Zentrum für Islamische Theologie (ZITh)


A selection

Lejla Demiri (ed. and trans),ʿUbayd Allāh al-Samarqandī (d. 701/1301) on Servanthood and Repentance: A Critical Edition and Translation, Cambridge: Cambridge Muslim College Press, 2023.

With the intention to make Māturīdī literature more widely accessible and to contribute towards a better understanding of this rich scholarly tradition, the present study by Lejla Demiri aims to present two short treatises by ʿUbayd Allāh al-Samarqandī, a Ḥanafī and Māturīdī scholar who was active in 13th-century Damascus. The present book includes a critical edition and an annotated translation of two short treatises by Samarqandī, which have never been published before: (1) Risālat al-‘Ubūdiyya, ‘Treatise on Servanthood’ and (2) Risālat al-Tawba, ‘Treatise on Repentance’. The two treatises are being introduced, followed by a short description of the existing manuscripts, critical edition and annotated translation of each risāla

Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History 18 (CMR 18), covering the Ottoman Empire in the period 1800-1914, is a further volume in a general history of relations between the two faiths from the 7th century to the early 20th century. It comprises a series of introductory essays and the main body of detailed entries. The volume treats all works, surviving or lost, that have been recorded. They provide biographical details of the authors, descriptions and assessments of the works themselves, and complete accounts of manuscripts, editions, translations and studies. The result of collaboration between numerous emerging and leading scholars, CMR 18, along with the other volumes in this series, is intended as a fundamental tool for research in Christian-Muslim relations.


A tool to explore writings by Muslims and Christians about and against each other, ‘Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History’ provides an encylopaedic overview of sources on Christian-Muslim encounters in a shared history. With a focus on sources from the Near East, North Africa, and especially the Ottoman Empire, Prof. Dr. Demiri is a member of the editorial board of CMR1900, which covers the period from 1500 to 1900. This international and pioneering project recovers and maps the manifold history of relations between Muslims and Christians, thereby offering new ways of understanding today’s dimensions of mutual perceptions between Christians and Muslims.

The present volume is dedicated to the study of ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī (1641–1731), an outstanding religious scholar, sufi thinker and man of letters from 17th-18th century Ottoman Syria. With its focus on a careful examination of Nābulusī's multifaceted and enriching textual corpus, the present volume offers an in-depth analysis of both his thought and his intellectual milieu. The essays presented here reflect the wide spectrum of Nābulusī's interests, from scriptural exegesis to theology, from jurisprudence to mysticism, from philosophy to poetry, ethics and aesthetics. Bringing together expertise in Islamic mysticism, theology and jurisprudence, Ottoman studies, and the social and cultural history of the Middle East, the book enables an important exploration of Nābulusī's work and persona.

Publication Series 'Sapientia Islamica'

Given the recently intensified interest in the formal intellectual legacy of Muslim civilisation, the series Sapientia Islamica. Studies in Islamic Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism provides a platform for the latest and most innovative scholarly work in this area. Edited by Lejla Demiri, Samuela Pagani, and Sohaira Siddiqui, this series, at the distinguished academic publishing house Mohr Siebeck, contributes to a better mapping of the world of medieval and later Muslim intellectuals. To this end, the series particularly sheds light on the rich interdisciplinarity in Islamic intellectual discourses, on the broad geographical spread of Islamic intellectual movements, and on the inherent interest of thinkers who lived after the putative ‘golden age' of Islamic culture.

Māturīdī Theology. A Bilingual Reader, edited by Lejla Demiri, Philip Dorroll, and Dale J. Correa, was published in July 2022 as part of the Sapientia Islamica series at Mohr Siebeck.

Despite its status as one of the great traditions of Sunni Islamic systematic theology, the Māturīdī school and its major texts have remained largely inaccessible to a Western audience. As the first reader of Māturīdī theology ever produced in a Western language, this volume meets an urgent need among scholars and general readers. It features selections ranging from the founder, Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī, to key texts from the broader Māturīdī tradition up to the 18th century. Each selection includes the original Arabic text and an annotated English translation, preceded by a short introduction. The volume's structure mirrors the classical compendia of Islamic systematic theology, known as kalām , exploring questions of Epistemology and Ontology; Metaphysics; Prophethood; Faith, Knowledge and Acts; and Free Will, Predestination, and the Problem of Evil.

Theological Anthropology in Interreligious Perspective, Vol. 5 of the Sapientia Islamica series, was published in August 2022.

What defines 'humanity' is a seemingly innocuous question and yet one which continues to attract controversy. Directed by this inquiry and bringing together theological insight in conversation with academic interreligious discourse, the edited volume offers a unique contribution towards articulating the complex and myriad ways in which human life has been conceived and related to the greater vista of reality. Framed around Muslim-Christian theological dialogue, the volume results from a meeting of prominent international scholars, whose contributions investigate the origins of life through to death and beyond. Informed by classical and contemporary theological questions and interests, the volume offers scholarship in the humanities and sciences important insights into debates pertaining to human beings, their nature, future, and purposes.

In May 2023, Serkan Ince's book Argumentation und Apologetik (in German) was published as part of the Sapientia Islamica series at Mohr Siebeck.

The Radd is an apologetic text genre that defends one's own theological position with arguments or attempts to expose the questionability of another religious position. One of the most argumentatively dense Radd works is the al-Radd ʿalā l-Naṣārā of al-Jaʿfarī (581/1185-668/1270). In this study, Serkan Ince takes a first step in two respects: he fills a glaring gap in the study of al-Jaʿfarī's work and considers the Radd literature from a modern, argumentation-theoretical perspective for the first time. The author first presents the basic features of the Islamic Radd and traces its development to al-Jaʿfarī. An account of the method of analysis in argumentation theory is followed by an in-depth examination of al-Jaʿfarī's central arguments. The study includes a full translation of the main body of al-Jaʿfarī's Radd.

Green Theology, edited by Lejla Demiri, Mujadad Zaman, and Tim Winter, will be published in April 2024 as part of the Sapientia Islamica series at Mohr Siebeck.

The contributors to this volume offer an in-depth examination of Muslim and Christian theological treatments of environmental and ecological concerns. The volume brings together a collection of articles by Muslim and Christian voices from diverse denominations and schools of thought, reflecting on environmental issues in the context of the current climate emergency. It provides a unique intellectual space for international experts in the two theological worlds as well as specialists in science and architecture to discuss the most pressing matters of ecology and care for the earth. This model of interreligious and interdisciplinary collaboration is likely to help scholars network even more closely, both inside their home traditions and with their theological neighbours.

A Common Word Between Us and You (ACW) is an open letter, dated 13 October 2007, from leaders of the Islamic religion to those of the Christian religion. It calls for peace between Muslims and Christians and seeks common ground and understanding between both religions. The Future of Interfaith Dialogue examines the document from a number of perspectives. Exploring the events that led to ACW, it provides an overview of responses to the document and its use of scripture. It also relates the reception of ACW to several specific and contrasting contexts, and recommends new avenues for ACW-inspired discussion. Advancing debate and dialogue between Jews, Muslims and Christians, this volume promotes a distinctive methodology for inter-religious studies, and serves as an invaluable resource for students and scholars of theology and religious studies.

A Common Word. Text and Reflections presents the text of ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, a document in which 138 Muslim scholars of all branches of Islam unanimously declared common ground between Christianity and Islam. The text addresses churches and Christians everywhere and has become a landmark in Muslim-Christian relations, stimulating fruitful discussions and experiencing unprecedented global acceptance by hundreds of Muslim and Christian scholars, leaders, and intellectuals. In addition to the text, this edition offers reflections on ‘A Common Word’ to make the document easily accessible for parishes and mosques. Since its first publication in English in 2o11, it has been translated into Albanian (2011), Russian (2018), and Spanish (2020).

Najm al-Din al-Tufi's (d. 716/1316) extraordinary commentary on the Christian scriptures has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Illustrating the way in which the Bible was read, interpreted and used as a proof-text in the construction of early 14th century Muslim views of Christianity, his al-Ta'liq 'ala al-Anajil al-arba'a wa-al-ta'liq 'ala al-Tawrah wa-'ala ghayriha min kutub al-anbiya' (‘Critical Commentary on the Four Gospels, the Torah and other Books of the Prophets’) is an invaluable treasure for the study of Muslim-Christian dialogue and its history. In Muslim Exegesis of the Bible in Medieval Cairo, Lejla Demiri makes this important and unusual work available for the first time in a scholarly edition and English translation, with a full introduction that places Tufi in his intellectual context.

The Ḥallāl al-ʿuqad fī bayān aḥkām al-muʿtaqad (‘Untying the Knots in Expounding the Principles of Faith’), also known as Qudwat al-muhtadīn ilā maqāṣid al-dīn (‘The Exemplar of the Rightly Guided to the Objectives of Religion’), is an early fourteenth-century theological treatise. The Ḥallāl is perhaps the only surviving text in which al-Ṭūfī expounds his theology in a brief and systematic manner with an intention to provide a short and uncomplicated outline of the principles of faith. Its author, Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī (d. 716/1316) is a key Ḥanbalī scholar of the Mamluk period. His writings manifest considerable creativity and erudition. The critical edition is based on a single surviving manuscript (Staatsbibliothek Berlin). The study was prepared by Lejla Demiri and Islam Dayeh.

Since its advent, Islam has been a representational force to be reckoned with, cross-pollinating world literatures in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean and the Americas. Yet, scholarship on Islam in world literatures has been sparse despite its significant presence. The book Islam and New Directions in World Literature, edited by Sarah R. Bin Tyeer and Claire Gallien, understands Islamic literary and cultural heritages as dynamic forces, constantly enriched and enlivened by various humanistic traditions in multiple languages, spanning the lives of individuals and societies throughout history. It is also designed to incorporate a variety of themes, influences, ramifications and representations of Islam in world literatures in classical and contemporary contexts.

The study of Islamic education has hitherto remained a tangential inquiry in the broader focus of Islamic Studies. In the wake of this neglect, a renaissance of sorts has occurred in recent years, reconfiguring the importance of Islam’s attitudes to knowledge, learning and education as paramount in the study and appreciation of Islamic civilization. Philosophies of Islamic Education stands in tandem to this call and takes a pioneering step in establishing the importance of its study for the educationalist, academic and student alike. As a unique international collaboration bringing into conversation theologians, historians, philosophers, teachers and sociologists of education, it intends to provide fresh means for conversing with contemporary debates in ethics, secularization theory, child psychology, multiculturalism, interfaith dialogue and moral education.