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Dr Riyaz Timol

Dr Riyaz Timol

Research Associate in British Muslim Studies

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

+44 (0)29 2087 4884
5.49B, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU

I work as a Research Associate at Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, where I earlier completed my Ph.D. as part of the prestigious Jameel Scholarship Programme.  My research interests include ethnographic methodology, intergenerational transmission of Islam in Britain and the relationship of Islam with modernity.  My disciplinary approach is within the sociology of religion with particular reference to the theoretical contributions of Peter L. Berger.  My current work seeks to map the way contemporary accounts of Islamic revival intersect with secularisation theory in Europe.  I teach courses on religion, theology and qualitative research methods, have supervised numerous undergraduate Islamic Studies dissertations and help deliver the innovative online course Muslims in Britain: Changes and Challenges.  I am the Principal Investigator of a major three-year project examining the lived experiences of British Imams.

Ph.D. thesis:

Public writing:

Conference organiser:

Public speaking:

Honours and awards

  • 2018 - Ph.D. thesis shortlisted for the BRAIS – De Gruyter Prize in the Study of Islam and the Muslim World
  • 2012 - awarded Jameel scholarship for Ph.D. study
  • 2004 - awarded prize for best undergraduate dissertation in English Literary Studies

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of
    • British Sociological Association (Sociology of Religion sub-group)
    • British Association of Islamic Studies
    • Muslims in Britain Research Network
    • British Association for the Study of Religions

Academic positions

  • 2017 - Present, Research Associate in British Muslim Studies, Cardiff University
  • 2015 - 2018, Islamic Studies Dissertation Tutor, Manchester University

Speaking engagements

Committees and reviewing

Peer reviewer for

  • Journal of Classical Sociology
  • Journal of Contemporary Religion
  • Journal of Church and State
  • Numen – International Review of the History of Religions (Brill)







Undergraduate teaching

  • Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • Islamic Studies Dissertation Tutor
    • I have supervised undergraduate dissertations on a broad range of topics including Islamic philosophy and mysticism, Middle Eastern religio-political movements, South Asian culture and diaspora, Islamophobia, religion and media, Islamic art and culture, Sunni and Shia theology, Sufism, Islamic feminism and gendered sartorial practices.

Postgraduate teaching


Conference Papers

  • July 2018: 'Peter L. Berger and a Sociology for Contemporary Islam?', BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference, University of Strathclyde.
  • April 2018: 'Social transformation through self-reformation: sacralising the secular ‘in the Path of Allah’', British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, University of Exeter.
  • April 2017: ‘Islamic Revival and Europe’s Secular ‘Sacred Canopy’’ British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, University of Chester.
  • July 2016: ‘A Theory of Intra-Religious Conversion for Contemporary Islam,’ BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference 2016, Lancaster University.
  • April 2016: ‘Black Beards, White Beards and 40 Shades of Grey: Intergenerational Transmission in the British Tablighi Jama'at,’ British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, Senate House, University of London.
  • July 2015: ‘Islamic Revival, Secular Britain: The Case of the Tablighi Jama’at,’ The British Sociological Association Sociology of Religion 40th Anniversary Conference, Kingston University, London.
  • April 2015: ‘To Sufi or not Sufi? Exploring the Spiritual Praxis of the Tablighi Jama’at,’ British Association for Islamic Studies Annual Conference, Senate House, University of London.
  • September 2014: ‘Walking the Ethnographic Tightrope: Fieldwork with the Tablighi Jama'at in Modern Britain,’ 'INSIDE OUT: Reflexivity and Methodology in Research with British Muslims' conference organised by the Islam-UK Centre in conjunction with the Muslims in Britain Research Network, Cardiff University.
  • September 2014: ‘Roundtable Discussion: Interrogating integrity? Insider and outsider social research with faith based groups,’ British Association for the Study of Religion (BASR) Annual Conference, Open University, Milton Keynes.
  • May 2014: ‘Religious Travel and the Tablighī Jamā‘at: Modalities of Expansion in Britain and Beyond,’ Muslims in the UK and Europe Symposium, Cambridge University.
  • April 2014: ‘Religious Travel and British Muslim Identities: Researcher Reflexivity, Preaching and Tablighi Jama’at Activists,’ British Association for Islamic Studies Inaugural Conference, Edinburgh University.
  • September 2013: ‘Exploring the Cultural Boundaries of the Tablighi Jama’at: Real or Imaginary?,’ School of History, Archaeology and Religion Post-Graduate Symposium, Cardiff University.
  • September 2013: ‘Tablighi Jama’at in the Diaspora: Exploring Modalities of Expansion,’ European Association for the Study of Religions Conference, Liverpool Hope University.

I am currently co-supervising two Ph.D.s:

  • Fatou Sambe - Converts and the Next Generation of British Muslims
  • Moamer Khalayleh - Qur'anic-Ash'arite Perspectives on New Atheism

I am interested in supervising Ph.D. students in the areas of:

  • Movements of Islamic revival in Britain
  • British Muslim identity
  • Intergenerational transmission in British Islam
  • Conversion and apostasy in contemporary Islam
  • Experiences and training of British imams

Current supervision

Fatou Sambe

Fatou Sambe

Research student

Moamer Khalayleh

Moamer Khalayleh

Research student