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Ahmed H. al-Rahim

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Yale University, 2009

Ahmed H. al-Rahim joined the Department of Religious Studies in 2009. Before coming to the University of Virginia, he served as Senior Research Analysts and Advisor on political Islam in the Office of Analysis for Near East and South Asia (INR), U.S. Department of State. His research and teaching focus on medieval Arabic and Islamic intellectual and philosophical history. Professor al-Rahim regularly teaches three undergraduate courses, “Classical Islam,” “Modern Islam,” and “Debating Islams” (the latter in the Engagements). In his graduate seminars he addresses topics in Arabic philosophy and theology, qurʾānic exegesis, Islamic ethics, and Arabic literary biography. His first book, The Creation of Philosophical Tradition: Biography and the Reception of Avicenna’s Philosophy from the Eleventh to the Fourteenth Century A.D., Diskurse der Arabistik; 21 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2018), explores the lives and writings of post-Avicennan philosophers and the role literary biography plays in the formation of intellectual reception history in the Arabo-Islamic heritage in the Middle Ages. Currently professor al-Rahim is working on a monograph titled “Betwixt and Between: The Historiography of Medieval Arabic Philosophy,” for the Einstein Center Chronoi book series, “Zeit, Zeitempfinden, Zeitordnungen/Time, Time Awareness, Time Management” (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2025), which is supported by a fellowship from the Einstein Stiftung Berlin, 2022, Freie Universität Berlin, as well as on a series of articles on conceptions of the ocular in the Qurʾān, ḥadīth, and medieval Arabic optics. In addition, he is completing a primer on the modern ideologies of Islamism. Further publications include “Early Medieval Arabic Polymathy: A Preliminary Sketch,” New Literary History (2022), 1323‒48; “Philosophie nach Ibn Sīnā (5./11. Jahrhundert): Ibn Sīnā’s Weggefährten,” with D.C. Reisman†, in Philosophie in der islamischen Welt, vol. 2.1, 11.-12. Jahrhundert, Zentrale und östliche Gebiete, ed. U. Rudolph (Basel: Schwabe, 2021), 211‒26; trans. G. Goldbloom, “Philosophy after Avicenna (5th/11th Century): Ibn Sīnā’s Companions,” in Philosophy in the Islamic World, vol. 2.1, 11th–12th Centuries, ed. Rudolph and P. Adamson (Leiden: Brill, 2023), 288-304; “Concupiscent Curiosity of the Gaze in Medieval Islam: Qurʾān 24:30–31,” in Curiositas, eds. A. Speer and R.M. Schneider, Miscellanea Mediaevalia; 42 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022), 465‒80; “Arabic Literary Prose, Adab Literature, and the Formation of Islamicate Imperial Culture,” in The Cambridge History of World Literature, ed. D. Ganguly (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 1:80‒108; “The Twelver-Šīʿī Reception of Avicenna in the Mongol Period,” in Before and after Avicenna: Proceedings of the First Conference of the Avicenna Study Group, co-edited with Reisman, Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science: Texts and Studies; 52 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2003), 219‒32; “Islam and the White House: American Presidential Discourse on Establishing Official Islam, 1993–2013,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 9.1 (2016), 87‒122; “Translation as Contemporary Qurʾanic Exegesis: Ahmed Ali and Muslim Modernism in India,” in The Two-sided Canvas: Perspectives on Ahmed Ali, ed. M. Farooqi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012), 136‒50; “Whither Political Islam and the ‘Arab Spring’,” The Hedgehog Review (2011), 8‒22; “The Sistani Factor,” Journal of Democracy 16.3 (2005), 50‒53; and numerous entries in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, eds. C.M. Furey et al. (Berlin: De Gruyter 2009–) and The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, 4 Vols., ed. R.E. Bjork (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).