Professor Oliver Scharbrodt

Director of Chester Centre for Islamic Studies

I research modern, contemporary and classical forms of Islam, employing both historical and ethnographic research methods. My interests include Sufism, Shia Islam, Islamic messianism and modern Islamic reform as well as the historical and contemporary presence of Muslims in Europe.


01244 513354



BA (Hons) (Bonn, Germany), MA, PhD (London), FHEA


I studied Comparative Religion, Islamic Studies and Philosophy at the University of Bonn in Germany and completed my graduate studies and research in London, obtaining my MA and PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies. After teaching in London, the US and Ireland, I joined the Department of Theology and Religious Studies in September 2014. My appointment as the University of Chester’s first Professor of Islamic Studies is part of its strategic aim to turn Chester into one of the prime centres for the academic study of Islam in the UK.

I am the founding director of the Chester Centre for Islamic Studies (CCIS) which engages in multidisciplinary research in Islamic Studies. Its particular aim is to make current theories and methods in Religious Studies relevant to the academic study of Islam.


Undergraduate Modules

TH4044 Encountering Religions: Hinduism and Islam

TH5054 Judaism and Islam: Philosophy and Hermeneutics

TH6057 Violence and Nationalism: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives

Postgraduate Modules

TH7059 Contemporary Islam


Research Interests

  • Modern and contemporary Islam

  • Shia Islam

  • Islam and Muslims in Europe

  • Sufism

  • Islamic messianism

  • Bahai Faith

PhD and DProf Supervision

I welcome enquiries for research at doctoral level in any of my research areas listed above.


External Funding

  • Research Project Grant, Special Programme “Islam, the modern nation-state and transnational movements”, Gerda Henkel Foundation funding a research project on transnational Shia networks in the UK (£200,000), 2014-2016

  • “New Ideas” Award, Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) funding a research project on Muslims in the European periphery (€6,000), 2011-2012

  • Project Grants Scheme in Theology and Religious Studies, Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the Department of An Taoiseach funding a research project on Muslims in Ireland (€250,000), 2008-2011

Published work


2018  Muhammad ‘Abduh: Islamic Modernism and the Sufi Tradition, London: IB Tauris [inaugural volume of the new Makers of the Modern Middle East series] (in preparation)
2018 God’s Proof to Humanity: An Annotated English Translation of the Kitab al-hujja of Abu Ja‘far Muhammad b. Ya‘qub Al-Kulayni (d. 940), London: IB Tauris [Shi‘i Heritage Series] (in preparation)
2016 Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, Vol. 8, edited with Samim Akgönül, Ahmet Alibasic, Jørgen S. Nielsen and Egdunas Racius, Leiden: Brill
2015 Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, Vol. 7, edited with Samim Akgönül, Ahmet Alibasic and Egdunas Racius, Leiden: Brill
2015 Muslims in Ireland: Past and Present, together with Adil Hussain Khan, Tuula Sakaranaho, Vivian Ibrahim and Yafa Shanneik, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
2011 Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs: Special Edition on Islam and Muslims in the Republic of Ireland, Vol. 31, edited together with Tuula Sakaranaho
2008 Islam and the Baha’i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad ‘Abduh and ‘Abdul-Baha ‘Abbas, London: Routledge, [Culture and Civilization in the Middle East 13] (paperback version 2011)

Other Select Publications

2017 “Modern Readings of the Qur’an”, in Downing, S., and Long, F. (eds.), Reading the Sacred Scriptures: From Oral Tradition to Written Documents and their Reception, London: Routledge (in preparation)
2015 “From Hafiz: Irish Orientalism, Persian Poetry and W. B. Yeats”, in Chehabi, H., and Neville, G. (eds.), Erin and Iran: Cultural Encounters between the Irish and the Iranians, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 57-78
2014 “From Irish Exceptionalism to European Normality?: the New Islamic Presence in the Republic of Ireland”, Études Irlandaises 39, 147-160
2012 “Muslim Immigration to the Republic of Ireland: Trajectories and Dynamics since World War II”, Éire-Ireland: Journal of Irish Studies – Special Edition New Perspectives on Irish Migration 47 (2012), 221-243
2010 “The qutb as special representative of the Hidden Imam: the conflation of Shii and Sufi Vilayat in the Ni‘matullahi Order”, in Herman, D., and Mervin, S. (eds.), Courants et dynamiques chiites à l’époque moderne (XVIIIe – XXe siècles), Beirut: Orient Institute Beirut, 33-49