A. Z. Obiedat

Assistant Professor of Arabic
Office: Carswell 316
Phone: (336) 758-2516
Email: obiedaaz@wfu.edu

Dr. Obiedat received his PhD in the area of Arab-Islamic Philosophy and Secularism from McGill University in Montréal, Canada, where he also received his MA in the area of Arabic Discourse Analysis in Islamic Law. Dr. Obiedat has significant academic experience teaching Arabic as a Second Language. Before joining Wake Forest University in 2015, he served the University of Virginia, in 2007, as Lecturer of Arabic Language and Culture and in 2011 as Program Coordinator of its 400-student Arabic Program.

Dr. Obiedat was trained by two different Academic communities, the English-speaking world and the Arab world. Due to this duality, his research specialization reflects interest in contemporary Analytic, Evolutionary, and Science-oriented Philosophies as articulated by Nicholas Rescher and Mario Bunge on the one hand and classical Arab-Islamic scholasticisms on the other hand as manifested in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalām), and mysticism (al-taṣawwuf). The common thread between the two classical and contemporary domains is the “intellectual and political strife over modernity in Western and Middle Eastern contexts.” Studying the proposals of Bunge’s secular modernism versus Ṭāhā ‘Abd al-Raḥmān’s Islamic modernism is his current research focus. The following lists his teaching and scholarly achievements:

On the scholastic and Arabic linguistic side, Dr. Obiedat investigates Arabic Semantics (‘ilm al-dilālah) as established in Arabic literature, rhetoric, translation studies, and Arabic philology. This interest produced the following (peer-reviewed) publications:

  1. “Axiomatizing Elementary Arabic Syntax.” In the International Journal for Arabic Linguistics and Literature Studies (JALLS) 1, no. 1 (2019): 73–89, https://bit.ly/307UlMx
  2. “The Semantic Field of Love in Classical Arabic: Understanding the Subconscious Meaning Preserved in Love Lexicons through their Etymologies.” In Beloved: Love and Languish in Middle Eastern Literatures (London: I.B. Tauris, 2017) edited by Alireza Korangy et al, https://goo.gl/KxC7Gc
  3. “Friendship in Arabic: Its Synonyms, Etymologies, and Transformations.” In Friendship in Islamic Ethics and World Politics, edited by Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2019, and
  4. “Defining the Good in the Qur’an: A Conceptual Systemization” in The Journal of Qur’anic Studies of the Edinburgh University Press, https://goo.gl/DJ3n4P


On the contemporary intellectual side, Dr. Obiedat’s research has produced the following (peer-reviewed) publications:

  1. “How Can Bunge’s Scientific-Humanistic Ethics Engage Islamic Moral-Law?” In Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift, edited by Michael R. Matthews. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag, 2019. https://bit.ly/2JxoZZT
  2. “Identity Contradictions in Islamic Awakening: Harmonizing Intellectual Spheres of Identity.” In the Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (AJMEIS) 13, no. 13 (2019).
  3. “What is the Explanation for the Low Social Status of Working in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts in the Contemporary Arab World?” in Arabic as “ما تعليل هامشية الاشتغال بالإنسانيات والاجتماعيات والفنون في الوطن العربي؟” by Tabayyun for Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, Issue 24, Vol. 6, 2018, pages 121-143. https://goo.gl/kvdSqb
  4. “How Can Departments of Sharī‘ah (Islamic Studies) be Resurrected? Reforming the Objectives and Curricula”, in Arabic as “كيف يمكنُ بَعْثُ كُلِّيَّاتِ الشّريعةِ من مَواتِها؟ أو تسديدُ المقاصِد لِأَساتِذَة ِكُلِّيات الشريعة وإصلاحُ المناهج لطلبتها”. In Mu’minūn bilā Ḥudūd, August 7th, 2018. Pages 1-32 https://goo.gl/EcxQQr
  5. “Deconstruction of Creed Centrality in Islamic Discourse and the Primacy of Good Deeds in Differentiating between Humans.” in Arabic as “تَهافُتُ مَركَزِيَّةِ العقيدةِ في الخِطابِ الإِسلاميِّ وأَوْلَوِيَّةُ المُفاضَلَةِ بين البشر بالعملِ الصالحِ” in an edited volume in Arabic, al-Tasāmuḥ fī al-Thaqāfah al-‘Arabiyyah: Dirāsah Naqdiyyah (Beirut: Mu’minūn bilā Ḥudūd, 2018), edited by Dr. Néjia Ouriemmi of Université de Tunis El Manar. 19 pages.
  6. “The Marriage between Logic and Nature and the Perennial Generation of Innovation according to Dr. Salah ‘Uthman,” published in Arabic in Al-Mukhatabat Journal for Logic, Epistemology and Scientific Thought, no. 10 (2014): 176–87. https://goo.gl/pdNRMY

“تزاوجُ المنطقِ المجرَّدِ مع الطبيعةِ وديمومةُ توالدِ الخيال الفعال عند د. صلاح عثمان”.

  1. Interview “A Paradigm for Evaluating Academic Creativity in Six Levels: Incentives and Obstacles in the Arab World.” Published in Arabic by Believers without Borders on May 1st, 2014. https://goo.gl/k9sGGe “الإبداع المعرفي: تقييماً وتحفيزاً وعقباتٍ في العالم العربي،” حوار مع أحمد زهاء الدين عبيدات، موقع مؤمنون بلا حدود



  • The West versus the Rest: Strife Over Modernity (First Year Seminar), Spring 2018 and 2019.
  • A Survey of Classical Arab-Islamic Literatures in Translation: Springs 2017, 2018, 2019 and summer 2018.
  • Aspects of Creativity in Arab-Islamic Heritage: Translated Classical Readings, Spring 2015.
  • Major Dimensions of Classical-Medieval Arab-Islamic Civilization: Falls 2012, 2013, 2014, and Spring 2015.
  • Major Dimensions of the Modern Arab World: Springs 2013 and 2014, and Fall 2016.
  • The Language of Qur’an and Hadith: 2007/2008, Falls 2009, 2010, and 2011.
  • Crossing Borders: The Middle East & South Asia (co-taught with South Asia history scholar, Professor Richard Cohen): Spring 2012.
  • Contemporary Arabic Culture and Society: Fall 2010.
  • Teaching Assistant for a course on “Sexual Ethics: Postmodern Perspectives” under the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University in Winter 2006.



  • First year Arabic: Winter 2007, 2008/2009, and Summer 2013.
  • Second year Arabic: Summers:  2002, 2011, 2012, and years 2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, and Fall 2013.
  • Third year Arabic: Spring 2014 and years 2014/2015, 2015/2016, and 2018/2019.
  • Fourth-year Arabic Literature: Prose and Poetry: 2007/2008.
  • Spoken Levantine Arabic Dialect: 2007/2008.
  • Media Arabic: 2007/2008, Springs 2010 and 2011.


Since summer 2002, Dr. Obiedat has taught more than 75 university courses in the four-year levels of Modern Standard Arabic, Spoken Arabic Dialect, and Advanced Media Arabic in line with the ACTFL proficiency method. As for content classes in Arab cultural studies in English, Dr. Obiedat created and taught several new interdisciplinary courses such as “Survey of Arab-Islamic Civilization through Literature.” In this two-semester survey of the literatures and thought of Arab-Islamic civilization from pre-Islamic Arabia to the “Arab uprisings,” the students examined how Arabs: 1) approach their worldly life through fiction; 2) organize their social domain by moral-law; 3) construct their spirituality and worldview through religion; 4) react to nature by science; and 5) attempt to resolve the internal inconsistencies of their Arab-Islamic culture and its external inconsistencies with competing Greek, Persian, Jewish, and Christian cultures through theology, philosophy, and mysticism. He also taught other content classes such as 1) The Language of the Qur’an and Hadith, 2) Aspects of Creativity in Arab-Islamic Heritage: Translated Classical Readings, and 4) The West versus the Rest: Strife Over Modernity (as university-wide First Year Seminar).

Dr. Obiedat is an opinion columnist at the al-Jazeera Arabic website, a member of (MESA) the Middle East Studies Association and the Arab Society of Logic and Epistemology and serves as an Academic Reviewer for Al-Arabiyya Journal, the Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA). His research has been featured in prominent academic journals including the Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, International Journal for Arabic Linguistics and Literature Studies, and Journal of Qu’ranic Studies. His scholarship has been funded by the University of Virginia Jefferson Trust, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Bridging Cultures Grant, and Wake Forest University’s Cradle Initiative.