Prof. Joel Hayward's Books and Articles

Professor Joel Hayward, ZDaF, BA, MA Hons, PhD, FRSA, FRHistS

Professor Joel Hayward, ZDaF, BA, MA Hons, PhD, is a New Zealand/British scholar and author who currently serves as Professor of Strategic Thought at the Rabdan Academy in the United Arab Emirates. The daily newspaper Al Khaleej called him “a world authority on international conflict and strategy”. The National newspaper called Hayward “eminent” and a “distinguished historian of warfare and military strategy”. Kirkus Reviews said that he “is undeniably one of academia’s most visible Islamic thinkers”. He is considered to be one of “the world’s five hundred most influential Muslims,” with his listing in the 2023 edition of The Muslim 500 noting that “he weaves together classical Islamic knowledge and methodologies and the source-critical Western historical method to make innovative yet carefully reasoned sense of complex historical issues that are still important in today’s world.” With the title of Shaykh, Hayward has earned ijazāt (teaching authorizations) in several Islamic sciences. ʿAqīdah (Islamic theology) and Sīrah (the Prophet’s biography) are his main interests. He has held various academic leadership posts, including Director of the Institute for International and Civil Security at Khalifa University (UAE), Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (also at Khalifa University), Head of Air Power Studies at King’s College London, and Dean of the Royal Air Force College (both UK).  

He is the author or editor of seventeen books and major monographs and dozens of peer-reviewed articles, mainly in the fields of strategic studies, military history, the Islamic ethics of war and conflict, and Islamic (esp. seventh-century) and western (esp. twentieth century) history. His best-selling books include a major analysis of German airpower during the Stalingrad campaign and a thematic investigation of Horatio Lord Nelson and his way of war. For the USAF he produced the edited work, Air Power and the Environment: the Ecological Implications of Modern Air Warfare. His recent books include Warfare in the Qurʾān (2012), War is Deceit: An Analysis of a Contentious Hadith on the Morality of Military Deception (2017), Civilian Immunity in Foundational Islamic Strategic Thought: A Historical Enquiry (2019), and The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction. The latter won the prestigious prize of “Best International Non-Fiction Book” at the 2021 Sharjah International Book Awards.  His newest book is The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War (2022). 

Professor Hayward has given strategic advice to political and military leaders in several countries, has given policy advice to prominent sheikhs, and was tutor to His Royal Highness Prince William, Prince of Wales. In 2011 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in 2012 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 2016 he was named as the “Best Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences” at the Middle East Education Leadership Awards. Professor Hayward is also active in the literary arts and has published three books of fiction and four collections of Islamic poetry.

A former competitive amateur boxer and weightlifter, with a first degree in Classical Studies and an MA Hons and PhD in History, Prof Hayward is especially interested in international politics, Just War and the ethics of modern conflict. He also researches and lectures on the Islamic laws and ethics of security. He is interested in both the influence of conflict on Islam and the influence of Islam on conflict.

He is fascinated by comparative religious studies and the impact of religion on politics, and reads the scriptures of the Abrahamic faiths in their original languages (Hebrew, Greek and Arabic). Also able to read Latin and speak or read several modern languages, he has undertaken extensive primary research in Arabic, German and Russian archives.

He was very honored to be featured in a five-page story on his scholarship in the October 2022 issue of the Thelitcham Monthly, an academic-orientated magazine published in Malappuram, Kerala, India in the South Indian Malayalam language. In December 2022, the World Muslim League's Al-Rabita magazine also devoted six pages to a feature article on his life and scholarship

He is currently writing a book on the diplomacy of the Prophet Muhammad and a book for Muslim children on how to understand knowledge, both sacred and scientific.

Visit Prof Hayward's microsite on The Leadership of Muhammad at:

Visit Prof Hayward's microsite on The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War at:

Visit Prof Hayward ORCID page

"This is a remarkably well-researched book that has a solid grasp on both

contemporary scholarship as well as Arabic primary sources." -- Kirkus Reviews

Professor Joel Hayward ZDaF, BA, MA Hons, PhD, FRSA, FRHistS

(This is a copyright free image. The author Joel Hayward has placed this image in the public domain.)

Kirkus Reviews said that Hayward, who is "undeniably one of academia’s most visible Islamic thinkers," had produced "a learned history of Islam and Muhammad that succeeds in its goal of providing contemporary and future managers with valuable insights from his life on successful leadership strategies". Kirkus praised the book’s "full command of Islamic theology and the Arabic language as well as its rich endnotes," and concluded that it "eschews academic and religious jargon for an accessible narrative geared toward the general public, both Muslim and non-Muslim."

From LoveReading:

The Leadership of Muhammad is “insightful and intellectual”. Looking “not only at the theological texts, Hayward references early Arabic sources to examine the ways that Muhammad excelled during his twenty-three years as a leader.” The book is “authoritative and informative” and the writing is “clear and accessible throughout, making it easy to comprehend for non-academic purposes … Whether you’re looking for a book of History, Islamic studies, or an interesting look into great leadership, The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction has plenty to offer.”

— “Indie Books We Love”, LoveReading, 12 October 2021

The San Francisco Review of Books called The Leadership of Muhammad “ground breaking,” with reviewer Foluso Falaye describing it as “a great source of knowledge about Muhammad and the beginning of Islam.” He wrote that its “critical approach will appeal to academic minds, although the language is simple and direct enough to carry all readers along.” He added that, “in addition to being historically informative, it offers valuable lessons about leadership that could help world leaders, decision makers, teachers, and people from all walks of life to communicate and lead better.”

For Reading Addicts:

"Hayward approaches the life of Muhammad with remarkable scholarly detachment and objectivity. He had previously published books on non-Islamic leaders, including Horatio Lord Nelson, and his approach to all of them is the same. Avoiding hagiography, he creates a psychologically believable portrait of Muhammad by critically interrogating the earliest sources and by explaining Muhammad’s ideas, actions and patterns of behavior in terms of the historical, geographical and cultural context in which he lived. … Hayward’s book is compactly written and argued. In only 179 tightly written pages he creates a thorough and detailed explanation of what Muhammad thought and did as a leader. He studiously avoids psychobabble and recourse to the types of modern leadership concepts and jargon that ruin so many historical accounts by making anachronistic assertions that couldn’t possibly be true. … I strongly recommend The Leadership of Muhammad. It is a ground-breaking, meticulously researched, objective account of the leadership of one of history’s most influential humans. Hayward tells us a lot in a few words, but what he reveals is highly illuminating and of wide interest.

—  Mohamed A. Amer, For Reading Addicts

A representative review of his poetry:

 "[Joel Hayward] is a very skilful and gifted poet whose way with words is impressive. His poems are easy to understand, highly pertinent and equally spiritually profound, that is to say, this collection of poems are much more than poetry; they also provide a powerful commentary on the social, political, moral and religious challenges and difficulties currently facing Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The fact that he is able to do this in an elegant, evocative and inspiring way is an added bonus. ... The poem titled The Voyage of a Scholar … is a beautiful example of how the poet is able to blend the personal, emotional, spiritual and existential dimensions of human experience, and do so without in any way over-playing or undermining any aspect. This is a very rare skill for a poet to possess. ... This is one of the best collections of Islamic poems I have read for some time; a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims.”

— Muhammad Khan
The Muslim News, Issue 276
Friday 27 April 2012