Sitara Akram

Sitara Akram

PhD Candidate

Summary: I am currently undertaking research in Islamic finance with the aim of developing a definition of riba (interest or usury on loans).


Islamic law, Islamic legal theory, Judeo-Christian thought on usury, modern Muslim intellectual thought, Qur’anic exegesis, Arabic language

Research Supervisor

My research is being supervised by Dr Mustapha Sheikh


I graduated with an MBA in Finance in December 2000 from the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. After graduation I worked in a government advisory body for small businesses and later in a multinational leasing company in Pakistan.

In 2010, I had the opportunity to develop and teach an introductory module in Islamic finance to undergraduate elective students at Leeds. This eventually developed into a research proposal as I became more aware of the gaps in research in this area.

I work full-time as the Education Service Manager at the Lifelong Learning Centre (LLC). I am also a member of the team of educators at a Manchester-based charity Understanding Islam UK where I offer short talks at community events.

Postgraduate teaching experience

ARAB5004M - Lecture Cluster 2 - Politics of Islamic Finance (academic year 2015-16)

ARAB5004M - Lecture cluster 3 – Politics of Islamic Finance (academic year 2014-15)

ARAB5004M - Lecture cluster 3 – Politics of Islamic Finance (academic year 2013-14)

Undergraduate teaching

LLLC1328 - Introduction to Islamic Finance (academic year 2010-11)

Seminars and colloquia

I have taught courses on Islamic Law (Jan 2016), Islamic Law and Politics (Jan 2015), Islamic History and Politics (Jan 2013) and Islamic Finance (Jan 2012) for the Introduction to Islam and Cultural Diversity course run by the LLC.

In April 2012 I delivered a seminar on ‘The Purpose of Lending in Islam’ which was attended by Leeds students, alumni and members of the public. I have also delivered seminars on Islamic finance, the moral economy and ethics to students on the LLC’s Arabic and Islamic Studies Programme and to members of the public (May 2009, May 2010 and December 2011).

In the community, I am delivering lectures and workshops on discourses in Islamic law, with the aim of encouraging a lay audience to develop the skills to engage more critically with canonical sources of the Islamic tradition.