Saarah Bokhari

Department of Theology and Religion
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: How does the Concept of a Militarised Endeavour Shed Light on the Spiritual Philosophy of Greater Jihad in Islam? A Shia Exegesis.
Supervisors: Professor Oliver Scharbrodt and Dr Yafa Shanneik
PhD Theology and Religion


  • BSc International Politics (City University London)
  • MSc. International Relations (The London School of Economics)
  • Education (Oxford University)


Saarah Bokhari is a PhD Doctoral Researcher in Theology and Religion. She is the author and poet of the book Arbaeen: A Lens into a Sacred Journey. She studied Education at the University of Oxford and attained a Master’s in International Relations, specialising in Islam and Global Politics from The London School of Economics and Political Science. She has worked as a Youth Engagement Manager for a national youth charity, and has been an active participant in interfaith work since she was elected as a Cambridge University Interfaith Ambassador. Saarah previously worked as a TV producer and presenter, and has campaigned for various humanitarian causes including the preservation of Islamic heritage.


The explicit words ordained for the two forms of Jihad ‘lesser’ and ‘greater’ is terminology which implores to be compared. Shiism is the area of study in this thesis as there is a gap within academic literature pertaining to its specific interpretations of the Greater Jihad, in comparison to alternative sects. Secondly, within the system of Wilayah, the metaphysical leadership of the Imam is what guides a follower through the battlefield against the 'commanding self.' This research intends to expand upon current academic explorations of the spiritual face of Jihad via descriptive research and secondary qualitative analysis of the words of two Shia Imams in two key texts in Arabic - the Nahj al-Balagha and Sahifa Sajjadiya, with the support of Shia scholarly works.