Christopher Melchert


Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Pembroke College


Research Interests:

Islamic Movements and Institutions, Ninth-Tenth Centuries C.E.

Current Projects:

The Mukhtaṣars of al-Buwayṭī (Shāfiʿi), al-Muzanī (Shāfiʿi), and al-Khiraqī (Ḥanbali).

Courses Taught:

Hadith, Islamic law, and early Sufism

Recent Publications:

‘Renunciants in Africa under the Aghlabids’, The Maghreb review 47 (2022): 292-314.

‘Kitāb al-Ḥujjah ʿalá ahl al-Madīnah and the transition from regional schools to personal’, Studia Islamica, no 117 (2022), 64-87.

‘Al-Shāfiʿī against the Kufan school’, Islamic law and society 29 (2022): 34-57.

‘The Inquisition outside Baghdad’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 141 (2021): 201-10.

Before Sufism: early Islamic renunciant piety. Islam - thought, culture, and society 4. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2020.

‘The theory and practice of hadith criticism in the mid-ninth century’. Pages 74-102 in Islam at 250: studies in memory of G.H.A. Juynboll. Edited by Petra M. Sijpesteijn and Camilla Adang. Leiden studies in Islam and society 10. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

‘Ibn al-Mubārak, traditionist’. Pages 49-69 in Modern hadith studies. Edited by Belal Alabbas, Michael Dann, and Christopher Melchert. Edinburgh: University Press, 2020.

‘The rightly-guided caliphs: the range of views preserved in ḥadīth’. Pages 63-79 in Political quietism in Islam: Sunni and Shi‘i practice and thought. Edited by Saud Al-Sarhan. London: I. B. Tauris, 2020.

‘Ibrāhīm al-Naḫa‛ī (Kufan, d. 96/714)’, Arabica 67 (2020): 60-81.

‘The Musnad of al-Shāfi‛ī’, Studia Islamica, no 114 (2019), 249-64.

‘The controversy over reciting the Qurʾān with tones (al‑qirāʾah bi’l‑alḥān)’, Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association 4 (2019): 85-109.

‘Al-Shaybānī and contemporary renunciant piety’, Journal of Abbasid studies 6 (2019): 52-85.

‘Why non-Muslim subjects are to pay the jizya’. Pages 347-56 in Contacts and interaction. Proceedings of the 27th congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants Helsinki 2014. Edited by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, Petteri Koskikallio, and Ilkka Lindstedt. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta 254. Leuven: Peeters, 2017.

‘Apocalypticism in Sunni hadith’. Pages 267-89 in Apocalypticism and escha­tol­ogy in Late Antiquity: encounters in the Abrahamic relig­ions, 6th-8th centuries. Edited by Hagit Amirav, Emmanouela Grypeou, and Guy Stroumsa. Late antique history and relig­ion 17. Leuven: Peeters, 2017.

‘Bukhārī’s kitāb tafsīr al‑Qur’ān’, Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association 1 (2016): 149-72.

‘The transmission of hadith: changes in the ninth and tenth centuries c.e.’ Pages 229-46 in Arabic and Islamic studies in Europe and beyond. Pro­ceedings of the 26th congress of the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants, Basel 2012. Edited by Maurus Rein­kowski and Monika Winet with Sevinç Yasar Gil. Orient­alia Lovaniensia analecta 248. Leuven: Peeters, 2016.        

‘Basra and Kufa as the earliest centers of Islamic legal controversy’. Pages 173-94 in Islamic cultures, Islamic contexts: essays in honor of Pro­fessor Patricia Crone. Edited by Behnam Sadeghi, Asad Q. Ahmed, Adam Silverstein, and Robert G. Hoyland. Islamic history and civilization, studies and texts, 114. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

‘Ibn al‑Mubārak’s Kitāb al‑Jihād and early renunciant literature’. Pages 49-69 in Violence in Islamic thought from the Qur’ān to the Mongols. Edited by Robert Gleave and István Kristó-Nagy. Legitimate and illegitimate violence in Islamic thought 1. Edinburgh: University Press, 2015.

‘Three qur’anic terms (siyāḥa, ḥikma and ṣiddīq) of special interest to the early renunciants’. Pages 89-116 in The meaning of the word: lexico­graphy and qur’anic exegesis. Edited by S. R. Burge. London: Oxford University Press, 2015.

‘Before ṣūfiyyāt: Female Muslim Renunciants in the 8th and 9th Centuries CE’, Journal of Sufi Studies 5 (2015): 115-39.

Photograph of Christopher Melchert