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Rick Colby

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Ph.D., 2002, Duke; M.A., 1995, University of Chicago; B.A., 1991, Haverford College  (2008)

Professor Colby specializes in Arabic narratives on a central story in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the night journey (isra) and ascension (mi'raj).  Through his close examination  of Arabic manuscripts stored in Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, and in other major repositories throughout the world, his research explores the early formation and development of a popular strand of Islamic ascension literature attributed to Muhammad's cousin and companion, Ibn 'Abbas.  Dr. Colby is the author of Narrating Muhammad's Night Journey: Tracing the Development of the Ibn 'Abbas Ascension Discourse (SUNY, 2008).  He also edited and translated a collection of early Sufi sayings about Muhammad's ascension collected by Abu 'Abd al-Rahman Sulami entitled The Subtleties of the Ascension (Fons Vitae, 2006).  He is co-editor of a collection of interdisciplinary essays about Muhammad's night journey and ascension, The Prophet's Ascension: Cross-Cultural Encounters with the Islamic Mi'raj Tales (Indiana, 2009).