Mansur Ali

Mansur Ali

I am a Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cardiff University. I am interested in Islam and ethics, and the intersection of theology with sociology.

Location Cardiff


  • @DebraWinstanley There is a Prophetic saying that waswasah is caused by a jinn called Walhan. Now it is not clear if the saying is to be taken literally or metaphorically as walhan literally means 'severe confusion'. In situations like this, we advise people to read a'udhubillah (seek refuge from the devil). If the waswasah is causing OCD-type syndromes,...

  • Dear Iman, thank you for your offer. Please do get in touch with us.

  • Thank you for your comment Hayat. Spiritual healing does have its place. We discuss this later on in the course, but yes, more younger generation Muslims are cautious of spiritual healing.

  • This is a very important observation Sobia. As an imam, I get women contacting my wife to ask me questions.

  • enjoy the course

  • Nice to have you on the course Ira

  • The reference is to Qur'an chapter 20.

  • Hi Moshe here is a passage from the Qur'an on Moses at the burning bush
    '8) Hath there come unto thee the story of Moses? (9) When he saw a fire and said unto his folk: Wait! Lo! I see a fire afar off. Peradventure I may bring you a brand therefrom or may find guidance at the fire. (10) And when he reached it, he was called by name: O Moses! (11) Lo! I, even...

  • I think I understand your point, but I'm going to mull over it a bit more so that I have internalized it. Sometimes tomorrow.
    best wishes.

  • Aah sorry, I misread you. 'While we are at it, I don't recall male names with female grammatical gender (endings?) taking feminine verb forms.' This is exactly my point. grammatical gender does not correspond with ontological gender. Grammar has its own internal logic which has got nothing to do with the natural world.

  • Hi Mark famous Arabic names such as Hamza, Talha and Usama are grammatically feminine as are the names Musa, Yahya and Isa (the alif maqsura in Arabic is also a signifier of the feminine). Thanks

  • Dear Mark, I just checked the wiki page you kindly posted. The page only discusses the morphology (tasrif) of the broken plural. It does not discuss the syntax of the broken plural or its relation with other words in the sentence, therefore it is not surprising that this point is not mentioned.
    Happy learning.

  • Dear Mark thank you for query. Not to detract from the original post: In Arabic the verb can either come before the subject or after it. If the verb comes before the subject it is always in the singular conjugation irrespective of the number of subjects. nasara Zayd (Zayd helped), nasara Zayd wa Uthman (here are two subjects but the verb is singular...

  • Dear Christopher this is an intriguing question. would you kindly elaborate on this a bit more bearing in mind that I'm not a physicist 'Mansur, are you aware of any interpretations of how God's will is applied in Quantum Physics?'

  • If you study early Christianity, pre-Nicean creed (321 AD), you will find that there wasn't one neat understanding of the relationship between God and Jesus. The Ebonites and the Arians believed that he was a Prophet of God. Others believed that he was a demi-God etc.

  • Dear John, the Qur'an condemns the doctrine of trinity and yet calls these very Christians who adhere to this doctrine 'people of the Book'. When we talk about Islam accepting previous scripture, we do not only refer to the the canonical collections but even the apocrypha, the pesudiepigrapha, the protoevangelium. For example the immaculate conception (Mary's...

  • Dear Moshe, to give you one example. Islam understands Prophets to be highly spiritual and moral human beings. This is essential for their message to be accepted, as no one will take an immoral person seriously. Narratives of Prophets in Books like Genesis where Noah is made drunk by his daughters and then indulge incest, or that David got Uriah killed because...

  • A good book to read on this subject is Sherman Jackson's Islam and the problem of Black suffering.

  • Dear all the theological paradox between everything happens with God's wills vs. freedom has engaged many Muslim theologians in the past. A school of Muslim theology (known as the Ash'arite) explained this by introducing a new terminology called 'kasb' or occasionalism. It's a complicated theory, but this is what it means in summary: Nothing happens without...

  • I'm afraid those are the boundaries. The minimum requirement to be recognized as a Muslim theologically. Sociologically there are many people who say that they are Muslim and yet do not believe many of these things. That's a different thing altogether.

  • Most of the converts that I have asked this question to have said that they are still worshiping the same God in Islam as they used to pre-Islam. Only their perspective on God has changed.

  • Dear Mark as Amanda mentioned, there is no neutral gender in Arabic. Everything is either a male or a female. However, grammatical gender does not have to correlate with ontological gender. The name Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus) are grammatically feminine word in Arabic. The broken masculine plural is referred to by a singular feminine pronoun as in Qalat...

  • Dear Christina here is a link to a fascinating speech on Islam and human rights by professor Sherman Jackson. "Western Muslims & Human Rights: An Alternative Framework?"

  • Thank you Christina for your kind words

  • Thank you all for participating. I hope it was a pleasurable experience for you.

  • Thank you Glenn for your observation. In our research we also found that some chaplains felt that their loyalty to their institution was questionable because they were Muslim. This was not the rule, fortunately.

  • Dear Joyce, please see my post above on alternative names for chaplains.

  • Dear Lindy, thank you for your thoughts. Currently there are about 450 (give or take some) chaplains in the country. Muslims have been in chaplaincy since the 90s. We observed that a slow theology of Muslim chaplaincy is being formed. Although some chaplains met with prejudice (especially in the early days), things have got better for them.

  • Thank you Sharon for this observation. Unfortunately our research has shown that there isn't a critical mass or critical yeast of chaplains who are able to influence outside of their institutions. Muslim chaplains are not making massive impact on the community, but we can sense some trickles of their influence seeping in. Lets be hopeful.

  • Dear Diana, please see my post above. Thanks

  • Interesting points you make there Heather. In our research we found that some people/institutions consciously did not use the term chaplain because of its association with Christianity. Here are some alternatives:

    Islamic chaplain
    spiritual adviser
    inter-faith adviser
    One chaplain said that 'I might as well tell people I’m from Mars rather than...

  • hmmm .... interesting points you make there Janet. In our chaplaincy research we asked chaplains who are they chaplains for and most of them replied for everyone. In other words they are chaplains who happened to be Muslims, Christians or Hindus and not Muslim or Islamic chaplains. You can read more about the research...

  • Mansur Ali replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    A Catholic priest once said to me, 'lets all work to be a fruit bowl and not soup pot'

  • This article may be of interest to some of the contributors: Islam and the cultural imperative

  • Good observation Hasnan. Where would you locate this ummah? In Britain, middle east? Is it political, spiritual, pan-Islamic, pan-arab, nationalistic? Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

  • Dear Mr Cant and the rest of the contributors, here are some figures taken from the 2011 census on Muslim demographics. These are broad classifications, you can see the breakdown by ethnicity in the reference i provide below:

    White Muslims: 210,620
    Mixed: 102,582
    Asian: 1,830,560
    All Black: 272,015
    Other (includes Arabs): 178,195

    Dr Sundas Ali,...

  • Dear Mr Cant, you seem to reduce a very complex sociological phenomenon to a simple race issue by essentialising Islam with South-Asians. While South-Asians tend to do have large families they are not representative of the whole picture of the British Muslim landscape. Here is an article on the growing number of white British converts (5,000 a...

  • Thank you Frances, in addition to your very good observation, i'm copying a comment made above for your perusal
    'in addition to self-segregation we can't overlook another sociological phenomenon which can help explain non-integrated society, 'white flight'.
    You can find more information on this here.


  • Dear Steve, in addition to your astute observation, lets not forget the principle of supply and demand. Migrants from the Common-wealth countries and elsewhere came for a better life, however this was facilitated by the fact that the host country needed cheap labour. Near the end of last week, we viewed the video from Cardiff. That video was commissioned by...

  • Dear Irene, in addition to self-segregation we can't overlook another sociological phenomenon which can help explain non-integrated society, 'white flight'.
    You can find more information on this here.