Graduate Students

Below you will find a listing of some of the current students of the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS).

This list is intended to foster communication and scholarly interaction between Institute students, students of other institutions and also for potential Institute students who desire more information about the IIS from a student perspective.

To contact a particular student, please email them directly or send your request to info.islamics [at] (Students) and it will be forwarded.

Disclaimer: The following is a list of students in our department who have consented in writing to have their names appear below; it is not necessarily a complete list of all of our graduands and/or current students.

A-G | H-O | P-Z

Ahmad Fathan Aniq, PhD Student
(BA, Islamic and Arabic Studies – UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta; MA, Islamic Studies – Leiden University)
Area(s) of Interest: History of Islamic movements in modern Indonesia, Islamic legal thought and practice in Indonesia.
Email: ahmad.aniq [at] (Ahmad Aniq)
Supervisor: Professor Malek Abisaab

Behzad Borhan, PhD Student
(MA Persian Language and Literature, 2014, University of Tehran; PhD Persian Language and Literature, 2020, University of Tehran)
Area(s) of Interest: Persian literature, medieval Sufism, Islamic hagiographic literature
Selected publications:


  • Borhan, Behzad; Hajian-nezhad, Alireza, “A constructivist explanation for the contrast between Nirvānā and Fanā.” Adab-i Farsi, no. 23, 2019, p. 21-41.
  • Borhan, Behzad. “Analysis of ambiguous phrases in Ta'ríkh-i Jahān-Gushā of Juwainī.” Kohan Nameh-yi Adab-i Parsi, no. 03, 2016, p.103-110.

Invited Talks and Conferences:

  • Narratives of Karāmāt in the Sufi Literature,” invited talk at Khārazmi University, Tehran, Iran. March 2019.
  • The Ghāsem-i Ghani Collection in Sterling Library at Yale,” invited talk at The National Library of Iran, Tehran, Iran. September 2018.
  • Mystical Hermeneutics: The Dialectic of Mystical Experiences and the Qurʾān,” Presenting at The Eighth International Conference on Religion and Spirituality in Society, University of California at Berkeley. April 2018

Email: behzad.borhan [at] (Behzad Borhan)
Supervisor: Prashant Keshavmurthy

Hassan Arif, PhD Student
(MA, Islamic Philosophy and Theology, 2016, University of Tehran)
Area(s) of Interest: Islamic Philosophy and Theology; Developments in Post-Classical Epistemology.
Email: hassan.syedzaidi [at] (Hassan Arif)
Supervisor: Robert Wisnovsky

Kausar Bukhari, PhD Student 
(BA, Cognitive Science, McGill University, 2015, MA, Islamic Studies, 2019, McGill University) 
Area of interest: Early history of Islam, focusing on women in the formative period. 
Supervisor: Professor Rula Abisaab

Giovanni Carrera, PhD Student
(BA, Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, University of Lecce, Italy - BA, MA, Arabic Language and Literature, INALCO, Paris)
Area of research: Arabic philosophy and theology; Post-classical Islamic Intellectual history 900-1900; Philosophy of language and semantics in pre-modern intellectual traditions, Logic and Epistemology; Relations between language and metaphysics; Arabic codicology and manuscript tradition.
Research topic: Emergence and development of a new science in Islamic thought: the tradition of ʿilm al-waḍʿ, 1350-1950 AD.
Supervisor: Robert Wisnovsky

Omar Edaibat, PhD Student
(BA, Political Science & Human Rights (Honours), Carleton University; MA, Religious Studies, University of Toronto)
Area(s) of Interest: Islamic Law and Legal Theory / Modern Islamic thought / Early Modern and Contemporary Sufism
Research Topic: A Social and Intellectual History of the Ba 'Alawi Sayyids of the Hadramawt Valley 
Email: omar.edaibat [at] (Omar Edaibat)
Supervisor: Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim 
Co-Supervisor: Rula Abisaab

Pauline Froissart, PhD student
(BA, Philosophy, Université Catholique de Louvain, 2009; MA, Philosophy, Université Catholique de Louvain, 2011)
Area of Interest: Islamic Philosophy - Avicennian and Post-Classical Philosophy – Abū’l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī
Research Topic: My research focuses on the psychological issues emerged in Ibn Sīnā’s work and developed later in Post-Classical Philosophy, more particularly  by Abū’l-Barakāt al-Baghdādī.
Email: pauline.froissart [at] (Pauline Froissart)
Supervisor: Robert Wisnovsky

Aqsa Ijaz, PhD candidate
(BA, English Literature and Philosophy, Government College University, 2010; MPhil, English Literature, 2014, Government College University, Lahore)

Research Interest: Persian Literature, Translation, Intellectual History, Genre Theory, Late Medieval and Early Modern Literary Practices, Persian, Urdu and Punjabi literatures of North India.
Proposed Dissertation: “Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlives of Nizāmī Ganjavī’s Khusrau u Shīrīn in Hindustan

Publications (Articles):

Accepted Articles

  • Ijaz, Aqsa. “Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlives of Nizāmī Ganjavī’s Khusrau ū Shīrīn in Urdu and Punjabi” to be published in the edited volume entitled, Pre-modern comparative literary practice in the multilingual Islamic world(s) coming out in collaboration with the British Library and Oxford University Press (2022).

Published Articles

  • Ijaz, Aqsa “Between the Postcolonial and the Transcultural in Mirza Athar Baig’s Ghulām Bāgh” in Pakistan: Parallel Imagining of a Nation-State. Oxford University Press, 2019. Print.

Journal Papers and Translations in Review

  • Ijaz, Aqsa. “The Incomplete Story” Translation from Urdu short story Na Mukamal Putla Kahani. In review for the South Asian Literature in Translation with University of IOWA’s online Journal.
  • Ijaz, Aqsa, “Rethinking the Heroic: Engaging with the Heroic Archetype in Mythic and Contemporary Consciousness.” Submitted to: Journal of English Language and Literary Studies (JELLS).

Regular Book Reviewer for Books and Authors at Dawn News:

Review Essay for the Marginalia Review of Books:

Reviewer for The Herald: (2016)

Published Translations

The World Literature Today

Harf: Journal of South Asian Studies at McGill University


Talks, Panels and Workshops

  • “Shaping the Language of Love: The Afterlives of Nizāmī Ganjavī’s Khusrau ū Shīrīn in Urdu and Punjabi”. Pre-modern comparative literary practice in the multilingual Islamic world(s); a conference to be hosted by the Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre (OCCT) University of Oxford, 23-24 July 2021
  • “Romance or Qissah? Urdu Translations of a Persian Romance in the 19th Century”. Troubling Translation(s). Graduate Student Conference. University of Pennsylvania • February 21-22, 2020
  • “Translation and Intertextuality in Indo-Persian Romance” Invited talk. Association of Asian Studies’ Annual Conference 20th March 2020- 22nd March 2020. Panel: Translation, Retelling, and Intertextuality in Pre-modern South Asia: Part I
    Session: Translation, Retelling, and Intertextuality in Pre-modern South Asia: Part I. To be Held in Boston, USA.
  • “Indo Persian Romance(s): Reflections on the two 19th century versions of Qissa-e-Gul-e-Bakāwlī”. Association of Asian Studies’ Annual Conference 21st March 2019- 24th March 2019. Panel titled: Contours, Limits and Possibilities of Indo-Persian in Colonial India. Held in Denver, Colorado.
  • Passionate Thinking and Symbols of Resistance in Mirza Athar Baig’s Ghulam Bagh. Symposium paper at Annual South Asia Conference in Madison-Wisconsin. October 11th, 2018.
  • “Parallel Narratives of Identity and Self in Contemporary Pakistani Art and Literature.” Invited Talk. Asia Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. November 9th, 2015.
  • “Narratives of the Local in Mirza Athar Baig’s Works”. Invited Paper. American Institute of Pakistan Studies, Islamabad: Locally Sourced in Pakistan: Recovering the Local in History Culture and Politics. August, 2015
  • “Navigating the Transition from Postcolonial to Transcultural in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction.” Invited Paper. Heidelberg University, Germany. Pakistan: Parallel Narratives of the Nation-State (December 1-3, 2014).
  • Representation of Muslim Women in the Dutch Media: A Case Study of Netherlands.” University of Erfurt, Germany. Muslims in the West (August 1-15, 2011).

Awards and Honors:

  • American Institute of Pakistan Studies Junior Fellow at University of North Carolina in the Department of South Asian Languages and Literatures. Fall 2015.
  • Short- listed for a PhD position at Karl Jasper Center of Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany. 26th May 2014.
  • 6 ECTS credit points University of Erfurt, Germany, August, 2011.
    Paper presented at University of Erfurt, Germany: Representation of Muslim Women in the Dutch Media: A Case Study of Netherland

Email: aqsa.ijaz [at] (Aqsa Ijaz)
Supervisors: Pasha M. Khan and Prashant Keshavmurthy

Asif Iftikhar, PhD student
(B Com (Accounting) and MBA (Finance), Punjab University, Lahore; MA (Islamic Studies), McGill University -- thesis on jihad and establishment of Islamic global order).
Area of Interest: Islamic law and philosophy.
Research Topic: 'Ilm al-Wada' and Usul al-Fiqh
Supervisor: Robert Wisnovsky

Ashutosh Kumar, PhD Student
(BA, University of Delhi; MA, University of Delhi; M.Phil, University of Delhi)
Area of Interest: Early modern South Asia, history of Islam in South Asia, politics and culture in the Mughal Empire.
Research Topic: My research is focused on questions related to the development of the Muslim community and its experience in South Asia. I am exploring issues of Mughal state formation, imperial power and dynastic identity in sixteenth and seventeenth century South Asia.
Email: ashutosh.kumar [at] (Ashutosh Kumar)
Supervisor: Prashant Keshavmurthy

Faisal Mairiga, PhD Student
(Diploma, Study of Religions - University of Ghana; B.A Linguistics and Study of Religions - University of Ghana, MLitt. Islamic Studies, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; M.A. Contemporary Islamic Thought and Muslim Societies - Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar.)
Areas of Interest: Islam and politics in West Africa, Boko Haram, and Islamic extremism in the sub-region.
Email: faisal.mairiga [at] (Faisal Mairiga)
Supervisor: Khalid Medani

Sahal Malek, MA Student
(BA Near & Middle Eastern Civilisations, University of Toronto, 2017)
Area of Interest: Language Pedagogy
Supervisors: Prashant Keshavmurthy and Pasha M. Khan

Jean-Mathieu Potvin; PhD candidate
Research Topic: Islamic legal thought and practice in the contemporary world

Shirin Radjavi, PhD Student
(BA, Linguistics, McGill University; MA, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto)
Area of Interest: Anthropology of Contemporary Iran
Email: shirin.radjavi [at] (Shirin Radjavi)
Supervisor: Setrag Manoukian

Sabeena Shaikh, PhD Student
(BS & BA, Public Health and Asian Cultures and Languages, University of Texas at Austin, 2014; MA, South Asian Studies, Columbia University, 2016)
Area of Interest: Urdu literature and history of South Asia
Email: sabeena.shaikh [at] (Sabeena Shaikh)
Supervisor: Professor Mohammad Khan Pasha

Zeliha Uluyurt, MA Student
(BA, Theology Faculty, Uludag University)
Area of interest: Islamic Theology (Kalam)
Supervisor: Prof. Robert Wisnovsky

Fiona Williams, MA Student 
(BA, McGill University)
Area of Interest: Women's Literature
Supervisor: Michelle Hartman

Wadha al Zuair, PhD Student
(BA, Arabic Language, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University; MA, Rhetoric and Literary Criticism. Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University)
Area of Interest: Arabic Literature, Saudi Literature, Feminist Literature, Rhetoric
Email: wadha.alzuair [at] (Wadha al Zuair)
Supervisor: Dr. Michelle Hartman

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