Martin Nguyen

Martin Nguyen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Faculty Chair of Inclusive Excellence, and Director of Islamic Studies at Fairfield University. His areas of research include the Qur’an and its exegesis (tafsīr), Muslim theology, Sufism, Islamic history and the intersection of race and religion. Martin received his B.A. in Religious Studies and History from the University of Virginia and then went on to earn a Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from the Harvard Divinity School. Following this, he joined the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University where he completed a joint-program Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies and History. His latest book Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) presents a contemporary theology rooted in the practice of the religious imagination. His first book Sufi Master and Qur’an Scholar: Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri and the Lata’if al-isharat (Oxford University Press, 2012) explores the confluence of Qur’anic exegesis, theology, and Sufism in the life of al-Qushayri, a prominent mystic and scholar of 5th/11th century Nishapur. Presently he serves on the editorial board of The Wabash Center Journal on Teaching and the monograph series The Modern Muslim World from Gorgias Press.

Curriculum Vitae

Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Director of Islamic Studies
Fairfield University

1073 North Benson Road
Donnarumma 343
Fairfield, CT 06824

{2009}   Harvard University, Ph.D.  /  Middle Eastern Studies & History
{2006}   Harvard University, M.A.  /  History
{2003}   Harvard Divinity School, M.T.S.  /  Islam & Christian Theology
{2001}   University of Virginia, B.A.  /  Religious Studies & History

Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Sufi Master and Qur’an Scholar: Abū’l-Qushayrī and the Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt. London: Oxford University Press & the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2012.

“Exegetes of Nishapur: A Preliminary Survey of Qur’anic Works by Ibn Ḥabīb, Ibn Fūrak, and ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Baghdādī,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies, vol. 20 no. 2 (2018), 47-73.

“Of Storytellers and Storytelling: A Muslim Response to Christoph Schwöbel,” in Monotheism and Its Complexities: Christian and Muslim Perspectives – A Record of the Fifteenth Building Bridges Seminar Hosted by Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and Warrenton, VA, May 6-10, 2016, edited by Lucinda Mosher and David Marshall. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2018, pp. 93-96.

“Could the Kaaba Represent Tradition?,” Renovatio: The Journal of Zaytuna College (6 February 2018),

“Modern Scripturalism and Emergent Theological Trajectories: Moving Beyond the Qur’an as Text,” Journal of Islamic and Muslim Studies, vol. 2 no. 1 (November 2016), pp. 61-79.

“Al-Qushayrī’s Exegetical Encounter with the Miʿrāj” in The Spirit and the Letter: Approaches to the Esoteric Interpretation of the Qur’an, edited by Annabel Keeler & Sajjad Rizvi. London: Institute of Ismaili Studies & Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 241-270.

“Sufi Theological Thought” in The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology, edited by Sabine Schmidtke. Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 325-343.

“Issues of Immediacy and Identity in Scholarship and Pedagogy for Islam in the Academy,” Islam at Jesuit Colleges & Universities, edited by Aysha Hidayatullah and Erin Brigham, University of San Francisco Press, 2016, pp. 43-52.

“The Textual Legacy of Abū l-Qāsim al-Qušayrī: A Bibliographic Record,” co-authored with Francesco Chiabotti, Arabica, vol. 61 no. 3-4 (2014), pp. 339-395.

Al-Tafsīr al-kabīr: An Investigation of al-Qushayrī’s Major Qur’an Commentary,” Journal of Sufi Studies vol. 2 no. 1 (2013), pp. 17-45.

“Al-Qushayrī and His Legacy,” co-authored with Matthew Ingalls, Journal of Sufi Studies vol. 2 no. 1 (2013), pp. 1-6.

“Letter by Letter: Tracing the Textual Genealogy of a Sufi Tafsīr” in The Aims, Methods and Context of Qur’anic Exegesis (2nd/8th – 9th/15th Centuries), edited by Karen Bauer.  London: Institute of Ismaili Studies & Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 217-240.

“Exegesis of the urūf al-Muqaṭṭaʿa: Polyvalency in Sunnī Traditions of Qur’anic Interpretation”, Journal of Qur’anic Studies vol. 14 no. 2 (October 2012), pp. 1-28.

“Hermeneutics as Translation: As Assessment of Islamic Translation Trends in America,” Muslim World, vol. 98, no. 4 (October 2008), pp. 485-501.

Encyclopedia Entries

Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition. Leiden, Brill, 2007-present [2017]. The following entries: Daqqāq, Abu ʿAlī (2015), al-Fūrakī, Abū Bakr (2014), Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Aḥmad (2016), Ibn Fūrak, Abū Bakr Muḥammad (2017) [vol. 4, pp. 128-129], Jurayrī, ʿAbdallah

[Publication Pending] I.B. Tauris Biographical Dictionary of Islamic Civilization. Edited by Muhammad A.S. Abdel Haleem & Mustafa A.A. Shah. I.B. Tauris, expected 2019-2020. The following biographies: al-Fuḍayl ibn ʿIyāḍ (d. 187/802-3), al-Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥabīb (d. 406/1015), al-Niffarī (d. c. 366/977), al-Qushayrī (d. 465/1072)

“Piety and Asceticism,” Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Edited by Gerhard Böwering, et al. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 415-416.

“Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya,” Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, vol. 145. Detroit, Gale Cengage, 2012, pp. 97-162. Volume advisor, provided review and bibliographic annotations for the Rabi’a entry.

Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage.  Edited by Larrisa J. Taylor, et al.  Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States, 2 vols. Edited by Jocelyne Cesari. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2007.
-Bawa Muhaiyadin Fellowship
-Khan, Hazrat Inayat (1882-1926)
-Muhammad (570-632)
-United Submitters International

Book Reviews
Shahab Ahmed, “Before Orthodoxy: The Satanic Verses in Early Islam,” Religious Studies Review, vol. 43, no. 4 (December 2017), p. 414.

Gerhard Böwering & Bilal Orfali, “The Comfort of the Mystics: A Manual and Anthology of Early Sufism,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 136, no. 3 (2016), pp. 658-659.

Book Review of Mona Siddiqui, “Hospitality and Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name,” Reading Religion: Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Published online June 30, 2016,

Book Review of Mohammad Hassan Khalil, “Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 135, no. 3 (2015), pp. 31-32.

Saeko Yazaki, “Islamic Mysticism and Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī: The Role of the Heart,” Journal of Sufi Studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (2013), pp. 207-209.

Todd Lawson, “Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam: Qur’an, Exegesis, Messianism, and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion,” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, vol. 30, no. 1 (2013), pp. 102-104.Gavin Picken, “Spiritual Purification in Islam: The Life and Works of al-Muḥāsibī,” Journal of Sufi Studies, vol. 1, no. 2 (2012), pp. 247-249.

Gavin Picken, “Spiritual Purification in Islam: The Life and Works of al-Muḥāsibī,” Journal of Sufi Studies, vol. 1, no. 2 (2012), pp. 247-249.

Sophia Vasalou, “Moral Agents and Their Deserts: The Character of Mu‘tazilite Ethics”, Review of Middle East Studies, vol. 43, no. 2 (Winter 2009), pp. 291-293.

Abdullah Saeed, “Interpreting the Qur’an: Towards a Contemporary Approach,” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, vol. 24, no. 1 (Winter 2007), pp. 117-120.