Alla is a PhD student in Islamic studies and a 2022 recipient of the Ibrahim Rashed Summer Research Grant in the Islamic Religious Sciences.
As a recipient of the Ibrahim Rashed Summer Research Grant in the Islamic Religious Sciences, I will be taking a course in which I will be studying with a group of PhD students from several other universities on an advanced text of Islamic philosophical theology or what is known in the Islamic tradition as kalām. The text is written by one of the polymaths of the middle period of Islamic intellectual history, ʿUbayd Allāh b. Masʿūd al-Maḥbūbī, known as Ṣadr al-S̲h̲arīʿa al-T̲h̲ānī (d. 747/1346). The importance of this text and its author lies in the way it helps us understand the nature of theological and philosophical thinking following the comprehensive engagement with Avicenian philosophy represented by Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d.1210). Furthermore, the text is a store house for the great advances achieved in a range of challenging philosophical and theological issues within kalām in the middle period. The course is held by Dr. Hamzeh Al-Bakri, a distinguished theologian, scholar of ḥadīth, and professor at Ibn Haldun University in Turkey.
What does your work focus on / revolve around?
My work focuses on issues of epistemology and meta-ethics within Islamic philosophical theology and legal theory in the middle period (approximately 11th-16th centuries). I am especially interested in the philosophical substance used to establish and justify theological beliefs and the way these beliefs and their method of verification inform the tradition’s understanding of range of meta-ethical questions.
Who or what inspires you and your work?
I am always moved and inspired by the medieval theologians and philosophers that I occupy most of my time engaging their work and grappling with their ideas. Their intellectual depth and philosophical precision inspires me to think more critically about humanity’s most foundational questions.
What is an aspect of life at the Divinity School or in Hyde Park that you enjoy?
I very much enjoy the people at the Divinity School. My colleagues and our professors bring a certain intellectual energy and enthusiasm that makes the Div school a truly unique and exciting place to be in.