Professor Joel Hayward is a New Zealand-born scholar, writer and poet who has held various academic posts, including Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Khalifa University and Dean of the Royal Air Force College. He was elected as a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society. He has earned ijazas in ʿAqīdah and Sirah. He is the author or editor of many books of non-fiction.
Joel is also active in the literary arts and has published both fiction and poetry. His first poetry collection, Lifeblood, appeared in 2003 to excellent reviews, and his second, Splitting the Moon: A Collection of Islamic Poetry, appeared in 2012 to equally strong praise. His poems have appeared in many literary journals and Islamic magazines.
From the Straight Path, his third major collection, includes poems about his conversion to Islam, his religious journey, experiences and observations as a Western Muslim, and thoughts on the state of the Ummah. It also includes more intimate poems on love, worship and the struggle for the overthrow of the nafs (ego). He writes his poetry to capture events each day in the way that some people keep a diary. They are therefore deeply personal, yet reflect the ever-changing world around him.