Ebrahim Moosa
  • Ebrahim Moosa

  • 118C Gray Building
  • Campus Box 90964
  • Phone: (919) 660-3520
  • Fax: (919) 660-3530
  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Specialties

    • Islam
    • Religion
    • Culture
  • Research Summary

    Law, Moral Philosophy, Ethics, and Critical Islamic Thought
  • Research Description

    Ebrahim E.I. Moosa is Professor of Religious and Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies. His interests span both classical and modern Islamic thought with a special focus on Islamic law, history, ethics and theology. Dr Moosa is the author of Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination, winner of the American Academy of Religion's Best First Book in the History of Religions (2006) and editor of the last manuscript of the late Professor Fazlur Rahman, Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism. He was named Carnegie Scholar in 2005 to pursue research on the madrasas, Islamic seminaries of South Asia. Born in South Africa, Dr. Moosa earned his MA (1989) and PhD (1995) from the University of Cape Town. Prior to that he took the `alimiyya degree in Islamic and Arabic studies from Darul Ulum Nadwatul `Ulama, one of India's foremost Islamic seminaries in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. He also has a BA degree from Kanpur University, and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the City University in London. Previously he taught at the University of Cape Town's Department of Religious Studies in South Africa till 1998 and was visiting professor at Stanford University 1998-2001 prior to joining Duke University. As a journalist he wrote for Arabia: The Islamic World Review, MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) and Afkar/Inquiry magazines in Britain, and later became political writer for the Cape Times in South Africa. He contributes regularly to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, The Boston Review and several international publications and is frequently invited to comment on global Islamic affairs. Currently he is completing a book titled What is a Madrasa? Also under construction are two books on ethics: Muslim Self Revived: Ethics, Rights and Technology after Empire and another title, Between Right and Wrong: Debating Muslim Ethics (Wiley). In these writings Moosa explores some of the major challenges that confront a tradition-in-the making like Islam , in a rapidly changing world. Moosa examines the way religious traditions encounter modernity and in the process generating new conceptions of history, culture and ethics. Dr. Moosa serves on several distinguished international advisory boards and is associated with some of the foremost thinkers, activists and role-players in the Muslim world and beyond. He advised the first independent South African government after apartheid on Islamic affairs and serves on committees of the Organization of Islamic Conference in addition to others. He also has extensive experience in human rights activities. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation to research contemporary Muslim ethics and issues of philanthropy in the Muslim world. For further details and access to research materials please visit Dr Moosa’s website ebrahimmoosa.com
  • Current Projects

    What is a Madrasa?, Muslim Ethics
  • Areas of Interest

    Studies in al-Ghazali
    intellectual traditions of pre-modern Islam
    madrasas of south Asia
    contemporary Islamic thought
    Muslim ethics
  • Education

      • PhD,
      • University of Cape Town,
      • 1995
  • Awards, Honors and Distinctions

      • Best First Book in the History of Religions 2006,
      • American Academy of Religion,
      • November, 2006
      • Philanthropy for Social Justice in Muslim Societies,
      • The Ford Foundation,
      • July 2005
      • Carnegie Scholars Award 2005,
      • Carnegie Corporation of New York,
      • May 2005
      • Mapping Knowledge, Shaping Muslim Ethics: Seeking a Paradigm Shift,
      • The Ford Foundation,
      • 0 2004
  • Recent Publications

      • with
      • Jeffrey T. Kenney & Ebrahim Moosa.
      • "Modern Islam: A Textbook."
      • 2013.
      Publication Description

      A textbook on modern Islam with Routledge published

      • E. Moosa.
      • "Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111)."
      • Islamic Legal Thought A Compendium of Muslim Jurists.
      • Ed. Oussama Arabi, David S. Powers and Susan A. Spectorsky.
      • Brill,
      • 2013.
      • 261-293.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      a detailed analysis of Ghazali's work as a jurist in English. I also translated an original source, a section of Ghazali's text on the importance of individual moral responsibility

      • Bioethics
      • (2013)
      • .
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      The field of medicine provides an important window through which to examine the encounters between religion and science, and between modernity and tradition. While both religion and science consider health to be a ‘good’ that is to be preserved, and promoted, religious and science based teachings may differ in their conception of what constitutes good health, and how that health is to be achieved. This paper analyzes the way the Islamic ethico-legal tradition assesses the permissibility of using vaccines that contain porcine-derived components by referencing opinions of several Islamic authorities. In the Islamic ethico-legal tradition controversy surrounds the use of proteins from an animal (pig) that is considered to be impure by Islamic law. As we discuss the Islamic ethico-legal constructs used to argue for or against the use of porcine-based vaccines we will call attention to areas where modern medical data may make the arguments more precise. By highlighting areas where science can buttress and clarify the ethico-legal arguments we hope to spur an enhanced applied Islamic bioethics discourse where religious scholars and medical experts use modern science in a way that remains faithful to the epistemology of Islamic ethics to clarify what Islam requires of Muslim patients and healthcare workers.

      • E. Moosa.
      • "Post 9/11: America Agonizes over Islam."
      • The Cambridge History of Religions in America: Religions in America 1945 to the present.
      • Ed. Stephen J. Stein.
      • 3
      • New York:
      • Cambridge University Press,
      • 2012.
      • 553-574.
      • [web]
      • E. Moosa.
      • "Translating Neuroethics: Reflections from Muslim Ethics."
      • Science and Engineering Ethics
      • 18
      • .2
      • (2012)
      • :
      • 519-528.
      • [web]
      Publication Description

      Abstract Muslim ethics is cautiously engaging developments in neuroscience. In their encounters with developments in neuroscience such as brain death and functional magnetic resonance imaging procedures, Muslim ethicists might be on the cusp of spirited debates. Science and religion perform different kinds of work and ought not to be conflated. Cultural translation is central to negotiating the complex life worlds of religious communities, Muslims included. Cultural translation involves lived encounters with modernity and its byproduct, modern science. Serious ethical debate requires more than just a mere instrumental encounter with science. A robust Muslim approach to neuroethics might require an emulsion of religion and neuroscience, thought and body, and body and soul. Yet one must anticipate that Muslim debates in neuroethics will be inflected with Muslim values, symbols and the discrete faith perspectives of this tradition with meanings that are specific to people who share this worldview and their concerns.

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  • PhD Students

    • Daanish Faruqi
      • August, 2013 - present
    • Hunter Bandy
      • August, 2011 - present
    • Ali Mian
    • Saadia Yacoob
    • Mashal Saif
    • Sam Kigar
      • July 2010, 2010 - present
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