Usul Academy Faculty Members  

Dr. Recep Şentürk, President of Usul Academy

Dr. Recep Şentürk currently serves as a professor of sociology at Ibn Haldun University. He was the founding president of Ibn Haldun University (IHU) in Istanbul (2017-2021). After graduating from The School of Islamic Studies at Marmara University, he did his MA in Sociology at Istanbul University. He pursued his PhD in Sociology at Columbia University, New York.  He served as a researcher at The Center for Islamic Studies (İSAM) in Istanbul, and the founding director of the Alliance of Civilizations Institute. He is head of the International Ibn Haldun Society. He has published widely in English, Arabic and Turkish on a whole range of topics, including social theory and methods, civilization, modernization, sociology of religion, networks of ḥadīth transmission, Malcolm X, Islam and human rights, modern Turkish thought, and the life and ideas of Ibn Khaldūn. Among his books are: Narrative Social Structure: Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505; Malcolm X: The Struggle for Human Rights, and in Turkish; Open Civilization: Towards a Multi- Civilizational Society and World; Islam and Human Rights; Ibn Khaldun: Contemporary Readings; Malcolm X: Struggle for Human Rights; Social Memory: Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505. Şentürk’s works have been translated to Arabic, Japanese and Spanish.

Dr. Alparslan Açıkgenç
Alparslan Açıkgenç has taught at Fatih University in Istanbul, the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, the University of Chicago, Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization in Kuala Lumpur, and the University of Jordan. He earned his B.A. at Ankara University, his M.A. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Turkish Philosophical Association and an honorary member of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Farah Ahmed
Farah Ahmed is Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She co-convenes the ‘Cultural, religious and philosophical traditions in educational dialogue’ strand of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research group. Her current project is: Rethinking Islamic education for British Muslim children: a philosophical investigation of dialogue in Islamic educational theory and an empirical study trialing dialogic pedagogy in UK maktabs (supplementary schools). Farah has published widely on holistic Islamic educational approaches and is founder and Director of Education at Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation; where she works on developing research informed curricular resources and teacher professional development. She is the author of Principles of Shakhsiyah Education and the lead developer of Shakhsiyah Halaqah and Holistic Curricula. She is also Founding Fellow and Council Member of the Chartered College of Teaching

Dr. Talal Al-Azem
Talal Al-Azem is the Mohammed Noah Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and the Islamic Centre Lecturer in Classical Islam in the Faculty of Theology and Religion of the University of Oxford. He studied the disciplines of Islamic learning in Syria and Turkey. He has written and lectured on the history and philosophy of Islamic education, alongside work on the history of Muslim jurisprudence. He is the author of Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition (Brill 2017).
Bilal Ali Ansari
Bilal Ali Ansari received his undergraduate education in Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL, and in the Applied Behavioral Sciences at National-Louis University in Lisle, IL, from where he graduated with a Bachelors in Arts in the field of Applied Behavioral Sciences with a focus on adult learning theory (andragogy). He acquired an education in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Jāmiʿat al-Ḥasanayn in Faisalabad, Pakistan. His teachers there include Khwaja ʿUbayd Allāh, Mufti Aḥmad ʿAlī, and Shaykh Ramzī al-Ḥabīb al-Tūnisī. Mawlana Bilal completed his Dars Niẓāmī studies at the Jāmiʿat Dār al-ʿUlūm in Karachi, where he received an ijāzah in Hadith from Mufti Muḥammad Taqī al-ʿUthmānī, Mufti Muḥammad Rafīʿ al-ʿUthmāni, Muftī Maḥmūd Ashraf al-ʿUthmāni, Mufti ʿAbd al-Raʿūf al-Sikharwī, and Iftikhār Aḥmad al-Aʿzamī. Mawlana Bilal’s specialization-level research in Hadith studies was supervised by the critical scholar ‘Allamah Dr. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī (al-Chishtī). He also holds certification in hadith from Dr. ʿAbd al-Halīm al-Nuʿmānī, Salīm Allāh Khān, Sarfarāz Khān Ṣafdar, ʿAbd al-Ḥamīḍ al-Sawātī, and Khān Muḥammad. He has continued studies in discursive theology (kalām), Islamic Jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh), and Islamic Philosophy under Shaykh Mohammed Amin Kholwadia at Darul Qasim. He currently teaches courses in Arabic, Islamic Law, and Hadith Studies.
Ustadh Enes Elhan
Enes Elhan is an instructor of classical Arabic and instrumental disciplines at Istanbul Foundation for Research and Education (İSAR) where he also completed a four year extra-curricular program focusing on classical Islamic studies. Besides classical Arabic he also teaches manṭiq (logic) and ādāb al-baḥth wa al-munāẓarah (argumentation) in various instutitions such as Ibn Haldun University, İSAR and İSM. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Istanbul Sehir University. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in theology (kalām) at Istanbul University.
Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad
Shaykh Gibril was born in Beirut, Lebanon and studied in Lebanon, the UK, the US where he took shahada in December 1991, France, and Syria. He holds two doctorates, one from Kolej Universiti Insaniah, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia, and another from Columbia University in New York. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the New York University Latin and Greek Institute and was the recipient of several university fellowships including one at the École Normale Supérieure at Rue d’Ulm, Paris, France. He won the State of Qatar’s Shaykh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding in 2017 for The Lights of Revelation and the Secrets of Interpretation: Ḥizb One of the Commentary on the Qur’an by al-Bayḍāwī, which he wrote while teaching as a Senior Assistant Professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam where he currently lives with his family. He was hailed in the inaugural edition of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World as “one of the clearest voices of traditional Islam in the West”. He is the author of forty books and is presently working on a complete annotated English translation of Imam al-Bayḍāwī’s major commentary on the Qur’an, Anwār al-Tanzīl.
Dr. Mohamad Hammour
Mohamad Hammour is an academic economist as well as a practitioner of participation finance. Dr. Hammour has served as: a member of the economics faculty at Columbia University and of the visiting faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States; a Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France; a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in the United Kingdom; and a consultant to the World Bank. He is the Founder and Chairman of Guidance Financial Group, an international financial services company dedicated to Shariah-compliant finance and investment.  Dr. Hammour holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Hooman Keshavarzi
Dr. Hooman Keshavarzi is licensed as a psychotherapist in the state of Illinois, he holds a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, a Masters of Clinical Psychology and a Bachelors of Science – specialist psychology track/minor in Islamic Studies. He is currently a visiting scholar for Ibn Haldun University (Istanbul, Turkey), Adjunct Professor at American Islamic College, Hartford Seminary, instructor of psychology at Islamic Online University and founding director of Khalil Center – the first Islamically oriented professional community mental wellness center and largest provider of Muslim mental healthcare in the US. He is also a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding at the Global Health Center, conducting research on topics related to Muslims and Mental Health. Hooman Keshavarzi is an international public speaker and trainer currently serving as a Clinical supervisor of graduate students of clinical psychology at the Village of Hoffman Estates (DHS). He also delivers seminars on specialized topics around multiculturalism and psychology. In addition to his academic training, Hooman Keshavarzi has studied Islamic theology both formally and informally. He is a student of Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya from Toronto, Canada, where he attended his hadith and spiritual discourses for a number of years. After moving to Chicago, he studied informally with Shaykh Azeemuddin Ahmed, later formally enrolling in Darussalam Academy for 4 years. During this time he also did some specialized coursework with Shaykh Amin Kholwadia in Islamic counseling. He then transferred to Darul Qasim where he is continuing his higher Islamic education.
Dr. Necmettin Kizilkaya
Necmettin Kızılkaya is currently working as a Professor of Islamic Law and Economics at the Faculty of Theology, Istanbul University. He is director of the Center for Islamic Economics and Finance at Istanbul University. He earned his B.A in Islamic Studies from Marmara University and M.A in Islamic Law from the same university. He received his PhD in Islamic Law from Selcuk University, Institute of Social Sciences in 2011. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton University, Columbia University, and Cambridge University. His research interests related to Islamic studies, especially Islamic law and economics. He focuses on the history of Islamic law, corporate law, modernity and legal-economic transformation in the Muslim world. He also works on Islamic economics, migration, animal welfare and some other contemporary issues from the legal perspective. Kızılkaya has published several books. His research has appeared in many leading academic journals. He is a scientific advisor for numerous academic journals, and serves on the editorial boards of many academic journals.
Dr. Kasım Kopuz 
Dr. Kasım Kopuz graduated from the School of Law and Sharia at Al-Azhar University and from The Law School of Istanbul University. He has studied history and sociology at Binghamton University (State University of New York) where he earned his MA and PhD degrees in Ottoman History with a specific focus on legal theory. He was part of the research group for the Structures of Social Sciences at The Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems and Civilizations at Binghamton University. His academic concentration is on reproduction of legal culture in Ottoman society during the 17th and 18th centuries. His main areas of interest are fiqh, uṣūl al-fiqh, Islamic legal thought, social theory, cultural studies, knowledge production, world systems and civilizations.
Dr.  Merve Özaykal
Merve Özaykal received her BA from Ankara University Faculty of Theology (2008) and her MA from the Islamic law department of the same university (2010). After she started her PhD at Marmara University, she moved to Sakarya University Faculty of Theology by virtue of an assistantship (2011). She worked as a visiting researcher at The Kennedy Institute of Ethics (Georgetown University) for one year, where she studied bioethics. She has travelled around Egypt, Syria and Jordan to further pursue her education. In 2016, Dr. Özaykal completed a second MA degree in Medical History and Ethics at Istanbul University Institute of Health Sciences. In 2017, she received a PhD from the Islamic Law department of Sakarya University Faculty of Theology. Here dissertation was title, “The Limitations on the Right of Intervention on the Human Body and Organ Transplantation from the Perspective of Islamic Law”. Dr. Özaykal is currently an assistant professor at Istanbul University Faculty of Theology. Her main areas of interest are Islamic bio-medical ethics (bio-fiqh), the methodology of Islamic jurisprudence, and contemporary Islamic legal problems.

Dr. Samir Mahmoud
Dr. Samir Mahmoud is currently a Lecturer at the Cambridge Muslim College on the BA in Islamic Studies and the Diploma in Islamic Psychology. Recently he was Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University. He has a BA (Hons) in Anthropology & Politics with a focus on multicultural theory and comparative religion, and an MA in Architectural History, Theory & Urban Design with a focus on the traditional townscape from the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. He also holds an MPhil in Theology & Religious Studies with a focus on comparative philosophy and aesthetics. He completed a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Aasim Padela

Dr. Aasim I. Padela is Professor with Tenure of Emergency Medicine, Bioethics and the Medical Humanities at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Dr. Padela is an internationally renowned clinician-researcher with scholarly foci at the intersections of healthcare, bioethics, and religion. In addition to maintaining an active clinical, research, and bioethics practice at MCW, he provides public health and bioethics consultation to international organizations, legislative bodies, and in court. Dr. Padela holds an MD with Honors in Research from Weill Cornell Medical College, completed residency in Emergency Medicine with Research Distinction at the University of Rochester, and received an MSc in Healthcare Research from the University of Michigan. He also completed a clinical medical ethics fellowship at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, and a research fellowship at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, he received a Bachelor of Science with Highest Distinction in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Magna Cum Laude in Classical Arabic and Literature from the University of Rochester. His other notable scholarly training includes visiting fellowships at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and the International Institute for Islamic Thought, research career development as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and as a John Templeton Foundation Faculty Scholar, and leadership development as a Health Equity Leadership Institute Fellow, a Warner-Reynolds Leadership Fellow, and a Society of Behavioral Medicine Mid-Career Leadership Fellow.

Dr. Harith Ramli
Dr. Harith Ramli is a Lecturer in Theology and World Religion at Edge Hill University. Prior to this, Dr. Ramli held teaching posts at SOAS, University of London and the University of Nottingham, where he taught courses on philosophy, theology and mysticism in the Islamic tradition. He is a member of the OCR Religious Studies Consultative Forum, and has worked with OCR in the development of their A-Level Religious Studies curriculum. His primary area of research is the history of Islamic thought and the development of scholarship and learning within the Islamic tradition. He is particularly interested in the formation and consolidation of various intellectual traditions within Islam during the ninth-eleventh centuries C.E., especially the mystical tradition known as Sufism. His current research project, based on his doctoral thesis, situates a key early Sufi text of the tenth century C.E, the Qūt al-Qulūb, and its author Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī (d.996), within the broader framework of the emerging intellectual disciplines of the period. His other areas of research interest include: Sufism and Islamic theology in the early modern period (the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries C.E.); “Mysticism” as a concept and tool for comparative study within Religious Studies; Religion in Southeast Asia and the influence of mystical and occult traditions on contemporary popular culture.
Dr. Heba Raouf Ezzat
Heba Raouf Ezzat completed her Ph.D. in Political Theory at Cairo University in 2007; and continued working on comparative political theory, changing maps of citizenship and urban sociology. Heba Ezzat taught or worked as a research fellow and visiting fellow at Oxford University, the American University in Cairo, the University of Berkeley, the University of Westminster and the UNU/Maastricht. She also served on the editorial board of the Oxford Encyclopaedia for Islam and Women of Oxford University Press. She recently serves as the member of the board of advisors of the 6 years program ‘Legitimacy in Global Governance’ at the University of Stockholm-Sweden, which was recently awarded funding by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Fund. Heba Ezzat has published numerous articles in English and in Arabic; and worked at various civil society forums.

Furkan Şentürk
Furkan Şentürk is currently a PhD student of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and, African Studies at Columbia University with a focus on Islamic Political Thought. He did his MSc at SOAS in Comparative Political Thought, and BA at Marmara University, Faculty of Theology in Istanbul, Turkey. He also completed a five-year extra-curricular program at the Center for Sciences and Arts (İSM), Istanbul.

Dr. Enes Tüzgen
Dr. Abdullah Enes Tüzgen is currently a faculty member in The Department of Political Science and International Relations at University at Ibn Haldun University (IHU), in Istanbul, Turkey. He is also the coordinator of the Honors Program at IHU. Before joining Ibn Haldun University, he worked as a research fellow at The Istanbul Foundation for Research and Education (ISAR).
Dr. Muhammed Volkan Yildiran Stodolsky
Dr. Muhammed Volkan Yildiran Stodolsky received his undergraduate education at Bates College, graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors in History. As a Beinecke fellow, he completed his M.Phil. degree in Classical and Medieval Islamic History at Oxford University. At the University of Chicago, he studied in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, completing an M.A. degree and his Ph.D. dissertation, which was accepted with honors. Dr. Stodolsky had the opportunity to study classical Islamic texts with Arab, Turkish, and Indian ʿUlamāʾ. He has also received traditional ijāzāt from renowned scholars. Dr. Stodolsky’s research interests include Islamic law and legal history, historiography, the instrumental Islamic sciences (syntax, semantics, logic, and rhetoric), Hadith and its methodology, Islamic theology (especially the Māturīdī school), Sufism, and Islamic bioethics.
Dr. Naoki Yamamoto

Naoki Yamamoto completed his PhD at the Graduate School of Asia and Africa Studies, Kyoto University in 2018. He specializes in Ottoman Sufism and traditional Japanese culture. His publications include a Japanese translation of Futuwwa and Introduction to Sufism: A Comparison with Shonen Manga.

Arabic Department Faculty

Rissam Sreywel
Rissam Sreywel graduated in 2008 from the English Department at Damascus University and began teaching English in Syria. Since 2014, she has been teaching Arabic as a foreign language at EDEP Institute in Istanbul and has been working on material design and language curriculum development. She is an ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) certified oral proficiency tester of the Arabic language. She is currently part of a team from Al-Madina Institute and Ibn Haldun University that is preparing a new Arabic language course book.

Khaled Snober
Khaled Snober has been teaching Arabic at Qasid Arabic Institute since 2005. He has an MA in Psychometric Measurement and Evaluation of Arabic for non-native speakers. He is a coordinator of The University of Georgetown program at Qasid as well as a teacher at the CASA program for seven years. He is also member of the curriculum development team at Qasid. He was a trainer in the field of Arabic teaching at dozens of training programs in Jordan, Turkey and Morrocco.

Ibrahim Mansur
Ibrahim Mansur graduated from Damascus University with a Master’s Degree in Arabic Instruction for both native and non-native speakers. He is currently completing his PhD in the same field at Sakarya University. He began teaching the Arabic language in 2007 at various institutions in Damascus. In 2015 he began teaching Arabic in Istanbul. Some of the institutions where he has instructed include: Marmara University, Sabahattin Zaim University, İSAR, İSM and most recently Al-Madina Institute.

Iman Abd al-Mannan
Iman Abd Al-Mannan is an Arabic teacher at Qasid and education supervisor for Arabic teaching at Al-Madina Institute. She holds an MA in Arabic and was the director of a communications program for teaching Arabic in Jordan.