Monday, November 22, 2021, 7:30 - 9:00 pm EST / 6:30 - 8:00 pm CST

Prof. Ismail R. al Faruqi

Professor Ismail Raji al Faruqi (1921-1986) was a co-founder of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) and Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS). Born in Jaffa, Palestine, he completed his undergraduate education from the American University in Beirut. He eventually relocated to the United States where he pursued graduate studies in philosophy. Prof. al Faruqi studied Islam at al Azhar University, Cairo, from 1954 to 1958. In 1968, he joined Temple University’s newly established Department of Religion and founded the Islamic Studies program there. In addition, in 1973, Prof. al Faruqi initiated the Islam section at the American Academy of Religion (AAR). He was also the President of the American Islamic College in Chicago.

His own intellectual and faith journey is apparent from his famous quote: “Until a few months ago, I was a Palestinian, an Arab, and a Muslim. Now I am a Muslim who happens to be an Arab from Palestine.”

Prof. al Faruqi was an exceptional scholar of Islam and comparative religions who was trained at Indiana University, Harvard University, and McGill University. He was among the pioneers who represented Islam in interreligious dialogue when this movement was just beginning. Indeed, he was a scholar who engaged with not only the history of religion but also the challenges religion, especially Islam, faced in contemporary times. Prof. al Faruqi authored, with his wife Dr. Lamya al Faruqi – a distinguished scholar of Islamic art – the seminal work titled The Cultural Atlas of Islam. His many publications include Christian Ethics: A Historical and Systematic Analysis of its Dominant Ideas (McGill University Press, 1967) and Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (IIIT, 1982).

He was – and still is seen as – a brilliant intellectual, whose legacy of reform and scholastic efforts still reverberate today and will continue to do so. May God have mercy on him. Ameen.

Dr. Hisham Yahya Altalib

Dr. Hisham Yahya Altalib is a co-founder and President of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). Born in Mosul, Iraq, he earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana. As a student, Dr. Altalib became active in Islamic work which continues to this day. He has held several positions in various Islamic organizations, including Muslim Students Association (MSA) of the United States and Canada, International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO), and the SAAR Foundation. He has conducted many training camps and seminars in the United States and abroad. He is also the author of Training Guide for Islamic Workers and Inviting to Islam: Ethics of Engagement. He has co-authored Parent-Child Relations: A Guide to Raising Children. His books have been translated into many languages.

Dr. SherAli Tareen

SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University in 2012. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. He has also written extensively on the interaction of Islam and secularism. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize and was selected as a finalist for the 2021 American Academy of Religion Book Award. He is currently completing his second book called “The Promise and Peril of Hindu-Muslim Friendship.” His other academic publications and talks are available here. Tareen also co-hosts the popular scholarly podcast New Books in Islamic Studies.



This talk will explore Muslim intellectual discourses and debates on the boundaries of interreligious relations and friendship in the premodern and modern contexts. After presenting some key examples of how this problem was dealt by prominent premodern Muslim thinkers, the talk addresses the following question: how have modern Muslim scholars negotiated the incongruence between the premodern context of Muslim empire that informed foundational normative texts and attitudes towards non-Muslims and the setting of colonial modernity that saw Muslims in several contexts rendered into a colonized community and in many instances a political minority as well? I will address this question primarily (though not exclusively) in the context of modern South Asia that witnessed some of the most fascinating and instructive intra-Muslim scholarly disagreement on the question of interreligious friendship in the early modern and modern periods. I show and argue that at stake in demarcating the limits of friendship with the non-Muslim ‘other’ are often thorny unresolved intra-Muslim contestations on the boundaries of Islam and the nature of the Muslim self, especially in conditions marked by the loss of political sovereignty.

Dr. Muhammad Shafiq

Dr. Muhammad Shafiq is professor of Islamic and religious studies at Nazareth College where he is also the Executive Director of the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue as well as the IIIT Chair of Interfaith Studies. In addition to interfaith studies, he focuses on world religions, Islamic Studies, Islamic History, culture, and civilization. He earned his Ph.D. in religion from Temple University. His publications include Growth of Islamic Thought in North America: Focus on Isma’il R. Al Faruqi (Amana Publications, 1994) and Interfaith Dialogue: A Guide for Muslims (co-authored, IIIT, 2011). He has also co-edited (De)Legitimization of Violence in Sacred and Human Contexts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) which contains selected papers from a Sacred Texts and Human Contexts conference at Nazareth College in 2018.