Professor Tariq Jaffer

Amherst College

Participants were so pleased that the IIS continues to support this kind of endeavour, the results of which will be evident in both our scholarship and teaching.

The IIS hosted the first ever conference on Mu’tazilism and the Qur'an on 22 July at the Aga Khan Centre and online. 

The Mu’tazilism and the Qur’an conference, convened by Professor Walid Saleh (University of Toronto), focused on the influence of Mu'tazilism—one of the earliest Islamic schools—on all aspects of the Qur’an, its status, interpretation, and relationship to the Prophet. It also addressed Mu'tazilite thought and the influence it had on Islamic theology in other schools.  

Professor Saleh said:

“This is the first such conference to be held on this topic. Scholars from all over the world gathered to discuss the relationship between one of the most important theological schools in Islam and the Qur’an. The proceedings will be published in the IIS prestigious series on the Qur’an.”   

The speakers were: 

  • Hussein Abdulsatar (University of Notre Dame) 
  • Rodrigo Adem (Georgetown University) 
  • Karen Bauer (The Institute of Ismaili Studies) 
  • Tariq Jaffer (Amherst College) 
  • Alena Kulinich (University of Oxford/Seoul National University) 
  • Suleiman Mourad (Smith College) 
  • Walid Saleh (University of Toronto) 
  • Abdulrahman al-Salimi (independent scholar)
  • Gregor Schwab (Ludwig Maximilian University) 

Professor Jaffer said:

“We were all exhilarated by the conference that Professor Saleh and Naushin Premji (IIS Projects and Events Coordinator) organised. The conference succeeded in calling into question major assumptions that have been brought to the field of Mu'tazili theology and exegesis.” 

“And by working as a collective, we were able to assess—in more significant ways than ever before—the complexity and diversity of Mu'tazilism and to better understand how the movement in various times and places shaped the history of Qur’anic interpretation.”  

Watch conference