Ahmed H. al-Rahim

Associate Professor

Gibson Hall, S-353


PhD, Yale University

Research Interests

Ahmed al-Rahim studies and teaches the intellectual traditions of medieval Islamic civilization. He specializes in the reception history of the philosophy of Ibn Sīnā (d. 1037; known as Avicenna in the Latin world); the genres and tropes of medieval Arabic literary biography; the interrelationship of the religious and philosophical sciences in the madrasa tradition; the history of ethics, or moral reasoning, in classical Islam (ca. 600-1500); the role that manuals of virtue ethics (ādāb) played in shaping the scholastic identity of the philosophers, theologians, Sufis, jurisconsults and judges in the middle ages; and the question of how the classical religious traditions of Islam inform the modern ideologies of political Islam, or Islamism, in the Middle East and South Asia. Professor al-Rahim is currently directing two Ph.D. dissertations: R. Brian Siebeking, “Prophets of Virtue: Ethical Exegesis in al-Thaʿlabī’s Tales of the Prophets” and Samuel A. Stafford, “Islamic Perceptions of Jews, Judaism, and the Torah as Reflected in the Biography of Muḥammad’s Jewish Companion ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām (d. 43H/633-4).”


  • RELI 2070, Classical Islam
  • RELI 2080, Islam in the Modern Age
  • RELI 3559, Medieval Scholars and Their Books
  • PAV 4500, Political Islam: Medieval Theology/Modern Ideology
  • PAV 4500, Global Islam
  • RELI 4500, Book Culture in Islam
  • RELI 5540, Islamic Philosophy and Theology
  • RELI 5559, Introduction to the Field of Islamic Studies: Methods and Literary Sources
  • RELI 5559, Islamic Ethics and Scholasticism
  • RELI 5559, Classical Qurʾānic Exegesis
  • RELI 5559, Medieval Islamic Literary Biography
  • RELI 5559, Virtue and Knowledge in Islam
  • RELI 5559, Islamic Conceptions of Revelation
  • RELI 5559, Islamic Law: Theory and Practice
  • RELI 5559, People of the Book: Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians, and Manicheans under Early Islam
  • RELI 5559, The Ethical Traditions of Islam

Selected Publications

  • Islamic Ethics: The Classical Tradition. The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming.
  • The Creation of Philosophical Tradition: Biography and the Reception of Avicenna's Philosophy from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Centuries A.D. Diskurse Der Arabistik; vol. 21. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.
  • Before and After Avicenna: Proceedings of the First Conference of the Avicenna Study Group. Co-edited with D.C. Reisman. Philosophy, Theology & Science; vol. 52. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2003.
  • Avicenna’s Immediate Disciples: Their Lives and Works,” in Avicenna and His Heritage: A Golden Age of Science and Philosophy. Ed. by Y.T. Langermann. Turnhout: Brepols, 2010, 1–25.
  • Translation as Contemporary Qurʾānic Exegesis: Ahmed Ali and Muslim Modernism in India,” in The Two-sided Canvas Perspectives on Ahmed Ali. Ed. by M.A. Farooqi. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013, 136–150.
  • “al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr (d. 950),” in the Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • Whither Political Islam after the ‘Arab Spring,’” in The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture 13.3 (2011): 8–22.
  • “Islamic Armies,” “Islamic India,” “Palestine,” inter alia, in The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. by R. Bjork. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • The Sistani Factor,” in the Journal of Democracy 16.3 (2008): 50–53; and “Inside Iraq’s Confessional Politics,” in ibid. 19.1 (2005): 170–174.