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Mukhtar H Ali

Profile picture for Mukhtar H Ali

Contact Information

707 S. Mathews
M/C 176
Urbana, IL 61801
Assistant Professor


Dr. Mukhtar Ali is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, specializing in Sufism, Islamic philosophy and ethics. His areas of interest include Arabic and Persian literature, Qurʾānic studies, theology, traditional medicine and comparative religion. He is the author of Philosophical Sufism: An Introduction to the School of Ibn al-ʿArabī (Routledge, 2021) and The Horizons of Being: The Metaphysics of Ibn al-ʿArabī in the Muqaddimat al-Qayṣarī (Brill, 2020) and his forthcoming work is a meta-commentary on Jāmī’s Naqd al-nuṣūṣ fī sharḥ Naqsh al-Fuṣūṣ, which is distillation of Ibn al-ʿArabī's masterpiece, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam. He has also translated two works in contemporary Islamic metaphysics, Dr. Akram Almajid's The Law of Correspondence (2021) and The New Creation (2018).

His research program and forthcoming monograph focuses on theories of knowledge in Islam. It investigates epistemic modalities characteristic of the Islamic tradition: reason, revelation and mystical experience, but also considers the role of sensory experience, empiricism and approaches within postmodern epistemology. Framed as a philosophical investigation rather than intellectual history, the aim of the study is to examine methods of validity and epistemic justification. Thus, it takes a critical approach to the study of scripture, hadith authority and methods of legal derivation by investigating the role of reason in religious thought. It ponders therefore the dynamic and interpretative nature of the Qurʾān, and the broader questions of how we know what we know, and how we arrive at the guiding principles of human thought and action.

While his teaching includes Islamic Studies and Arabic language, he is also a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, having earned a master’s degree from Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine (2011) and his doctorate from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (2017). Integrating his knowledge of traditional medicine and religious studies, he has developed a course on healing traditions.




Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2007

B.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1998

Highlighted Publications

Philosophical Sufism: An Introduction to the School of Ibn al-ʿArabī. London: Routledge, 2021.

The Horizons of Being: The Metaphysics of Ibn al-ʿArabī in the Muqaddimat al-Qayṣarī. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

Almajid, Akram. Qānūn al-tanāsub, translated by Mukhtar H. Ali, The Law of Correspondence. London: Sage Press, 2021.


Recent Publications

“Islam and the Unity of Being” in Nondualisms: An Interreligious Exploration, edited by Jen Wade, Anthony Watson, and Jon Paul Sydnor. Lexington Books, 2023.

“Truth and Reality (al-ḥaqq wa-l-ḥaqīqa)” in St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology, edited by Brendan Wolfe (forthcoming, 2024).

“A Treatise on Mindfulness: Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s al-Risālat al-Tawajjuhiyya.” Religions (forthcoming, 2024).

“Sufi Ethics: Synthesis and Legacy” in Oxford Handbook of Islamic Ethics, edited by Mustafa Shah. Oxford: Oxford University Press (in press).

“Ḥaydar Āmulī and the Integration of Ibn ʿArabī’s Teachings in Shiʿism.” Intellectual History of the Islamicate World. Leiden: Brill (forthcoming, 2024).

“The Religion of Abraham: Sufi Perspectives on the Abrahamic Reality” Journal of the Institute for Sufi Studies (JISS), 1, no. 2 (2022).

“On Self-knowledge, Divine Trial and Discipleship” in From the Divine to the Human: New Perspectives on Evil, Suffering, and the Global Pandemic, edited by Mohammad Rustom and Muhammad Faruque. London: Routledge, 2023.

“Translating Islamic Metaphysical Texts: Reflections on Knowledge Transmission,” in Islamic Thought and the Art of Translation: Essays in Honor of William C. Chittick and Sachiko Murata, edited by Mohammad Rustom. Leiden: Brill, 2023.

“Maḥmūd Shabistarī: Gulshan-i rāz (The Rosegarden of Mystery)” in Global Philosophy: A Sourcebook, edited by Mohammad Rustom. Sheffield: Equinox (in press, 2024).

“The Book of Majesty which is the Word ‘Allah’ (Kitāb al-jalāla wa huwa kalimat allah). Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, 74 (2023).

“Prophetic Archetypes in Sufi Hermeneutics: The Allegories of Abraham, Joseph and Moses.Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, 70 (2022).

“The Chinese Classics in the Light of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Metaphysics” in Mysticism and Ethics in Islam, edited by Bilal Orfali, Atif Khalil and Mohammed Rustom. Beirut: American University of Beirut Press (2022).

Futuwwa as the Noblest Character Traits (makārim al-akhlāq) in Anṣārī’s Manāzil al-sāʾirīn with Kāshānī’s Commentary.Journal of Islamic Ethics 4, no. 1-2 (2020): 8-24.

“Ibn al‐ʿArabī, the Greatest Master: On Knowledge, God, and Sainthood” in A Companion to World Literature,edited by Ken Seigneurie. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2020.

“The Power of the Spoken Word: Prayer, Invocation, and Supplication in Islam” in Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches, edited by David McPherson. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017, 136-154.

“The Doctrine of Love in Khwāja ʿAbd Allāh al-Anṣārī’s Manāzīl al-sāʾirīn with a Critical Paraphrase of ʿAbd al-Razzāq Kāshānī’s Commentary.” Brill Journal of Sufi Studies 5, no. 2 (2016): 140-155.

“The Concept of Spiritual Perfection According to ʿAlī ibn Sīna and Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī.” Journal of Shiʿa Islamic Studies 2, no. 2 (2009): 141-158.