Dr. Mahjabeen Dhala Named Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of Madrasa-Midrasha Program

The Graduate Theological Union welcomes Dr. Mahjabeen Dhala as Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Madrasa-Midrasha Program, a collaborative effort of the Center for Islamic Studies and Center for Jewish Studies. 

“I am delighted that Mahjabeen will be joining the GTU faculty at the Center for Islamic Studies,” said Dr. Munir Jiwa, Founding Director of the Center for Islamic Studies. “She brings a range of expertise to this important position with solid scholarship and teaching in Islamic studies, and more widely in theology, religious studies, and women’s studies. Her global leadership, her work in advancing interreligious and intercultural education and dialogue within academia and the larger public sphere, and her tireless efforts in advocating for equity, inclusion, and justice are truly remarkable and inspiring and will play an important role as she directs the Madrasa-Midrasha Program.”

Dr. Dhala received her MA in Islamic Studies from the GTU in 2017 and is part of the Class of 2021 for her PhD from the GTU’s Department of Sacred Texts and their Interpretation. Prior to her matriculation at the GTU, she pursued traditional Islamic seminary studies for over seven years and has led Muslim communities worldwide for nearly two decades.

Her interdisciplinary research features an integration of Islamic theological texts with feminist theories. She has also demonstrated a commitment to advancing interreligious and intersectional dialogue through her research, teaching and mentoring, and through her global travels, presenting on topics such as Muslim diversity and leadership, religious and cultural understanding, women’s empowerment, and social justice. 

In 2019, Dr. Dhala received the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation Grant for interreligious research and was awarded a prestigious Newhall Fellowship to co-teach the Women’s Studies in Religion seminar, becoming a member of the first international, interreligious team to lead the course. Dr. Dhala also received the Haas Research Grant in 2017 for collaborative Jewish-Muslim research.

Dr. Deena Aranoff, Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies, noted that Dr. Dhala’s commitment to interreligious study and conversation makes her an excellent fit for the role of Director of the Madrasa-Midrasha Program. 

“I am thrilled that Mahjabeen Dhala will be joining the GTU faculty,” Aranoff said. “Mahjabeen has an exciting and strong record of teaching and religious leadership. We are so lucky that her passion, skill and vision will become a part of the Center for Islamic Studies and our Madrasa-Midrasha Program.”

The Madrasa-Midrasha program was founded in 2008 and explores the richness, diversity, differences, and commonalities of Jewish and Islamic traditions. The program is a collaborative effort between the GTU’s Center for Jewish Studies and Center for Islamic Studies, and seeks to advance study, dialogue, and understanding on Jewish and Islamic texts and contexts within academia and the larger public. As director, Dr. Dhala will be responsible for the development and enhancement of public programs and resources that bring these two religious traditions and communities into a deeper study and dialogue.