Photo of Professor Najam Haider in his office

Najam Haider

Professor of Religion, Chair of Religion Department


Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Religion


219D Milbank Hall


Najam Haider, a Professor in the Department of Religion, completed his PhD at Princeton University (2007), M.Phil. at Oxford University (2000), and BA at Dartmouth College (1997). His courses bridge the gap between the classical and modern Muslim worlds with a particular emphasis on the impact of colonization and modernity on Islamic political and religious discourse. Prof. Haider’s research interests include early Islamic history, the methodology and development of Islamic law, and Shi‘ism. His first book entitled The Origins of the Shi‘a was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and focused on the role of ritual and sacred space in the formation of Shī‘ī identity. His second book (Shī‘ī Islam – Cambridge 2014) offered a comprehensive overview of three branches of Shī‘ī Islam – Zaydī, Twelver, and Ismā‘īlī – through a framework of theology and memory. His most recent book (The Rebel and the Imam in Early Islam - Cambridge 2019) interrogates the question of what it mean to write history in the pre-modern Islamic world by drawing on the Late Antique historical tradition.

  • Ph.D., Princeton University
  • M.Phil., Oxford University – Hertford College
  • B.A., Dartmouth College

  • Islamic Law
  • Shi'ism
  • Ritual
  • History and Historiography
  • Identity Formation

  • Islam (Rel 2305)
  • Islam in the Post-Colonial World (REL 3311)
  • The Qur’an in Comparative Perspective (REL 3314)
  • Revival and Revolution in the Muslim World (REL 4313)
  • Exploring the Sharia: Topics in Islamic Law (REL 4322)

Rebellion and Schism in Early Islam : Modeling Rhetorical Historiography (Cambridge forthcoming)

"The Death of Musa al-Kazim: Knowledge and Suicide in Shi'i Legal Discourse" in Religious Suicide and Martyrdom, ed. Margo Kitts (Oxford, forthcoming 2018).

Shī‘ī Islam: An Introduction (Cambridge 2014)

Law and Religion in Classical Islamic Thought, eds. Michael Cook, Najam Haider, Intisar Rabb, Asma Sayeed (Palgrave: 2013).

“The Geography of the Isnād: Possibilities for the Reconstruction of Local Ritual Practice in the 2nd/8th Century,” Der Islam 90 (2013):306-346.

“A Kufan Jurist in Yemen: Contextualizing Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Kufī's Kitāb al-Mutakhab,” Arabica 59 (2012): 200-17

The Origins of the Shi‘a: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in 8th century Kufa (Cambridge 2011)