Abdulrahman Helli


Postdoctoral Fellow EUME (2016 - 2017)

The Status of Conscience in Religiosity: A Study of the Concept of Piety (Taqwā) in the Qur'an

Abdulrahman Helli was Associate Professor in the Department of Islamic Theology (Uṣūl al-Dīn) at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Aleppo University, Syria. He was assigned as head of it in the academic year 2012/2013 and has participated in the commissions for curriculum development of his faculty. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from Zaytouna University, Tunis. Dr. Helli was a founding member of the “Syrian Writers Association” in 2012, and a founding member of al‐Multaka al‐Fikri li-‘l-Ibda’(Intellectual Forum for Innovation) in 2000.He has been a EUME Fellow in the academic year 2013/14 and a EUME Fellow of the Freie Universität Berlin in the academic years 2014-16. He focused on the issues of freedom of belief and religious pluralism in the Qur'an. He has published widely in Arabic in the field of Islamic and Qur'anic studies. Among his books are: The Messages of all Prophets: One Religion and Many Laws (2015), Tafsir: A Textbook (Aleppo University, 2012), On Qur'anic Concepts (2011) and The Dilemma of Religious Education in the Muslim World, a Debate with Khalid as-Samadi (2007). Forthcoming studies are: Introduction to Curriculum of Research and Writing (book), Qur'anic Vision of the Prophet’s Calls and the Universality and Approaches to Qur'anic Purposes: A Historical Study.

The Status of Conscience in Religiosity: A Study of the Concept of Piety (Taqwā) in the Qur'an

“Taqwā/Piety" is a central ethical-religious concept in the Qur'an. Its use and meaning among the Arabs before Islam had an ethical dimension. It appeared early on in the Meccan suras and was used frequently until the end of the Medinan suras. The Qur'anic contexts of the concept of “taqwā/piety” raise complex questions about its significance. It appears to have had a deeper significance than the meaning on which it settled in the Islamic tradition. This study explores the concept of “taqwā/piety” and its function within the semantic-field of Qur'anic ethical concepts, focusing on the issues of individual religiosity, ethical responsibility, and the status of conscience in religiosity.

The work will contribute to the study of ethics as well as to the field of Qur’anic Studies. It intertwines historical and linguistic methods as well as an analytical study of the concept in the text.


Abdulrahman Helli talked about his research on 22 June 2016 at Forum Transregionale Studien. An audio recording of his talk can be found here.