What is the role of the intellect in Islamic thought?
Can a machine perform ijtihād?
What is the Islamic theory regarding evolution?
What are the traditional and new methods of interpreting Islamic texts?

The Islamic Education Department of The World Federation, in collaboration with ‘AFTAB’, the Tabligh section of Africa Federation, and KSIJ of Dar es Salaam – is pleased to announce its second live conference, coming to you from Dar es Salaam,

“Intellect and Revelation: Relations and Ijtihadi Implications”

This three-day physical conference will feature a special address by a high-ranking mujtahid, keynote speeches, research papers by scholars from the hawza and academia, Q & A panel discussions and workshops.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to engage with high-ranking scholars and pose your questions.

The conference will also be broadcasted live on
The WF YouTube channel.

Venue: Dar es Salaam, Imambargah.
Date: 10th-12th March 2023.



Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Madadi


Sayyid Muneer al-Khabbaz

Shaykh Dr. Murtadha Alidina


Prof. Ali H. al-Hakim
Paper: Liberating Qur’anic Exegesis and Principles of Ijtihad from Distortion: Between Contemporary Humanism and Absolute Divinity

Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Ali Ismail
Paper: The Role of ‘Aql in Qur’anic Exegesis: Traditional vs. Critical Rationalist Perspective

Prof. Liyakat Takim
Paper: The History and Contemporary Manifestations of Ijtihad in Shi‘a Islam

Dr. Saeid Sobhani
Paper: The Role of Intellect in the Perspective of Imamiyyah Jurists

Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Reza Dodhiya
Paper: The Role of Time and Place in Shi’a Jurisprudence

Shaykh Mohammad Jafar Danesh
Paper: Monotheistic Rationality, the Basis of New Islamic Civilization

Prof. Aun Hasan Ali
Paper: Ibn Idris al-Hilli (d. 1202) and the transformation of Shii law

Dr. Amina Inloes
Paper: Can a machine perform ijtihād? The Limits of ʿaql according to al-Kāfī

Dr. Mohammad Ghorbanpour Delavar
Paper: An Analysis of the Place of Transmitted and Intellectual Sciences Heritage in Shīʿa Thought

Aalima Fatemah Meghji
Paper: Becoming Bani Adam – A Discussion on Humanity’s Alleged Evolutionary Ancestry and Origins

Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Mahdi Gorjian
Paper: The Station of Imamah in the History of Shi’ism from a theological, philosophical and mystical perspective

Syed Adeel Raza
Paper: What is the role of intellect in Islamic thought?

Shaykh Mohammed Kamran
Paper: The policy of Ahl al-Bayt (a) in dealing with the issue of Tafsir based on ones opinion (Tafsir bi al-raay)

Shaykh Swaleh Maulid Husen
Paper: What is the philosophy underlying the use of the traditionally accepted principles and mechanics of Quranic exegesis only, as opposed to ‘innovated’ methods and personal opinions?

Shaykh Rehani Yasini Ntigwambuka
Paper: What are the recognised traditional methods, approaches, and perspectives?

Shaykh Afzal Merali
Paper:A critical assessment of the accuracy of Sh al-Kulayni in al-Kafi: His ‘iddas, triplet-chains, and narrations from debated narrators.

Ayatollah Sayyid Aḥmad Madadī, one of the prominent scholars of the seminary of Qom, was born into a scholarly family in the holy city of Najaf in the year 1370/1951. His grandfather moved from there to the city of Mashhad, and his son Sayyid Muḥammed, the father of Sayyid Aḥmad, accompanied him with his family. Sayyid Aḥmad studied completed his elementary, preparatory, and secondary education there, and he also began his religious studies in the city.

Sayyid Aḥmad migrated to Najaf in the year 1389/1969 to start teaching some Arabic language courses and to continue his seminary studies. He then began to study at the level of baḥth khārij. He attended the seventh series of Sayyid al-Khoei’s lectures on the Principles of Jurisprudence and continued until the suspension of these lessons, which is considered to be the last class taught by Sayyid Al-Khoei. He also attended his jurisprudence classes for 6 or 7 years.

In the year 1400/1990, while Sayyid Madadī was on Ḥajj, he learned that he could no longer return to Iraq, so he headed to Qom. In Qom, Sayyid Madadī was already a senior and learned scholar, but this did not prevent him from attending some classes, such as those taught by Sayyid Gulpaygānī, Sayyid Murtaḍā al-Hāʾirī, Shayhk Waḥīd Khurāsānī, and Shaykh al-Tabrīzī.

In Qom, he was one of the few at that time, if not the only one, who lectured in Arabic. This was before before other lecturers began teaching in Arabic, such as Sayyid Kāẓim al-Hāʾirī, Sayyid Maḥmūd al-Hāshimī, and Shaykh Bāqir al-Irawānī. His Arabic course was favoured by Arab students, and therefore, many sought to study with him.

Sayyid Madadī’s research is characterized by an intensive tracking of scholarly opinions, clarity of expression, and numerous historical examples. He is especially skilled in the sciences of traditions, textual analysis, and the biographies of narrators of traditions. He delves into narrations extensively in his jurisprudential research, and it appears that he inclines towards the school of Sayyid al-Sistani and Sayyid al-Bujnūrdī in this regard. He is meticulous in his interpretation of texts and tries to analyse them from the perspective of Arabic culture. Often, he delves deeper to review the opinions of other schools. Therefore, students must expend a great deal of effort to benefit fully from his lectures, which touch on a variety of topics.

His written works include a collection of his articles has been published in a volume titled Nigāhī bih daryā. Dictations of his baḥth khārij lectures on Kitāb al-makāsib and the principles of jurisprudence have also been published.

Sayyid Muneer bin ‘Adnan al-Khabbaz from Qatif in modern day Saudi Arabia, is a scholar who has reached the lofty rank of ijtihad.  

He began his hawza studies in Najaf in 1978, at the tender age of 14. Later on, he attended the  bahth kharij lessons of the likes of Sayyid Al-Khui and Sayyid al-Sistani. After that, he moved to Qom, and continued his studies under Sh Mirza Tabrizi, Shaykh Wahid Khorasaani, and other maraji’, attaining the status of ijtihad. 

Under the instructions of his teachers, especially late Sh Mirza Tabrizi, Sayyid al-Khabbaz started teaching bahth kharij in Qom. His research and content have been distinguished with his efforts to re-establish and expand many theoretical principles. After three decades in Qom, upon being requested by the office of His Eminence Sayyid Sistani, he moved back to the hawza of Najaf last year, where his bahth kharij classes are known to be one of the most methodological and scientific. 

Some of his books include a commentary on “Dua al-Iftitah”, “Religion Between Scientific Data and Atheistic Criticisms”, and “The Mahdawi Reality”. 

The presence of a grand scholar of his calibre in the modern-day hawza is a blessing. However, Sayyid Al-Khabbaz has gone a step further to spread this blessing widely so that more people would benefit from his knowledge and guidance, including the wider Muslim and non-Muslim communities in different parts of the world. He has achieved this by being a seasoned muballigh and orator, who has visited and lectured in various centres and scientific institutions in London, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Norway and Germany, engaging with both the general public and scholars alike.

Shaykh Dr. Murtadha Alidina is the Head of the Islamic Education department of The WF. 

He attained a medical degree from the Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Dar-es-Salaam. He then studied Islamic studies at the hawza seminary of Qom, for over 15 years, during which he attended classes of its high-ranking scholars.  

In July 2009, the Seminary of Qom awarded him with an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his work in the field of education and religious propagation. 

Known for his meticulous observations, his interests include advanced jurisprudence and its principles, Qur’anic exegesis, and contemporary religious thought.  

Under his guidance, the Khoja Shi’a Ithnasheri community has been able to strengthen its relations with the offices of the grand maraji’, high-ranking scholars of the hawza and the wider Islamic world. 

(Ijtihad) (Cand-Mag.) (Ph.D.) (D. Prof.) 

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Ali Hussain Al-Hakim completed his studies at the Islamic Seminary of Qom, where he took part in kharij (post-doctorate) level studies in jurisprudence and its principles until reaching the level of ijtihad. He taught usul al-fiqh in the hawza, and the advanced jurisprudential text, “Al-Makaasib” of Shaikh al-Ansari at the Shahid Sadr School in Qom. He currently teaches bahth kharij level jurisprudence in London. 

He used to lecture at the University of Oslo and has participated in numerous international conferences at various prestigious European universities. He currently lectures at the Islamic College, where he has been teaching BA and MA modules since 1998. Prof. Al-Hakim currently works as a senior research fellow and the editor-in-chief of the “Al-Qalam Journal for Advanced Islamic Studies” at the World Federation’s “International Centre for Advanced Islamic Research” (ICAIR). 

Prof. Ali H. Al-Hakim’s authored and edited works include: ‘Living happily without Anxiety’ (2013), ‘Ethical Concepts for Students living in the West’ (2011), ‘A Perfect Governor’ (2012), ‘The Martyr of Freedom’ (2013), ‘Islamic Feminism: Theory and Applications’ (2013), ‘Secrets and Manners of Islamic Prayers’ (2015) and ‘Current Issues: A Shi’ah Reflection’ (2015). His latest works ‘Shi’ah Qur’anic Hermeneutics’ and ‘Character Building’ will be published by ICAIR in 2023.  

Shaykh Dr Mohammed Ali Ismail, from Peterborough, UK, graduated in Law. He then went to Qom, where he studied in the Hawza for ten years, specialising in Qur’an and Hadith Studies. Having graduated from the Hawza in 2007, he then completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the University of Portsmouth. 

Dr. Ismail then moved to Damascus, Syria, where for two years, he taught and trained aspiring Ministers of Religion at the Islamic Institute for Post Graduate Studies. In 2010, he joined the academic team at The Islamic College in London, where he is currently Director of Research and Publications and a senior lecturer. 

Over the last two decades, Dr. Ismail has regularly lectured and conducted courses in Islamic centres around the world. In 2020, he received his doctorate from Middlesex University. Among his publications is Islamic Laws, an annotated translation of the Tawdih al-Masa’il of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani. 

A native of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Professor Liyakat Takim is the Sharjah Chair in Global Islam at McMaster University in Canada. Professor Takim has authored and/or translated eight books, and is currently working on his ninth book on Qur’anic exegesis. He has also written more than one hundred and forty scholarly works which have been published in various journals, books, and encyclopedia.

Professor Takim’s research interests lie in topics such as reformation in Islam, Qur’anic exegesis, the role of custom in shaping Islamic law, Islam in the western diaspora, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic mystical tradition, Islamophobia, the treatment of women in Islam law and many other topics.

His latest book titled “Shi‘ism Revisited: Ijtihad and Reformation in Contemporary Times” was published by Oxford University Press in January 2022

Professor Takim has also spoken at more than one hundred and twenty academic national and international conferences globally.

Professor Takim has taught at several universities and is actively engaged in dialogue with different faith communities.

Dr. Saeid Sobhani specialises in classical Islamic disciplines, including theology, philosophy, jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence, Qur’anic exegesis, history, biographical studies, and fundamentals of belief. He has authored several books and articles in these fields. Dr. Sobhani studied under many grand scholars, including Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Ayatollah Mirza Javad Tabrizi, and Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani. He obtained his PhD in Philosophy of Religion from the University of Edinburgh. His publications include Religious Diversity in Contemporary Shi’i Thought (2022), Nayl al-Watar min Qaidat la Darar (The Jurisprudential Maxim of No Harm, 1999) and Jahan-bini va Shinakht (Epistemology, 1988). 

Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Reza Dodhiya, originally from Mumbai, India, commenced his hawza education at a very young age, inspired by the depth of knowledge the seminary had to offer. After completing his intermediate suuh studies, he furthered his research into modern trends of thoughts and ideologies. His PhD thesis was titled “The Islamic Model of Peaceful Coexistence in a Multicultural Society”. He is also a lecturer and an active multilingual Muballigh.

Originally from Afghanistan, Shaykh Mohammad Ja’far Danesh completed his studies at the hawza Seminary of Qom, where he pursued his interest in Islamic Jurisprudence and Law. He got his M.A. in the field and now is a PhD candidate of Islamic studies. For several years, he has been teaching Islamic studies and is an editor at the Imam Sadiq Online Seminary.  

Aun Hasan Ali is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at CU Boulder. He received his PhD from McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. His research centers on Islamic intellectual history and he is the author of two forthcoming books: The School of Hillah and the Formation of Twelver Shii Islamic Tradition and What Hadith Matter: The Evidentiary Value of Hadith in Imami Law (7th/13th–11th/17th Centuries) (co-authored with Hassan Ansari).

His recent publications include: “The Canonization of Nahj al-Balaghah between Hillah and Najaf: al-Sistani and the Iconic Authority of the Maraji,” “The Rational Turn in Imamism Revisited,” and “Some Notes on the History of the Categorization of Imami Hadith.” In addition to intellectual history, Ali maintains an interest in Urdu and Persian literature. Occasionally, he publishes short commentaries on the website Qirtas-o-Qalam  (aunhasanali.substack.com).

Dr. Amina Inloes is a lecturer at The Islamic College in London, UK. She has a PhD in Arab & Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter and has also attended the traditional seminary.  

She supervises MA dissertations and is an editor at ICAS Press. Her academic interests include hadith, Islam and gender, and esoteric theology, and she is a professional translator.  

She is the author of ‘Women in Shi‘ism: Ancient Stories, Modern Ideologies’, ‘How Did Eve Get Married? Two Twelver Shi’i Hadith Reports’.  

She has written multiple published articles, including ‘Muhammad Abd al-Rahman (Phillip) Barker: Bridging Cultural Divides through Fantasy / Science-Fiction Role-Playing Games and Fictional Religion’ and ‘Racial ‘Othering’ in Shi’i Sacred History: Jawn ibn Huwayy ‘the African Slave’, and the Ethnicities of the Twelve Imams’.  

She has participated in various conferences addressing fundamental topics such as ‘Is it possible to write in an insider voice in Islamic Studies and maintain academic credibility?’ and ‘The Virgin Mary in Shi’i Hadith and the Struggle over the Divine Feminine’. 

Dr. Inloes is also a community educator who focuses on religious and interfaith work. 

Dr. Delavar completed his studies at the hawza seminary of Qom, learning under Ayatollahs Bahjat, Vahid Khorasani, Milani and other high-ranking scholars. He has also completed his PhD in Shi’i studies at the University of Religions. 

For more than twenty years, he has taught, researched, and lectured in universities and colleges, and has presented articles in international conferences and scientific journals globally. 

 He is currently a senior lecturer of Shi’a Studies, Head of the Research Department and Director of the Faculty of Cultural and Islamic Studies in the hawza seminary. 

He is also the founder and director of the Shia Heritage Revival Center, and the director of the Tubay Mohabbat Publishing Center. 

Dr. Delavar has published 15 books and more than 20 articles in international journals. 

In his works, he always emphasizes the beauty and scientific potential of Islam and the Shi’i denomination. 

Fatemah Meghji completed her BA in English Literature and Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia, after which she left to study in hawza. She studied at Al-Zahra University for six years and completed the masters program in Qur’anic Tafsir and Sciences. She is currently an instructor at the Mizan Institute (mizaninstitute.org). She has been teaching in a professional capacity for several years and previously served as the Islamic Director at the Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy.  Her current projects include a book on human evolution according to Shi’i tradition. Her research interests include principles of Qur’anic exegesis, Qur’anic hermeneutics, postmodern ethics, and women in Islamic traditions. 

Afzal Merali is a graduate from the hawza seminaries of Lebanon and Qom, where he has studied for two decades. In the level of bahth kharij, he specialised in Islamic jurisprudence and its principles. He also has an MA in Qur’anic sciences and tafsir from Alul Bayt University and a second MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University.  

His interests include Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, jurisprudence and philosophy. His research also focuses on the ‘tabligh engineering, with topics such as “Muslim Minorities: The Ideal Community Centre”, “Manifestations of Modern Islamic Reformation in the West: British Shia Seminarians as a Prototype”, and “Necessary Skills for a Contemporary Muballigh”.  

Afzal Merali speaks eight languages and has worked in the media for six years. He teaches various subjects at the Hawza Ilmiyya of England including evidence-based jurisprudence and Qur’anic exegesis. He is the Manager of the Islamic Education Department of WF, where he oversees internal tablighwithin the Khoja and English-speaking world, digital tabligh,  research work, translations and publications.  

Sayyid Adeel Raza from Alipur, India is the resident Alim of the Khoja Shi’a Ithnasheri Community of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  

At the age of 17, during his pre-university studies, he chose to move to the Islamic seminary in Qom, where he studied for many years, completing MA level studies in Islamic theology. 

Upon returning to India, the scholarly committee of Al-Balagh Organization appointed him as the principal of ‘Madrasah Baqir-ul uloom’, a newly established (religious seminary) in Alipur.  

During his seven years as the principal, the permanent building of this hawza was constructed, with tens of graduates up till now, many of whom are either pursuing further studies in the seminary of Qom or working as muballighin across the globe. He has also held other positions, such as Imam Juma of Masjid e Jaffariya in Alipur, chairman of the Karnataka Indian State Hajj Committee and the Shi’i representative in the Karnataka State Wakf Board.  

He has travelled extensively as a muballigh to different parts of the world, including Canada and the US. 

Sayyid Adeel Reza has a keen interest in literature, and has compiled and translated various books, from Persian to Urdu; he also composes poetry in Urdu. 

Shaykh Mohammed Kamran is the principal of the Husayni Madrasah of Dar es Salaam. He also serves as a lecturer at the ladies hawza – MAZ (Madrasatuz Zahra) and gives lectures at the KSIJ mosque of Dar es Salaam. For the past ten years, he has been studying at the hawza Islamic seminary in Qom, where he has obtained a BA and an MA, specialising in Islamic jurisprudence and its principles. He also holds a degree in accounting and has worked as a Chief Accountant in the corporate sector. 

Shaykh has served as the chairman of the Madrasah Board of the KSIJ Dar es Salaam. He has also participated as a judge in many tafsir competitions and has been involved in tabligh activities at various centres across Africa. He has also lectured and mentored students at the hawza in Qom. 

Originally from Tanzania, Shaykh Husen joined the hawza in 2006. He majored in Qur’anic sciences and hadith at the BA level and Qur’anic exegesis at the MA level. He also followed the traditional hawza curriculum in Islamic jurisprudence and its principles and studied bahth kharij for five years. He was given an ijaza (permission) for narrating, by his teacher Ayatollah Shaykh Hamid al-Baghdadi. During this period, he also taught multiple subjects at his university. Amongst his writings are “Moral corruption and its effects on society: Surat al-Hujuraat as a sample” (BA thesis), “Principles of Qur’anic exegesis, an Analytical Study”, and “Testimony According to the Qur’an, a Comparative Study”. 

He is a PhD candidate in Alul Bayt International University and will soon be sitting for the viva, for his thesis titled, “The Qur’an’s Theory on Ethics: A Comparative Study Between Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi and Toshihiko Izutsu”.  

Shaykh Husen is an active muballigh and teacher at the hawza in Dar es Salaam.   

Originally from Tanzania, he started his hawza studies in 2006. He studied Qur’anic and hadith studies at the BA level, and Qur’anic tafsir at the MA level. He also specialised in Islamic jurisprudence and its principles based on the traditional hawza program. He studied bahth kharij for five years under the high-ranking teachers of the hawza 

Among his works are “Asking Questions According to the Holy Qur’an: Circumstances and Method” (BA thesis), “Historic Trends according to the Holy Qur’an: A Comparative Study Between Ays. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and Misbah al-Yazdi” (MA thesis). 

He is a PhD candidate in Alul Bayt International University and will soon be sitting for the viva, for his thesis titled, “The Phenomenon of ‘Transmission by Meaning’ (al-naql bi-l-ma’na) and its Role in Exegetical Narrations: A Comparative Study Between the two Tafsirs, ‘Nur al-Thaqalayn’ and ‘Durr al-Manthur'”. 

Shaykh Ntigwambuka is also an active muballigh and a teacher at the hawza seminary in  Dar es Salaam.  

Shaykh Alexander Khaleeli is a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. His research focuses on religious change in Iran and Central Asia during the Mongol-Timurid period. Shaykh Khaleeli commenced his Islamic studies at The Islamic College in 2003 whilst simultaneously studying traditional hawza studies. He learnt Arabic at the University of Damascus and later Persian at the hawza seminary of Qom, where he also studied advanced traditional texts in Islamic jurisprudence, its principles and other Islamic sciences.  

Shaykh Khaleeli is one of the leading translators in the Islamic world.  

His works include translations of Shahid al-Thani’s ‘Munyat al-Murid (Desire of the Aspirant)’, Fayd Kashani’s ‘Tafsir al-Asfa‘, and many others.  

He is currently the Senior Translator and Translation Projects Manager of the Islamic Education Department of The World Federation. During his period in the department, he has translated numerous articles and pieces of literature, including various supplications from the Shia duas corpus in the joint wf-duas.org initiative to revisit the existing translations.  

Shaykh Dr. Gorjian entered the seminary of Babol in the 1980s, where he studied under scholars such as Ayatollahs Muhammadi Tabrizi, Mahdavi Bihishti. He later studied under Ayatollahs Shaykh Jawad Tabrizi, Vahid Khurasani, Mahmud Hashimi Shahrudi , Ansari Shirazi, Hasan Zada Amuli, Javadi Amuli, and Sayyid Ali Muqaddam in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence, its principles (usul al-fiqh), philosophy, and mysticism. 

He completed his PhD in Islamic Mysticism in 2007, at the Tehran Institute of Higher Education. 

Since 1984, he has been teaching advanced subjects, and high-level mystical texts in the seminary of Qom since 1984. He has also been teaching at different universities in Tehran, Mazandaran, Arak, and Qom since 1986.  

He is a member of the academic faculty and a full professor in the Philosophy and Theology Department at Baqir al-Olum University.   

During this period, he has advised and supervised over 300 scientific theses on Qur’anic, theological, philosophical, mystical, and jurisprudential topics at the seminary and university levels in the postgraduate, masters, and doctoral programs.  

He has held multiple academic positions such as the dean of the Faculty of Qur’anic Sciences (Baqir al-Olum University, 2006 – 2008). In 2015, he was chosen as the exemplary professor of the country in the field of education.  

He has also undertaken multiple academic trips to lecture and present scientific papers at research centres in Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, England, Iraq, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, Austria, and Germany, and has delivered lectures. 

His publications include:
“Decree and Destiny, and Determinism and free will” (1995) 

‘Aql shuhudi wa shuhud-i ‘aqli (2016) 

Books as joint author:
Irtibat-i insan ba jahan-i hasti (2019) 

Irtibat-i insan ba insan (2019) 

‘Discursive rationalism in the methodology of Avicenna’s philosophy’, Hekmat (2011) 

Islam, akhlaq, wa indibat-i ijtima’i’, Tulu’-i Nur 37 (2011)