• Scholars of the ICCI


    Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad

    Professor of Islamic Law & Philosophy at Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran

    Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad completed his seminarian studies at the Fayzieh School in Qom, Iran, where he achieved the status of a mujtahid by the age of 25. Amongst his notable teachers are Allama Tabatabai and Shaykh Murtada Mutahhari, under whom he studied Islamic philosophy. His studies in Islamic Jurisprudence and Legal Theory were conducted by the likes of Ayatollah Mohammed Reza Golpaygani and Ayatollah Morteza Haeri Yazdi. Parallel to his seminarian education, Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad pursued secular academic studies, obtaining a degree in Islamic Philosophy and a Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence, both from Tehran University, before going on to earn his PhD in Law at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. He is the Dean of the Department of Islamic Studies at The Academy of Sciences of Iran, and a Professor of Law and Islamic Philosophy at Tehran University. He is recognised as one of the world’s most influential Muslims by The Muslim 500 for his scholarly work. In October 2010, at the Pope’s behest, Ayatollah Mohaghegh Damad addressed the Synod in the Vatican and he was honoured as a prominent figure of Humanities in Iran at the 8th Farabi International Award ceremony in 2017.

    Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain

    Senior Lecturer and Director of Al-Mahdi Institute

    Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain founded the Al-Mahdi Institute in 1993, and currently serves as its Director and Senior Lecturer in Islamic Legal Theory and Muslim Philosophy. For over twenty years, he has been at the forefront of developing and delivering advanced Islamic Studies, tailored towards equipping students with the skills to contribute meaningfully at both an academic and grass-roots level. He is continually publishing works in English that are aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Muslims living in contemporary societies.

    Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain was educated at the Madrassah Syed al-Khoei, London between 1985-1988, where he also taught Grammar, Logic, Islamic Jurisprudence and Legal Theory. He continued his seminarian post-graduate studies in Qom, Iran between 1989-93 and attended private training and research lessons between 1990-1994. Alongside his studies, Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain also taught in Qom across a wide spectrum of traditional Muslim scholarly disciplines. After returning to the UK, he was taught by Ayatollah H. Amini, who was a student of Ayatollah Khoei.

    Dr Haider Hobballah

    Lecturer at Hawza Illmiyya of Qom and Professor at the University of Religions and Denominations

    Doctor Haider Hobballah completed his seminarian studies in 1991 at the age of 20 and started his advanced seminary studies in 1995 with Sayyid Mahmud al-Hashimi. In 2002, Dr. Hobballah graduated with a master’s degree in the Quranic and Hadith sciences from the college of Usul al-Din. Thereafter, he received another masters in Islamic law from al-Mustafa University. He received his doctorate degree in Comparative Religions and Christian Theology from the University of Religions and Denominations. Amongst his notable teachers are Sayyid Mahmud al-Hashimi al-Shahroudi, Shaykh Hussain al-Najati, Shaykh Baqir al-Irawani, Shaykh Wahid al-Khurasani and Shaykh Abdullah Jawadi Amuli.


    As well as his seminary studies, Dr. Hobballah worked as the editor in chief for various academic journal such as the al-Minhaj al-Beirutiyyah, Nosos Mu’aserah and al-Ijtihad wa al-Tajdid. He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal of Fiqh Ahl al-Bayt al-Takhassusiyya published in Iran and the Arab world which are amongst his vast cultural and educational responsibilities. He has authored twenty-three books in the fields of Jurisprudence, Fundamentals of Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Hadith sciences, and Theology and has published many of his articles in journals. Dr. Haidar taught the intermediate classes of the seminary for more than 15 years, during which he taught most known books such as: Kifayah al-Usul, al-Makasib, Sharh al-Lum’ah, al-Mantiq, Qatr al-Nadaa, al-Balagha al-Wadiha, al-Manahij al-Jadid, al-Usus al-Mantiqiyyah lil-Istiqra, and Falsaftuna. In 2005 he began giving advance classes (bahth al-kharij) at the Hawza of Qom in Jurisprudence, Legal Theory, Hadith and Ilm al-Rijal. In addition to his teaching and publication, he has also supervised many masters and doctoral degrees in the seminary of Qom, al-Mustafa University, the University of Religions and Denominations, and as well as the College of Usul al-Din. He is currently a research fellow at the Al-Mahdi Institute.

    Professor Seyed Mohammad Ghari S Fatemi

    Lecturer at Shahid Beheshti University and Al-Mahdi Institute

    Professor Seyed Fatemi pursued seminarian education for over 13 years in the Hawza illmiyya of Qom, Iran, where he studied Islamic Jurisprudence and Legal Theory under the supervision of renowned teachers including Ayatollah Montazeri and Ayatollah Mohammad Rohani. His studies in Islamic Philosophy were conducted under Ayatollah Javadi Amoli. Alongside his traditional education, Professor Seyed Fatemi also trained in Public Law at Tehran University, attaining both an LLB and an LLM. Following this, he was awarded a PhD from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manchester for research engaging with comparative human rights. He is currently a faculty member at Shahid Beheshti University and Al-Mahdi Institute, supervising PhD candidates and lecturing on the Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Islam and Human Rights, and Legal Hermeneutics. He also teaches the Public Governance in Islamic Thought module, as part of Al-Mahdi Institute’s collaborative Masters in Islamic Studies with the University of Birmingham.

    Professor Seyed Fatemi publishes books and articles in both Persian and English on a range of topics, with a particular interest in the philosophical foundations of human rights, Islamic legal theories, and hermeneutics. The first edition of his book entitled ‘An Introduction to Human Rights in the Contemporary World, Concepts, Foundations and the Sources’, was published by the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights in 2004, and he is currently working on the third volume, which deals with Islam and Human Rights. Professor Seyed Fatemi is an associate member of the Iranian National Academy of Sciences, and Department of the Biomedical Ethics of the Iranian Academy of Medical Science.

    Dr Ali Fanaei

    Director of Graduate Students, Department of Philosophy, Mofid University & Lecturer at Al-Mahdi Institute

    Dr Fanaei undertook traditional seminarian studies in Qom, Iran for over 17 years under renowned teachers including Ayatollah Montazeri, Ayatollah Syed Kazim Haeri, who was a student of Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr, and Ayatollah Javad Tabrizi, who was a student of Ayatollah Khoie. He obtained a Masters in Islamic Theology from the University of Qom and after relocating to the UK was awarded a Mphil and PhD from the University of Sheffield for his research in moral epistemology. He is currently a faculty member of the Department of Philosophy at Mofid University, Qom, and a senior lecturer at Al-Mahdi Institute in subjects including Islamic jurisprudence, legal theory and hermeneutics. Previously, Dr Fanaei has lectured across academic institutions in Iran such as Shahid Beheshti University, Baqher al-Ulum University, and the Hawza Ilmiyya during which time he has supervised several MA and PhD candidates. His influential works have been published in both English and Persian through which he is being recognised as an important member of the select group of ‘enlightenment thinkers’ in Iran.

    Dr Kumail Rajani

    Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Islamic Studies , University of Exeter

    Dr Kumail Rajani is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, where he completed his doctoral thesis. He is currently working on the Law, Authority and Learning in Shiite Islam project (http://www.lawalisi.eu/) with Professor Robert Gleave; the 5-year project, funded by the European Research Council, examines the emergence, development and operation of the Shiite legal system. Though primarily focused on the origins and development of Shiʿi hadith, his research includes Qurʾanic exegesis, Islamic law and legal theory, Ismaili studies, and Shiʿi studies more broadly. He has published both in Persian and English. His entry on ‘Hadith: Shiʿi’ is published in the online Oxford Bibliography of Islamic Studies and he has two forthcoming articles on Shiʿi hadith criticism and ʿilm al-rijāl which he co-authored for The Oxford Handbook of Ḥadīṭh Studies. He is also the founder of Shiʿi Dates Project (www.shiidates.net).


    Dr Kumail Rajani has undertaken seminary studies in Qum for over 17 years during which he attended the lectures of Ayatullah Sayyid Ahmad Madadi al-Musawi for 7 years and Ayatullah Shubayri Zanjani and Ayatullah Wahid Khurasani for 3 years. Whilst in Iran, he taught modules on hadith studies, comparative religion, history, Islamic law and legal theory at the Al-Mustafa International University and other educational and research institutions. Alongside teaching, he supervised and advised on several BA and MA dissertations in English, Persian and Urdu. He has also taught Islamic Law and Society at the University of Exeter, and Islamic History at Al-Mahdi Institute.

  • Experts of the ICCI


    Dr Mohammad Sahib Mahmud

    Neurology Registrar & Clinical Research Fellow

     Dr Mohammad Sahib Mahmud is a Neurology Registrar who is pursuing a PhD as a Clinical Research Fellow as part of the Imperial College Brain and Vestibular Group (BAVG). His research is motivated by clinically important questions about perception, consciousness, balance and brain injury. He has an interest in integrating technology to improve research and patient care. Currently, Dr Mohammad Sahib Mahmud is supervised by Dr Barry Seemungal and is researching the brain mechanisms of vestibular and cognitive dysfunction. He leads on a project investigating behavioural, psychological and imaging markers of brain injury, working in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Dr Mohammad Sahib Mahmud has a Bachelor of Science and Medical degree from Imperial College London, and he was awarded MRCP(UK) Diploma in 2013 and completed his Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in Neurology in 2019. He was awarded Fellowship at Higher Education Academy (FHEA) in 2018 and completed a two-year Diploma in University Learning and Teaching at Imperial College London in 2019.

    Professor Mohamed Iqbal Asaria

    Adjunct Professor, INCEIF, Malaysia; Lecturer, Cass Business School; Associate, Afkar Consultants Ltd.

    Professor Mohamed Iqbal Asaria is a globally recognised leading expert in Islamic Banking, Finance, and Insurance, and has advised many banks and insurance companies in the UK on their launch of Islamic financial services. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and a graduate of the Victoria University of Manchester, where he also completed his masters in Economics (Accounting & Finance). He was awarded the CBE in the 2005 Queen's honours list for services to international development. He is a trained Economist and Accountant, and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies at INCEIF, the Global Islamic Finance University, in Malaysia. Professor Mohamed Iqbal Asaria also teaches several post graduate courses in Islamic Finance, Banking and Insurance at leading universities including CASS Business School, CASS Executive MBA program in Dubai, University of East London, and Bangor Business School. He is Special Advisor on Business & Economic Affairs to the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and was a member of the Governor of the Bank of England's working party set up to facilitate the introduction of Shariah compliant financial products in the UK market.

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