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Haroon Sidat

Haroon Sidat

Cydymaith Ymchwil

Ysgol Hanes, Archaeoleg a Chrefydd


I am currently a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University. I completed a PhD looking at the formation and training of British Muslim Scholarship (ulama) with an ethnographic study of a Dar al-Uloom, or traditional Islamic seminary in modern Britain. This was part of the Jameel Scholarship Programme. I also have a background in traditional Islamic Studies, and this is where I seek to combine textual learning of the Islamic tradition with the sociology of religious professionals. I have an interest in the formation of religious authority, theories and application of tradition with modernity, and religious embodiment. I continue to teach courses in the Islamic traditional sciences in the areas of Islamic law (fiqh) and theology (aqidah). I also teach modules around contemporary Muslims concerns such as Sufism and Islamic law in Britain.

Currently, I am working two major projects. The first, Understanding British Imams is a four-year research project based at Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK.

The second is in the field of Islamic History and Civilisation and is titled 'Legacies of Learning' and explores the Islamic educational and intellectual tradition.

PhD Thesis: 

Formation and Training of British Muslim Religious Leadership Muslim Scholars (Ulama): An Ethnography of a Dar al-Uloom in Britain (2019).

Other public engagements and articles:

Putting a Rope on Tradition (with Maydan, 19th October 2021)

The Imam and the Priest in Leadership: two sides of the same coin? (The Centre for Muslim- Christian Studies, Oxford, 11th June 2019).

What is ‘Authority’ in Islam? (Public Seminar Series at Cardiff University, 20th February 2019).

Young British Muslims turn to a new generation of imams: young Muslims challenge the old guard at Britain’s mosques (The Economist, 8th December 2018).

Panel discussion ‘Islamic leadership in tomorrow’s world’ at the Imams Online Digital Summit at Youtube Space in London (31st January 2018).

Memes and Madhabs (On Religions, 15th September 2018).

The Darul Ulum and Mainstream Higher Education: A Way Forward? (Public Lecture Series, Cardiff University,10th March 2015).

Conference organised:  

Islam, Muslims, and education in Britain (Cardiff University, 15th January 2018).

Conference papers:

Young Ulama as Custodians of Change: An Ethnography of a Traditional Dar al-Uloom in Modern Britain (Cambridge University annual postgraduate symposium on “Muslims in the UK and Europe”, 7th June 2019).  

Young Ulama as Custodians of Change (Conference on Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities, Cardiff University, 21st January 2019).  

How Many ‘Ulama Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? (British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, University of Exeter, 11th April 2018). 

Setting a Subject Benchmark for Dar al-'ulums in Britain? A Day Consultation at Markfield Institute of Higher Education (at Markfield Institute of Higher Education 18th October 2017).

Book Reviews:

Revival from Below: The Deoband Movement and Global Islam by Brannon Ingram in Pakistan Journal of Historical Studies (2019).

The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from Islamic State by Samer in the Muslim World Book Review (2018).

 Al-Britannia, My Country: A Journey Through Muslim Britain by James Fergusson (2017).




Adrannau llyfrau




Legacies of Learning: from Turath to Transformation

This three-year project aims to explore Islamic scholarship during a historical period of exceptional intellectual and scientific endeavour, commonly known as the Islamic ‘Golden Age’. 

Our focus will be the biography and motivation of the scholars most closely associated with this historical era. These scholars reflected and shaped an educational and philosophical approach which can be characterised as outward facing, cosmopolitan, inter-disciplinary, holistic, committed to human flourishing and the pursuit of knowledge as a form of ‘worship’.

This epistemic openness to all forms of knowledge led to a tradition that was intellectually curious, respectful of other traditions, and driven by values of civility and tolerance. Based on our research about the motivations and context of these scholars, we will seek to analyse and draw out principles as to how Islam enables human and scholarly flourishing.

The aim is to bring some of the defining principles and meanings of Islamic education to the fore, potentially reshaping approaches to modern education.

For more details, please click here.

Understanding British Imams

Imams are the largest group of Muslim religious professionals in Britain who work principally within mosques leading prayers, delivering sermons and providing guidance to their congregations. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that this role is being expanded to encompass pastoral care, chaplaincy, charity work or wider community projects such as inter-faith activity or civic events.

Further, the pressures of a post-9/11 and 7/7 socio-political climate, in which counter-terrorism measures become increasingly conflated with integration issues, have foregrounded the imam as a figure that may guide his flock in either constructive or destructive ways. Yet, somewhat paradoxically, the British imam has only rarely been the subject of in-depth ethnographic research.

Generously funded by the Jameel Research Programme, this project aims to fill this lacuna by conducting the most detailed and rigorous study ever undertaken of British imams; and communicating the results, and interest in Muslim religious leadership in the West more generally, to many beneficiaries.

The project will transform our understanding of British imams and create a lasting reference point for future research on Muslim religious professionals.

For more details, please click here.


At undergraduate level:

  • Scriptural Study: Introduction to Qur’anic and Hadith studies
  • Islamic Civilisation and History
  • Scriptural Study: Qur’anic Exegesis and Hadith Collections
  • Education in the Islamic World
  • Shari’ah Interpretation and its application to Family Life
  • Islamic Spirituality and Morality

Islam in the Contemporary World

  • Religious Leadership
  • Sufism
  • Islamic Law


Honours and Awards

  • Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) award 2007

Professional Memberships

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Peer reviewer

  • Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science
  • Religions
  • Journal of Muslims in Europe
  • John Templeton Foundation funding applications
  • American Journal of Islam and Society (AJIS)

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I currently co-supervising two Ph.D.s:

  • Andreas Petros Tzortzis - A philosophical and hermeneutical assessment of Qurānic bold-concordism (‘ijāz al-’ilmī) and the multiplicity of readings approach.
  • Feyza Goren - A Study of Hanafi Hadith Methodology within the al-Mabsūṭ of al- Sarakhsī

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

1. Islamic Law

2. Islamic Theology

3. Hadith studies

4. Philosopy of Islamic Law

5. Islamic History and Civilization

7. Islamic Metaphysics

8. Islam in Britain

Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Feyza Goren

Feyza Goren

Myfyriwr ymchwil

Andreas Tzortzis

Andreas Tzortzis

Myfyriwr ymchwil

External profiles