University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Murad Idris

Murad Idris

Assistant Professor, Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics

S463 Gibson Hall


The Travels of Islamic Philosophy: The Global Afterlives of Ibn Ṭufayl’s Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, 17th c. – 21st c.

I am researching and writing a new monograph exploring the mobile life and afterlives of a single classical Arabic philosophical text as it traveled across Asia, Africa, and Europe. In six chapters, it will examine modern editions and translations of Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth‐century allegory, Hayy ibn Yaqzān, from 1671 to the present. Hayy ibn Yaqzān narrates the story of a boy on an island; he is raised by a doe, eventually attains knowledge of God, and attempts to spread this knowledge. There are over twenty‐five extant modern Arabic editions, some scholarly and some popular of this text. It was translated into over fifteen languages, including all major European languages, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Malay, Turkish, and Urdu. The seventeenth‐century journey of this allegory to Europe is well‐documented, but its global itinerary beyond Europe has been neglected. This project gathers these texts: the allegory’s modern Arabic editions, its modern non‐European translations, and its European reception history.


Murad Idris is an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia specializing in political theory. He has wide-ranging interests in political theory and the history of political thought, including war and peace, language and politics, postcolonialism, political theology and secularism, comparative political theory, and Arabic and Islamic political thought. His current research focuses on issues of war and peace in ancient, modern, and contemporary thought, in both Euro-American and Islamic traditions. His book manuscript examines competing idealizations of “peace” across canonical works of ancient and modern political thought, from Plato to Immanuel Kant and Sayyid Qutb. He has published essays on topics such as Erasmus’ political theology and Ibn Tufayl’s twelfth-century allegory. Before coming to UVa, Idris held a Mellon Research Fellowship at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and a Mellon Postdoctoral Diversity Fellowship at Cornell University. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.