PROF Abdullah Saeed

PROF Abdullah Saeed


  • Contextual Approaches to Interpreting the Qur'an
  • Islam and Human Rights
  • Islam and Religious Pluralism
  • Islam and the West
  • Muslim Communities in Australia



  • Professor Saeed is currently Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies (since 2004), the Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies and the Convenor of Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is an active researcher, focusing on one of the most important issues in Islamic thought: the negotiation of text and context, ijtihad and interpretation. He is a strong advocate of reform of Islamic thought and is frequently asked to present at events both nationally and internationally. He also participates in training courses on Islamic issues to community leaders and government agencies in Australia and abroad. Of particular interest, given the current climate, is the promotion of inter-religious initiatives. He regularly engages with the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities at national and international symposia to enhance community understandings of Islam, Islamic thought and Muslim societies. He has authored and edited numerous works. His recent publications include, Reading the Qur'an in the Twentieth Century: Towards a Contextualist Approach, Routledge, 2014, Islam and Human Rights (edited, Edward Elgar, 2012), Islamic Political Thought and Governance (edited, Routledge, 2010), The Qur'an: an introduction, Routledge 2008, Islamic Thought: an introduction, Routledge, 2006; Interpreting the Qur'an: Towards a Contemporary Approach, Routledge, 2006; Approaches to the Qur'an in Contemporary Indonesia (editor), Oxford University Press, 2005; Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam (co-author), Ashgate, 2004.; Islam in Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2003. In addition to his strong research focus, Professor Saeed continues to teach Islamic studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and supervise postgraduate students.

    Professor Saeed is the Foundation Chair of the Sultan of Oman Endowed Chair in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is Director of the Asia Institute at the University of    


Member of

  • International Qur'anic Studies Association. President 2015 - 2018
  • UNESCO Commission of Australia. Member of the Board 2013 - 2018
  • American Academy of Religion. Member, American Academy of Religion 1999 - 2007


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Australian Research Council Grants   


Education and training

  • BA, Islamic University of Medina
  • MA, University of Melbourne 1994
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1992

Awards and honors

  • Member of the Order of Australia, AM, 2013
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2010
  • Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies, Sultanate of Oman, 2003



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • My main areas of research interest are contextual approaches to interpreting the Qur'an as well as emerging debates on Islam and human rights, Islam and religious pluralism as well as Islamic law with particular reference to Muslim minorities.