Timothy Winter

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Timothy Winter
Born Timothy John Winter
1960 (age 55–56)
London, England
Residence Cambridge, United Kingdom
Other names Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Alma mater Pembroke College Cambridge[1]
SOAS, University of London
Al-Azhar University[2]
Occupation Islamic scholar, shaykh, author, teacher
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni (Sufism),[3] Maliki, Shafi'i

Timothy John Winter (born in 1960), also known as Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, is a British Sunni Muslim sheikh, researcher, writer and academic. He is the Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College, Director of Studies (Theology and Religious Studies) at Wolfson College and the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University.[4][5][6] His work includes publications on Islamic theology and Muslim-Christian relations.[7] In 2003 he was awarded the Pilkington Teaching Prize by Cambridge University and in 2007 he was awarded the King Abdullah I Prize for Islamic Thought for his short booklet Bombing Without Moonlight.[4][7] He has consistently been included in the "500 Most Influential Muslims" list published annually by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre and was ranked in 2012 as the 50th most influential.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Born in 1960, the son of an architect and artist, Winter is also the older brother of football writer Henry Winter.[9][10] His wife Nabila is the Women's Officer at the Cambridge Muslim College.[11]


Winter was educated at Westminster School and graduated with a double-first in Arabic from Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge in 1983.[9] He then went on to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo [2][9][12] and further private study with individual scholars in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.[2][13] After returning to England, he studied Turkish and Persian at the University of London.[12]

Major work and projects[edit]

In 2009 Winter helped to open the Cambridge Muslim College, an institute designed to train British imams.[14][15][16] Winter also directs the Anglo-Muslim Fellowship for Eastern Europe, and the Sunna Project which has published the foremost scholarly Arabic editions of the major Sunni Hadith collections.[9][17] He serves as the secretary of the Muslim Academic Trust.[9] Winter is active in translating key Islamic texts into English[1] including a translation of two volumes of the Islamic scholar al-Ghazali's Ihya Ulum al-Din.[2] His academic publications include many articles on Islamic theology and Muslim-Christian relations as well as two books in Turkish on political theology. His book reviews sometimes appear in the Times Literary Supplement. He is also the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (2008) and author of Bombing without Moonlight, which in 2007 was awarded the King Abdullah I Prize for Islamic Thought.[18] Winter is also a contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day.[19][20] Additionally, Winter is one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.[21]

Cambridge Mosque Project[edit]

Winter is the founder and leader of the Cambridge Mosque project[22] which is working to develop a new purpose built mosque in Cambridge to cater for up to 1000 worshipers.[23][20] The mosque is planned to be entirely reliant on green energy with an almost-zero carbon footprint.[22] Regarding the project Winter stated that, "This will be a very substantial world class landmark building in what is considered by some to be a down-at-heel part of Cambridge."[23]

Views on extremism[edit]

Winter is a traditionalist and considers the views of extremists like al-Qaeda as religiously illegitimate and inauthentic. He decries the failure of extremists to adhere to the classical canons of Islamic law and theology and denounces their fatwas.[24] He unequivocally rejects suicide bombing and considers the killing of noncombatants as always forbidden, noting that some sources consider it worse than murder. According to Winter, Bin Laden and his right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri are un-Islamic, unqualified vigilantes who violate basic Islamic teachings.[24]

Winter is critical of Western foreign policy for fueling anger and resentment in the Muslim world.[25] He is equally critical of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi ideology, which he believes gives extremists a theological pretext for their extremism and violence.[25]


In May 2013, Winter was at the centre of controversy when the Cambridge Tab[26] helped video footage come to public and media attention in which he stated that homosexuality was a sinful and "inherent aberration", with gays being "ignorant people who don't know what their bodies are for". A number of Cambridge students called for his resignation, but Winter asserted that the videos were over fifteen years old and reflected views that he no longer held.[27][28] A Cambridge University spokesman said: "Mr Winter has apologised for these remarks, recorded nearly 20 years ago, and has emphasised that he no longer holds these views."[29] In response to the suggestion that he be dismissed, Winter said "I think that the students concerned would be well advised to consult with me directly to determine what my views actually are, rather than complaining to others. That is the correct way of doing things in a university."[30]

Winter apologised on his website, saying:

"When I looked at the clip I saw a young man ranting. It was probably the worst thing I have ever done, tricked out with dubious science and many errors, and presented in a very aggressive style which is alien to the manner I now use. My views, knowledge and style have mutated in 17 years. So I asked IslamOnDemand to take it off YouTube, and they did this. I believe – and Allah is my witness – that I was right, in Sharia, and considering the maslaha of the Muslims, to dissociate myself from the lecture and to apologise. How does it serve the interests of da’wa to offend? Those who say I should not have apologised should ask why we should gratuitously offend others, whoever they are. And the basic information in the lecture was unreliable or dubious, to say the least."[31]

Blogging in The Spectator, Douglas Murray, a frequent critic of Islam,[32] called for Winter's sacking and cast doubt on Winter's apology and the date of the video.[33]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In January 2015, Winter was nominated for the Services to Education award at the British Muslim Awards.[34]


Books written[edit]

  • Montmorency's Book of Rhymes Illustrated by Anne Yvonne Gilbert (California: Kinza Press, 2013)
  • Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions (Cambridge: Quilliam Press Ltd, 2012)
  • XXI Asirda Islom: Postmodern Dunyeda qibleyi topush (Tashkent: Sharq neshriyet, 2005)
  • Muslim Songs of the British Isles: Arranged for Schools (London: Quilliam Press Ltd, 2005)
  • Postmodern Dünya’da kibleyi bulmak (Istanbul: Gelenek, 2003)
  • Co-authored with John A. Williams, Understanding Islam and the Muslims (Louisville: Fons Vitae, 2002)
  • Understanding the Four Madhhabs: Facts About Ijtihad and Taqlid (Cambridge: Muslim Academic Trust, 1999)
  • Gleams from the Rawdat al-Shuhada: (Garden of the Martyrs) of Husayn Vaiz Kashifi (Cambridge: Muslim Academic Trust, 2015)

Books edited[edit]

  • The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) ISBN 978-0-521-78058-2
  • Islam, Religion of Life by Abdul Wadod Shalabi (USA: Starlatch Press, 2006) ISBN 1-929694-08-3
  • Co-edited with Richard Harries and Norman Solomon, Abraham’s Children: Jews, Christians and Muslims in Conversation (Edinburgh: T&T Clark/Continuum, 2006)


  • Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Disciplining the Soul and Breaking the Two Desires (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1995)
  • Roger Du Pasquier, Unveiling Islam (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1992)
  • Imam al-Bayhaqi, Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith (London: Quilliam Press, 1990)
  • Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, The Remembrance of Death and the Afterlife (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1989)


  • "Jesus and Muhammad: New Convergences." Muslim World 99/1 (2009): 21-38.
  • "Poverty and the Charism of Ishmael." In Building a Better Bridge: Muslims, Christians, and the Common Good, edited by Michael Ipgrave (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009)
  • "Ibn Kemal (d. 940/1534) on Ibn 'Arabi's Hagiology." In Sufism and Theology, edited by Ayman Shihadeh (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007)
  • "The Saint with Seven Tombs." In The Inner Journey: Views from the Islamic Tradition, edited by William Chittick (Ashgate: White Cloud Press, 2007)
  • "Ishmael and the Enlightenment's Crise de Coeur." In Scripture, Reason, and the Contemporary Islam-West Encounter, edited by Basit Bilal Koshul and Steven Kepnes (New York: Palgrave, 2007)
  • "Qur'anic Reasoning as an Academic Practice." Modern Theology 22/3 (2006): 449-463; reprinted in The Promise of Scriptural Reasoning, edited by David Ford and C. C. Pecknold (Malden: Blackwell, 2006)
  • "The Chador of God on Earth: the Metaphysics of the Muslim Veil." New Blackfriars 85 (2004): 144-157
  • "The Poverty of Fanaticism." In Fundamentalism, and the Betrayal of Tradition, edited by Joseph Lumbard (Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2004)
  • "Readings of the 'Reading'." In Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur'an Together, edited by Michael Ipgrace (London: Church House Publishing, 2004), 50-55
  • "'Pulchra ut luna: some Reflections on the Marian Theme in Muslim-Catholic Dialogue." Journal of Ecumenical Studies 36/3 (1999): 439-469
  • "The Last Trump Card: Islam and the Supersession of Other Faiths." Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 9/2 (1999): 133-155


  1. ^ a b Ridgeon, Lloyd (2001). Islamic Interpretations of Christianity. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 225. ISBN 0312238541. 
  2. ^ a b c d Geaves, Ron (2013). Sufism in Britain. London, United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 182. ISBN 1441112618. 
  3. ^ Geaves, Ron; Theodore, Gabriel (2013). Sufism in Britain. Bloomsbury 3PL. p. 172. ISBN 978-1441112613. 
  4. ^ a b [1], Cambridge University, Faculty of Divinity: People.
  5. ^ Wolfson College.
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/spain_1.shtml
  7. ^ a b [2].
  8. ^ Schleifer, Abdallah (2011). The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims, 2012. Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. p. 98. ISBN 978-9957-428-37-2. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Peck, Tom (2010-08-20). "Timothy Winter: Britain's most influential Muslim - and it was all down to a peach". The Independent. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  10. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (2015-03-10). "How Islamic is Islamic State?". The New Statesmen. Retrieved 2015-05-26. 
  11. ^ http://www.cambridgemuslimcollege.org/about/people/
  12. ^ a b [3]
  13. ^ Schleifer, Abdallah (2011). The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims, 2012. Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. p. 98. ISBN 978-9957-428-37-2. 
  14. ^ Muslim Integration College.
  15. ^ H. Jones, Stephen (2013). New Labour and the Re-making of British Islam: The Case of the Radical Middle Way and the “Reclamation” of the Classical Islamic Tradition, 2013. Bristol, United Kingdom: Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship. p. 560. 
  16. ^ De Freytas-Tamura, Kimiko (24 August 2014). "Britain Appeals to Anti-Extremist Imams in Effort to Uproot Seeds of Radicalization". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Schleifer, Abdallah (2011). The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims, 2012. Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. p. 98. ISBN 978-9957-428-37-2. 
  18. ^ http://www.wolfson.cam.ac.uk/people/mr-timothy-winter
  19. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/schedule/?q=abdal%20hakim%20murad
  20. ^ a b Butt, Riazat (3 Oct 2011). "Cambridge mosque wins support from local non-Muslims". Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  21. ^ MacFARQUHAR, NEIL (12 October 2007). "In Open Letter, Muslims Seek Cooperation With Christians as a Step Toward Peace". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Habriri, Najlaa (29 September 2014). "Europe’s first “Eco-Mosque” to open in Cambridge". Asharq Al-Awsat. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "Cambridge £15m mosque plans approved for Mill Road site". BBC. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  24. ^ a b L. Esposito, John (2010). The Future of Islam. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. p. 99. ISBN 019974596X. 
  25. ^ a b L. Esposito, John (2010). The Future of Islam. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. p. 101. ISBN 019974596X. 
  26. ^ ,James Mitchell and Max Toomey "INEXPLICABLE ABERRATION": CAM LECTURER SLATES HOMOSEXUALITY," The Tab (1 May 2013).
  27. ^ Maxine Frith, "Cambridge lecturer Tim Winter sorry for homosexual slurs," London Evening Standard (2 May 2013).
  28. ^ Scott Roberts, "UK: Islamic Cambridge lecturer apologies for describing homosexuality as ‘ugly’ and calling gay people ‘ignorant’," Pink News (2 May 2013).
  29. ^ "Cambridge University Lecturer Tim Winter Compares 'Ignorant' Homosexuals To Arsonists," The Huffington Post UK (Posted: 03/05/2013 11:35 BST; Updated: 07/05/2013 09:09 BST).
  30. ^ Zoah Hedges-Stocks, "Wolfson College don under fire over ‘homophobic’ video: Theology lecturer ‘haunted by ghost from the past’," The Cambridge Student (1 May 2013).
  31. ^ Abdal-Hakim Murad, “Bayan - a clarification,” (5th May 2013).
  32. ^ ,Douglas Murray "What are we to do about Islam? Speech by Douglas Murray at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference 2006" Militant Islam Monitor (5 March 2006).
  33. ^ Douglas Murray, "Why has Abdul Hakim Murad not been sacked by Cambridge University?," The Spectator (3 May 2013).
  34. ^ "British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled". Asian Image. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 

External links[edit]