My expertise is in Islamic Studies, and my areas of special interest include Islamic intellectual history, medieval Islamic theology and philosophy, the thought of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Christian-Muslim relations.
Before coming to Nottingham in 2010, I taught Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, and earlier on I studied Arabic in Cairo for several years. My qualifications include a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Birmingham, an MA in Theological Studies from the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Indiana, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
My primary research interest is medieval Islamic theology. Currently, I am focusing on the prominent Damascene scholar Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) and his understanding of God's attributes. This builds on preliminary work carried out under a 2013-14 Leverhulme Research Fellowship entitled 'God and space in the theology of Ibn Taymiyya', which brought to light, among other things, his argumentation against the incorporealist view of God prevalent in his day; I outline this in a May 2014 lecture available online .
Much of my earlier work focused on Ibn Taymiyya's best-of-all-possible-worlds theodicy and related matters. The monograph Ibn Taymiyya's Theodicy of Perpetual Optimism (2007 open access ) examines Ibn Taymiyya's approach to God's justice and wise purpose in creating evil and situates this within his wider theological project. Two articles (2004 , 2010) and Chapter Two of Ibn Taymiyya's Theodicy investigate Ibn Taymiyya's vision of God's dynamic essence and perpetual activity that was unusual if not unique in classical Islamic theology. Another two articles (2009 open access and 2013) analyze Ibn Taymiyya's arguments for the final salvation of everyone, unbelievers included, and their extensive elaboration by his foremost student Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (d. 1350). I also have an article on Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's theodicy that provides a translation of his text explaining why God created Satan (2010).
Other projects on Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya have included studies and surveys of their writings on Christianity (2010 open access , 2012a and 2012b ), a survey of scholarship on Ibn Taymiyya (2012 ), and a history of Hanbali theology that includes an overview of Ibn Taymiyya's theology (2014 ).