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Dr Kazuyo Murata

Photograph of Dr Kazuyo MurataLecturer in Islamic Studies

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7128
Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Room 3.35, Virginia Woolf Building,
22 Kingsway



Kazuyo Murata holds a PhD in Islamic Studies with a joint MPhil in Medieval Studies from Yale University, and a BA (summa cum laude) in both Philosophy and Religious Studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has broad academic training in the study of religion, philosophy, medieval intellectual history, and Arabic and Persian literature.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Pre-modern Islamic Intellectual History
  • Sufism
  • Quran commentaries
  • Theories of love and beauty in Islam (and comparative theological aesthetics)
  • Prophets in Islam
  • Philosophy (falsafa)
  • Islam in Persianate lands

Dr Murata has broad interests in the history of ideas, with a specialization in pre-modern Islam. Her research to date has involved systematic analyses of Sufi texts, and her ongoing work can be characterized as conceptual/thematic, historical, or text-critical in approach. Her smaller projects in progress include a study of the practice or phenomenon of so-called jamal-parasti (“adoration of beauty”) in the history of Sufism; an investigation of the Quran commentary by a prolific Sufi scholar, Ruzbihan Baqli (1128-1209), with a particular attention to his understanding of prophets; and critical editions of a few early works in Sufism.

In addition, she is currently preparing a monograph, tentatively entitled God Is Beautiful and He Loves Beauty: Ruzbihan Baqli’s Sufi Metaphysics of Beauty, which reconstructs Ruzbihan Baqli’s vast and complex worldview, in which the notion of “beauty” (husn, jamal, etc.) occupies a central place. This work is the first book-length study of the place of beauty in a common Sufi understanding of God, the world, and the human being, thus encompassing multiple fields of inquiry such as theology, metaphysics, cosmology, psychology, anthropology, and prophetology, while using Ruzbihan’s Arabic and Persian writings as the case study.

Dr Murata welcomes proposals from prospective students interested in investigating aspects of pre-modern Islamic intellectual history, especially in the areas of Sufism, falsafa, and kalam

Other textual studies in Arabic and Persian, as well as thematic approaches to religion and culture in the Islamicate world are also welcome.

For more detials, please see her full research profile.

Selected publications
  • William Chittick, In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought, edited by Mohammed Rustom, Atif Khalil, and Kazuyo Murata (Albany: SUNY Press, 2012).
  • “Waiting, Worship, and Inner Transformation: Individual Duties of Human Beings in the Time of the Ghayba,” The Bright Future 6 (July 2011): 75-89.
  • “The Role of Beauty in Rūzbihān Baqlī’s Thought,” Proceedings from the International Congress on the School of Shiraz (Tehran: Farhangistān-i Hunar, forthcoming).
  • Omid Safi, Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters, Journal of the American Association of Religion 79.4 (2011): 1094-1097.
For a complete list of publications, please see Murata's full research profile.

Dr Murata will teach on the following modules

Undergraduate modules
  • 4AAT1001 Islam's Beginnings
  • 4AAT1012 Islam: Later Developments
  • 5AAT2003 Modern Islam I: History & Politics
  • 5AAT2015 Modern Islam II: Sociological & Intellectual Trends
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