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Perennial Collective

The perennial collective is a transatlantic network of Muslim academics, scholars, theologians, Imams, historians, sociologists, scientists, artists, professionals and practitioners, engaging in research around Islamic scriptures, traditions, cultures and societies. The Institute for Policy Research & Development (IPRD) publishes perennial as a resource showcasing the ongoing work and ideas of members of the perennial collective

All material published by perennial solely represents the opinions of the respective author(s), published in the interest of advancing education, awareness and constructive dialogue, rather than the views of the perennial collective as a whole (unless otherwise stated).

Islam today is largely misunderstood, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The arguments presented here suggest that there is in some cases a major difference between Islam as understood during the time of Prophet Muhammad, and what was practiced on the pretext of conforming to Islam by political dynasties that came after. Consequently, many facets of what is assumed to be 'Islam' today have been filtered and distorted through the prism of various Muslim empires and their various cultural and political practices, which often had only a tenuous relationship to Prophetic practice.

This project is an effort of tajdid (renewal) to return as closely as possible to the guidance (hidayah) of the Qur'an and the living example (sirat) of the Prophet himself, with a renewed vigilance about historical accuracy. Rather than simply blind following (taqlid), which is strongly condemned in the Qur'an, perennial endeavours to evaluate Islamic sources as carefully as possible in the light of rigorous analytical methods.

It is hoped that the visions of Islam that emerge are at once historically sound, traditionally consistent, and profoundly inspiring, confronting violence and barbarism, while cultivating individual self-reflection and humanitarian conscience, values of truth, love, compassion, generosity, diversity and justice, as well as radical engagements with change activism, social advancement, ethical governance and other ideals.

Through our collectiveperennial will invite, commission, and publish: reliable resources on key contentious issues; rigorously referenced articles, summaries and commentaries; blogs and opeds; as well as audio and video posts, in order to:

1) explore the most controversial issues relating to Islam;

2) clarify what Islam really means to Muslims based on what they believe to be the most accurate possible readings from Islam's own authenticated sources;

3) advance a clear framework for Muslims of all denominations to constructively navigate contemporary challenges from a faith-inspired standpoint;

4) provide an educational resource for non-Muslims to learn about Islam from reliable sources.

Founding members

Mohsin Abbas, Head of Media & Culture, Institute for Muslim Community Development

Professor Tahir Abbas, Department of Sociology, Fatih University; Remarque Visiting Fellow, New York University

Akeela Ahmed, founding Editor, She Speaks We Hear; equalities, youth and gender campaigner; UK government advisor on anti-Muslim hatred; Muslim Family Specialist, Christian-Muslim Forum

Debbie Almontaser, President of the Board of Directors, Muslim Community Network, New York City

Rim-Sarah Alouame, PhD candidate in Public Law, University of Toulouse-Capitole

Yahya Birt, Tutor in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science; PG Impact Fellow, Centre for Religion and Public Life (2014-15); Leeds 110 Anniversary Research Scholar, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Leeds University; former Director, The City Circle

Dr. Fozia Bora, Lecturer in Middle East History and Islamic History, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds

Imam Abdassamad Clarke, Ihsan Mosque, Norwich, UK; Dean of the Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies (MFAS); editor and co-author of Shariah: The Islamic Law; translator of several classical Arabic works including the Kitab al-Athar of Imam Abu Hanifah, The Complete Forty Hadith of Imam an-Nawawi, The Madinan View (Kitab al-Jami') by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, and The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom by Ibn Rajab. 

Harfiyah Haleem, Secretary of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES); IFEES representative on the Board of Directors of the Muslim Women's Collective, Tower Hamlets; editor, Islam and the Environment (Ta Ha Publishers, 1998) 

Shehnaz Haqqani, PhD candidate in Islamic Studies specialising in gender and sexuality in Islamic law and Muslim societies, Department of Middle Eastern studies, University of Texas, Austin

Dr. Bilal Hassam, Producer, British Muslim TV; Board of Directors, University of Cambridge Coexist Leadership Programme; Chair of the Planting Seeds Forum, under The Leaf Network; 

Dr. Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, Research Associate and former Visiting Fellow, HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for Islamic Studies, Cambridge University

Huda Jawad, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence; trainer/group facilitator, Solace Women's Aid; Advisor, Centre for Academic Shi'a Studies, Al-Khoei Foundation, London

Imam Alyas Karmani, Muhammadiya Mosque, Bradford; Instructor, Sacred Sciences Curriculum, Jamiat Ihyaa Minhaaj al-Sunnah (JIMAS); consultant for West Yorkshire and London Probation service on resettlement and reintegration of Muslim Offenders; senior policy advisor on youth empowerment, Welsh Assembly Government (2008-9); head of Race Equality for Welsh Assembly Government (2004)

Safi Kaskas, Senior Researcher in Islam and Multifaith Reconciliation, George Mason University; author of seminal English language translation of the Qur'an, The Qur'an: A Contemporary Understanding (2015)

Saeed Khan, Co-founder & Senior Fellow, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Washington DC; Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern & Asian Studies, Wayne State University

Haroon Moghul, Fellow, Institute for Social Policy & Understanding, Washington DC; Senior Correspondent, Religion Dispatches; PhD candidate in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University

Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Visiting Research Fellow, Faculty of Science & Technology, Anglia Ruskin University; Foundation Fellow, Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies

Michael Mumisa, Cambridge Special Livingstone Scholar, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge University

Fouzia Outmany, Researcher, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam

Dr. Imranali Panjwani, Tutor of Theology & Religious Studies, Kings College London; Post-Doctoral Researcher in Western & Islamic Law, Al-Mustafa International University; Hawza graduate in classical Islamic sciences, Al-Mahdi Institute

Professor Sajjad Rizvi, Director of the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter

Dr. Abdullah Trevathan, Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion, al-Akhawayn University in Morocco; former Senior Lecturer in Education, Roehampton University

Faeeza Vaid, Executive Director, Muslim Women's Network UK; Chairperson, Sister 2 Sister

Rianne C. ten Veene, Disaster Management consultant, Associate Lecturer at Open University teaching interdisciplinary courses around environment, CSR and international development; Islam and Environment Specialist; author, 199 Ways to Please God (2009)