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

I would be interested in supervising the following areas of research:

  • 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’


View all publications in research portal