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Faculty of Divinity



Dr. Bouhafa received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University. She was a Lecturer in Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Divinity University of Cambridge from 2017-2020 and is now a senior research associate. Before coming to Cambridge, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the philosophy department at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg where she joined the Research Project LIDIAC (an interdisciplinary contribution to the history of ideas centred on the disciplines of grammar, logic and rhetoric in Arabic-Islamic culture 800-1100), funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German state. She also held fellowships at Georgetown University in Qatar, the Orient-Institut in Beirut and the Centre of Middles East studies at Harvard University.

Her first book project entitled Averroes’ Philosophy of law and ethics, currently under preparation, identifies a philosophy of law in Averroes’ philosophical and legal works which not only assesses the epistemological basis of the Islamic system of knowledge but also admits the necessity of rectifying legal norms to redress ethical deficiencies stemming from the contingency of human actions.

 Subject area and specialty:

  • Islamic/Arabic philosophy: rhetoric, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law and philosophy of language
  • Averroes and Farabi
  • Natural justice and natural law
  • Islamic sciences: usul al-fiqh, kalam, tafsir, balagha,




Dr. Bouhafa’s interests lie in philosophy and Arabic sciences. Her research focuses on Arabic philosophical ideas and concepts in relation to their specific epistemological context, which emerged and developed either in relation to or in conversation with Islamic sciences. Her areas of research have been, the question of ethics specifically the concept of natural justice in Islamic philosophy, philosophy of law by exploring the relation between legal reasoning and logical arts and finally the intersection between Aristotelian rhetoric and poetics and Arabic balagha. She is also working on exploring the questions of philosophy of language in Arabic thought specifically the discussion of the origin of language and ambiguity/polysemy in usul fiqh. More broadly she is interested in questions of political thought such as justice, rulership, and legitimacy in Islamic intellectual history.


Key publications: 

“Rhetoric in the court:  Averroes on testimonial witnessing and oaths,” in Commenter la Rhétorique d’Aristote de l’Antiquité à la période contemporaineed. Frédérique Woerther (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

  “Averroes’ corrective philosophy of law,” in Interpreting Averroes, eds. Peter Adamson and Matteo Giovanni (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

 “Ethics and Fiqh in al-Fārābī’s Philosophy,” in Philosophy and jurisprudence in the Islamic World, ed. Peter Adamson (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019).

“After Adam: Ibn ‘Aqīl on language origin, change, and expansion,,” in Philosophy and Language, ed. Nadja Germann (Berlin: De Gruyter, in press).


Teaching and Supervisions


TRIPOS (Undergraduate Teaching):

B15, C9, C1D, and B1D.

Research supervision: 

Research Co-Supervision

Farah Jassat (MPhil): “An analysis of British Muslims navigating faith, politics and the end of the Caliphate: convergences and differences in late imperial England”

William Ryle-Hodges (PhD): “Muhammad Abduh’s notion of adab: Reformulating Social Virtues in Late Nineteenth-Century Egypt”



Senior Research Associate
Dr  Feriel   Bouhafa

Contact Details

Email address: 
Not available for consultancy




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