The Post Graduate Program Islamic Theology trains young researchers in Islamic theology. By doing so, it makes an important contribution to establishing the discipline in the long term.

16 PhD students work at one of the seven universities involved in the program and are enrolled in the cross-departmental curriculum which also incorporates renowned visiting scholars from abroad.

With their PhD projects and the cross-departmental curriculum, the post graduate students combine classical disciplines of Islamic scholarship and new approaches and disciplines.

The Visiting Scholar Program allows for exchange of ideas with international scholars and establishes Islamic Theology in Germany as part of the international Islamic-theological discourse.

The Program

The cross-departmental Post Graduate Program Islamic Theology offers an excellent framework for their PhD studies to 16 young researchers. In addition to their research on Islamic-theological questions, they are enrolled in a study program made up of seminars, workshops and conferences which also involves renowned scholars from abroad. As the PhD students are all employed at one of the seven universities participating in the program, the study program is organized via regular seminars and conferences at the respective universities. With their PhD projects and the study program, the PhD students combine classical disciplines of Islamic scholarship and new approaches and disciplines. Amongst other topics, the Post Graduate Program focuses on Qur’ānic Studies, Hadith Studies, Islamic Jurisprudence, Systematic Theology (Kalam), Islamic Philosophy, Ethics and Islamic Mysticism, History and Contemporary Culture of Islam as well as Islamic Religious Education and Teaching Methodology. A joint initiative of the foundation ‘Stiftung Mercator’ and all German universities involved in establishing Islamic Theology led to the foundation of the Post Graduate Program Islamic Theology. In addition to the universities of Frankfurt am Main/Gießen, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Münster/Osnabrück and Tübingen that were appointed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, this also includes the universities of Hamburg and Paderborn. This makes the Post Graduate Program the key program for training young researchers in Islamic theology in Germany. It makes an important contribution to establishing the discipline in the long term and helps laying the foundations for training Islamic religious education teachers for German state schools. In doing all of this, the Post Graduate Program promotes participation of Muslims in academics, public discourse and society.

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Postgraduates
Professors
Project coordinator
Alumni
Melahat Kisi
Institute for Islamic Theology Osnabrück

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bülent Ucar

Working title: Gender Equality in Islamic Education

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Serdar Kurnaz
Center for Islamic Theological Studies Frankfurt am Main/Gießen

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mathias Rohe, Erlangen-Nürnberg

Third supervisor: Prof. Dr. Harry Harun Behr, Frankfurt

Istinbat al-hukm – Reconstruction of Interpretation Methods of Authoritative, Textual Sources in the Islamic Legal Methodology of Specific Schools of Thought

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Florian Lützen
Academy of World Religions Hamburg

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur

Working title: Study on Ahmad Ibn ʿAdjība’s Commentary on the Teachings of Ibn ʿAtāʾ Allāh as-Sakandarī

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Noha Abdel-Hady
Academy of World Religions Hamburg

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur
Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui, Tübingen

Email: noha.abdel-hady(at)uni-hamburg.de

Working title: Jurisprudential Considerations Regarding the Development of Legal Categories – the Example of Jurisprudence Related to Women (fiqh an-nisāʼ): Changes in the Legal System through the Ages

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Nimet Seker
Center for Islamic Theological Studies Frankfurt am Main/Gießen

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Harry Harun Behr, Frankfurt

Working title: Fields of Tension in Qur'anic Hermeneutics: An Examination of Early and Classical usūl ut-tafsīr and ʿulūm ul-qurʾān-Literature

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Almedina Fakovic
Center for Islamic Theology Tübingen

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Erdal Toprakyaran

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Bekim Agai, Frankfurt am Main

Working title: Islamic Mystical Networks in Europe. The Sufi Movement following Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Zeki Tuncel
Center for Islamic Theological Studies Frankfurt am Main/Gießen

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy

Working Title: The Genesis of Ḥadīṯ Methodology and Ibn aṣ-Ṣalāḥ as a Turning Point in Usul al-Ḥadīṯ - a Study of Historical Reception and Historical Conception with Special Reference to the Terms ṣaḥīḥ, āḥād and mutawātir

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Tolou Khademalsharieh
Centre for Islamic Theology Münster

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Angelika Neuwirth, Berlin

Working title: Three Early Qurʾan Manuscripts and Their Contribution to the Early Textual History of the Qurʾan

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Daro Abdulla
Department for Islamic Religious Studies Erlangen-Nürnberg

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Reza Hajatpour

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schulze, Bern

Working title: Suhrawardi’s and Djili’s Dialogue with Modernity. On the Question of Islamic Theology’s Roots in Mystic Traditions

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Abdelaali El Maghraoui
Center for Islamic Theology Tübingen

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui

Email: abdelaali.el-maghraoui(at)zith.uni-tuebingen.de

Working title: Legal Aspects of Islamic Banking & Finance from the Perspective of Islamic Law - Possibilities and Limitations of Financial Products Consistent with Islam in Germany

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Ufuk Topkara
Center for Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies Paderborn

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Harry Harun Behr, Frankfurt

Arbeitstitel: Convergence of Faith and Reason in Islam. A Theology of Aestheticism

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Idris Nassery
Centre for Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies Paderborn

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui, Tübingen

Working title: Foundations of Islamic Business Ethics - From Al-Ghazali to Kant to Habermas

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Ali Ghandour
Centre for Islamic Theology Münster

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide

Working title: The Knowledge of the Heart as Portrayed by Muhyi ad-Din Ibn ʿArabi - An Epistemological Study

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Hureyre Kam
Center for Islamic Theological Studies Frankfurt am Main/Gießen

Main Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy

Additional Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rudolph, Zürich

Working title: Apologetics of God. Al-Maturidi’s Epistemology

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Zishan Ahmad Ghaffar
Centre for Islamic Theology Münster

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch, Paderborn

Working title: On the Discussion of Criteria in the Quest for the Historical Muhammad

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Fahimah Ulfat
Center for Islamic Theological Studies Frankfurt am Main/Gießen

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Harry Harun Behr

Additional supervisor: Prof. Dr. Annette Scheunpflug, Bamberg

Arbeitstitel: Facets of Faith and Views of God in Muslim Children’s Narratives – a Reflection of and Contribution to Didactic Methods for Islamic Religious Education

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Prof. Dr. Harry Harun Behr
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.: Center for Islamic Studies

Chair for Educational Sciences with Focus on Islamic Religious Education and Didactics

Telephone: +49 (0) 69 798 36306

Email: hb(at)em.uni-frankfurt.de

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Prof. Dr. Klaus von Stosch
Universität Paderborn: Centre for Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies (ZeKK)

Chair of Catholic Theology (Systematic Theology) and Didactics

Telephone: +49 (0)5251 60-2362

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Prof. Dr. Ömer Özsoy
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.: Center for Islamic Studies

Chair of the Origins and Exegesis of Written Sources of Islam (Koran and hadith)

Telephone: + 49 (0)69 798-33361

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Dr. Sarah Wagner
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster: Centre for Islamic Theology

Project Coordinator Graduiertenkolleg Islamische Theologie

Telephone: + 49 (0)251 8326-115

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Prof. Dr. phil. Bülent Ucar
Universität Osnabrück: Institute for Islamic Theology

Chair of Islamic Religious Education

Telephone: + 49 (0)541 969-6032 

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Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur
Universität Hamburg: Academy of World Religions

Chair of Islamic Studies/ Islamic Theology

Telephone: +49 (0)40 42838-3532

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Prof. Dr. Reza Hajatpour
Department for Islamic Religious Studies Erlangen-Nürnberg

Chair for Islamic-Religious Studies with Systematic Focus

Telephone: +49 (0)9131 85-26024

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Prof. Dr. Mouhanad Khorchide
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster: Centre for Islamic Theology

Chair of Islamic Religious Instruction

Telephone: +49 (0)251 83261-00 /-02

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Prof. Dr. Mouez Khalfaoui
Universität Tübingen: Centre of Islamic Theology

Chair for Islamic Law

Telephone: +49 7071 29-75393

Email: mouez.khalfaoui(at)zith.uni-tuebingen.de

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Prof. Dr. Erdal Toprakyaran
Universität Tübingen: Centre of Islamic Theology

Chair for Islamic History and Contemporary Culture

Telephone: +49 (0) 7071 29 75-390

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Study Program
7
Qur'anic Studies
In the Islamic faith, the Qur'an is considered the word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad between 610 and 632 AD. The words uttered by Muhammad were both orally recited and preserved in written texts. The scholarly conviction that these words represent the original text has decisively influenced Muslims’ Qur'an reception. Throughout history, the Qur'an was repeatedly recited, understood and interpreted as an original text. In the wake of this receptive history, many academic disciplines emerged which highlighted the central significance of revelation in the Qur'an. The absence of any institutionalized religious authority comparable to Christian churches, encouraged the development of a Muslim culture of engaged debate and nuanced interpretation, which also unreservedly integrated external expert opinion. Consequently, Qur'an studies as well as exegetic disciplines were dedicated to the analysis of the text’s origins, linguistic structure and Qur'an interpretation. They also examined questions of historicity, contextuality, intertextuality and intratextuality. Apart from a literal reading and text-critical interpretation, various forms of Qur'an reception have become established that refer to the traditional text, individual opinion and inner or mystic experience. A legitimate focus for Qur'an studies is therefore, among other things, the significance and contemporary relevance of revelation in the Qur'an, the emergence of the text and history of its origins as well as Sunni, Shiite and other traditions of Qur'an interpretation. Understanding the Jewish and Christian traditions of text exegesis also comprises another study area as well as modern communication theories and historical and critical methods of text interpretation.
3
Hadith Studies
In addition to the Qur'an, the hadith – the dictations and actions of the Prophet Muhammad and his contemporaries – form an important part of Islamic Studies. Several periods of development resulted in the establishment of the academic discipline of hadith studies and the emergence of extensive hadith literature. To understand these different phases of development, a myriad of theories, discussions and methods emerged within hadith studies both historically and from a contemporary perspective. An important task for modern hadith research is the examination, analysis and critical discussion of these theoretical aspects. This includes a general study of the written and oral Islamic text and, in particular, the hadith. Here, it is important to observe and discuss the multiple approaches within Islamic Studies in conjunction with the internal Islamic perspective. Hadith studies also examine the authenticity of the hadith statements. Early on, Muslims devised different techniques and methods to analyze the authenticity of hadith reports. These methods are subject to critical study and debate. Contemporary hadith research increasingly prioritizes content analysis and a text-critical reading of the hadith. Emphasis is on the historicity, intertextuality, intratextuality and contextuality of the hadith texts as well as their different interpretative traditions in Islamic scripture based on a methodologically nuanced interpretation of the primary texts. The hadith are thus not only read as theological documents but also as a source of the civilization’s history and culture.
5
Islamic Law
The specialist field of Islamic law incorporates the rules of “fiqh” or principles of Islamic jurisprudence and the theory of the foundations and methods of deriving these rules or “usul al-fiqh”. Jurisprudence recognizes several sources of the law: The Qur'an, prophetic tradition, the consensus of jurists or academics as well as the weight of analogy. Other sources referred to, in particular, are the rulings based on equity, deferral to the public good and reversion to common law. However, not all schools of Islamic law recognize all of these sources. Shiite Islamic law acknowledges reason as an additional source of law. In early Islamic history, various schools of law formed, which were strongly differentiated, both methodologically and in terms of content. Established schools of Sunni Islamic law are the Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools. Shiite dogmatic theology has also established itself as an independent school with different specialisms. Traditional Islamic law claims to provide a set of normative rules governing Muslim life as a whole. This applies both to legal relations between individuals as well as acts of worship. Islamic law plays a central role in the debate about the relationship between Islam and modernity. Here, two contrasting standpoints can be distinguished. Firstly, particular instructions identified in Islamic sources relating to the social order are treated as ahistorical and not dependent on context. They merit no further analysis and can be transposed into the here and now unquestioned. The second standpoint sees these particular instructions as rules dependent on the social setting. Here, the enquiry is into universal principles on which specific norms are based, even redefining them in a modern context (such as, for example, justice, the inviolability of human dignity, freedom, equality). Not the individual rules, but the universal principles are seen as binding. Today, the body of doctrinal rules and objectives of Islamic law is undergoing an influential rejuvenation. The focus is on the adaptability of religious norms by emphasizing the everyday reality of people’s lives in the process of arriving at religious standards. A third standpoint lastly attempts mediation between these two positions by questioning the reciprocal connections of general objectives and concrete rules in an effort to achieve a resolution of the controversies within this field. Another research area, which runs alongside traditional teachings, are the current developments influencing Muslim life in Germany and Europe. The study area furthermore incorporates new methods of deriving religious standards as well as current legal questions affecting the position of Islam vis à vis the constitutional or legal state.
6
History and Contemporary Culture of Islam
Islam developed in specific societal, historic and social contexts. Today, neither Islamic historical research nor Islamic Studies can dispense with the reconstruction of these contexts. The study of early Islamic history and its sources requires a methodologically and theoretically grounded interpretation that incorporates the current status of historical and literary research. Awareness of the common aspects, differences and complexities is essential for the reception of internal and external Islamic viewpoints. Classic historical research can also be enriched by the inclusion of alternative perspectives in the form of “history from below”. This involves, for instance, research into the opinions of women and marginalized religious groups. Genealogical interpretations are essential for understanding current debates. The focus is on lines of association and breaks with the past and the location of new ideas and social phenomena. In this context, the social and cultural sciences are of primary importance because their methods and theories are used to assess contemporary developments within Islam and the Islamic world as well as in Europe. This study area accordingly emphasizes the critical examination of historical contexts and current trends within Islamic society and culture. Analysis focuses on the contextualization of historical and present-day societal forms of Muslim life. Key topics and research questions from neighboring disciplines are also integrated.
4
Systematic Theology (Kalam)
The discipline of systematic theology (kalam) deals with the principles of Islamic faith and their rational and systematic foundations. In the Islamic context, the study of issues concerning man’s predestination through God’s will, anthropomorphic images of God and the reading of corresponding statements from the Koran contributed, among other things, to the emergence of systematic theology. Political as well as apologist factors led to the establishment of different movements and schools such as the Mu’tazila, Asha’ira and Maturidiyya schools. Systematic theology is, on the one hand, concerned with the contemporary reflection of traditional themes within Islamic theology and Islamic doctrine. On the other hand, it focuses on the academic and theological debate about other issues now relevant for Islamic theology. The primary questions concern images of God in Islam and their consequences for the form of man’s relationship with God, the emergence of differentiated images of man in Islam and questions arising from conceptions of God with regard to understanding Islam. Identifying and providing a legitimate basis for reason or the reasonable character of religious faith fulfils both an ethical as well as epistemological purpose. In this context, social aspects and the implications of faith are also raised or the redemptive powers of faith are highlighted both for the individual and collective. A discursive approach takes into account the plurality and diversity of the different kalam schools and traditions and emphasizes their heterogeneity within a single tradition. Main subjects falling under this discipline include: the relationship between faith and reason in Islam, basic questions of theology, revelation in Islam, experiences of God, God’s being and attributes, prophecy, the question of theodicy and the justice of God, human beings before God (actions and human freedom) and Islamic eschatology (belief in an afterlife).
2
Islamic Philosophy, Ethics and Mysticism
Islamic philosophy emerged through contact with other cultures. The Qur'an’s guidance to reflect on man’s being and nature and the needs of the Islamic community has substantially influenced the process of philosophy’s emergence within Islamic culture. Thanks to Muslims’ translation, reception and assimilation and their continued development of ancient Greek philosophy, Arabic–Islamic scholarship became established as an independent tradition. For long periods, this tradition achieved the highest standards in the most diverse fields. Subsidiary disciplines emerged such as, for example, epistemology, political philosophy and the doctrine of the soul. These also comprised various theories suggested by important philosophers like al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina or Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and their theoretical works. Key subjects also stimulated intense debate, for instance, about the relationship between revelation and reason. In modern culture, various Islamic philosophical trends emerged in the Islamic and Western world. These trends reflected on their own philosophical traditions in the search for an Islamic Enlightenment as well as on Western philosophy, in an effort to devise new approaches and renew Islamic thought. Modern philosophical movements in the Islamic cultural sphere include, among others, the Mulla Sadra school, which is still widely represented in Iran, and has undergone various syntheses with modern philosophy. Islamic ethics developed as a discipline in its own right, although still dependent on Islamic philosophy. Deriving its principles and guidelines from the Qur'an and prophetic sunna, it was later developed into a systematic discipline with reference to different Islamic and theological sciences and the Greek tradition of ethics (for example, the Aristotelian and Platonic doctrine of moral virtue). However, the attempt to achieve a synthesis of the Hellenist legacy and Islam did not always progress harmoniously. Attention also focused on the conflict between rationalist ethics and the foundation of revealed law. These subjects were accompanied by theological topics such as the predestination of God and man’s free will, good and evil and God’s omnipotence and justice. Islamic mysticism emerged from an ascetic movement and is based on an inner existential experience. This discourse places Islam’s inner dimension and the sublimation of the human soul at the center and gives a further indication of ethical implications. Here, the Islamic mystics developed their own theories and discussions about the image of man and God, God’s love and the path to the perfection of mankind, which is achieved through various spiritual stages and conditions. 
1
Islamic Religious Education and Didactics
This specialist field concerns the academic study of the processes of religious socialization, upbringing and education. The religion and culture of Islam with its different branches as well as Muslim lifestyles form a central focus of educational studies. In a wider sense, this area deals with effective educational structures and their functions as part of civil society where Muslims or the topic of Islam is significant. This field is therefore concerned with general social contexts in which questions arise about the theories and sociologies of educational matters and their reflection in terms of religions and religious ideas. Theories about adult education, educational biographies and education in old age fall under this category as well as community-based education. In a more narrowly defined sense, this subject also incorporates educational activity in formal education settings where young Muslims are an obvious target group, for example, Islamic religious studies taught as a school subject. As an academic discipline specializing in the methodological study of school tuition, the task of Islamic specialized didactics is to identify sensible structures to organize school tuition about Islam and manage the interaction with Muslim school pupils. Theories about religious instruction in relation to Islam are therefore of particular interest. The models for the structure and organization of school tuition can refer to corresponding, and in some cases also competing perspectives, which also point to related disciplines that are relevant for interdisciplinary research. Examples of such disciplines are the normative character of Islam manifested in its different educational traditions, the fundamental right of different religious communities to establish specific areas of content, issues related to faith and anthropological enquiries, the formation of theory in religious education, the heterogeneous lifeworlds of young Muslims or educational framework conditions as a social and cultural task. Finally, attention is also paid to the special opportunities in school as a place of learning, which facilitates interaction with pupils from other denominations, or those without any formal religious affiliation. Research objectives will therefore include the question of how denominational or other forms of religious instruction can foster the practice and reflection of an appropriate interreligious dialogue in the classroom and beyond.