Religious Studies

Ahmed H. al-Rahim

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies (Scripture, Interpretation, and Practice), Director of the Program in Medieval Studies
Mailing Address:

Department of Religious Studies
PO Box 400126
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4126


Gibson Hall, S-353



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Yale University

Research Interests, Publications, and Teaching Experience

Ahmed al-Rahim studies and teaches the intellectual traditions of Islamic civilization. He specializes in the reception history of Ibn-Sīnā’s philosophy (d. 1037; known as Avicenna in the Latin world) between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries AD; Arabic literary biography as a source for Islamic intellectual history; the medieval ethical traditions of Islam and specifically the genre of manuals of virtue (or practical) ethics (ādāb) and how they defined the scholastic ethos of scholars in the premodern Islamic world; and the modern appropriation of classical Islamic religious traditions, both Sunnī and Shīʿī, in the construction of the ideologies of political Islam, or Islamism, in the Middle East and South Asia. Professor al-Rahim is currently directing two PhD dissertations: S.B. Siebeking, “Prophets of Virtue: Ethical Exegesis in al-Tha'labī’s (d. 1035) Tales of the Prophets"; and S.A. Stafford, “The Myth and Image of Muhammad’s Jewish Companion: The Reception of ʿAbdallāh ibn Salām (d. 633f.) in the Classical Islamic Tradition.”

Professor al-Rahim's publications include the following books and articles: 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; 21 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016); “The Twlever-Šīʿī Reception of Avicenna in the Mongol Period,” in Before and after Avicenna: Proceedings of the First Conference of the Avicenna Study Group, ed. D.C. Reisman and A.H. al-Rahim, Philosophy, Theology & Science; 52 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2003), 219-31; “Avicenna’s Immediate Disciples: Their Lives and Works,” in Avicenna and His Heritage: A Golden Age of Science and Philosophy, ed. Y.T. Langermann, Cultural Encounter in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages; 8 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), 1-25; “Islam and the White House: American Presidential Discourse on Establishing Official Islam, 1993-2013,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 9 (2016), 87-122; “Translation as Contemporary Qur'ānic Exegesis: Ahmed Ali and Muslim Modernism in India,” in The Two-sided Canvas, Perspectives on Ahmed Ali, ed. M.A. Farooqi (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013), 136-50; “al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr (d. 950),” in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies, ed. A. Rippin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); "Whither Politcal Islam and the 'Arab Spring'?," 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. R.E. Bjork (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), s.v.; and “Inside Iraq’s Confessional Politics” and “The Sistani Factor,” Journal of Democracy 19.1 (2008), 170-74 and 16.3 (2005), 50-53, respectively.

Professor al-Rahim has taught the following lecture courses and graduate (principally Arabic) seminars: RELI 2070, Classical Islam; RELI 2080, Global Islam; RELI 3559, Medieval Scholars and Their Books; MSP 3801, Colloquium in Medieval Studies; PAV 4500, Political Islam: Medieval Theology/Modern Ideology; RELI 4500, Book Culture in Islam; RELI 5540, Islamic Philosophy and Theology; RELI 5559, Introduction to Islamic Studies: Methods and Literary Sources; RELI 5559, Islamic Ethics and Scholasticism; RELI 5559, Classical Commentaries on the Qur'ān; 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; and RELI 5559, The Ethical Traditions of Islam.


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