After completing his PhD in Beirut he became Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Selly Oak Colleges and the University of Birmingham in 1978, and Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham in 1996. In 2005 he moved to Damascus as director of the Danish Institute and Cultural Counsellor at the Danish Embassy. In 2007 he became Danish National Research Foundation Professor of Islamic Studies in Copenhagen, a post which he held until retirement in the summer of 2013. He is now back at the University of Birmingham from January 2016.
He contribute to the project of Oasis “Not an Era of Change, but a Change of Era”.