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Islamic Peace Studies Initiative

Funded by the International Institute Enterprise Fund, Islamic Peace Studies Initiative promotes academic research on the subject, as well as the professionalization and recognition of the subfield.

Peace Studies as an academic field has become well-established in academia. Over 150 colleges and universities offer courses in the area of Peace Studies, conceived broadly as everything from political philosophy to security studies to practical conflict resolution. The religious dimension of peace studies has bulked large, with 46% of programs being in church-related schools. While Christian peace studies is a large sub-field, the scholarly literature on peace with regard to Islam is much smaller. 

Our initiative seeks to recognize scholars and activists who have already made key contributions to this field, and to encourage others to address it. We also seek to collect syllabi, bibliographies, directories of relevant academic programs and other useful information at this site. We will hold conferences and promote publication in this area. The Muslim tradition has been an important part of world history since late antiquity and is diverse and broad, straddling the globe. Today Muslims account for about a fifth of humankind. Perhaps because of struggles like the Crusades, Western writing on Islam has disproportionately focused on war and violence. The dimension of peace in this world religion is also deserving of exploration.

Second Annual Conference: The Abode of Peace: Spirituality and Harmony in Islam
March 21-23, 2019, University of Michigan and Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church
This conference explores the spiritual dimension of peace in Islam. Negative peace has been defined as the absence of violent conflict and concerns security arrangements. Positive peace has been defined as actions, policies, and attitudes that promote peace. Our concern here is with positive peace, and with its inner manifestations, in affect, attitude and personal behavior. Sufism has been a major site of such peace-related themes, but they appear in other arenas of Islamic practice as well. Conference details »

Inaugural Conference: Peace in Islam; Islam and Peace
March 16-18, 2017, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Dearborn
This inaugural academic conference will explore themes of peace in the Islamic tradition, considering topics such as scripture and theology, the role of Muslim women, pacifist social movements, and the centrality of conflict resolution to the tradition. The conference is an outgrowth of the CMENAS initiative on Islamic Peace Studies. Conference details »

Academic Programs

This is an ongoing list of institutions of higher education that offer programs with some component related to Islamic Peace Studies, through coursework or faculty mentors.


Books, journal articles, and chapters that address some facet of Islam and Peace. Open source links to texts provided when available. If not, links to special access providers have been listed.

An-Na’im, Abdullahi Admed. “The Constant Mediation of Resentment and Retaliation.” Philosophy & Social Criticism 38:4-5 (2012): 351-358.

An-Na’im, Abdullahi AdmedPennsylvania Studies in Human Rights: Muslims and Global Justice. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Baabood, Abdullah. “Reinforcing Ambivalence: The Interaction of Gulf States and the European Union.” European Foreign Affairs Review 12:4 (2007): 537-554.

Galtung, John. “Research on Peace and Conflict in the Time of Cholera: Ten Points for Future Peace Studies.” Sociologica 10:28 (1995); 235-250.

Kalin, Ibrahim. “Islam and Peace: A Survey of the Sources of Peace in the Islamic Tradition.” Islamic Studies 44:3 (2005): 327-62.

Lamptey, Jerusha. “Embracing Relationality and Theological Tensions: Muslima Theology, Religious Diversity, and Fate.”

Laila, Muhammed Abu. “Islam and Peace.” Islamic Quarterly 35:1 (1991): 55.

Salim, Ruhul, Mohammad Zakir Hossain and Nasser Al-Mawali. “Distribution of wealth and resources in Islam: Restoring social Justice, peace and prosperity,” International Journal of Economic Research 13:2 (2016): 571-586.

Sanneh, Lamin. “Sacred and Secular in Islam: Policy implications.” Transformation 19:1 (2002): 153-159.

Shalaby, Ibrahim M. “Islam and Peace.” The Journal of Religious Thought 34:2 (1977): 42.

Wadud, Amina. “Towards a Qur’anic hermeneutics of social justice: race, class and gender.” The Journal of Law and Religion 12:1 (1996): 37.

Woods, Timothy J. “Islam, peace and the quest for justice.” Theology 109: 852 (2006): 412.

Course Materials and Syllabi

Course plans, talks, and materials for faculty planning courses or lectures around Islamic Peace Studies, as well as student outcomes of coursework, such as projects and blogs.

Harvard Divinity School
Religions and the Practice of Peace (RPP)
“Islam and the Practice of Peace” features RPP talks on the topic of Islam and the practice of peace. Along with talks in the RPP Colloquium series, this section includes talks in the Islam and the Practice of Peace Lecture Series, which is sponsored by the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program at Harvard in collaboration with RPP

Oberlin College
Islamic & Peace Studies at Oberlin
Forum for student dialogue on themes of Islamic and Peace Studies (blog)

Conferences, symposia, and events related to Islamic Peace Studies

North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies
45th Annual Conference: “War and Peace in Islam”
Saturday, October 8, 2016
The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University

Islam and Peaceful Relations
Muslims in Britain Research Network
The Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at the University of Coventry
April 5, 2016

Islam and Peace International Conference
Islam and World Peace: Perspectives from African Muslim Nonviolence Traditions
Sept. 11-13, 2015
International Affairs Building, Columbia University