Mathias Ghyoot

2nd-year Ph.D. student
Jones Hall

Mathias Ghyoot is a PhD student in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He studies the social and intellectual history of the modern Middle East and South Asia with a particular interest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Islamic reformism.

Mathias is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Brothers Behind Bars: A History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, 1948-1975 (forthcoming with Oxford University Press). Based on more than two hundred prison memoirs written by both Muslim Brothers and Sisters, the book tells the harrowing, yet fascinating story of the Muslim Brotherhood’s thirty-year period of imprisonment, and takes the reader on a rare journey behind the prison walls to show how radicals and moderates, ministers and intelligence officers, clerics and jailors, were embroiled in an epic battle to define Islam in modern Egypt. Mathias is, moreover, working on a translation – from Arabic into English – of the award-winning debut novel, The Long Road (al-Tariq al-Tawil), published in 1958 by writer and member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Nagib al-Kilani (d. 1995).

Mathias obtained a M.A. in Islamic Studies with distinction from the University of Copenhagen in 2021, and received the Nordic Society for Middle Eastern Studies (NSMES) Award for Best M.A. Thesis in 2022. Mathias also holds a B.A. in Arabic and Religious Studies from the University of Copenhagen, and in 2018 completed the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES) Program at the American University of Beirut.

Mathias has conducted fieldwork and archival research across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, and is proficient in Arabic (MSA and Egyptian/Levantine Colloquial) and Urdu.

Selected Publications

Brothers Behind Bars: A History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, 1948-1975 (under contract with Oxford University Press)

“Paradise on Earth: How the Muslim Brotherhood Built a ‘Virtuous City’ (al-madina al-fadila) in ʿAbd al-Nasir’s Prisons”, in Simon Wolfgang Fuchs and Thomas Pierret (eds.), Utopias in the Middle East and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023) (forthcoming)

“Debating the Duty of Transnational Jihad in Twentieth Century Radical Islamism”, in Mona Kanwal Sheikh and Saer El-Jaichi (eds.), Transnational Jihadism: Theological Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023) (forthcoming)

“Supporters and Opponents: A History of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Second Prison Ordeal, 1954-1964,” Middle Eastern Studies (2023), 59(3):478-501

“Ahlam al-Nasr and the Islamic State’s Justification for Execution by Burning”, in Omar Anchassi and Robert Gleave (eds.), Islamic Law in Context: A Primary Source Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023)

“’Nay, We Obeyed God When We Burned Him’: Debating Immolation (Tahriq) Between the Islamic State and al-Qaʿida”, in Mustafa Baig and Robert Gleave (eds.), Violence in Islamic Thought from European Imperialism to the Post-Colonial Era (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021)

“Signs of the Merciful: ʿAbdullah ʿAzzam (d. 1989) and the Miraculous Chronicles of the Afghan Jihad, 1982-1992,” Journal of Religion and Violence (2019), 7(2):92-127