Asma Afsaruddin is a Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University in Bloomington. She was an associate professor in Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. She has previously taught at Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins University, from which she received her PhD in 1993.[2] Her fields of specialization include the religious and political thought of Islam, study of the primary Islamic texts (Qur'an and hadith), as well as gender studies.

Asfaruddin chairs the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy board of directors. She also sits on advisory committees for the Muslim World Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace and the human rights organization Karamah. 

    Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

    Adjunct Professor, Department of Religious Studies

    Affiliated Professor, Department of Gender Studies


    PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1993 (Near Eastern Studies)

Research Interests

    Pre-modern and modern Islamic religious and political thought

    Quranic hermeneutics

    Hadith criticism

    Exegetical, legal, and ethical perspectives on jihad and martyrdom

    Muslim attitudes towards the People of the Book

    Islam and religious pluralism

    Gender roles

Contact Information


    Office: Global and International Studies Building 3041

    Phone: (812) 856-7347

Courses Recently Taught

    Golden Age of Islamic Civilization

    Islamic Texts: Tafsir

    Islamic Texts: Hadith Sciences

    Islam and Modernity

    War and Peace in the Islamic Tradition

    Islamic Feminisms

    Jihad in Islamic Texts

Publication Highlights

    Contemporary Issues in Islam. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

    Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Winner of the runner-up prize from the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society (2014); World Book Award in Islamic Studies from the Iranian government (2015).

    "Shari'a and Fiqh" In the Oxford Handbook of American Islam. Ed. Jane Smith and Yvonne Haddad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 174-186.

    "Martyrdom in Islam: A Historical Survey," in Terrorism, Martyrdom, and Religion: European Perspectives in Global Context. Eds. Dominic Janes and Alex Houen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 40-58.

    "Islamic Feminisms: Gender Egalitarianism and Legal Constraints," in Social Difference and Constitutionalism in Pan Asia. Ed. Susan Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. 319-352.

    Senior Editor. Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

    Editor. Islam, the State, and Political Authority: Medieval Issues and Modern Concerns. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011.

    "Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Remembering Muhammad as Head of State." In The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, edited by Jonathan Brockopp, 180-98. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    The First Muslims: History and Memory. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2008. Winner of the Dost Award, Turkkad, Istanbul, 2013. Translated by Deniz Kaynak into Turkish as Ilk Müslümanlar: Tarih ve Bellek. Istanbul: Tuti Kitap, 2014.

    Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2002.

    Editor. Hermeneutics and Honor: Negotiating Female Public Space in Islamic Societies. Middle East Monograph series. Cambridge, MA: Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University, 1999.

    "The Hermeneutics of Inter-Faith Relations: Retrieving Moderation and Pluralism as Universal Principles in Qur'anic Exegeses." Journal of Religious Ethics (2009): 331-45.

    "Obedience to Political Authority: An Evolutionary Concept." In Islamic Democratic Discourse: Theory, Debates, and Directions., edited by Muqtedar Khan, 37-60. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006.

    "The Islamic State: Genealogy, Facts, and Myths." Journal of Church and State 48 (2006): 153–73.