Areas of Study and Research
Dr. Mukhtar Ali is a scholar of Islamic Studies, specializing in Sufism, Islamic philosophy and ethics. His areas of interest include Arabic and Persian literature, Qurʾānic studies, theology, traditional medicine and comparative religion. He is the author of Philosophical Sufism: An Introduction to the School of Ibn al-ʿArabī (Routledge, 2021) and The Horizons of Being: The Metaphysics of Ibn al-ʿArabī in the Muqaddimat al-Qayṣarī (Brill, 2020) and his forthcoming work on Jāmī’s Naqd al-nuṣūṣ is a meta-commentary on Ibn al-ʿArabī's masterpiece, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam. He has also translated works in classical and contemporary Islamic metaphysics which include The Law of Correspondence (2021) and The New Creation (2018).
His research program and forthcoming monograph focuses on theories of knowledge in Islam. It investigates epistemic modalities characteristic of the Islamic tradition: reason, revelation and mystical experience, but also considers the role of sensory experience, empiricism and approaches within postmodern epistemology. Framed as a philosophical investigation rather than intellectual history, the aim of the study is to examine methods of validity and epistemic justification. Thus, it takes a critical approach to the study of scripture, hadith authority and methods of legal derivation by investigating the role of reason in religious thought. It ponders therefore the dynamic and interpretative nature of the Qurʾān, and the broader questions of how we know what we know, and how we arrive at the guiding principles of human thought and action.
While his teaching includes Islamic Studies and Arabic language, he is also a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, having earned a master’s degree from Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine (2011) and his doctorate from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (2017). Integrating his knowledge of traditional medicine and religious studies, he is developing a course on healing traditions.
Dr. Ali is fluent in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, and has recently taken up the study of Turkish.
Dr. Ali will be teaching three classes in Islamic Studies, January – June 2023
- “Ibn al-Arabi and His Commentators”
- “Healing Traditions”
- “Rumi: Poetry, Wisdom, and Metaphysics”