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Ilma Qureshi

Doctoral Student


  • University of Virginia - Ph.D. Religious Studies (in progress)
  • University of Virginia- Masters (M.A) in Theology, Culture, and Ethics  (2015-2017)
  • Lahore University of Management Sciences  Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Economics and Political Science  (2010-2014)        
  • Eurasian Regional Language Program (Persian) by American Councils in Tajikistan (2018)
  • Qasid Institute for Classical Arabic (2020)     

Research Interests

  • South Asian Religions, Sufism, Persian Literature, Comparative Literature
  • Dissertation: The texture, poetics, and the taste of Love and Knowledge in Amīr Khusraw (d.1325)and Fakhruddīn ‘Irāqī’s (d.1289) works

As a Fulbright scholar, Ilma Qureshi received her Masters from the University of Virginia in 2017. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in Religious Studies at UVA. Broadly interested in the intellectual history and imaginative literature of the Islamicate tradition, she focuses on the way lyric transmutes philosophy and ritual in the pre-modern Persianate tradition through the writings of two poets Amīr Khusraw (d.1325)and Fakhruddīn ‘Irāqī (d.1289).

She is a poet, fiction writer, and translator as well. She writes in Persian, English, and Urdu, and her work has appeared in various literary journals. She serves on the editorial boards of journals such as Tafheem and Tareekh-e-Adab-e-Urdu.

Academic Publications

  • Love, Longing, and Self-annihilation in God: Exploring Fanāʾ and Ecstasy in the ‘Ushshāq-nāmāh sent to Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA)for review (2020)
  • Book Review of Omid Safi’s Radical Love in Reading Religion (2019)
  • Contributor/Translator for Value Predicate Analysis: A Language-Based Tool for Diagnosing  Behavioral Tendencies of Religious or Value-Based Groups in Regions of Conflict (2018)
  • Beauty and the Beloved: Sarapa in the sixteenth century Hindavi Sufi Romance Mrigavati published by The Social Affairs Journal (Feb 2017)

Creative Writing

  • Poems titled ‘Twilight,’ ‘almost,’ and ‘a path, published by Rigorous Magazine (2020)
  • Poem titled ‘Wild Skies’ published in the literary journals Active Muse and the Ice Colony (2020)
  • Short fiction titled ‘The Madwoman’ published in a literary journal Active Muse associated with Commonwealth Writers (2019)
  • Urdu and Persian poetry published in journals Tareekh-e-Adab-e-UrduTafheem, and Audio Times (2019)
  • ‘As I explore Tajik Land’ published by American Councils (2018)


  • “Subverting Binaries and Stylistic Conventions: A Study of Fakhruddin ‘Irāqī’s Poetry” at The 49th Annual Conference on South Asia (upcoming) in October 2021.
  • "Love, Longing, and Self-annihilation in God: Reconceptualizing Fanāʾ as Ecstasy in the ‘Ushshāq-nāmāh" presented at the Thirteenth Annual Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) Conference in November 2020.

Awards and Grants

  • Asian Cosmopolitanisms Grant for developing the course ‘Love, Longing, and Desire: Exploring Islamic Mystical Writing from the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia’ - Spring 2021
  • University of Virginia: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) Summer Research Fellowship - 2020
  • Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) Research Grant - 2020
  • The University of Virginia Award for Travel and Research in Pakistan - 2020
  • Peter Murphy Writing Scholarship for Getaway to Write Writing Workshop in Florida - 2019
  • Academy of International Culture Award for a research trip to Turkey - 2019
  • American Council Scholarship for Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP) in Tajikistan - 2018
  • Fulbright Reviewer for admitting Masters and Ph.D. to the United States - 2018
  • University of Virginia Scholarship award for language learning - 2017
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Scholarship by University of Virginia for doctoral studies - 2017 - 2022
  • Fulbright Scholarship award for Masters at the University of Virginia - 2015 - 2017

Courses Taught

Hinduism, Global Islam, Introduction to Western Religious Traditions, Classical Islam


Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Siraiki, Tajiki, Hindi


Co-Founder of The Creative Room-a digital humanities platform that provides interdisciplinary courses and workshops in the Humanities and Social Sciences. (IG, Twitter: @creativeroom_co)