Contact Information

P.O. Box 59 (Unioninkatu 38B)
00014 University of Helsinki


Current research

At present, research is focused on the study of Islam and Classical Arabic culture (history, literature, philosophy and religion). Research subjects include, e.g., the early expansion of the Arabs (PhilLic  Kaj Öhrnberg) and the study of Classical Arabic literature and Islamic mysticism (Professor Hämeen-Anttila), 8th century Arabic prose literature, and Omar Khayyam in history and legends. The department also participates in the international Melammu project (Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage), which started in 1998 and investigates
the continuity, transformation and diffusion of Mesopotamian culture throughout the ancient world from the second millennium BC until Islamic times.

There are several dissertations on various Islamic topics underway. MA Minna Saarnivaara is preparing her dissertation on political Islam ("Hamas - Strategies for building a state"). MA Janne Mattila studies the question of the attainment of happiness in 10th-11th century Arabic philosophy from the perspective of both the individual and society. MA Inka Nokso-Koivisto's research (“Man as the Microcosm in Islamic Thought from the 10th to the 13th Century”) approaches the idea of man in Mediaeval Islamic thought from the perspective of the microcosm-macrocosm analogy. The focus is on esoteric Islamic thought in texts related to Sufism, Ismā’ilism and the Hermetic tradition. MA Mikko Viitamäki's dissertation examines the formation of poetic repertoires in qawwali, a genre of music heard in the assemblies of the Chishti Sufi order. The study is based on both textual sources and ethnographic material collected in India. MA Maria Pakkala studies the position of Jews and Christians in Quran
through textual analysis and tries to shed light on the development of the
relationship of both the Qur’ānic and the Hadīth texts with Jews and

Most of the research is published in international journals of high scholarly standards, such as Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes and Middle Eastern Literatures.

Prospective postgraduate students can find more information about application process from the University website.