Ruqayya Y. Khan is a professor and the Malas Chair of Islamic Studies in Claremont Graduate University’s Religion Department. Khan’s research interests include Arabic literary studies (both medieval and modern), Quranic studies, feminist theologies in Islam, Islam and the environment, and the digital age and religion. Khan’s more recent scholarly interests include late antiquity and Islam, origins of Islam, early Arabic literatures, and cultures of Umayyad Damascus and Abbasid Baghdad. She teaches courses on Islam, the Qur’an, and Middle Eastern literatures at CGU.
Born in Pakistan and spending her childhood in Kenya, she and her family moved to the United States when she was a young girl. Khan undertook her graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received both her MA and PhD. She has also studied at the American University of Cairo in Egypt and is well traveled in parts of the Islamic world, especially the Middle East and South Asia.
Khan is the author of the book Self and Secrecy in Early Islam (University of South Carolina Press, 2008), which maps the relationships between the concepts of secrecy and identity in early Islamic cultures. Her most recent article is titled “Did a Woman Edit the Qur’an? Hafsa and Her Famed Codex” (2014), which concerns Hafsa bint ‘Umar, a female figure in early Islam and one of the wives of prophet Muhammad.
Khan’s latest book Bedouin and Abbasid Muslim Cultural Identities: The Arabic Story of Majnun Layla (Routledge Press, 2019) deals with one of the most important and influential works of early Arabic-Islamic literature. It embraces a comparative methodology to argue that there is a complex dialogue unfolding between pre-Islamic, early Islamic, Umayyad and (multicultural) Abbasid discourses that are at play in the Abbasid rendition of this famous story.
She is the editor for a volume Muhammad in the Digital Age (University of Texas Press, 2015), to which she has also contributed a chapter, “Of CyberMuslimahs: Wives of the Prophet and Muslim Women in the Digital Age.”
“Islam and New Media: Islam has entered the chat,” In Religion in the Age of Digitalization, edited by Giulia Isetti, et. al., 13-24. London: Routledge Press, 2021.
Bedouin and Abbasid Muslim Cultural Identities: The Arabic Story of Majnun Layla, Culture and Civilization in the Middle East Series. United Kingdom: Routledge Press, 2019.
Ed., and contributor. Muhammad in the Digital Age. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2015.
“Of CyberMuslimahs: Wives of the Prophet and Muslim Women in the Digital Age.” In Muhammad in the Digital Age, edited by Ruqayya Khan. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2015.
“Did a Woman Edit the Qur’an? Hafsa’s Famed ‘Codex.'” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 82, no. 1 (2014): 174–216.
“Religion & Youth Identity in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina.” In Children and Religion: A Methods Handbook, edited by Susan Ridgley Bales, 172–88. New York: NYU Press, 2011.
Self and Secrecy in Early Islam. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2008.
Feminism & Quranic Studies
Classical Islamic Literature & the Qur’an
Gender & Islam
Islamic Cosmology & Mysticism
Feminist Approaches to the Genre, “Wives of the Prophet”