Dr. Usaama al-Azami
Dr. Usaama al-Azami is a Departmental Lecturer in Contemporary Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford, where he also completed his BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He then earned an MA and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.
Alongside his university career, he also earned an Alimiyyah Degree from the Al-Salam Institute with Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi. He has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East, living for five years in the region and has been able to study with a number of Muslim scholars, including Ahmad ‘Ali Lajpuri, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kattani, Yunus Jaunpuri, Muhammad Rabi,’ ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Turayri, ‘Abd-Allah al-Judai,’ Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, Muhammad Al Rashid, Nizam Ya’qubi, Jihad Brown and Ziyad al-Tukla.
Usaama is primarily interested in the interaction between Islam and modernity with a special interest in modern developments in Islamic political thought. His first book, Islam and the Arab Revolutions, looks at the way in which influential Islamic scholars responded to the Arab uprisings of 2011 through 2013. His Ph.D., which is a separate project which he hopes to develop into a monograph in the near future, is entitled "Modern Islamic Political Thought: Islamism in the Arab World from the Late 20th to the Early 21st Centuries". In it, he explores how Arab ulama of a mainstream "Islamist" orientation have engaged Western political concepts such as democracy, secularism and the nation-state, selectively adopting and assimilating aspects of these ideas into their understanding of Islam. His broader interests extend to a range of disciplines from the Islamic scholarly tradition from the earliest period of Islam down to the present.
In addition to academic writing, he is a frequent commentator on public affairs pertaining to Muslims in outlets such as Middle East Eye, HuffPost, Muslim Matters, and TRT World.