental planning of women rights in particular. In 1997, I drafted my first document on “Constitutional and Fundamental Rights in Islam” published on January 31, 1997, in The Frontier Post, a prominent daily newspaper KPK Pakistan. 


Then I completed my thesis regarding Women’s Right to Marriage in The Eye of Shariah and Law”. It was a dissertation submitted in Postgraduate Diploma in Women’s Rights 2001-2002, Human Rights Studies Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Peshawar, (KPK) Pakistan.


In 2003 my research article on “The Marriage of a Sui Juris Girl in The Eye of Sharia and Law” was published in International Human Rights Perspective Jan 2003 vol. 11 No.1 pp. 85-98 Faculty of Law, University of Peshawar NWFP, Pakistan.


Thus, I became increasingly interested in the discourse of women’s rights and decided to pursue further studies in it.


Where I am:

To confess, I am not a feminist, but an advocate of my field. As a mature student with dependants, I have many responsibilities that must be balanced against the demands of learning. I am taking my PhD in Islamic Law. My project is 'A Woman's Right to Make and Her Right to Break the Muslim Marriage Contract and how these two rights are treated in Islamic Jurisprudence and Case law in Pakistan'. It is important as it is linked with three disciplines i.e. women's rights, Muslim family law and gender studies. Dr Dawoud Sudqi El-alami, a real professional of his field, is my supervisor. I do enjoy my academic research and the on-campus experience at The University of Aberdeen UK.


Where I am going:

I would like to continue my career as lecturer in Law, an advocate for the active role of Pakistani judiciary in women's rights. After finishing my course I may continue my teaching and perhaps work for some NGOs like ‘AURAT Foundation’ in Pakistan which is working for social change at the community level and trying it’s best in the sector of protecting women’s rights.



There are plenty of good reasons for starting my career at ABDN. Top among them that it has a world class opportunity for the people who are creative, determined, curious who loves research and is passionate about the learning environment it provides. Also I have a background of Law and Sharia as student and as lecturer, thus, on one hand, the career will be a remarkable achievement for me, and on the other I want to be a Graduate Teacher, primarily teaching undergraduate students in such disciplines.

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.

Richard Kaufman

Thesis title: Human Dignity, Conversion and Converts: Theory and Reality In American Reform Judaism and in the Jewish Tradition 

Research: This study of human dignity, conversion and converts in historical and contemporary Jewish thought and practice proposes that human dignity is a meta value in the Jewish tradition and that it is the meta value in Reform Judaism in the United States. It proposes that American Reform Judaism is an authentic expression of the Jewish tradition and a legitimate practice of Judaism. Its openness to change and its concern with the lives and dignity of contemporary Jews is characteristic of the tradition. A review of the tradition indicates that the predominant views were to welcome the proselyte, minimize the importance of motivation and ignore future life style as considerations for conversion. Conversion was irreversible.

Current thought on cultural values; the conscious, the unconscious and methods to modify behaviour will be reviewed in order to help those who wish to understand and possibly to change their thought about these texts, and their thought and behaviour concerning conversion and converts. It presents authentic dialogue as an important moral value and as a method to reduce the gap between one’s thought, behaviour and reality. In Judaism, human dignity is inherent in humans because they are created in the image of God.

It is written in a style that is intended to be accessible and interesting for those familiar or unfamiliar with the subjects that are included.in the thesis while meeting the rigorous requirements for a PhD. The frames of reference, historical, theological, psychological, anthropological and sociological contribute an unusual and a valuable contribution to the understanding of the intersection between human dignity, conversion and converts. This is important because of the impact of belief and practice of conversion on human lives, conflicting definitions of who is Jewish and its implications for a unified Jewish community.

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.