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’


View all publications in research portal