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Carl W. Ernst


Principal positions

Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor (2005- )

  • Zachary Smith Distinguished Term Professor (2000-2005)

  • Chair (1995-2000)

  • Professor (1992-2000)

Department of Religion, Pomona College, Claremont, California

  • Chair (Jan. 1991-June 1992)

  • Associate Professor (1987-92)

  • Assistant Professor (1981-87)

Affiliate and advisory positions

Üsküdar University, Institute for the Study of Sufism, Istanbul, Affiliated Faculty, summer 2018

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris:

  • Visiting Scholar (2018-2021)

  • Professeur Invité, (May, 2003)

  • Maitre de Conference (May-June, 1991)

Joint Research Group “Mondes iranien et indien” (UMR 7528), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique-Sorbonne Nouvelle-Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes-Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris, Research Associate (2012- )

University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, Advisory Panel (2008-2010); Academy of Islamic Studies, External Assessor (2008-2014); Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow (Jan.-May, 2005; Sept.-Oct., 2010)

Boston University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations: Board of Academic Advisers (2007-9)

University of Seville, Spain, Department of Integrated Philologies, Area of Arabic Studies: Visiting Scholar (September-December, 2001)

National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, Graduate Program in Communications and Cultural Studies: External Examiner (2000-8)

Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California, Department of Religion: Graduate Faculty of the Claremont Colleges (1984-92)


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts                                               Ph.D. June, 1981

The Study of Religion, special field Comparative Religion, with major in Islamic Studies, minor in Greek Philosophy. Dissertation adviser: Prof. Annemarie Schimmel.

Stanford University, Stanford, California                                                        A.B. Hons. April, 1973

Humanities Special Programs with Concentration in Religious Studies; Departmental Distinction.



Honors and Individual Research Grants

Global Humanities Translation Prize, Buffett Institute – Northwestern University, 2017, for Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr.

Mellon Distinguished Fellow, Arts@The Core Program, Carolina Performing Arts, 2016-17.

Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina, spring 2014.

Choice Outstanding Academic Title, for Islamophobia in America, 2013.

Faculty Learning Community on Strategy and Leadership, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC, fall 2012.

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2010.

UNC Medieval and Early Modern Studies Research Fellowship, spring 2010.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected Fellow, 2009.

Academic Leadership Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC, spring 2009.

Scholar in Residence, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, June-July 2008.

Farabi International Award in the Humanities and Islamic Studies, Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology/UNESCO/ISESCO (Tehran, 2008), for Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism.

Awards for Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World:

  • Shiraz University and the Iranian Research Institute in Philosophy (Shiraz, 2007).

  • Cenan Foundation for Culture, Education and Health, Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching of Sufism (Istanbul, 2005).

  • Istanbul Branch of Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Award for Excellence in Education (Istanbul, 2005).

  • Turkish Economics and Social Research Foundation Award (Istanbul, 2005).

  • 2004 Bashrahil Prize for Outstanding Cultural Achievement, Distinguished Prize in the Humanities (Cairo, 2004).

  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2004.

Fulbright Fellowship in Islamic Studies, Malaysia, spring 2005.

“Consulting on the Teaching of Religious Studies and Islamic Studies in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan,” Regional Scholar Exchange Program, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), March 2003.

Fulbright Senior Fellowship in Islamic Studies, University of Seville, fall 2001.

  1. N. Reynolds Research Leave, University of North Carolina, fall 2001.

Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina, spring 2001; Faculty Adviser, Public Fellows Program, 2003.

Summer Research Grant, UNC Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, summer 2000.

Research Grant, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, summer 2000. Research Affiliation: Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Grant, 1993.

Fulbright Research Fellowship, Pakistan, 1990 (declined).

Travel Grant, American Research Institute in Turkey, Summer 1990.

National Endowment for the Humanities Translation Grant (Arabic), for “The Pool of the Water of Life: An Islamic Interpretation of Yoga,” 1989-90.

American Council of Learned Societies, Travel Grant for International Conference (Germany), 1989.

Fulbright Islamic Civilization Research Fellowship, 1986. Research Affiliation: Centre for South Asian Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Senior Research Fellowship, American Institute of Indian Studies, June-December 1981. Research Affiliation: Department of History, Deccan College Postgraduate Research Institute, Pune, India.

Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, 1979-80 (Persian).

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Merit Award, 1979.

Fulbright-Hays Fellowship for Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad, 1978-79. Research Affiliation: Centre for Advanced Study in History, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India.

National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship, 1976-78 (Persian).

A.B. Honors with Departmental Distinction, 1973.

National Merit Scholar, 1968-72.

U.S. Presidential Scholar, 1968.

Institutional Grants

Co-Principal Investigator (with Mimi Chapman, School of Social Work, and Emil Kang, Carolina Performing Arts), “Countering Negative Islamic Stereotype through Performing Arts: Measuring the Impact on Implicit and Explicit Attitudes towards Islam,” Fostering Interdisciplinary Research Explorations (FIRE) Grant, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC, 2016-7.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Charles Kurzman). “Andrew Carnegie Centennial Fellowships in Support of Arab Region Social Science.” Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2013-15.

Principal Investigator (with miriam cooke, Duke University [Co-PI], US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center for Middle East Studies, 2010-14.

Principal Investigator, “Building Turkish Studies at UNC,” Matching Seed-Money Grant for New Position in Turkish Language Instruction, Institute of Turkish Studies, 2009-12.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Charles Kurzman). “Islamic Studies and Area Studies,” Social Sciences Research Council project on “Internationalization, Inter-disciplinarity and Boundary Crossing: An Evaluation of Title VI National Resource Centers for the Middle East, Eurasia and South Asia.” May-Sept. 2009.

Principal Investigator, U.S. Department of State American Overseas Research Program, for American Institute of Iranian Studies, 2001-2002.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Charles Kurzman), “Implementing Muslim Networks,” North Carolina Networking Initiative graduate research assistant grant program, 2001-2002.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Tony Stewart, NCSU [PI], and Katherine P. Ewing, Duke University [Co-PI]), US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center for South Asia Studies, 2000-2003.

Principal Investigator, “Using advanced technologies to support international Islamic studies,” North Carolina Networking Initiative graduate research assistant grant program, 2000-1.

UNC Library Liaison and Critical Language Program coordinator for North Carolina Center for South Asian Studies Grant, US Department of Education Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, 1999-2002.

Principal Investigator, “Islamic Studies Curricular Resource WebSite,” IBM/UNC Curricular Innovation Grant, 1999-2000.

Principal Investigator, “Muslim Networks in the Information Age,” North Carolina Networking Initiative graduate research assistant grant program, 1999-2000.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Russel Van Wyk [PI] and Diane Strauss [Co-PI]), “A Scalable and Sustainable Infrastructure for an Instructional Multimedia Database,” IBM/UNC Curricular Innovation Grant, 1999-2000.

Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers, June-July, 1999.  Topic: “The Literature of Islamic Mysticism.”

Principal Investigator, “Religion and Society in the 21st Century: A View from the Public University (UNC Department of Religious Studies 50th anniversary symposium),” North Carolina Humanities Council, 1997.

Principal Investigator, “Multimedia Religious Studies Database and Web Presence,” UNC Chancellor’s Instructional Technology Grant, 1996-97.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Margaret E. Moore [PI] et al.), “Multimedia Database Prototype,” UNC Chancellor’s Instructional Technology Grant, 1995-96.

Co-Principal Investigator (with Tony Stewart, North Carolina State University [PI], and John Richards, Duke University [Co-PI]), “Integrating South Asia Studies Curricula through Core Course and Shared Language Instruction in the Research Triangle Universities of North Carolina,” US Department of Education, Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, 1995-98.

Co-Director (with Tony K. Stewart, North Carolina State University), National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers, June-August 1995. Topic: “Hindu and Muslim: Re-Thinking Religious Boundaries in South Asia.”

Core faculty member of Humanities Institute on “South Asian Islam and the Greater Muslim World,” a resident scholar program at the North Carolina Triangle universities funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, 1994-1997. Host organizer, 1996 conference.


Speaking and reading knowledge of Persian, Urdu, Spanish, French.

Reading knowledge of classical Arabic, German, Italian, Greek, Latin.



Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr. Translated by Carl W. Ernst (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2018).

It’s not just academic: Essays on Islamic studies and Sufism. New Delhi: Yoda Press/Sage, 2017.

Refractions of Islam in India: Situating Sufism and Yoga. New Delhi: Yoda Press/Sage, 2016.

How to Read the Qur’an: A New Guide with Select. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

  • UK edition, Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2012.

Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

  • Indonesian translation by Anna Farida et al.: Pergulatan Islam di dunia kontemporer : doktrin dan peradaban (Bandung, Indonesia: Mizan, Khazanah Ilmu-Ilmu Islam, 2016).
  • Russian translation by A. A. Ezhova: Sleduia za Mukhammadom : pereosmyslivaia islam v sovremennom mire, Moscow: Sadra, 2015.
  • Excerpt: “Spiritual Life,” reprinted in A Companion to Muslim Cultures, ed. Amyn B. Sajoo (London: I. B. Tauris, 2011), pp. 57-75.
  • Persian translation by Ghasem Kakaie: Iqtida bi-Muhammad: Nigarishi naw bi-islam dar jahan-i mu`asir, Tehran: Hermes Press, 2011. Winner of Book of the Year prize from the Iranian Ministry of Culture, 2011.
  • Persian translation by Hasan Nura’i Bidukht: Iqtida bi-Muhammad: Baz andishi-yi islam dar jahan-i mu`asir, Tehran: Intishirat-i Haqiqat, 1389/2011.
  • Arabic translation by Hamza Halayqa `Ala nahj Muhammad: I`adat al-tafkir fil-Islam fil-`alam al-mu`asir, Beirut: Arab Scientific Publishers, 2008.
  • German translation by Kurt Maier, Mohammed folgen: Der Islam in der modernen Welt. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co., 2007.
  • Turkish translation by Cangüzel Zülfikar: Muhammed’in Yolunda: Günümüz Dünyasında İslâmiyeti Yeniden Düşünmek, Istanbul: Okuyan Us, 2005.
  • Korean translation, Seoul: Simsan Munhwa, 2005.
  • India edition, New Delhi: Yoda Books, 2005.
  • UK edition: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2004

Sufi Martyrs of Love: Chishti Sufism in South Asia and Beyond (co-authored with Bruce B. Lawrence). New York: Palgrave Press, 2002.

  • Excerpt: “What is a Sufi Order?”, pp. 11-26. In Sufism, ed. Lloyd Ridgeon, Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies (London: Routledge, 2008), vol. 1, essay 11.

Teachings of Sufism. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1999, an anthology of translations from Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.

  • Indonesian translation: Mozaik ajaran tasawuf, Jakarta : Srigunting , 2001.
  • India edition, New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2005.
  • Turkish translation, Istanbul: Dharma Yayinlari, forthcoming.

Guide to Sufism. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1997.

  • Russian translation by M. R. Platonov: Sufizm: Misticheskii Islam. Moscow: Eksmo/Nashe Slovo, 2012.
  • New edition: Sufism: An Introduction to Islamic Mysticism. Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2010.
  • Indonesian translation by Arif Anwar: Ajaran dan amaliah tasawuf sebuah pengantar, Jakarta: Pustaka Sufi, 2003.
  • Russian translation by A. Gorkavago: Sufizm. Moscow: Fair-Press, 2002.
  • Persian translation of chapter 1 by Ma`suma Amin-Dihqan, “Tarikhche-yi vorud-i mafhum-i tasavvuf ba-gharb,” in `Irfan-i Iran 13 (Tehran: Intisharat-i Haqiqat, 2002), pp. 100-121.
  • Greek translation by Sophia Leibadopolou: Souphismos. Athens: Ekdoseis Archetypo, 2001.
  • Italian translation by Laura Franco: Il grande libro della sapienza sufi. Milan: Oscar Saggi Mondadori, 2000.
  • India edition, New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2000.
  • Spanish translation by Joan Carles Guix: Sufismo, Guías de Sabiduría Oriental, 4. Barcelona: Oniro, 1999.

Ruzbihan Baqli. The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master. Translated from the Arabic by Carl W. Ernst. Chapel Hill NC: Parvardigar Press, 1997.

Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism. Curzon Sufi Series, 4. London: Curzon Press, 1996.

  • Revised Persian translation and notes by Kurus Divsalar: Ruzbihan Baqli, tajriba-i `irfani va shath-i vilayat dar tasavvuf-i irani. Tehran: Amir Kabir, 2004.
  • Persian translation by Majdoddin Keyvani: Ruzbihan Baqli, `irfan va shath-i awliya’ dar tasavvuf-i islami. Tehran: Nashr-i Markaz, 1999.

Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History, and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center. SUNY Series in Muslim Spirituality in South Asia. State University of New York Press, 1992.

  • Excerpt: “The Textual Formation of Oral Teachings in the Early Chishti Order” (pp 62-77), Persian trans. Mas`ud Faryamanish, in A’ineh-i puzhuhish 25/4 (1393/2015), pp. 5-14.
  • Excerpt: “The Indian Environment and the Question of Conversion.” In Raziuddin Aquil, ed., Sufism and Society in Medieval India, Debates in Indian History and Society Series (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 82-101.
  • 2nd edition, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Words of Ecstasy in Sufism. SUNY Series in Islam. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.

  • Excerpt: “Topics and Forms of Expression,” pp. 25-45. In Sufism, ed. Lloyd Ridgeon, Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies (London: Routledge, 2008), vol. 1, essay 9.
  • Indonesian translation, Ekspresi Ekstase dalam Sufisme, Yogyakarta Putra Langit , 2003.
  • Malay translation, Kuala Lumpur: S. Abdul Majeed & Co, 1994.


Edited volumes

Co-Editor (with Fabrizio Speziale), Perso-Indica: A Critical Survey of Persian Works on Indian Learned Traditions (4 vols., forthcoming from E. J. Brill, 2020-25).

Editor, Islamophobia in America: The Anatomy of Intolerance (Palgrave-McMillan, 2013).

Co-Editor (with Richard C. Martin), Rethinking Islamic Studies: From Post-Orientalism to Cosmopolitanism (Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2010); co-author of “Introduction: Toward a Post-Orientalist Islamic Approach to Islamic Religious Studies” (pp. 1-22) and author of “The Perils of Civilizational Islam in Malaysia” (pp. 266-80).

Pakistan at the Millennium, edited by Charles Kennedy, Kathleen McNeil, Carl Ernst, and David Gilmartin. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Associate editor (with Grace Martin Smith), Manifestations of Sainthood in Islam. Istanbul: The Isis Press, 1993; also principal author of “Introduction,” pp. xi-xxviii; author of article “An Indo-Persian Guide to Sufi Shrine Pilgrimage,” pp. 43-67; abridged version of the latter reprinted in Tales of God’s Friends: Islamic Hagiography in Translation, ed. John Renard (University of California Press, 2009), pp. 269-85.


Articles in journals and collective volumes

General and Critical Issues in Islamic Studies

“Persianate Islamic Studies in American Universities.” In Iranian Studies in America: Looking Back, Looking Ahead, ed. Franklin Lewis and Erica Ehrenberg (American Institute of Iranian Studies/Eisenbruns, 2019).

“Ten Questions about Islamic Civilization.” In Islam for Journalists, ed. Lawrence Pintak and Stephen Franklin (Social Science Research Council, 2013), pp. 50-62.

“Changing Approaches to Islamic Studies in North American Universities.” In Islamic Studies and Civilisational Dialogue: A Transdisciplinary Approach for Sustainability, ed Azizan Baharuddin (Kuala Lumpur: Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya, 2013), pp. 75-92.

“The Global Significance of Arabic Language and Literature.” Religion Compass 7/6 (2013), pp. 191-200.

“Islamic Studies in U.S. Universities,” co-author with Charles Kurzman. In Middle East Studies for the New Millenium: Infrastructures of Knowledge, ed. Seteney Shami and Cynthia Miller-Idris (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2016), pp. 320-350; earlier version in Review of Middle East Studies 46/1 (Summer 2012), pp. 24-46.

“It’s Not Just Academic – Writing Public Scholarship in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.” Review of Middle East Studies 45/2 (Winter 2011 [published 2012]), pp. 164-71.

“‘The West and Islam?’ Rethinking Orientalism and Occidentalism.” Ishraq: Islamic Philosophy Yearbook (Moscow/Tehran), vol. 1 (2010), pp. 23-34.

  • Persian translation by Ruhollah `Alizada, “Gharb o eslam: baz andishi dar sharq-shinasi o gharb-shinasi,” Ittila`at-i hikmat o ma`rifat 25 (1390/2012), pp. 20-24.
  • Spanish translation by Carl Ernst and Luis Xavier López Farjeat, “¿El Occidente y el Islam? Repensar el orientalismo y el occidentalismo,” Istor: revista de historia internacional 10/38 (2009), pp. 123-139.

“Muhammad as the Pole of Existence.” In The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, ed. Jonathan Brockopp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 123-38.

“Universalism in Islamic Thought.” Keynote address for International Symposium on Religion and World Peace (Istanbul: Istanbul University, 2008), pp. 8-17.

“Demystifying the Rhetoric of Civilizational Conflict.” In Dialogue of Civilizations and the Construction of Peace, ed. Thomas W. Simon and Azizan Baharuddin (Kuala Lumpur: Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, 2008), pp. 1-22.

“Reading Strategies for Introducing the Qur’an as Literature in an American Public University.” Islamic Studies (Islamabad) 45:3 (2006), pp. 333-344. Reprinted as Islamic Studies Occasional Papers 77 (Islamabad: Islamic Research Institute, 2007).

“From Philosophy of Religion to History of Religion.” In Problems in the Philosophy of Religion: Critical Studies of the Work of John Hick, ed. Harold Hewitt, Jr (London: Macmillan, 1991), pp. 46-50.


Premodern and Contemporary Sufism

“Wakened by the Dove’s Trill: Structure and Meaning in the Arabic Preface of Rumi’s Mathnawi, Book IV.” In The Philosophy of Ecstasy: Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: World Wisdom, 2014).

“‘A Little Indicates Much’: Structure and Meaning in the Prefaces of Rumi’s Mathnawi (Books I-III).” Mawlana Rumi Review V (2014), pp. 14-25.

“Piety and Devotion.” In Islam in the Modern World, ed. Jeffrey T. Kenney, Ebrahim Moosa (Routledge, 2013), pp. 107-24.

Translations from the writings of Jalal al-Din Dawani: Commentary on Suhrawardi’s “Temples of Light” (Shar hayākil al-nūr, Book 5; Arabic), and Flashes of Illumination on Praiseworthy Ethics, or the Jalalian Ethics (Akhlāq-i Jalālī, Book 4; Persian), in An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, ed. S. H. Nasr and Mehdi Aminrazavi, vol. 4, From the School of Illumination to Philosophical Mysticism (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012), pp. 93-120, 121-135.

“Jalal al-Din Davani’s Interpretation of Hafiz.” In Hafiz and the School of Love in Persian Poetry, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), pp. 197-210.

“Shams-i Tabrizi and the Audacity of Bayazid Bistami.” In Şems: Güneşle Aydinlananlar / Enlightened By The Sun (Istanbul: Nefes Yayınevi, 2010), pp. 286-95

“Sufism and the Aesthetics of Penmanship according to Siraj al-Shirazi’s Tuhfat al-Muhibbin (1454).” Journal of the American Oriental Society 129.3 (2009), pp. 431-42.

  • Abridged version in Hadeeth ad-Dar (Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah Museum, Kuwait) 27 (2008), pp. 30-33.

“Beauty and the Feminine Element of Spirituality.” In Women and Tasawwuf (Istanbul: Nefes, 2008), pp. 147-154.

“Sufism, Islam, and Globalization in the Contemporary World: Methodological Reflections on a Changing Field of Study.” In Memoriam: The 4th Victor Danner Memorial Lecture. Bloomington, IN: Department of Near Eastern Languages, 2009.

  • Italian translation by Marco Cena of an earlier version: “Il sufismo nel mondo musulmano contemporaneo: la ‘divulgazione del segreto.'” In Sufismo e confraternite nell’islam contemporaneo: Il difficile equilibrio tra mistica e politica, ed. Marietta Stepanyants (Turin, Italy: Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 2003), pp. 301-324.

“On Losing One’s Head: Hallajian themes in works attributed to `Attar.” In Attar and the Persian Sufi Tradition: The Art of Spiritual Flight, ed. Leonard Lewisohn and Christopher Shackle (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), pp. 330-343.

“Ideological and Technological Transformations of Contemporary Sufism.” In Muslim Networks: Medium, Metaphor, and Method, ed. miriam cooke and Bruce B. Lawrence. Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Series, 2. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005), pp. 198-207.

“Between Orientalism and Fundamentalism: Problematizing the Teaching of Sufism.” In Teaching Islam, ed. Brannon Wheeler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 108-23.

“Sufism and Philosophy in Mulla Sadra.” In Islam-West Philosophical Dialogue: The Papers presented at the World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May, 1999, Tehran) (Tehran: Sadra Islamic Philosophy Research Institute, 2001), 1:173-192; reprinted in Afkar: Journal of `Aqidah & Islamic Thought 6 (2005), pp. 143-60.

  • Persian translation: “Tasavvuf va falsafa az nazar-i Mulla Sadra.” In Majmu`a-i maqalat-i humayish-i jahani-i Mulla Sadra, avval Khurdad ma 1378 – Tehran, Mulla Sadra va hikmat-i muta`aliya (Tehran: Bunyad-i Hikmat-i Islami-i Sadra, 2001), 2:51-64.

“Chishti Meditation Practices of the Later Mughal Period.” In The Heritage of Sufism, Volume 3: Late Classical Persianate Sufism (1501-1750): The Safavid and Mughal Period, ed. Leonard Lewisohn and David Morgan (Oxford: Oneworld, 1999), pp. 344-57.

“Persecution and Circumspection in the Shattari Sufi Order.”  In Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversies & Polemics, ed. Fred De Jong and Berndt Radtke, Islamic History and Civilization: Studies and Texts, 29 (Leiden: Brill, 1999), pp. 416-35.

“Vertical Pilgrimage and Interior Landscape in the Visionary Diary of Ruzbihan Baqli.” Muslim World 88/2 (1998), pp. 129-40.

“The Interpretation of the Classical Sufi Tradition in India: The Shama’il al-atqiya’ of Rukn al-Din Kashani.” Sufi 22 (1994), pp. 5-10.

  • Persian translation by Karim Zayyani: “Tafsiri bar sunnat-i tasavvuf-i klasik-i Hindustan: Shamayil al-atqiya’, athar-i Rukn al-Din Kashani,” in Sufi 24 (1373/1994), pp. 6-12.

“Ruzbihan Baqli on Love as ‘Essential Desire.’” In Gott is schön und Er liebt die Schönheit/God is Beautiful and He Loves Beauty: Festschrift für Annemarie Schimmel, ed. Alma Giese and J. Christoph Bürgel (Bern: Peter Lang, 1994), pp. 181-89.

“The Man without Attributes: Ibn `Arabi’s Interpretation of Abu Yazid al-Bistami.” Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi Society XIII (1993), pp. 1-18. Also in Muhyiddin: The Revivifier of the Way, Proceedings of the Sixth Annual U.S.A. Symposium of the Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi Society (Oxford: Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi Society, 1993), pp. 47-62.

“Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons.” In Mysticism and Language, ed. Steven T. Katz (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 181-201.

“The Stages of Love in Persian Sufism, from Rabi`a to Ruzbihan.” In Classical Persian Sufism from its Origins to Rumi, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: Khaniqahi Nimatullahi, 1994), pp. 435-55; also in Sufi 14 (1992), pp. 16-23; reprinted in The Heritage of Sufism, Volume 1, Classical Persian Sufism from its Origins to Rumi (700-1300), ed. Leonard Lewisohn (Oxford: One World, 1999), pp. 435-55.

  • Persian translation by Mojde-i Bayat: “Marahil-i `ishq dar nakhustin advar-i tasavvuf-i Iran, az Rabi`a ta Ruzbihan,” in Sufi 16 (1371/1992), pp. 6-17.
  • Revised Persian translation: “Marahil-i `ishq dar tasavvuf-i aghazin-i Irani: az Rabi`a ta Ruzbihan,” Miras-i Tasavvuf, trans. Majdoddin Keyvani (Tehran: Nashr-i Markaz, 1384/2006), 1:315-37.
  • Spanish translation: “Las etapas del amor en el sufismo persa primitivo de Rābea a Ruzbahan,” Revista Sufi, Número VIII (Otoño / Invierno 2004).

“The Spirit of Islamic Calligraphy: Baba Shah Isfahani’s Adab al-Mashq.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 112 (1992), pp. 279-86.

“The Symbolism of Birds and Flight in the Writings of Ruzbihan Baqli.” In The Legacy of Mediaeval Persian Sufism, ed. Leonard Lewisohn (London: Khaniqahi Nimatullahi, 1992), pp. 353-66; also in Sufi 11 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 5-12; reprinted in The Heritage of Sufism, vol. 2, The Legacy of Mediaeval Persian Sufism (1150-1500), ed. Leonard Lewisohn (Oxford: One World, 1999), pp. 353-66.

  • Persian translation: “Namad-ha-yi parandah o parvaz dar musannafat-i Ruzbihan Baqli,” Miras-i Tasavvuf, trans. Majdoddin Keyvani (Tehran: Nashr-i Markaz, 1384/2006), 2:231-52.

“The Textual Formation of Oral Teachings in Early Chishti Sufism.” In Texts and Contexts: Traditional Hermeneutics in South Asia, ed. Jeffrey Timm (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), pp. 271-97.

“Ibn al-`Arabi on the Divine Beauty: Some Comparative Considerations.” In Truth and Beauty: Proceedings of the Second Annual U.S.A. Symposium of the Muhyiddin Ibn al-`Arabi Society (Oxford: Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi Society, 1989), pp. 59-67.

“Inner Perspectives” (a series of ten weekly newspaper columns on Sufism). The Nation (Lahore, Oct.-Dec. 1986).

“Controversy over Ibn `Arabi’s Fusus: The Faith of Pharaoh.” Islamic Culture LIX (1985), pp. 259-66.

“From Hagiography to Martyrology: Conflicting Testimonies to a Sufi Martyr of the Delhi Sultanate.” History of Religions XXIV (May, 1985), pp. 308-27.

“Mystical and Esoteric Aspects of Religious Knowledge in Sufism.” The Journal of Religious Studies XIII (1984), pp. 93-100; also in Islam and the Modern Age XV (1984), pp. 201-8.


Indo-Muslim Culture

“Tabaqat-i adyan-i Hind dar `ahd-i inglisiyan-i Hind (Anglo-Persian Taxonomies of Indian Religions) [in Persian].” Iran Namag 1/3 (Fall 2016), pp. 82-103.

“Muslim Interpreters of Yoga.” In Yoga: The Art of Transformation, ed. Debra Diamond (Smithsonian Books, 2013), pp. 59-68.

“Indian Lovers in Arabic and Persian Guise: Azad Bilgrami’s Depiction of nayikas.” The Journal of Hindu Studies (2013), pp. 1-15.

“Traces of Šattari Sufism and Yoga in North Africa.” Oriente Moderno XCII/2 (2013), pp. 361-367.

“The Limits of Universalism in Islamic Thought: The Case of Indian Religions.” Muslim World 101 (January 2011), pp. 1-19.

  • Revised edition in Universality in Islamic Thought: Rationalism, Science and Religious Belief, ed. Michael Morony (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 193-222.

“A Fourteenth-Century Persian Account of Breath Control and Meditation.” In Yoga in Practice, ed. David Gordon White, Princeton Readings in Religions (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 133-39.

“Fayzi’s Illuminationist Interpretation of Vedanta: The Shariq al-Ma`rifa.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 30/3 (2010), pp. 156-64.

“Reconfiguring South Asian Islam: From the 18th to the 19th Century.” Comparative Islamic Studies 5/2 (2009 [published 2011]), pp. 247-272.

“Islam and Sufism in Contemporary South Asia.” In Sacred Spaces: A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus, by Samina Quraeshi (Cambridge, MA: Peabody Museum Press, 2009), pp. 21-40.

“The Daily Life of a Saint, Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624), by Badr al-Din Sirhindi,” in Islam in South Asia in Practice, ed. Barbara D. Metcalf (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), pp. 158-65.

“Being Careful with the Goddess: Yoginis in Persian and Arabic Texts.” In Performing Ecstasy: The Poetics and Politics of Religion in India, ed. Pallabi Chakrabarty and Scott Kugle (Delhi: Manohar, 2009), pp. 189-203.

“Accounts of Yogis in Arabic and Persian Historical and Travel Texts.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, vol. 33 (2008), pp. 409-426.

“Two Versions of a Persian Text on Yoga and Cosmology, Attributed to Shaykh Mu`in al-Din Chishti.” Elixir 2 (2006), pp. 69-76, 124-5.

  • Revised edition by Scott Kugle, “Mu`in al-Din Chishti, Treatise on the Human Body,”
    in Sufi Meditation and Contemplation: Timeless Wisdom from Mughal India (New Lebanon, NY: Suluk Press/Omega Publications, 2012), pp. 167-9, 181-92.

“Fragmentary Versions of the Apocryphal ‘Hymn of the Pearl’ in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Urdu.” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, vol. 32 (2006), pp. 144-188.

“Situating Sufism and Yoga.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 15:1 (2005), pp. 15-43.

  • Reprint, in Sufism, ed. Lloyd Ridgeon, Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies (London: Routledge, 2008), vol. 2, essay 24.

“Khuldabad: Dargahs of Shaykh Burhanuddin Gharib and Shaykh Zaynuddin Shirazi.” In Dargahs: Abodes of the Saints, ed. Mumtaz Currim and George Michell, special issue of Marg 56/1 (2004; reprint, 2011), pp. 104-19.

“The Islamization of Yoga in the Amrtakunda Translations.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Series 3, 13:2 (2003), pp. 199-226.

“Muslim Studies of Hinduism? A Reconsideration of Persian and Arabic Translations from Sanskrit.” Iranian Studies 36 (2003), pp. 173-95.

  • Persian translation by Sayyid Mahdi Husayni Isfidvajani, “Tarjuma-i mutun-i dini-i Hind bi-zaban-ha-yi parsi o `arabi,” in Andisha-i Irani o farhang-i hindi (Tehran: Nashr-i `Ilm, 1391/2013).

“Abu Nasr Muhammad Khalidi (d. 1406/1985): A Brief Memoir.” The Annual of Urdu Studies 15 (2000), pp. 305-13.

“Admiring the Works of the Ancients: The Ellora Temples as viewed by Indo-Muslim Authors.” In Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia, ed. David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence (Gainseville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000), pp. 198-220.

“Local Cultural Nationalism as Anti-Fundamentalist Strategy in Pakistan.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 16 (1996), pp. 68-76.

“Sufism and Yoga according to Muhammad Ghawth.” Sufi 29 (Spring 1996), pp. 9-13.

  • Spanish translation by Pedro Soto: “El Sufismo y Yoga según Muhammad Ghawth.” Sarasvati 9 (2006), pp. 77-85.

“Royal Policy and Patronage of Sufi Shrines in Mughul Revenue Documents from Khuldabad.” In Mediaeval Deccan History, Commemoration Volume in Honour of Purshottam Mahadeo Joshi, ed. A. R. Kulkarni, M. A. Nayeem, and R. de Souza (Bombay:  Popular Prakashan, 1996), pp. 76-93.

Translations for Religions of India in Practice, ed. Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Princeton Readings in Religions, 1 (Princeton University Press, 1995): “Lives of Sufi Saints” (Persian; pp. 495-512), “Conversations of Sufi Saints” (Persian; pp. 513-17), and “India as a Sacred Islamic Land” (Arabic; pp. 556-64).

“The Khuldabad-Burhanpur Axis, and Local Sufism in the Deccan.” In Islam and Indian Regions, ed. Anna Libera Dallapiccola and Stephanie Zingel-Avé Lallemant, Beiträge zur Südasienforschung, Südasien-Institut der Universität Heidelberg, 145 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1993), I, 169-83.


Articles for reference works

Encyclopaedia Iranica (Costa Mesa CA: Mazda Publishers): “Deccan I. Political and Literary History,” (VII:181-85, 1995); “Ebrahim Shirazi” (VIII:76, 1997); “Faruqi Dynasty of Khandesh” (IX:374-5, 1999); “Jawāher-e Kamsa” (XIV:608-9, 2008); “Ruzbihan Baqli” (forthcoming).

Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition (Leiden: E. J. Brill): “Ruzbihan Bakli” (VII:651-52, 1995); “Shath” (IX:361-2, 1997); “Shirazi, Rafi` al-Din” (IX:483, 1997); “Tasawwuf (iii): 19th and 20th-century Sufism, in Muslim India” (X:333-7, 1999).

Encyclopaedia of Islam Three (Leiden: E. J. Brill): “Bibi Jamal Khatun” (I:165, 2010).

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, ed. Richard Martin (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004): “Tariqa” (2:680-684), “Tasawwuf” (2:684-690).

Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, ed. Robert Wuthnow (Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1998): “Iqbal, Muhammad,” pp. 375-6; “Sufism,” pp. 719-21.

Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Mircea Eliade et al. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987): “Blasphemy (Islamic Concept),” vol. 2, pp. 242-45.

The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, ed. Jonathan Z. Smith (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1995): “Brethren of Purity,” “Rightly Guided Caliphs,” “Sufi,” “Sunna,” pp. 128, 928-9, 1029, 1035.

The Muslim Almanac: A Reference Work on the History, Faith, Cultures, and Peoples of Islam, ed. Azim A. Nanji (Gale Research, Inc., 1996): “Spiritual Life and Institutions in Muslim Society,” pp. 253-59.

South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia, ed. Peter J. Claus and Margaret A. Mills (Garland Publishing, Inc., 2003): “Syncretism” (with Tony K. Stewart).



Foreword to The Junaydī Order in the Deccan: A Discovery from a 17th Century Scroll, ed. and trans. Muhammad Suleman Siddiqi (New Delhi: Primus Books, 2014).

Preface to Kenan Rifai, Listen: Commentary on the Spiritual Couplets of Mevlana Rumi, trans. Victoria Holbrook (Fons Vitae, 2012).

Preface to Sajida Sultana Alvi, Perspectives on Mughal India: Rulers, Historians, ‘Ulama’ and ūfīs (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Foreword to Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam (2nd ed., Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Foreword to Anna Suvorova, Lahore: Topophilia of Space and Place (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Preface to Michel Boivin, Artifacts of Devotion: An Introduction to the Sufi Repertoire of Sehwan Sharif (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Preface to Abu `Abd ar-Rahman as-Sulami, Early Sufi Women, trans. Rkia Laroui Cornell (Fons Vitae, 2000).

Foreword to Meher Baba, Universal Prayer, illustrated by Will David (Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press, 1999).

Foreword to Shaykh `Ali al-Hujwiri, Revealing the Mystery (Kashf al-mahjub), trans. R. A. Nicholson, (reprint ed., N.Y.: Pir Press, 1999).

Preface to Michael Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Classics of Western Spirituality (Paulist Press, 1996).

Preface to Judith L. Ernst, The Golden Goose King: A Tale Told by the Buddha (Chapel Hill, NC: Parvardigar Press, 1995).


Poetry Translation

Five Persian poems by Amir Khusraw, plus script outline, for “Amir and the Student,” a music and dance drama produced by the Pakistan Arts Council, Pacific Asia Museum, 1991.

Persian Lyrics, translated from Hafiz Shirazi and Amir Khusraw, in “Lions on a Banner: Seven Sufi Texts for Soprano Solo, Chorus of Mixed Voices, and Orchestra,” an NEA-supported composition by Karl Kohn, 1988.


Music Notes

Introduction to J. Mark Scearce, The 99 Beautiful Names of God (composition for solo piano, performed by John Cheek; Albany Records, 2009).

“From Middle Eastern Poetry to Country Western Music.” Liner notes to The Songs of Hafiz, CD music album by James R. Newell, 2001.


Over forty book reviews and book notes, plus a dozen prefaces.



Bahrain: Bait al-Qur’an Center, Manama, 2007, 2008

Brunei: Universiti Brunei Darussalam, 2011

Canada: Noor Foundation, Toronto, 2004; York University, Toronto, 2004; Simon Fraser University, 2013; University of Toronto, 2014

Egypt: Bashrahil Prize, Cairo, 2004

France: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 2003, 2018; Université Jean Moulin-Lyon III, 2003; American University of Paris, 2005; Perso-Indica project, 2012; Perso-Indica project, 2016; Collège de France, 2016

Germany: Goethe University, Frankfurt, 2004; Social Science Research Center, Berlin, 2006; Perso-Indica project, Bonn, 2014, 2018; Erfurt University, 2016

India: Jaipur Literature Festival, 2012, 2018; Osmania University, 2012; American Institute of Indian Studies and US Embassy, 2014 (lectures at 6 different universities); K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Bombay, 2016

Indonesia: Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta, 2005

Iran: University of Shiraz, 2007, 2008; Iranian Research Institute in Philosophy, Tehran, 2008; Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, 2008

Italy: Edoardo Agnelli Centre for Comparative Religious Studies, Turin, 2002

Japan: Kyoto University, 2017; Tokyo University, 2017, 2019

Kuwait: Museum of Islamic Art, 2008

Malaysia: Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya, 2005 (multiple presentations), 2007, 2010

Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2008; Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, 2008

Netherlands: Spanda Foundation, The Hague, 2006; Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies, Amsterdam, 2011; VU University Amsterdam, 2013

Oman: Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments, Muscat, 2007

Pakistan: National College of Arts, Lahore, 2006

Portugal: Ismaili Centre, Lisbon, 2006

Saudi Arabia: King Saud University, Riyadh, 2017

Senegal: West Africa Research Center, Dakar, 2015; Université Cheikh Anta Diop, 2017, 2018

Spain: University of Seville, 2001

Syria: Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Damascus, 2009

Turkey: Near Eastern University, Lefkosa, Northern Cyprus, 2004, 2007; Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Istanbul, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012; Istanbul University, 2007, 2009; Fatih University, Istanbul, 2009; Center for Islamic Studies, Istanbul, 2009; Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Bursa, 2014; Üsküdar University, 2018

United Kingdom: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2002, 2005, 2016, 2017; Royal Asiatic Society, London, 2003; University of Exeter, 2007; Iran Heritage Foundation, London, 2007; University of Wales, 2012

Uzbekistan: Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, 2003



The Pool of Nectar: Muslim Interpreters of Yoga.

A Persianate Hindu: Sital Singh “Bikhwud” and Islamicate Taxonomies of Indian Religions.



American Academy of Religion

American Society for the Study of Religion (elected 1996; president, 2017-2020)

Association for the Study of Persianate Societies

Institute for Central and West Asian Studies, University of Karachi (life member, 1986)

Middle East Medievalists

Middle East Studies Association

Society for Iranian Studies



Museum related

Sackler and Freer Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, Consultant for Exhibit on “The Arts of Yoga” (2009)

Ackland Art Museum, UNC-Chapel Hill, Faculty Advisory Board (1995-98)

Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena CA, Pakistan Arts Council (1990-1992)


Editorial Advisory Boards

Comparative Islamic Studies (Equinox Publishing)

Fons Vitae Publishers

Hamdard Islamicus, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan

Ilahiyat Studies: A Journal of Islamic and Religious Studies, Uludag Universitesi, Turkey

International Journal of Persian Literature

Islam and Civilisational Renewal, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies – Malaysia

Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Series, University of North Carolina Press, Co-Editor (with Bruce B. Lawrence)

Islamic Literature Review, Deoband Institute of Islamic Thought, India

Islamic Studies, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Journal of al-Tamaddun, Department of Islamic History and Civilization, University of Malaya

Journal of Contemporary Islamic Studies, University of Tehran, Iran

Journal of Islam and Contemporary Society, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, London

Journal of South Asian Intellectual History (E. J. Brill)

Journal of Sufi Studies (E. J. Brill)

Katha, Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya

Majallat al-Istighrab (Review of Occidentalism), Islamic Institute of Strategic Studies, Kerbela, Iraq

Mathal/Mashal: Journal of Islamic and Judaic Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Iowa

Nefes Press, Turkish Women’s Cultural Association (Istanbul)

Mawlana Rumi Review (Cyprus/Exeter)

World Journal of Islamic History and Civilization, University of Malaya


Peer Review

Grant Proposal Reviewer, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, National Endowment for the Humanities: Reference Works, Translations (Arabic and Persian); National Humanities Center.

Manuscript Reviewer, American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Journal of Arabic Literature, Journal of Islamic Studies, The Journal of Religion, Numen, Blackwell’s, Brill, Indiana University Press, Oneworld, Oxford University Press, Paulist Press, Polity, Princeton University Press, State University of New York Press, University of California Press, University of Missouri Press, University of North Carolina Press, University of South Carolina Press.

Promotion and tenure reviews in Anthropology, Art History, History, Near Eastern Studies, Religious Studies, and Sociology: Amherst College, Auburn University, Brown University, Colgate University, Colorado College, Columbia University,  Davidson College, Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service at Qatar,  Harvard University, Haverford College, Indiana University, Lafayette College, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Louisiana State University, Loyola University, Macalester College, Middlebury College, New School for Public Engagement, New York University, North Carolina State University, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State University, Pomona College, Princeton University, Reed College, Rochester University, Rutgers University, Santa Clara University, Simon Fraser University, State University of New York at Binghamton, SUNY-Stonybrook, UNC-Charlotte, University of Arizona, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Karachi, University of Iowa, University of London, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Oklahoma, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Washington University at St. Louis, Wesleyan University.

Program reviews:

Elon University, Middle East Studies Program (2008, 2010)

Emory University, Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (2007; chair of review committee)

Louisiana State University, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (2002)

Princeton University, Department of Religion (2014)

Rutgers University, Department of Religion (2012)

Temple University, Department of Religious Studies (2018)

University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Religious Studies (2015; chair of review committee)

Whitman College, Department of Religion (2013)


National and international organizations

American Academy of Religion, Islamic Mysticism Group, Co-Chair, 2003-2009

American Institute of Iranian Studies, Trustee-at-large, 1999-2001; Trustee, 2001-; Chair, Program Committee, 2000-3; Nominations Committee, 2003-4

American Institute of Pakistan Studies, Trustee; member, Executive Committee, 1994-2002; Conference Subcommittee, 1995-1998; Publications and Nominations Subcommittees, 1998-2000; Book Award Committee, 2013

American Society for the Study of Religion (elected 1996), Executive Committee, 2010-13; Vice President, 2014-7; President, 2017-20

Forum on Global Islam, Discussant, 1992-93

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, Agha Khan University, London, Resource Group, 2002-5

Jubilo Project, Spanda Foundation, The Hague, Advisory Board, 2005-7

Middle East Studies Association, Chair, Albert Hourani Book Award Committee, 2010; elected to Board of Directors, 2010-13

Parsa Community Foundation, Grant Advisory Committee, 2010

Perso-Indica: A Descriptive Catalogue of Persian Texts on Indian Traditions and Sciences, sponsored by IFRI (Institut Français de recherche en Iran), Co-Director, with Dr. Fabrizio Speziale, 2009-

The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq, Trustee, Fellowship Committee, 2013-14

Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, International Advisory Council, 2000-5


Local and regional educational organizations

American Association of University Professors, UNC-Chapel Chapter, President, 2006-9

ART \ Islam, Creative Encounters Connecting Islam and America through the Arts (Kenan Institute of the Arts and UNC School of the Arts), Advisory Board, 2011-3

Carolina Seminar on Comparative Islamic Studies, Director, 1994-2016

Carolina Seminar on Middle East Studies, Director, 2017-

Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, Director, 2010-

North Carolina Center for South Asia Studies, UNC Campus Representative and Project Director, 2000-1, 2006-7; Executive Committee, 2009

Persian Manuscript Initiative, Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities (PersDig@UMD) at the University of Maryland , External Advisory Board, 2016-

South Eastern Regional Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Seminar, Board member, 1996-98

Triangle South Asia Consortium, Executive Committee, 1992-2001

World View International Program for Educators, Advisory Board, 2003-9



At UNC (most online syllabi after 1997 available at

Current courses:

Reli. 180, “Introduction to Islamic Civilization to 1500″

Reli. 181, “Later Islamic Civilization”

Reli. 581, “Sufism”

Reli. 582, “Islam and Islamic Art in South Asia”

Reli. 583, “Religion and Culture in Iran, 1500-Present”

Reli. 584, “The Qur’an as Literature”

Reli. 681, “Readings in Islamicate Texts: Arabic, Persian or Urdu”

Reli. 780, “Methodology and Pedagogy in Islamic Studies”

Reli. 785, “Genealogies of Middle East Studies”

Reli. 890, “Islamic Thought”


Other courses taught previously at UNC:

Reli. 82, “Re-Introducing Islam” (First-Year Seminar)

Reli. 10, “World Religions”

Reli. 40, “Mysticism”

Reli. 60, “Islamic Religion in Thought and Practice”

Reli. 99, “Comparing Islams”

Reli. 199/299, “Globalization and Local Islam in Asia” (with James Peacock, Anthropology, UNC)

Reli. 481, “Religion, Fundamentalism, and Nationalism”


At Pomona College

Religion 2, “Issues in Religious Thought”

Religion 4, “Survey of World Religions”

Religion 5, “Philosophy in World Religions”

Religion 100, “Theories of Religion”

Religion 104, “Medieval India:  Hindu and Muslim”

Religion 105, “The Mediterranean and the Middle East” (with Katherine Tachau, Department of History)

Religion 115, “Sufism”

Interdepartmental 1, “Critical Inquiry:  Religion and Politics in the Modern World” (freshman seminar).

Interdepartmental 130, “Traditions of Ecstasy:  Mystical and Erotic Poetry” (with Richard Barnes, Department of English).

Interdepartmental 131, “Classical Islam”

Interdepartmental 132, “Modern Islam”



Dissertations and theses directed (* = director of record)

Matthew Lynch, “Rumi’s Masnavi and the Molding of the Religious Present.” PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, anticipated 2019.

Patrick d’Silva, “To Enchant or Dis-Enchant: The Question of Classifying Breath Control Techniques in ‘Occult’ ‘Sufi’ Persian Manuscripts.” PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, 2018.

Matthew Hotham, “Seeing God with Both Eyes: The Prophet as Paradigmatic Mystic in the Quintet of Nizami Ganjavi (d. 1209).” PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, 2016.

Zahra Ayubi, “Gendered Morality: Marriage and Social Relations in Medieval Islamic Ethics.” PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, 2015.

Rose Aslan, “From Body to Shrine: The Construction of Sacred Space at the Grave of `Ali ibn Abi Talib in Najaf.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2014.

Tehseen Thaver, “Ambiguity, Hermeneutics, and the Formation of Shi‘i identity in al-Sharif al-Radi’s (d. 1015 CE) Qur’an Commentary.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2013.

  1. A. Lipton, “Making Islam Fit: Ibn ‘Arabi and the Idea of Sufism in the West.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2013.

Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst, “Planting the Garden of Religions: Islamic Texts, Imperial Taxonomies, and the Precolonial Roots of South Asian Identities.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2012.

Brannon Ingram, “Deobandis Abroad: Sufism, Ethics and Polemics in a Global Islamic Movement.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2011.

Timur Yuskaev, “The Qur’an comes to America: Pedagogies of Muslim Collective Memory.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2010.

*Richard Musselwhite, “Possessing Knowledge: Emergence of Institutional Boundaries among the Brahma Kumaris.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2009.

Peter M. Wright, “Modern Qur’anic Hermeneutics.”  Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2008.

Karen G. Ruffle, “Memory Inflamed: Women’s Participa,,tion in the Shi`i Community of Remembrance.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2007.

  1. A. Lipton, “Defending Ibn al-`Arabi: Muhibb Allah Ilahabadi’s Taswiya and the Politics of Wahdat al-Wujud in 17th-Century India.” M.A., Religious Studies, UNC, 2007.

Peter M. Wright, “A Box of Self-Threading Needles: Epic Vision and Penal Trauma in the Fugitive Origins of the Nation of Islam.” M.A., Religious Studies, UNC, 2004.

*Steven Ramey, “Defying Borders:  Contemporary Sindhi Hindu Constructions of Practices and Identifications.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2004.

Karen G. Ruffle, “Verses Dripping Blood: A Study of the Religious Elements of Muhtasham Kashani’s Karbala-nameh.” M.A., Religious Studies, UNC, 2001.

*C. Neal Keye, “The Resistance to Reading: Genealogies of Interpretation in Theories of Religion and Culture.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 1999.


Dissertation and thesis committees

Katherine Merriman, “Forty Houses: Muslim Charitable Practices in the United States,” PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, anticipated 2019.

Candace Mixon, “Mother of Her Father: Contemporary Devotion to Fatima al-Zahra in Iran”, PhD, Religious Studies, UNC, anticipated 2019.

Ali Eshraghi, “Debating [in] the Islamic Republic: An Unruly Endeavor.” PhD, Communication, UNC, anticipated 2019.

Pranav Prakash, “Reimagining Sufi Poetics in a Land of Hindus: The Literary Writings of Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī (1253 – c.1337),” PhD, Religious Studies, University of Iowa, anticipated 2019.

Hunter Bandy, “Religion in the Empirical Age: Natural Speculation in the 16th and 17th Century Muslim Deccan,” PhD, Religious Studies, Duke University, anticipated 2019.

Anna Levett, “The Surreal Mediterranean: Late Twentieth Century Arab Modernism and the Rewriting of Surrealist Genealogy.” PhD, Comparative Literature, UNC, anticipated 2019.

Ali Altaf Mian, “Surviving Modernity: Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi (1863-1943) and the Making of Muslim Orthodoxy in Colonial India.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2015.

Pieter Coppens, “Crossing Boundaries: Encounters with God and the Otherworld in Mystical Commentaries on the Qur’ān.” PhD, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Utrecht University, 2015.

Natalia Suit, “Qur’ānic Matters: Materiality of the Book.” PhD, Anthropology, UNC, 2014.

Rkia Elaroui Cornell, “Rabi`a, from Narrative to Myth: Tropics of Identity of a Muslim Woman Saint.” Ph. D., Free University of Amsterdam, 2013.

Kathleen M. Foody, “Thinking Islam: Islamic Scholars, Tradition, and the State in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 2012.

Christine Luckritz Marquis, “Haunted Paradise: Remembering and Forgetting Among Ascetics of the Egyptian Desert.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2012.

SherAli Tareen, “The Limits of Tradition:  Competing Logics of Authenticity in South Asian Islam.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2012.

Rachana Rao Umashankar, “Asserted Identities: The Negotiation of Religious and National Subjectivity among Adherents of Shrine-Based Sufism.” Ph.D., Anthropology, UNC, 2012.

Youshaa Patel, “Muslim Distinction: Imitation and the Anxiety of Jewish, Christian, and Other Influences.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2012.

Anna Neubauer, “La religiosité féminine au sein d’un mouvement soufi d’Istanbul.” Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 2009.

Kathleen Foody, “Contesting the Jurists’ Authority: Muslim Critique and Counter-Traditions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” M.A., Religious Studies, UNC, 2009.

Kevin Blankinship, “Death at First Sight: the Duality of Love in Thibaut de Champagne and Ibn Quzman.” M.A., Comparative Literature, UNC, 2009.

Brett Wilson, “The Qur’an after Babel: Translating and Printing the Qur’an in Late Ottoman and Modern Turkey.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2009.

Aman Nadhiri, “Christian and Muslim Perceptions of the Other at the time of the Third Crusade.” Ph.D., English, UNC, 2009.

Hager El-Hadidi, “Survivals and Surviving: Belonging to Zar in Cairo.” Ph.D., Anthropology, UNC, 2006.

Zia Inayat-Khan, “A Hybrid Sufi Order at the Crossroads of Modernity: The Sufi Order and Sufi Movement of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2006.

Robert Thomas Rozehnal, “Islamic Sufism Unbound: Tracing Contemporary Chishti Sabiri Identity.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2003.

Frederick Stephen Colby, “Constructing an Islamic Ascension Narrative: The Interplay of Official and Popular Culture in Pseudo-Ibn ‘Abbas.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2002.

Hugh Talat Halman, “’Where Two Seas Meet’: The Qur’anic Story of Khidr and Moses in Sufi Commentaries as a Model for Spiritual Guidance.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2000.

Scott Alan Kugle, “In Search of the Center: Authenticity, Reform and Critique in Early Modern Islamic Sainthood.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2000.

Shantanu Phukan, “Through a Persian Prism: Hindi and Padmavat in the Mughal Imagination.” Ph.D., South Asian Studies, University of Chicago, 2000.

Omid Safi, “Power and the Politics of Knowledge: Negotiating Political Ideology and Religious Orthodoxy in Saljuq Iran.” Ph.D., Religion, Duke University, 2000.

Philip A. Hassett, “Improvised Compositions: Religion and Indian Classical Music in the United States.” M.A., Religious Studies, UNC, 1999.

Kenton L. Sparks, “Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel: Prolegomena to the Study of Ethnic Sentiments and Their Expression in the Hebrew Bible.” Ph.D., Religious Studies, UNC, 1996.

Randall K. Haight, “Ibn ‘Arabi and Religious Diversity: Historical and Theological Perspectives on the Legendary Master.” M.A., Graduate Theological Union, 1995.

Bruce Kenneth Hanson, “Mystical Realism: Epistemology and Nondual Awareness.” Ph.D., Religion, Claremont Graduate School, 1991.


External examiner of Ph.D. dissertations

Pervaiz Hayat, “The conversation between Dārā Shukōh and Lāl Dās: a Șūfī-Yogī dialogue of the 17th – century Indian subcontinent,” PhD, McGill University, 2016.

Malik Mohammad Tariq, “A Comparative Study of Allama Iqbal and Dr. Fazlur Rahman on Islamic Modernity.” PhD, Philosophy, University of Peshawar, Pakistan, 2011.

Sakina Khan, “Central Asia Sufi Influence in NWFP: the Naqshbandiyya and the Chishtiyya.” Ph.D., History, University of Peshawar, Pakistan, 2010.

Anita Mir, “The Object of Love: A Literary and Theological Analysis of the Work of Two Mystical Poets: The Flemish Catholic Beguine, Hadewijch (fl. 1240) and Punjabi Sufi, Bulleh Shah (d. 1758).” Ph.D., Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (UK), 2005.

Abdul Rahim, “The Farahi-Islahi Objectivist Approach to Qur’anic Hermeneutics: Subjective – Objective Distinction of Hermeneutical Approaches to the Qur’an in Connection with Western Hermeneutics.”  Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Karachi, 2005.

Tanvir Anjum, “Chishtia Silsilah and the Delhi Sultanate: A Study of Their Relationship during 13th and 14th Centuries.” Ph.D., History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan, 2005.


Mentoring Visiting Scholars

Ayako Ninomiya, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, 2018-9

Samedin Kadic, University of Sarajevo, Fulbright Fellow, 2016-7

Rodrigo Adem, Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC, 2015-7

Chen Fayang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China, 2015-6

Pranav Prakash, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 2016

Moein Kazemifar, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran, 2015

Mohsen Kadivar, Nannerl Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Duke University, 2014

Asyraf Isyraqi bin Jamil, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 2012

Mohd Zaidi bin Daud, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 2012

Osman Nuri Kucuk, School of Divinity, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey, 2012-3

Ahmad Hidayat Buang, Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 2011

Muhammet Mustafa Çakmaklıoğlu, School of Divinity, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey, 2011

Recep Alpyagil, Faculty of Divinity, Istanbul University, Spring 2009

Tanvir Anjum, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan; Higher Education Commission Fellow, 2007-8

Amal Mostafa, Cairo University, Egypt; Fulbright Fellow, 2007-8

Meenakshi Khanna, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, India; Fulbright Fellow, fall 2006

Zumrad Ahmedjanova, Samarqand State Institute of Foreign Languages, Uzbekistan; Junior Faculty Development Program, American Councils for International Education, 2004-5

Ghasem Kakaie, University of Shiraz, Iran; Translation grant, American Institute of Iranian Studies, Aug.-Oct. 2004

Josie Hendrickson, Emory University; CDEISI Exchange, spring 2004

Supriya Gandhi, Emory University; CDEISI Exchange, spring 2003

Nozim Muminov, Samarqand State Institute of Foreign Languages, Uzbekistan; Regional Scholar Exchange Program, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), fall 2002

  1. Cangüzel Zülfikar, Bilkent University, Turkey; Visiting Scholar, Religious Studies, UNC-CH, 2002-6

Arthur Buehler, Colgate University; Rockefeller Fellow, 1996-7

Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan; Rockefeller Fellow, 1996-7



University service at UNC

Faculty Executive Committee, 2007-2010

Administrative Board of the Library, 2005-2008

Carolina Asia Center: Advisory Committee, 2006-17

Carolina Center for Jewish Studies: Faculty Steering Committee, 2004-15

Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations ( Director, 2003-2017

Carolina Curriculum in International and Area Studies: Advisory Board, 2004-9

Digital Humanities Initiative, Steering Committee, 2012-14

Center for Global Initiatives, Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship Selection Committee, 2009

Committee to Assess Organization of International Studies on Campus, 1996

Art History Department:Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2011, 2018

Asian Studies Department: Chair, Search Committee (Arabic), 1999-2000; Chair, Search Committee (Hindi-Urdu), 1997-98; Advisory Committee, 1996-2014; Salary Committee, 2000-3; Promotion and Tenure Committees, 2003-19

Digital Library Project: Steering Committee, 1999-2000

Faculty Adviser, Persian Cultural Society, 1996-2000, 2004-7; Arab Club, 2002-5

History Department: Search Committee (South Asian History), 1999; Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2018

Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Co-Chair of Director Search Committee, 2018-9

Luce Fellowships Nominating Committee, 2008

Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program: Chair, Fellowship Committee, 2012-3; Board, 2013-14.

Program in the Humanities and Human Values: Advisory Board, 1996-2002

Society of Fellows Graduate Fellowship Committee, 2003-8

Scholarships, Awards, & Student Aid Committee, 2003-8

Steering Committee for UNC Taskforce on Future Promotion and Tenure Policies and Practices, 2008-9

Summer Reading Program Committee: Consultant, 2002 (selection of Michael Sells’ Approaching the Qur’an)

UNC Global Partnership Roundtable, 2011-13

University Center for International Studies (UCIS): Chair, Selection Committee, Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships, 1994-2000; Faculty Advisory Committee, 1999-2004


UNC Department of Religious Studies service

Department Chair, 1995-2000

Development Officer, 2000-1, 2011-14

Director of Undergraduate Studies, 2002-2004; Undergraduate Studies Committee, 1992-3, 2005-7

Graduate Studies Committee, 1994-5, 2004, 2007-8; Director of Graduate Studies, 2009, 2011, 2019

Lectures Committee Chair, 2006-7

Salary Committee, 2001-4, 2010-13

Search Committee Chair: 1992-3 (Religion in America); 1994-5 (Medieval Christian spirituality); 2001-2 (Early Judaism); 2003-4 (Ethnography of Religion in Asia); 2006-7, 2007-8 (Religion in Latin America)

Search Committee Member: 2001-2 (Modern Islam); 2005-6 (Islamic studies); 2015-6 (Hinduism); 2018-9 (Islam)


Duke University

Department of Religion: Promotion and Tenure Committee, 2005, 2011; Search Committee, Islamic Studies, 2007-8.


Pomona College

Convenor, Claremont Joint Religious Studies Program Planning Committee, 1991-2

Chair, Faculty Grievance Mediation Committee, 1991

Chair, Department of Religion, January 1991- June 1992

Chair, Pew Humanities Faculty Enrichment Seminar Program, 1988-91

Faculty Executive Committee, 1987-90

Trustee-Faculty Buildings and Grounds Committee, 1987-90

Computer Committee, 1984-85

Curriculum Committee, 1983-85, 1991-2

Independent Study Committee, 1983-85

International Relations Committee, 1984-89

International Education Committee, 1982-83

Faculty Fraternity Review Committee, 1983-84

Faculty Resident, Clark I Dormitory, 1982-85