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


I have taught Islamic thought and culture, and Arabic language and literature, at Durham University and the University of Edinburgh. In 2013-14 I was Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University of Sharjah.



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


  • Islamic Philosophy
  • Approaches to Studying Islam

Contributions to team-taught modules

  • Introduction to the History of Christianity
  • Religion and the Arts

Postgraduate supervision

•Islamic philosophy, especially Ibn Sīnā and the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ
•Islamic theology
•Sufism (especially the school of Ibn ʿArabī) and Sufi literature in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Urdu
•Qur’anic Exegesis
•Islamic medicine and alchemy
•Christian Scholasticism and its reception of Jewish and Islamic philosophy
- The Arabic influence on Renaissance and Reformation Europe

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


  • Medieval philosophy, especially Arabic Aristotelianism and critiques of Avicennan thought
  • Ashʿari and Muʿtazili theology
  • Sufism and its interaction with philosophy: I am working on two new projects in this connection: ‘Levels of being in Sufi thought’ in A Handbook of Sufi Cosmology, edited by Alexander Knysh and Christian Lange, (Brill, Handbooks of Sufi Studies), commissioned June 2016; and ‘Philosophical Sufism? Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s Miftāḥ al-ghayb’ in A Guide to Sufi Literature,edited by Mohammed Rustom and Joseph Lumbard, (University of California Press), commissioned July 2016
  • Arabic medicine and science, especially post-Jābirian alchemy and its influence on Renaissance and Reformation Europe: I am currently preparing a new monograph on this topic – A History of Arabic Alchemy: from Abbasid Iraq to Ottoman Istanbul
  • Medieval scriptural commentaries, in particular philosophical, theological and mystical hermeneutics
  • Classical Arabic wine songs, Sufi poetry, and didactic verse
  • Islamic codicology

Other activities

  • Member of the British Association for Islamic Studies
  • External Examiner for the University of Aberdeen
  • Outreach: Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015: ‘Treasures from the East: A Guided Tour to the University of Edinburgh’s Special Manuscript Collection’


Recent publications


Todd, R 2014, The Sufi Doctrine of Man: Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s Metaphysical Anthropology. Islamic Philosophy, Theology and Science, vol. 90, 1st edn, Brill, Leiden and Boston. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004271265


Todd, R 2021, 'Classical poetic motifs as alchemical metaphors in the Shudhūr al-dhahab and its commentaries', Asiatische Studien, vol. 75, no. 4. <https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/asia-2020-0043/html>

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 2021, Abu Yusuf al-Kindi, "Refutation of the Christians". in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources (600-1500). Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Todd, R 2021, 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.

Todd, R 2021, Abu l-Qasim al-Ansari, "The indispensable, on theology". in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources (600-1500). Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Todd, R 2021, Levels of being in Sufi thought. in A Knysh & C Lange (eds), Sufi Cosmology. Handbook of Sufi Studies, vol. 2, Brill, Leiden and Boston.

Todd, R 2021, Mukhtar ibn Mahmud al-Zahidi, "The epistle of victory". in D Thomas (ed.), Christian-Muslim Relations: Primary Sources (600-1500). Bloomsbury Academic, London.

Todd, R 2016, ‘Qūnawī’s Scriptural Hermeneutics’. in A Keeler & S Rizvi (eds), The Spirit and the Letter: Approaches to the Esoteric Interpretation of the Qur’an. Quranic Studies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 299-324.

Book/Film/Article review

Todd, R 2021, 'Sufism and the Scriptures: Metaphysics and Sacred History in the Thought of 'Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī', Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 33, no. 1.

Todd, R 2020, '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, '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

Todd, R 2016, 'Ibn Al-‘Arabī’s Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam: An Annotated Translation of ‘The Bezels of Wisdom’ by Binyamin Abrahamov', Journal of Sufi Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 199-205. https://doi.org/10.1163/22105956-12341293

Todd, R 2016, 'Universality in Islamic thought: Rationalism, Science and Religious Belief', Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 535-538. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2016.1205828

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Todd, R 2021, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī: a prominent follower of Ibn 'Arabī. in K Fleet, G Krämer, D Matringe, J Nawas & E Rowson (eds), Encyclopedia of Islam, THREE. 3 edn, Encyclopedia of Islam, THREE, Brill, Leiden and Boston.

View all publications in research portal