The Department of Hadith and History

The Department of Hadith and History focuses on producing cutting-edge research into ḥadīth literature and historical texts. The department promotes a holistic approach, encouraging research across different Muslim schools of thought to highlight historical, contextual, theological, and methodological differences. Key themes explored include the canonisation of the ḥadīth, the influence of different theological groups on the development of the ḥadīth, and the various methods applied to verify their authenticity, amongst many others. As part of its research activities, this department hosts a biannual international research conference, research seminars, book reviews, and visiting fellows.  

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Head of Department:

Haidar Hoballah, Ph.D. (2020), University of Religions and Denominations, is a Senior Lecturer in Hadith Studies at Al-Mahdi Institute. Upon completion of his hawza studies in 1995, Dr Hoballah advanced his education with a masters’ degrees in Quranic and Hadith Studies which culminated in a PhD in Comparative Religions and Christian Theology from the University of Religions and Denominations in 2020. He has authored two dozen books and numerous articles in the fields of jurisprudence, legal theory, theology, philosophy, and Quranic and hadith studies. Dr Hobballah taught intermediate level classes in the hawza for more than 15 years and began teaching advanced classes (baḥth khārij) in 2005 at the Hawza of Qom in jurisprudence, legal theory, hadith, and the study of narrators. In addition to his teaching and publications, he has also supervised many masters and doctoral theses in the seminary of Qom, al-Mustafa University, the University of Religions and Denominations, and the College of Usul al-Din.

Departmental Staff

Shaykh Ali Raza Khaki

Lecturer in Islamic History

Dr Mostafa Movahedifar

Associate Research Fellow

Research Conferences

The Department of Hadith and History hosts a biannual international conference, which serves as a forum for scholars and academics from around the world to share and discuss their latest research findings in the field of ḥadīth literature and historical studies. Below are details of the upcoming conference.


On 12th – 13th February 2024, the Department of Hadith and History at Al-Mahdi Institute held its inaugural conference entitled ‘Compiling a Tradition: The History and Development of the Early Imāmī Hadith Corpora.’ The conference was attended by a selection of academic researchers from various universities and academic centers in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and other countries. The proceedings of the conference began with a brief opening speech by the conference convener, Dr Haidar Hobballah, in which he spoke about the importance of studying the early period of Imami Hadith, highlighting the lack of attention that has been devoted to it.

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Research Seminars

Research Seminars welcome academics and dedicated researchers specialising in Hadith Studies and History to present their latest research findings. These seminars serve as a confluence of expertise and innovative perspectives, designed to benefit students, scholars, and individuals who are passionate about staying abreast of the latest advancements within this field. Some of the most recent seminars held include:

Legal disagreement (khilāf) in Early Imami Hadith Compendia

Dr Ali Rida Rizek

A Letter from ʿAlī on the History of the Caliphate: A Key Source Text

Dr Nebil Husayn

The Tragedy of Al-Mamun: Reading Al-Saduq’s Uyun akhbar al-Rida

Dr George Warner

Book Talks

Book Talks feature renowned academics and authors from the field of Hadith Studies and History to deliver insightful reviews and discussions of their most prominent works, to enrich the global community of researchers, scholars, and individuals with an interest in this specialist field. Some of the most recent book talks held include:

The Words of the Imams: al-Shaykh al-Ṣadūq and the Development of Twelver Shīʿī Hadith Literature

Dr George Warner

The Khārijites in Early Islamic Historical Tradition: Heroes and Villains

Dr Hannah-Lena Hagemann

Durūs fī ʿilm al-Rijal

Sayed Hossein Qazwini

Visiting Fellows

To encourage the development and dissemination of ideas, AMI invites visiting research fellows for 1-3 months to actively participate in the institute’s research activities such as workshops, seminars, book talks and contribute towards teaching/mentoring of students on the Hawza Programme. The visiting fellows hosted by the department include:

Dr Ali Rida Rizek

Ali Rida Rizek (Ph.D., Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Göttingen 2021) is a scholar of the social and intellectual history of Islam, with a particular focus on Twelver Shiʿism. He received his BA and MA in Arabic Language and Literature from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. He has taught at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese American University (LAU), the University of Leiden, the University of Göttingen, and the University of Bayreuth in Germany. His research focuses on the history of Islamic law, Qurʾanic studies, Arabic literature, and classical Islamic education. He has published studies on hadith, legal history, and the classical Islamic ethical discourse. His upcoming book examines, for the first time in a monograph, the life, work, and impact of two early Imāmī legal scholars, namely Ibn Abī ʿAqīl al-ʿUmānī and Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī (both flourishing in the 4th/10th century). During his time at AMI, Dr Rizek participated in the Hadith studies conference on  Compiling a Tradition: The History and Development of the Early Imāmī Hadith Corpora’ and delivered a research seminar titled  Between Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī and al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī: Legal disagreement (khilāf) in Early Imami hadith Compendia’

Dr Nebil Husayn

Dr Nebil Husayn is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Global Black Studies at the University of Miami. His research explores authoritarianism in the Middle East, debates on the caliphate, and the development of Islamic thought. Dr Husayn also serves as a Senior Research Advisor for Mipsterz, an arts and culture collective curating, enabling, and amplifying artists of marginalized backgrounds through illustration, film, and music. He is the recipient of a Fulbright award and the University of Miami Fellowship in the Arts and Humanities. Dr Husayn obtained his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and an M.A. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of ‘Opposing the Imam’ (Cambridge University Press, 2021), which examines the history of early Muslims who were hostile to Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali, and his descendants. During his time at AMI, Dr Husayn presented his research at AMI’s research seminar, participated in community events, and conducted his own independent research.

Latest News

Below are the latest news and developments related to the Department of Hadith and History:

Dr Ali Rida Rizek delivers a research seminar titled ‘Between Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī and al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī: Legal disagreement (khilāf) in Early Imami hadith Compendia’

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Dr Haidar Hobballah’s latest book on ‘The Jurisprudence of War and Peace in Islamic Law’ has been published with Dār Rawāfid.

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Dr Mostafa Movahedifar joins the Department of Hadith and History as an Associate Research Fellow.

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