Mohamud Awil Mohamed

Mohamud Headshot

Ph.D. Student

Fontaine Fellow
Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts Researcher

My work is situated at the intersections of religion, ethics, and collective memory. Currently, my project explores the relationship between sharīʿah and customary law (xeer) in Bilad as-Ṣumal, which is now known as Somalia but historically encompassed the territories of present-day Djibouti, Eastern Ethiopia, and the NFD region of Kenya. I seek to understand the intersections of anathematization, creedal factionalism/fluidity, and tensions within and beyond the religious elite who dominate this discourse.

Additionally, I am intrigued by the development of debates and contestations over "sacred space" in Bilad as-Ṣumal, particularly the discourse surrounding the permissibility of venerating graves, tombs, and shrines associated with scholars, mystics, and tribal/clan leaders.

I hold a diploma in Islamic Studies from Abubakar As-Siddique's Institute for Islamic Studies, a BA in History from Augsburg University, and an MA in Heritage Studies and Public History from the University of Minnesota.

During my graduate training at the University of Minnesota, I was an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow, I conducted research in Islamic Law on fatāwā related to the emergence and response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the guidance of Dr. Hassan Abdelsalam. Additionally, I served as a graduate fellow with the Islamic Cataloging team at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, where I archived East African Manuscripts under the supervision of Dr. Josh Mugler.

I completed a FLAS Fellowship at Maʿhad al-Lugha al-ʿArabiyyah in Fes, Morocco, where I explored the development and articulation of legal-ethical principles in the thought of the 5th-century Mālikī polymath, Abū al-Walīd al-Bājī (d. 474 AH), as well as the thought of the contemporary Moroccan philosopher Taha Abdurrahman. In my final year, I served as a Digital Humanities and Oral Histories Fellow with the University of Minnesota Libraries and the MN Transform team.

In my (rare) free time, I am a translator of classical Islamic texts and Somali poetry.

Advisors: Dr. Lee V. Cassanelli (HIST), Dr. Paul Cobb (NELC), Dr. Eve Troutt Powell (HIST)

Online Office Hours

By Appointment 


M.A., Heritage Studies & Public History, University of Minnesota 

B.A., History, Augsburg University

B.A., Islamic Studies, Abubakar As-Siddique Institute for Islamic Studies

Research Interests

Islamic Law, Hadith Studies, Manuscript Studies, Transnational Networks of Learning, Itinerant scholars, Ulema-State paradigm, Natural Language Processing. 


Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant for: 

“Africa Before 1800,” Dr. Cheikh Babou, Professor of History, Fall 2023

“Africa After 1800,” Dr. Lee Cassinelli, Associate Professor of History, Spring 2024

Selected Publications

Mohamed, Mohamud. “Migration, Digitization, and Preservation - A Case Study of a Somali ManuscriptHill Museum & Manuscript Library (2021)

Mohamed, Mohamud. “Beyond The Specter of The Colossus,” Atmos Earth (2021)

Mohamed, Mohamud. “From Zeila to Futa Jallon: Muslim States and the Colonial Encounter,” Black Muslim Psychology Conference Papers (2020).

Mohamed, Mohamud. “The Dugsi: A Dynamic or Outdated Methodology for Islamic Pedagogy in East Africa,” Black Muslim Psychology Conference Papers (2019).

Mohamed, Mohamud. “Reform, Authority, and Power: The Radical Hermeneutics of Ibn Taymiyyah and Martin Luther,” Augsburg Undergraduate Research Symposium (2018).

Mohamed, Mohamud. “A Bridge for The Sunnah in A Time of Fitnah -Towards a Theology of Mutual Support,” Senior Submission, Council on International Educational Exchange (Spring 2018).

Mohamed, Mohamud “Islam and Blackness: A crossroads" 1 & 2” Huffington Post. (2016)


The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies

Middle East Studies Association

African Studies Association

The Islamic Manuscript Association

Somali Studies International Association

American Society for Legal History