Dr Richard Todd

Dr Richard Todd

Department of Theology and Religion
Lecturer in Islamic Studies

Pre-modern Islamic thought, especially philosophy, theology and Sufism


  • DPhil in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
  • MSt in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
  • BA (Hons) in Arabic with Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Durham University


Since completing his doctorate at the University of Oxford, Richard Todd has taught classical Arabic literature and Islamic cultural and intellectual history at Durham University, the American University of Sharjah, and the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 he joined the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, where he teaches Islamic philosophy. He is the author of The Sufi Doctrine of Man: Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi's Metaphysical Anthropology (Brill 2014) and edits the Taylor & Francis journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.



  • Introduction to Islam
  • Introduction to Qur’anic and Classical Arabic
  • Sufism: Belief and Practice
  • Dissertation Preparation
  • Islamic Philosophy


  • Islamic Philosophy
  • Approaches to Studying Islam
  • Research Methods in Theology and Religion

Contributions to team-taught modules

  • Introduction to the History of Christianity
  • Religion and the Arts
  • Dharmic Religions and Traditions
  • Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • Global Islam
  • Life After Death
  • The Human Condition

Postgraduate supervision

• Haya Alqasem, “Rereading the Qur’an: the reformist hermeneutics of Muhammad Shahrur and ‘Adnan al-Rifa’i”
• Muhammad Yasir Al-Hanafi, "Imam al-Sanusi on the Ash'ari doctrine of God's transcendence"
• Al Muatasim Al Maawali, "A juristic and codicological study of the narration of la qirad illa bi-'ayn"
• Doaa Baumi, “Muslim perceptions of biblical lore narratives (7th-14th centuries)”
• Rawdah Gawaher, "From duality of revelation to 'by scripture alone': a comparative study of the crisis of religious authority between Protestantism and modern Islam"
• Neelam Hussain, “Manuscripts and their readers: the Sirr al-asrar and the career of a pseudo-Aristotelian treatise”
• Shazad Khan, “Qasim Nanotvi’s Maturidi theology”
• Nadir Mohammad, “The theological poetry of Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi”
• Azra Omerbegovic, “Bosnevi’s commentary on the Fusus al-hikam”
• Muhammet Saygi, “Nasafi on the concept of faith”
• Sainulabdeen Thameem, “The portrayal of Sri Lanka (Sarandib) in medieval Arabic travel and geographical texts (9th-15th centuries)"
• Abdud Younus, "The Tafsir tradition in the Indian subcontinent: a historical analysis of Qur'anic exegesis in Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, and English."

Find out more - our PhD Theology and Religion  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


  • Sufism, especially the school of Ibn 'Arabi, and its historical interaction with Avicennian philosophy
  • Arabic alchemy 
  • Islamic philosophy, especially metaphysics and the philosophy of time
  • Islamic theology
  • Esoteric commentaries on the Qur'an
  • Classical Arabic poetry
  • Christian-Muslim Relations
  • The Mingana collection of Arabic Islamic manuscripts

Other activities

  • Editor, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations
  • Member of British Association of Islamic Studies


Recent publications


Todd, R 2023, 'Alchemical Tafsir: Qur'anic Hermeneutics in the Works of the Twelfth-Century Moroccan Alchemist Ibn Arfa' Ra's', Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 285-302. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2023.2283677

Todd, R 2022, 'Physics and metaphysics in an early Ottoman Madrasa: Dāwūd al-Qayṣarī on the nature of time', Oriens, vol. 50, no. 1-2, pp. 108–142. https://doi.org/10.1163/18778372-12340014

Todd, R 2021, 'Classical poetic motifs as alchemical metaphors in the Shudhūr al-dhahab and its commentaries', Asiatische Studien, vol. 75, no. 2, 10, pp. 665-683. https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2020-0043

Todd, R 2016, 'Alchemical Poetry in Almohad Morocco: the Shudhūr al-dhahab of Ibn Arfaʿ Raʾs', Oriens, vol. 44, no. 1-2, pp. 116-144. https://doi.org/10.1163/18778372-04401006

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Todd, R 2024, The Creation and Composition of the Body. in E Abuali & S Abdel-Latif (eds), Sufism and the Body. Handbook of Sufi Studies, Brill, Leiden & Boston.

Todd, R 2023, Abū Yūsuf al-Kindī, Refutation of the Christians. in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources 600-1914. 1st edn, vol. 1, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, pp. 31-32. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/christianmuslim-relations-9781350233300/>

Todd, R 2023, Abū l-Qāsim al-Anṣārī, The indispensable, on theology. in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources 600-1914. 1st edn, vol. 1, Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 51-54. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/christianmuslim-relations-9781350233300/>

Todd, R 2023, Al-Zāhidī, The epistle of victory. in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources 600-1914. 1st edn, vol. 1, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, pp. 64-66. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/christianmuslim-relations-9781350233300/>

Todd, R 2022, Abu l-Qasim al-Ansari, "The indispensable, on theology". in D Thomas (ed.), The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500. 1st edn, Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 45-48. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/bloomsbury-reader-in-christianmuslim-relations-6001500-9781350214101/>

Todd, R 2022, Levels of Being in Sufi Thought. in A Knysh & C Lange (eds), Sufi Cosmology. 1 edn, Handbook of Sufi Studies, vol. 2, Brill, Leiden and Boston, pp. 332-364. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004392618_017

Book/Film/Article review

Todd, R 2022, 'Sufism and the Scriptures: Metaphysics and Sacred History in the Thought of 'Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī: By Fitzroy Morrissey (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic [I.B. Tauris], 2021), xi + 244 pp. Price HB $115.00. EAN 978–0755618316', Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 33, no. 2, etac014, pp. 240-246. https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/etac014

Todd, R 2020, '[Review of] Ethics and Spirituality in Islam: Sufi adab', Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 396-400. https://doi.org/10.1093/jis/etaa027

Todd, R 2017, '[Review of] The Popularisation of Sufism in Ayyubid and Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1325', Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 107-109. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2016.1245931

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Todd, R 2024, The Perfect Human (al-insan al-kamil). in B Wolfe (ed.), St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology. University of St Andrews, St Andrews.

Todd, R 2023, al-Qūnawī, Ṣadr al-Dīn [Qunawi Sadr Din]. in K Fleet, G Krämer, D Matringe, J Nawas & DJ Stewart (eds), Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. 3rd edn, vol. 2023-2, Encyclopaedia of Islam three, Brill, Leiden and Boston, pp. 145-149. <https://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-3/al-qunawi-sadr-al-din-COM_46456>

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