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Ayesha Khan

Research student, Religious Studies and Theology, School of History, Archaeology and Religion

The interaction between transnational Sufism and the sociological environment in Britain have led to new forms of Sufi expression. Through a qualitative approach, my study seeks to explore contemporary forms of Sufi expression amongst young British Muslims. This will contribute towards understanding the diversity of religious practice and what young Muslims interpret as Sufism. Through my study I ask: What are the currents forms of Sufi practice amongst young British Muslims? What is the role of social media in contemporary religious expression? What does this new Sufi phenomenon tell us about Islam in contemporary Britain?

Research interests

  • Islam and Muslims in Britain
  • Contemporary Sufi expression: spiritual organisations, economics and material culture
  • Post-tariqa Sufism
  • Sufism in Britain
  • Sufism online: Islamic paraphernalia and religious music via youth naat khwaani
  • Religious expression on social media/cyber-religion
  • Young British Muslims: language, marriage, interfaith relations, intra-religious diversity
  • British Muslim identity  

Conference Papers:

  • Exploring post-tariqa Sufism. Plenary Speaker at the MBRN Conference, Birmingham University (Sept 2017).
  • Research Poster. FOSIS National Muslim Student Research Conference, Oxford University (March 2018).
  • Contemporary Sufism Amongst the British Muslim Youth. BRAIS Annual Conference, Exeter University (April 2018).
  • ‘Tariqa’ or ‘Tariqas’: Exploring post-tariqa Sufism. TIMES Symposium, University of Birmingham (May 2018).
  • Contemporary Sufism: ‘Offline’ to ‘Online’. Islam-UK Centre Symposium, Cardiff University (May 2018).
  • ‘Spiritual’ or ‘Sufi’: Ethnographic Reflections from Rumi’s Cave. Cambridge Symposium, University of Cambridge (June 2018).


Exploring contemporary Sufi expression amongst young British Muslims

Funding source

Jameel Scholarship

Sophie Gilliat-Ray

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray

Professor in Religious and Theological Studies, Director for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK (Islam-UK)

Mansur Ali

Dr Muhammad Mansur Ali

Lecturer in Islamic Studies (Research Leave 2019/20)

Areas of expertise

External profiles