Walid Saleh

Assistant Professor, Department and Centre for the Study of Religion & Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Walid Saleh is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto, he is a member of both the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion and Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations.  He teaches courses on the Qur'an, the history of its interpretation (Tafsir), the life of Muhammad, Muslim women`s narratives and Islamic intellectual history.

Saleh holds a B.A. in Arabic Language & Literature from The American University of Beirut, and an M.A & Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Yale University. His field of research focuses on classical commentaries and Medieval scholarly interpretation of the Qur’an. A respected voice on Islamic research, his work has taken him to centres in Cairo, Hamburg, and Washington, where he is a Rockefeller Fellow in Islamic Studies at the Library of Congress (2004). He is currently holding a New Research Mellon Foundation Fellowship.  

Saleh was born in Colombia to immigrant Lebanese parents, who soon returned the family to the Middle East so the children would learn Arabic. He grew up in Lebanon during the 70′s and 80′s. Dr. Saleh’s undergraduate degree was at the American University of Beirut, where he studied Arabic literature and language. His interest in these two topics still animates his research, and he is a close follower of modern Arabic poetry. In addition to his doctoral studies at Yale University in Islamic Studies, where he studied the Qur’an and its exegesis in medieval Islamic Civilization, Dr. Saleh has also studied at Hamburg University.

Selected Publications

“A Muslim Hebraist: Al-Biqai’s Bible Treatise and His Defence of Using the Bible to Interpret the Qur’an,” Speculum 83 (2008): 629-654.

“Hermeneutics: al-Tha`labi,” in The Blackwell Companion to the Qur’an, ed. Andrew Rippin, Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 323-337.

The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition: The Qur’an Commentary of al-Tha`labi (d. 427/1035). Leiden: Brill, 2004.

“In Search of a Comprehensible Qur’an: A Survey of Some Recent Scholarly Works,” Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies 5 (2003), 143-162.