Dr Ali-Reza Bhojani is a post-doctoral fellow at the Al-Mahdi Institute. He holds a PhD from Durham University in Islamic Legal theory. His doctoral work was published as a book titled ‘Moral Rationalism and Sharīʿa: Independent rationality in modern Shī’ī uṣūl al-fiqh’ (Routledge, 2015). His PhD research was supported by a scholarship from the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World through which he also read for an MA in Research Methods at Durham. Prior to his time in Durham, Ali-Reza graduated from the Al-Mahdi Institute’s Four Year Hawza Programme in Arabic and Islamic studies and has since continued his traditional Islamic studies through sabbaticals to the seminaries of Qum and Mashad, as well as under senior faculty at the Al-Mahdi Institute. Ali-reza is also a fully qualified and practicing Optometrist.
Ali-Reza’s current research interests center around developing the implications and possibility of an ‘Adliyya moral reading of Sharīʿa in a wide range of applied areas of contemporary concern. His current teaching ranges across uṣūl-al-fiqh, fiqh, ilm al-kalām and the Methodological Issues in the Study of Islam. He serves as a member of the Al-Mahdi Institutes Education and Research Board, he is an elected council member for the British Association of Islamic Studies (BRAIS) and a member of the Durham law School's 'Islam, Law and Modernity (ILM)' research cluster. Ali-Reza is involved in a range of outreach work across Muslim, intra-faith, and inter-faith contexts. He was awarded 'Religious advocate of the year' at the 2016 British Muslim Awards.
Qualifications (degree, institution, year of award)
PhD Islamic Legal Theory, Durham University, 2013
MA Research Methods, Durham University, 2009 (distinction)
MA Classical Islamic studies and Arabic (4 year full time) Al-Mahdi Institute 2008 (distinction)
MCOptom; College of Optometrists 2004
BSc (hons) Optometry, Bradford University 2003 (2:1)
‘The significance of the theological and philosophical foundations of human rights’, Al-Mahdi Institute Working Papers, December 2010
‘Ijtihad in traditional Shi’i thought; Obstacles and Inconsistencies’, Shia Affairs, Vol. 1 (2008) pp. 113-129
'Rationality in Shi‘a Belief and Practice', CISS Journal, Vol. 2 (2015) pp. 10-12
'Moral rationalism, Shari'a and the Common Good' in Ethics and the Law; Muslim-Christian Encounters, Oxford centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, Research briefing No 3. Spring 2015
The critical ethic of the intellectual believer, A Bigger Society, September 2012
2016 British Muslim awards winner; 'Religious advocate of the year'
Faculty award for excellence 2010; in recognition of achievements as a postgraduate student in the School of Government & International Affairs, Durham University.
Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World PhD studentship at Durham University (2008-2012). This constituted a 1+3 ESRC full studentship worth approximately £60,000.
Awarded ‘Stidwell Prize’ for excellence in Binocular Vision, final year optometry, Bradford University 2003
Conference papers, presentations & invited lectures
“Divine Wisdom in Diversity: some notes on Qur’an 49:13, and learning through difference”, Al-Mahdi Institute Working Papers Series, April 2016
'Renewed trajectories in Islamic Law and theology' New Directions in Islamic thought Roundtable, Exeter University, May 20th 2015
'Moral rationalism, Shari'a and Human Rights' 2nd Annual conference of the British Association of Islamic Studies, April 14th 2015
'Moral Rationalism, Shari'a and the Common Good' Ethics & The Law; Muslim-Christian Encounters Research Seminar Series, Oxford Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies, November 11th 2014
'The role for religion in a plural public sphere in light of Adliyya moral rationalism' Reconciling Shari'a and the State in the U.K. Context, SOAS, May 20th 2015
'Non-Muslim and Shari'a Responsibility: Between Imami Fiqh and Adliyya theology' 2nd AMI Contemporary Fiqhi workshop on Shari'a Responsibility:conditions and conflicts, Al-Mahdi Institute, April 3rd 2014
'The implications of an Adliyya reading of theology on the role for religion in a plural public sphere' British Academy Project on Religion in Public Life, Exeter University , December 16th 2013
‘The redundancy of independent rationality in Shi’i usūl al-fiqh’ The Shari’a Project: A UK-Netherlands Islamic Legal Studies Network, Leiden University, September 12th 2012
‘Rational morality in Shi’i legal theory’, SGIA research seminar, University of Durham, January 25th 2012
‘The nature of morality, rationality and independent judgements of reason in Shi’i legal theory’, The Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics Third Annual meeting, Washington D.C, January 6th 2012
‘Islamic studies in the U.K., challenges and opportunities’ Invitation lecture at The Research Centre for Islamic Sciences and Culture, Qum, Islamic Republic of Iran, April 28th, 2010
‘The moral deficit in Islamic banking and finance; Muslim meta-ethics and the fiqhi equivalence of profit loss sharing and fixed income modes of financing’ To be presented at the FEEM, Italy and Durham IFP conference Moral Values and Financial Markets: Assessing The Resilience of Islamic Finance Against Financial Crisis18th-19thNovember 2009, Milan.
‘Critical realism; from legal positivism in Muslim jurisprudence towards a natural law reading of Shari’a’ Presented at the Warwick Law school conference Re-imagining the Shari’a at the Palazzo Pesaro-Papafazza, Venice 13th-16th September 2009
‘Al-mustaqilat al-‘aqliyya: Theological baggage or potential source of diversity and change in Shi‘i jurisprudence?’ Presented at the 3rd workshop of the Network of British practitioners and researchers on Islamic Law; Diversity & change in Shi’i jurisprudence, Exeter University June 4th-5th, 2009