2019 Future of the Humanities Lecture | Islam and Reform: Myth and Realities


It is often suggested that Islam needs a reformation, especially in the face of extremism and the lack of social and political liberalisation in Muslim societies. The call for reform is propagated by critics of Islam who view the religion and its adherents as incapable of embracing change and responding to the demands of modern challenges. The rhetoric has completely ignored the dynamics and nuances of Muslim societies and the vibrant debates taking place within them. This lecture deals with the myths and realities of reform in Islam and Muslim societies. It discusses the notions of tradition, change and spirituality, drawing from various parts of the Muslim ‘World’.


Raihan Ismail is an ARC DECRA Fellow and Lecturer at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, ANU. She was the co-recipient of the Max Crawford Medal in 2018, awarded by the Australian Academy of the Humanities for 'outstanding achievement in the humanities by an early-career scholar'. Her research includes Islam, Political Islam, Sunni-Shi'a relations, women in Islam, and Middle East politics. She is the author of Saudi Clerics and Shia Islam, published by Oxford University Press in 2016. She is currently working on a book project on the transnational networks of Salafi clerics in Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, under contract with Oxford University Press.

Date & time

Wed 06 Nov 2019, 5.30–7pm


Theatrette (2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, 120 McCoy Circuit, ANU


Dr Raihan Ismail


Penny Brew
02 6125 4357


Updated:  23 October 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications