Colgate Professor Aisha Musa - Religion and MIST Skip Navigation

Colgate Directory

My research and teaching interests extend from the formative period of Islam to the present and include translation of classical Arabic texts, Hadith Studies, Quranic interpretation, Islamic Law, women’s issues, and modern-day reformist and neo-traditionalist movements.

Beyond the library and the classroom, I participate in a variety of professional and community activities, locally, nationally, and internationally. I have traveled by invitation to present my work in Azerbaijan, Morocco, South Africa, and Turkey.


Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations
Doctor of Philosophy: Arabic/Islamic Studies, 2004

Portland State University, Portland, OR 
Master of Arts in Teaching: General Arts & Letters: Arabic & Applied Linguistics, 1992
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow, 1991-1992

Portland State University, Portland, OR
Bachelor of Arts: International Studies, 1990
Certificate: Middle East Studies, 1990

Teaching Experience

Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
Department of Religion

8/2011 – Present

Visiting Assistant Professor,
Islamic Studies

- Developing and teaching courses in Islamic Studies

Courses Taught

- Women in Religious Traditions: Islam is intended to provide students with a deeper understanding of the position of women in Islam through an examination of the teachings of the Qur'an, looking at both traditional interpretation and contemporary reinterpretation. 

- Experiencing Islam conceives of Islam as a cumulative tradition beginning with the event of the Qur’an and the paradigmatic example of Prophet Muhammad. The unfolding of this religious tradition is traced through the formation of Shi’i and Sunni schools of Islamic thought, and the schools of law. The course concludes with an overview of the multi-faceted responses of Muslims to contemporary challenges. 

- Contemporary Issues and Values is about issues and values in religion; but more importantly, it is about how to think critically To that end, this course is designed to challenge you to think in different ways about myriad topics. Many issues confronting us today raise profound value questions. Some issues have roots in the past; others have emerged in our times. Resources to address these issues are likewise both ancient and contemporary. This course explores dimensions of several moral concerns, many of which challenge democratic values, social justice norms, and human rights. Issues addressed may include genocide, terrorism, war, and torture; environmental injustices; gender and sexualities; race issues; immigration and refugee dilemmas; reproductive issues; sexual violence; concerns about the “other” and valuations of difference. In learning about these topics students examine religious and philosophical texts, ideas, and values which suggest resolutions.

- Introduction to the Quran is designed to introduce students to the various ways in which the Qur’an has been received in history and continues to be received today. Students examine the theological, legal, literary, historical, mystical, and modern approaches to the Qur’an in an attempt to understand holistically various methods of exegesis and their ramifications. Throughout, the class engages in the debates that have historically surrounded the Qur’an and explore methods of interpretation both classical and modern, especially those of fundamentalists, reformists, and feminists.

- Life of Muhammad is a historical study of the life of Muhammad, from his birth in 570 CE to his death in 632 (?) CE. The course will include: (1) an in-depth introduction to the genres of hadith and sira literature; the major works in these genres, the history of their compilation and an evaluation of various authors and their works, from the perspectives of both Islamic and Western scholarship; (2) a biographical study of the life of Muhammad and his position in Muslim thought as the ideal exemplar; (3) an examination of the lives of the women around Muhammad.

Florida International University, Miami, FL
Department of Religious Studies


Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies

Developing and teaching courses in Arabic & Islamic Studies

Advising the department chair and faculty on program development in Islamic Studies

Supervising and mentoring graduate students

Supervising and mentor teaching assistants

Observing and evaluating adjuncts and teaching assistants

Courses taught:

- Religion Interpretation & Analysis is an introduction both to the phenomena we collectively call “religion” and to the study of religious phenomena through their analysis and interpretation. This is not a class on world religions, but students will learn to apply the various theories to Islam and at least one other world religion.

- Islamic Faith & Society introduces students to the historical development and ideological foundations of Islam and to the basic beliefs and practices of Muslims from the time of Muhammad to the present (offered for undergraduates).

- Interpreting the Qur’an: Gender & Jihad introduces students to the history, interpretation and translation of the Quran through a close examination of passages relating to issues of gender and jihad (offered for graduates and undergraduates).

- Muslim Ideas of War, a Perspective for National Security acquaints students with the history and development of Islamic laws of war and Muslim concepts of just and unjust war in order to provide a framework in which to better understand and address contemporary events (offered for graduates and undergraduates).

- Women in Islam provides students with a deeper understanding of the position of women in Islam through an examination of the teachings of the Qur'an, looking at both traditional interpretation and the contemporary reinterpretation.  The primary texts for the course are the Qur'an and current writings by Muslim women (offered for undergraduates).

- Hadith: Voice of the Prophet familiarizes students with the position and history of Prophetic Traditions (Hadith) in Islam and with classical Islamic and Western Hadith studies (offered for graduates and undergraduates).

- Classical Arabic covers the grammar and vocabulary necessary for developing the ability to read classical texts (offered for graduates).



Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, Palgrave-Macmillian, 2008

Book Chapters:

" ....A Thousand Years, Less Fifty: Toward a Quranic View of Extreme Longevity,"  in Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension. Edited by Calvin Mercer. Palgrave-MacMillian, 2009, 123-131


"Al-Shafi'i, the Hadith, and the Concept of Duality of Revelation," Islamic Studies, vol. 46, issue no.2, (2007), 163-215.

“The Qur’anists,” Religion Compass 4/1 (2010): 12–21.

Hadiths (Sunni),” in  Milestone Documents of World Religions.  Edited by David M. Fahey.   Dallas, TX: Schlager Group, December, 2010.

Encyclopedia Entries:

"Islam and Violence," In Religion and Violence: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict from Antiquity to the Present. Edited by Jeffrey Ian Ross.. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2010

"Incest in Islam," in The Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions. Edited by Yudit Greenberg. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007.

"Teachers in Islam," in The Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions. Edited by Yudit Greenberg. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2007.


Uludag University, International Symposium on Mulla Khusraw,  Bursa, Turkey - 11/2011
Presentation: The Relationship of 'Aql and Naql in Mulla Khusraw's Conceptualization of Sunna

University of South Africa, Pretoria, SA - 3/2010
Presentation on Hadith as Scripture : Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam.

Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy

Inter-civilizational Dialogue: Insight from Azerbaijan, Baku, Azerbaijan- 11/2009
Presentation : “Just War” in the Qur’an

Ibn Tufail University

Conference Internationale Femmes, Religions, Paix, Rabat, Morocco - 4/2009
Conference Paper: “We have made you nations and tribes...: A Qur'anically Based Vision Of Multiculturalism and Inter-Religious Relations”

Baku International Forum

Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-cultural Dialogue Baku, Azerbaijan - 6/2008
Keynote address: “We have made you nations and tribes...: A Qur'anically Based Vision of Multiculturalism and Inter-Religious Relations”