Dr Maria De Cillis
Research Associate and Managing Editor for Shi'i Heritage Series
Area of focus:
  1. Islamic theology
  2. The Qur'an
  3. Islamic philosophy
  4. Islamic spirituality and mysticism
  5. Shi'i Islam
  6. Ismaili Philosophy


Maria De Cillis is a Research Associate and the Managing Editor of the Shiʿi Heritage Series at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.

Dr De Cillis completed her undergraduate studies in the field of Languages and Literatures (English and Arabic) graduating from the Università degli Studi di Napoli - L’Orientale  in Naples, Italy in 2001 (cum laude). She received an MA degree in Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies  (SOAS), University of London in 2004 for which she was awarded a distinction. She continued her PhD studies at the same institute, completing it in October 2010.

De Cillis’ research interests encompass the Islamic tradition in the formative period, including Islamic theology (ilm al-kalam), the study of the Qur’an, Islamic philosophy (Falsafa) and Islamic spirituality and mysticism (Tasawwuf). In addition she currently focuses on Shi‘i Islam and Ismaili philosophy.

She has taught courses on medieval Islamic theology and philosophy at Birkbeck University and SOAS. She currently teaches Islamic intellectual traditions at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. In addition to a number of encyclopaedia entries (in the Biographical Dictionary of Islamic Civilisation and Culture and the Dictionary of Islamic Bioethics, both forthcoming) and articles (‘Avicenna on Matter, Matter’s Disobedience and Evil: Reconciling Metaphysical Stances and Qurʾanic Perspectives’, Transcendent Philosophy 12 (2011), she is the author of Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought. Theoretical Compromises in the Works of Avicenna, al-Ghazālī and Ibn ʿArabī (London/New York, 2014). She is among the editors of L’ésotérisme shiʿite, ses racines et ses prolongements/Shiʿi Esotericism: Roots and Developments (Turnhout, 2016), and her ongoing projects include the monograph Decree and Salvation: al-Kirmānī’s Ismaili Perspective (forthcoming, 2017).