There is a growing appetite for Islamic scholarship amongst Muslims living in the West. This panel will revisit some of the challenges and explore possible pathways to Islamic scholarship in the West. ISRA’s much anticipated Scholar Development Program will be launched at the program.
Speakers: Dr Tamara Gray, Dr Mohamed Ghilan and Sadeq Ansari
Facilitator: Dr Zuleyha Keskin
Dr Tamara Gray
Dr. Tamara Gray is a founder of Rabata, an organization dedicated to promoting positive cultural change through creative educational experiences. She holds a doctorate in leadership from the University of St. Thomas, a master’s degree in Curriculum Theory and Instruction from Temple University, and spent twenty years studying traditional and classical Islamic sciences, Quran, and Arabic in Damascus, Syria.
Dr. Gray worked in the field of education for twenty-five years before moving into the non-profit world. She is now both the Executive Director of Rabata and its Chief Spirituality Officer.
Dr. Gray is also an author and translator. Her publications range from several culturally appropriate English language curriculum programs to translations of sacred texts. She has authored two books: Joy Jots: Exercises for a happy heart & Project Lina: Bringing our whole selves to Islam, and co-translated the Mukhtasir al-Jami’ fi al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya by Samīra Zayid [Compendium of the Collection of Sources on al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya]
She also serves as both faculty and an academic council member for The Islamic Seminary of America, teaches at the United Theological Seminary of the TwinCities and is a Senior Fellow at the Yaqeen Institute. She has recently joined the Fiqh council of North America in addition to her other responsibilities.
Dr Mohamed Ghilan
Dr. Mohamed Ghilan graduated with a Bachelor of Science (honours) and earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Victoria, BC. He completed his medical degree at the University of Queensland in 2020. He has studied extensively in the Islamic tradition with a focus on Theology and Creed, Jurisprudence, Hadith, Foundational Principles (Usool), Arabic, Poetry, spiritual purification, and Qur’anic sciences.
Dr. Ghilan seeks to teach the Islamic tradition holistically, and has taught various courses including The Creed of Deliverance, Imam Al-Ghazali’s Dear Beloved Son, the Inner Dimensions of Fasting, and the Prohibitions of the Tongue. He Al-Andalus Book Club in 2017 with the aim of offering students the opportunity to study contemporary works through an Islamic lens.
Dr. Ghilan runs a podcast and extensive body of writing on a variety of issues related to religion, philosophy, science, society, and culture. For the past three years, Dr. Ghilan was included in The 500 Most Influential Muslims list.
After an undergraduate studies in psychology, Sadeq pursued post-graduate studies in Arabic and Islamic studies. His pursuit has also led him to spend time in Egypt, Turkey and United States studying language and traditional Islamic sciences. He is currently completing his PhD on Imam Abu Ja’far at-Tahawi and his approach to matn criticism in Hadith.
Zuleyha is the Course Director at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation, Charles Sturt University. She is also a lecturer in Islamic spirituality and contemporary Islamic studies. Zuleyha is a co-founder of ISRA Australia, the Managing Editor of the Australian Journal of Islamic Studies journal and the President of Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies. She has recently published a book, titled “Attaining Inner Peace in Islam: Said Nursi’s Perspective.”