I hold a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. My research and teaching interests include Hadith and Sunna, translation of classical Arabic texts, Qur’anic interpretation, women’s issues, Islamic Law, and modern-day reformist and neo-traditionalist movements.
My work in the formative and classical periods of Islamic history, together with my interdisciplinary work in the contemporary period, make it possible for me bridge the divide between the past and the present. There is no aspect of my research that is not impacted by and does not pertain to current events.
Religion is increasingly being recognized as a powerful force in the contemporary world, and perhaps no religious is as conspicuous in this regard as Islam. Despite the frequency with which Islam is mentioned, positively or negatively, in the media, there is still widespread general ignorance in North American and Europe. Many people have heard of Islam, but few know anything about it other than what they have heard on television or read on the internet. Curiosity and concern about Islam are at an all-time high and are complicated by increasingly negative attitudes toward Islam and Muslims brought about by the rise of ISIS, increasingly egregious acts of terrorism around the world and in the United States, and escalation of strident anti-Muslim rhetoric in Europe and the United States.