Graduate Student Profile: Saqib T. Qureshi, MTS '22

May 17, 2022
Headshot of saqib t. qureshi
Image Courtesy of Saqib T. Qureshi

HDS communications reached out to our 2022 graduating students to hear from them in their own words about their experiences at HDS, the people who've helped and inspired them along their grad school journeys, and their plans for the future.

How I've Changed

To attend a divinity school like HDS is a very unique and fortunate experience. Putting together a cohort of individuals from all walks of life, as well as many diverse religious and non-religious traditions, giving them a space to be in communion – interacting with each other, speaking across their differences, and growing together – is an incomparable opportunity. The lens through which I see the world – language, concepts, society, politics, etc. – has been forever shifted. However, I haven’t only changed intellectually; how I conduct myself ethically, how I find meaning in the world, how I empathize with and care for others, how I speak with individuals with a different background than I, as well has all transformed. 

Memorable Moment

Probably spending Ramadan together both with HDS and the broader Muslim community. It was both intensely exhilarating yet exhausting; like having Thanksgiving every evening for thirty days. Such a cherishing and unforgettable experience nonetheless.  

Favorite Class or Professor

As always, there were many favorites. But I will have to say that the theories and methods in the study of religion course with Dr. David Holland was instrumental in grounding me in the academic study of religion as well as my orientation as an academic scholar. But it wasn’t just the readings that did this. Dr. Holland has a way of modeling the “scholar’s persona”: from the way he lectures to how he interacts with students, asks questions, and engages the classroom. A very inspiring individual.

Message of Thanks 

You can read books and articles on your own, but what truly creates a well-rounded scholar, both intellectually and morally, is the training, mentorship, seminar discussions, and peer debates that occur when being in a community. There are countless individuals I’d like to thank, some of which include my academic advisor, Dr. Khaled El-Rouayheb for showing me how to be critical yet charitable. Dr. Shady Nasser for nurturing my interests in Qur’anic Studies and teaching me how to ask questions outside the text. Dr. Mohsen Goudarzi for further developing my interests in historical and literary approaches to the Qur’an. Dr. Mariam Sheibani who taught how to rigorously study an individual figure head-to-toe through our seminar course on al-Ghazali. Dr. Malika Zeghal for training me in what it means to become part of and contribute to an academic community. Dr. Nicholas Boylston for showing me how to feel classical Persian poetry. Dr. Peter Gordon for teaching me the craft of the intellectual historian, both through our course in French Social Thought as well as how he conducts himself as a scholar. Dr. Ivan Petrella for expanding the scope of our imaginations via applying liberation theology in the twenty-first century.  

I would also like to thank the Pluralism Project for allowing me to contribute to work bridging the ivory tower with the public space; The Program in Islamic Law (PIL) for encouraging me to combine my interests in digital humanities with Islamic Studies; the HDS Library and staff for showing me how library services assist the academe; and the Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School for allowing me to review and take part in the journal editing process.  

And lastly, what is a divinity school without the many countless life-long, heartfelt, friendships and souls I’ve come to meet and grow together with. To HDS Muslims, thank you so much for creating such a supportive and caring community. And to all my HDS friends (which are too many to list!) – thank you so much for each of your unique and valuable personalities, insights, viewpoints, care and concern. I’ve grown so much from learning and being in communion with each one of you. And I’m so grateful this isn’t the end!  

What I Hope to Be Remembered By

A thoughtful, engaging, kind, respectful, caring and loving – peer, friend, soulmate, interlocutor, mentor, mentee, student, and any other role I've been in during my tenure at HDS.  

Future Plans

I’ll be pursuing doctoral studies at USC in their Global Islam track! A very unique program that allows me to combine both my interests in Islamic Studies: tradition and history (Near Eastern Studies) with theory (Study of Religion). I’ll be making the jump across the coast to LA soon to do so!