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Takim Liyakat, Professor | Sharjah Chair in Global Islam

photo of Liyakat Takim

Liyakat Takim

Professor | Sharjah Chair in Global Islam

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Department of Religious Studies

Area(s) of Interest:


Professor Liyakat Takim is the Sharjah Chair in Global Islam at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. A native of Zanzibar, Tanzania, he has spoken at more than eighty academic conferences and authored one hundred scholarly works on diverse topics like reformation in the Islamic world, the treatment of women in Islamic law, Islam in America, the indigenization of the Muslim community in America, dialogue in post-911 America, war and peace in the Islamic tradition, Islamic law, Islamic biographical literature, the charisma of the holy man and shrine culture, and Islamic mystical traditions. He teaches a wide range of courses on Islam and offers a course on comparative religions.

Professor Takim’s second book titled Shi'ism in America was published by New York University Press in summer 2009. His first book, The Heirs of the Prophet: Charisma and Religious Authority in Shi‘ite Islam was published by SUNY press in 2006. He is currently working on his third book, Ijtihad and Reformation in Islam. Professor Takim has taught at several American and Canadian universities and is actively engaged in dialogue with different faith communities.



  • School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Ph.D., 1990
  • Qum Seminary, Qum, Iran, 1983–1985
  • University of Virginia, M.A. in History of Religions, 1983
  • City University, London, B.Sc. in Ecomonics, 1978



Sunni-Shi’i Encounters                                        

Qur’an in a Global Context

Global Islam                                                         

The Varieties of Islamic Experience

Introduction to Islamic Civilizations                   

Islam in Modern Times

Islam in the American Mosaic                             

Islamic Fundamentalism

Judaism, Christianity & Islam                             

Christian-Muslim Fundamentalisms

Classical Islam       

Islamic Mysticism

Qur’an and Hadith Literature                              

Clash of Civilizations

The Sacred Quest


Jewish-Muslim Encounters

Islam in the Medieval Era                                    

World Religions

Classical Arabic                                                   




Journal Articles

  • “The Marja‘iyya and the Juristic Challenges of the Diaspora,” in Journal of Muslims in Europe (forthcoming 2017)
  • The Study of Shiʿi Islam in Western Academia” in Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies 9, no. 1 (2016): 17-37.
  • “Western Studies of Shi‘i Islam.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 33, no. 2 (2016): 133-144.
  • “The Applicability of the Shari‘a in Modern Times.” Asia-Pacific Studies 1 no. 1 (2014).
  • "Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Female Converts to Shi‘ism in the United States and Canada" co-authored with Amina Inloes, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 43, no. 1 (2014): 3-24.
  • “Shi'ism in the Western Academia.” Rahnomoon Journal (2013)
  • “The Qur'anic Vision: Unity or Uniformity?” Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies 10, no. 1 (2012): 17-24.
  • “American Shi’ism and the Media.” The Bright Future 6 (2011): 23-34.
  • "The Ground Zero Mosque Controversy: Implications for American Islam." Religions 2 (2011): 132-144.
  • “Peace and War in the Qur’an and Juridical Literature: A Comparative Perspective.” The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 28, no. 2 (2011): 137-158.
  • "The Indigenization and Politicization of American Islam." Politics and Religion Journal 5, no. 1 (2011): 115-127.
  • "The Ten Commandments and the Tablets in Shi‘i and Sunni Tafsir Literature: A Comparative Perspective." The Muslim World 101, no. 1 (2011): 94-109.
  • "War and Peace in the Islamic Sacred Sources." Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies 4, no. 1 (2011): 5-22.
  • “Preserving or Extending Boundaries? The Black Shi‘is of America.” The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 30, no. 2 (2010): 237-249.
  • "Reinterpretation or Reformation: Shi‘i Law in the West." Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies 3, no. 2 (2010): 141-165.
  • "From Pacifism to Activism: Engaging the Muslim Other in America." Shi'a Affairs Journal 2 (2009): 1-20.
  • “A Minority with Diversity: The Shi‘i Community in America.” The Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 10, no. 3 (2008): 326-341.
  • “Revivalism or Reformation: The Reinterpretation of Islamic Law in Modern Times.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 25, no. 3 (2008): 61-81.
  • “Holy Peace or Holy War: Tolerance and Co-existence in the Islamic Juridical Tradition.” Islam and Muslim Societies 3, no. 2 (2007): 295-307.
  • “The Origins of and Authentications in Shi‘i Biographical Literature.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 24, no. 4 (2007): 26-49.
  • “Offering Complete or Shortened Prayers? The Traveler’s Salat at the Holy Places.” The Muslim World 96, no. 3 (2006): 401-422.
  • “Charismatic Appeal or Communitas? Visitation to the Shrines of the Imams.” Journal of Ritual Studies 18, no. 2 (2004): 106-120.
  • “From Conversion to Conversation: Interfaith Dialogue in Post-911 America.” The Muslim World 94, no. 3 (2004): 343-55.
  • “Combining the Two Prayers: Sectarian Polemics in the Juridical Literature.” International Journal of Shi‘i Studies 1, no. 2 (2004): 95-129.
  • “Authority Construction in Biographical Texts: The Cases of Humran b. A‘yan and Mu’min al-Taq.” International Journal of Shi‘i Studies 1, no. 1 (2003): 125-55.
  • “Adoration in Islamic Mystical Tradition.” Prabuddha Bharata (“Awakened India”) (2002): 43-45.
  • “From Bid‘a to Sunna: The Wilaya of ‘Ali in the Shi‘i Adhan.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 120, no. 2 (2000): 66-77.
  • “Foreign Influences on American Shi‘ism.” The Muslim World 90 (2000): 459-77.


  • “Functional Authority: Women in the Times of the Imams,” in Female Religious Authority in Shi'i Islam: A Comparative History ed. Mirjam Künkler and Devin Stewart, (Edinburgh, 2018).
  • “From Ijtihad to Post-Ijtihad: Evolution of Shi‘i Law in Contemporary Times,” in Post-Islamism Unbound: Transformation of Religion and Politics in Muslim Societies, ed. Forough Jahanbakhsh, Mojtaba Mahdavi, Mehmet Karabela, (OUP, 2018).
  • “Privileging the Qur’an: Divorce and the Hermeneutics of Ayatullah Sane‘i” in Approaches to the Quran in Contemporary Iran ed. Alessandro Cancian (Oxford Universit Press, forthcoming 2017).
  • “Violence and the Deobandi Movement” in “'Faith Based Violence and Deobandi militancy in Pakistan” eds. Syed Jawad, Tahir Kamran and Prof Edwina Pio” (Palgrave: 2016): 481-503.
  • "Maqasid al-Shari’a in Contemporary Shi'i Jurisprudence" in Maqasid al-Shari’a in Contemporary Reformist Thought: An Examination, edited by Adis Duderija, Palgrave, (2014): 101-126. (assisted by Dr. Mavani)
  • "Western Depictions of Muhammad" in Mohammed in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 volumes), Fitzpatrick, C. & Walker, A. (Eds.), ABC-CLIO (2014).
  • "A Brief History of Ijtihad in Twelver Shi’ism" in Shia Tradition and Iran: Contemporary Global Perspectives, edited by Mohsen Eslami, Global Scholarly Publications (2013)
  • “Ijtihad and the derivation of new jurisprudence in contemporary Shi’ism: the Rulings of Ayatollah Bujnurdi,” in Alternative Islamic Discourses and Religious Authority ed. Carool Kersten & Susanna Olsson, Ashgate, (2013), 17-34. (assisted by Dr. Mavani)
  • "Shi'i Islam in the African-American Community" in The [Oxford] Handbook of African American Islam, edited by Amina McCloud, Oxford University Press (2015):
  • “Shi’ite Muslims,” in The [Oxford] Handbook of American Islam, edited by Yvonne Haddad and Jane Smith (2013): 100 – 118.
  • “Then and Now: A History of Ijtihad in Twelver Shi’ism,” in Shi’ism: Belief and Practices, ed. Abbas Ahmadvand, Palgrave, MacMillan (forthcoming in 2015).
  • “The Concepts of the Absolute and Perfect Man in Mulla Fayd al-Kashani” in Fayd e Kashani, ed. Naqibi and Abbas Ahmadvand, Ansariyan (2013), 33-45.
  • “The Shi‘ite Tradition in Islam,” in World Religions: Communities and Cultures, ed. Jacob Neusner, Abingdon Press, 2010.
  • "The Prophet Muhammad: Exemplary Model," In Great Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) Eternal Light, ed. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Bangkok: Islamic Cultural Center, 2009.
  • "The Concepts of the Absolute and Perfect Man in Mulla Fayd al-Kashani," Tehran Conference on Mulla Fayd Kashani, 2009.
  • “To Vote or not to Vote: The Politicization of American Islam,” In Politics and Religion in France and the United States, eds. John Kelsay, Alec Hargreaves and Sumner B. Twiss. Lexington: Lexington Books, 2007.
  • “From Bid‘a to Sunna: The Wilaya of ‘Ali in the Shi‘i Adhan.” In Shi’ism: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies, ed. Paul Luft and Colin Turner. Routeledge, 2007.
  • “Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Islamic Tradition.” In Religion, Terrorism and Globalization, Nonviolence: A New Agenda, ed. K. Kuriakose. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2006.
  • “Charismatic Appeal or Communitas? Visitation to the Shrines of the Imams.” In Contesting Rituals: Islam and Practices of Identity-Making, ed. Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2005.
  • “Multiple Identities in a Pluralistic World: Shi‘ism in America.” In Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens, ed. Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, 218-32. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • “Evolution in the Biographical Profiles of Two Hadith Transmitters.” In The Shi‘ite Heritage, ed. Lynda Clarke, 285-99. Binghamton, NY: Global Press, 2001.
  • “Shi‘i Institutes in North America.” In Ahlul Bayt Assembly of America: Abstract of Proceedings Convention of 1996, ed. Sayyed M. Hejazi & A. Hashim, 103-09. Beltsville, MD: International Graphics, 1997.