Syed Rizwan Zamir


Ph.D. University of Virginia
B.A. James Madison University
B.A. University of Punjab

I teach introductory and advanced courses in the area of Islamic studies, specializing in Islamic thought and spirituality.


My scholarly interests in Islamic studies include Shi'ite thought and spirituality, Sufi metaphysics, cosmology and psychology, transcendent theosophy of Mulla Sadra, virtue and narrative ethics within the Islamic intellectual context, varieties of Islamic mystical expressions, contemporary debates and trends in Muslim thought, and mystical and intellectual traditions of South Asian Islam.

Beyond Islamic studies, my intellectual interests encompass comparative scriptural hermeneutics, comparative theology and mysticism, and inter-faith dialogue, for example, Scriptural Reasoning.

My dissertation focused on South Asian Shi'ism and the religious thought of a major contemporary Indian Shi'ite religious scholar and leader, Ayatullah 'Ali Naqi Naqvi (d. 1988). Aside from numerous encyclopedia entries and book reviews, I have written "Descartes and al-Ghazali: Doubt, Certitude and Light" (Islamic Studies, 2010) and "Tafsir al-Qur'an bi 'l Qur'an: The Hermeneutics of Imitation and Adab in Ibn 'Arabi's Interpretation of the Qur'an" (Islamic Studies, 2011), and a book chapter for The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies (ed. Clinton Bennett, 2013) that surveys the western academic study of Shi'ite Islam. I am currently working on a book-length comparative study of Sunni and Shi'ite Islam and a book chapter "Sufi Mediation of the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide: Premodern Precedents, Contemporary Articulations" for an upcoming volume on Sufism and Religious Pluralism.

Since March 2012 I co-chair the Study of Islam section of the American Academy of Religion, Southeast Region (SECSOR). I joined the department of Religion in fall 2010. 


Introduction to Islam
Sunni and Shi'ite Islam
Islamic Mysticism
Islamic Eschatology
Islamic Ethics
Islam in the Modern Age
Classics of Islamic Literature