ILSP Newsletter, May 2015
Note from the Directors
Through the snowiest Cambridge winter on record and a much-welcomed spring, ILSP settled into its new patterns, rhythms, and ways of operating. Our faculty Directors both taught an array of classes - some of which related to Islamic law - and the Program sponsored a full and varied slate of activities and events. We held a workshop on Islamic family law, with academics and lawyers from around the world; our Visiting Fellows presented their research and contributed to Program projects; we created opportunities for students to engage in both events and research; and we enlarged our digital footprint by building a more robust online presence.

As the Program moves into its second full year with two Directors, we look forward to enjoying an increased scope of events and activities related to each Director's interests. Professor Intisar Rabb's SHARIAsource project is making substantial progress in collecting resources and providing a platform for scholarly analysis on historical and contemporary issues of Islamic law. Professor Kristen Stilt's Animals, Law, and Religion project is also gathering steam, with events planned for next year that will gather both scholars and religious leaders to discuss some of the most timely issues at the intersection of animals, law, and religion. Building on the strengths of our new Visiting Fellows, Professor Stilt will host an event on the treatment of animals slaughtered for human consumption, to name one activity, and she will also organize a workshop on the intersection of animals, religion, and constitutional law, such as the provision in the new Egyptian constitution requiring the state to provide for animal welfare.

We lay out more information on many of these items and others below, so please read on. We look forward to sharing additional news with you in the fall. In the meantime, we invite you to check our website or follow us on Twitter for summer news and announcements.

If you have any questions or would like to be involved, or to sign up for our mailing list, please drop us a line. We can be reached at

Intisar Rabb            Kristen Stilt
ILSP offers hearty congratulations to the more than 700 JD, LLM, and SJD students who graduated from Harvard Law School on May 28 amidst a full slate of Commencement activities. The Program has been fortunate to have known and worked with many of these young scholars in various capacities: student, research assistant, event organizer, and enthusiastic participant in Program activities. We offer our best wishes for success in the varied endeavors on which they now embark. Congratulations HLS Class of 2015!
This year, ILSP established the Islamic Legal Studies Program Writing Prize on Islamic Law, an annual prize of $1,000, to be given to the Harvard Law School student writing the best paper in the field of Islamic law or on the intersection between other religious legal traditions and Islamic law. This year's winner is Marzieh Tofighi Darian (LLM '15), for her paper, "Jurisprudential Differences in Sunn? Law and Sh?'? Law and Their Impact on Constitutional Drafting and Design." The competition was stiff, with many excellent submissions. We would also like give honorable mention to our two finalists for the prize: Akhila Kolisetty (JD '15) for her paper, "Victims, Not Perpetrators:  Legal Reform and Constitutionality of Zin? and Rape Law in Pakistan," and to Robert Taj Moore (JD '15) for his paper on "Islamic Law, Settlement, and Minority Protection."
Staff Changes     
As of June 30, ILSP will bid farewell to Rashid Alvi, Deputy Director since January 2014. Alvi guided the Program's relaunch, bringing his expertise in building start-ups to bear on ILSP strategic planning and operations. Alvi returns to his family in Southern California and will rejoin his management and deal consulting practice full-time. In addition, we would like to offer our thanks to Reina Gattuso (Harvard College '15), who cheerfully and ably assisted us with a wide variety of projects and tasks over the past year. Capping off a stellar Harvard stint, Gattuso will travel this summer to India on an Artist Development Fellowship to work on a creative nonfiction project that explores the infrastructure of spiritual pilgrimage in North India. She'll remain in India for the next year on a Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Fellowship. Kudos, Reina, and thank you for your work at ILSP.
visitingfellowsVisiting Fellows     
ILSP's Visiting Fellows Program provides opportunities for outstanding scholars to undertake research, writing, and scholarly engagement on Islamic law in ways that span traditional and interdisciplinary academic disciplines consistent with the Program's mission. ILSP bids a fond farewell and thank you to the past year's Visiting Fellows, D?rthe Engelcke and Meagan Froemming. After graduating with a DPhil from the University of Oxford this summer, Engelcke will be based at  the Centre Jacques Berque in Morocco to conduct research on the Moroccan judges' club and civil society. In the fall she will begin a fellowship at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the Georg-August-University G?ttingen, Germany. Froemming plans to move to Washington, DC, where she will pursue a career in defense consulting.

As we bid our good-byes to our current cohort, we look forward with anticipation to hosting our fellows for the upcoming academic year. We are fortunate to have two new Visiting Fellows, Febe Armanios and Bo?a? A. Ergene, arriving in September.
Armanios is Associate Professor of History at Middlebury College. She specializes in the history of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and her research is centered on comparative religious practices (from pilgrimage and the veneration of saints to food customs), communal identity, and gender roles. She is the author of Coptic Christianity in Ottoman Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011), as well as several articles published in journals such as Middle Eastern Studies, Muslim World, and the International Journal of Middle East Studies. She has been awarded fellowships from the American Research Institute in Turkey, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Philanthropic Education Organization, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation, among others.
Ergene is Associate Professor of History at University of Vermont. A scholar of Ottoman history, he is a co-editor of the Brill book series, The Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage. Ergene is also the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in ?ank?r? and Kastamonu (1652-1744) (Brill, 2003) and editor of Judicial Practice: Institutions and Agents in the Islamic World (Brill, 2009). In addition, he has published articles in major history, law, and economic history journals, including the I nternational Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Economic History, Economic History Review, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Law and Social Inquiry, and Islamic Law and Society. Ergene's research has received support in the past from many institutions, including the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Sciences Research Council, and American Research Institute in Turkey.
At ILSP, Armanios and Ergene will work on a joint project exploring the evolution of halal food (food that is Islamically permissible) dictums and practices in the Islamic tradition, more specifically, how Muslim jurists - from medieval to modern periods - have negotiated and reinterpreted understandings of halal to address a variety of internal and external challenges. Halal food traditions have been at the center of belief and practice within Islamic history, from the religion's rise up to the present. What to eat, what to avoid, restrictions on alcohol, smoking, or coffee, and so on served to distinguish Muslim communities from other religious groups and to imprint religion in the daily lives of believers. In their project, Armanios and Ergene investigate categorical associations of halal practice as embedded in the Qur'an, ahadith, as well as jurisprudential sources. They will explore dietary provisions such as those governing alcohol consumption, the prohibition of the pig, animal slaughter, and butchery. Their research into legal sources will be supplemented by historical chronicles and travel accounts, as well as modern legal discussions and constitutional interpretations.
Winter and spring were busy times in the development of SHARIAsource - the portal designed to house sources of Islamic law and commentary about it. We are delighted to announce that SHARIAsource is now a joint project of ILSP and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The Berkman Center was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. It represents a network of faculty, students, fellows, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and virtual architects working to identify and engage with the challenges and opportunities of technology and networked communications. Additionally, the Cyberlaw Clinic, which is housed in the Berkman Center, will provide legal advice on intellectual property issues. The Berkman Center's expertise and experience will enrich and greatly increase the chances of success for SHARIAsource. We have also been working with student contributors at Harvard, institutional collaborators at the Australian Catholic University, and guest editors from all over the world to build initial content for the portal in advance of the beta launch later this year. For more on the exciting activities brewing around SHARIAsource, read this feature in the Harvard Magazine!
Each fall, Harvard Law School students are invited to submit travel grant proposals to secure funding for proposed research trips related to work on or the study of Islamic law. All projects associated with Islamic law or with the legal systems of Muslim countries qualify, internships included. This year, HLS 3L Paul Lee received an ILSP travel grant to fund his January-term research on Islamic securities regulation in Dubai. During his trip to Dubai, Lee met with high-level regulators and practitioners at leading international law firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre in order to gain a better understanding of: (1) how laws on the books were interpreted in practice, including which provisions and developments were most noteworthy to practitioners, (2) how various elements of a transaction were implemented as a practical matter, and (3) current areas of focus and challenges facing the industry. Lee reported that, "the interviews proved crucial in narrowing down questions of real - world importance - a task that could not be done with written sources alone."
familylawworkshopWorkshop on Islamic Family Law  
On February 13, ILSP brought together some twenty academics and legal practitioners from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Europe, and the United States to explore issues in Islamic family law reform in recent decades. The exchange between activists and academics was particularly fruitful as it highlighted theoretical issues as well as practical concerns that are at stake during processes of family law reform. Special consideration was given to the actors and institutions engaged in Islamic family law reform and to explaining variations in the composition of actors across cases as well as to mechanisms and justifications for reform. Overall, the comparative approach proved particularly productive as it allowed for a systematic assessment of the variations and commonalities of Islamic family law reform in the MENA region.
Visiting Fellows' Workshops 
In a shift away from the lecture format employed in previous years, the Program in 2014-2015 instead held workshops on papers-in-progress authored by Visiting Fellows. This new format was found to be successful and productive by both our Fellows and workshop participants.

On March 4, Meagan Froemming presented "The Promise of Culturally-Specific Development: Using Islamic Finance to Grow Rule of Law in Afghanistan," exploring the use of shari'a-compliant finance as a means to encourage economic and rule of law development in emerging and post-conflict economies. She theorizes in her work that the formalizing impact of shari'a-compliant financial products on developing economies will, if employed in places where culturally relevant, effectively engender security and predictability across multiple juridical sectors. In the case of Afghanistan, in particular, she argues that by acceding to existing demand for robust shari'a-compliant financing products, the Afghan government and the international aid community can more effectively initiate integrative processes of establishing and maintaining the formal legal structures required for modern, independent statehood.

On March 11, D?rthe Engelcke presented her paper, "The Implementation of the 2004 Family Law in Morocco: The Limits of Authoritarianism and the Prevalence of Conflicting Narratives." The paper critically assessed the implementation of the 2004 Moroccan family law and how different state and  non-state actors engage with the law on the ground. The presentation was followed by a fruitful discussion about law and development and ways in which the state attempts to change social behavior through the law.
Asma Jahangir Visits ILSP
On March 4, Asma Jahangir, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and Partner, AGHS Law Associates, who was at Harvard to deliver the 10th Annual Tsai Lecture, met with ILSP Deputy Director Rashid Alvi and several students. The group had a wide-ranging discussion on human rights in Pakistan, application of Islamic law and its intersection with women's rights, Jahangir's career, and strategies for advocates.
ILSP held a special coffee hour for HLS graduate students on March 24 in Austin 102, ILSP's newly refurbished "headquarters." The event was an informal gathering, providing an opportunity for LLM and SJD students, faculty, staff, and visiting fellows to get to know one another and exchange thoughts, ideas, and information about their interests - professional and otherwise.
On April 7, ILSP hosted a showing of "Bastards," a documentary by award-winning film maker Deborah Perkin about a young Moroccan woman's struggle to gain legal recognition for her illegitimate child. Following the film, we held a special Q&A session with Perkin via Skype. An enthusiastic audience engaged with Perkin on a wide range of questions about the film and its stars, the film-making process, and her thoughts on the future of laws regarding illegitimacy and related topics in Morocco. To learn more about the film and the film maker, see Perkin's website.
Professor Rabb's Book Talk on Doubt in Islamic Law 
On April 8, the Harvard Law School Library hosted a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor Intisar Rabb's recently published book, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law. Rabb was joined by panelists Professor Roy Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History and Professor  Adriaan Lanni, Professor of Law. Order the book from Cambridge University Press or
On April 15, Dr. Ali Mihirig, former Libyan Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, gave a lecture entitled, "On Anarchy and Government: The Arab Fall in Libya." Mihirig's governmental role during one of Libya's most volatile periods allowed for a most interesting perspective as he spoke about Libya's political transition and constitutional challenges post-revolution and its volatile path to democracy. Mihirig is a Libyan-Canadian professional engineer and holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia. He is the president of AM Power Systems Inc. and specializes in energy and electrical power distribution. Mihirig was a Gaddafi dissident and has resided since 1981 in Canada, where he was outspoken against the Libyan dictatorial regime and published numerous articles calling for democracy and the rule of law. The discussion after the talk was moderated by Professor Noah Feldman.
FJCeventFaculty Directors Present at Federal Judicial Center Event 
In mid-April, ILSP Directors Intisar Rabb and Kristen Stilt presented at the 2015 Law and Society Program. Organized by the Federal Judicial Center, the program hosts judges from around the US for three days of learning and discussion led by Harvard Law School professors.

Professor Rabb discussed a forthcoming article in the Suffolk Law Review, "Against Kadijustiz: On the Negative Citation of Foreign Law in Statutory Interpretation." She argued that, in debates about the judicial citation of foreign law, judges are arguing about values, but they often do not acknowledge the values that they are debating or give specific reasons for why they prefer one over the other in their majority and dissenting opinions - preferring instead to adopt negative models of foreign law against which to make very general claims. For a review and critique of the article, see Haider Hamoudi's recent post, "Judge on Cushions Under Trees: Thoughts on 'Qadi Justice' and Hyperpolemics."

Professor Stilt's talk was entitled "Constitutional Animals: Promoting Animal Welfare through Constitutions in India, Germany, and Egypt." She focused on the process by which animal advocates in Egypt successfully lobbied for the inclusion of protection for animals in the constitution and showed how they used a combination of arguments based in science as well as Islamic, Egyptian, and international law. More generally, she talked about constitutional law as a means to improve the status of animals, comparing the new case of Egypt to the examples of Germany and India.

For more on these articles, see the ILSP Scholarship and Publications section below.
ILSP faculty and fellows participated in a range of other events during the Spring 2015 semester. Some of these are listed below.

On February 11, Professor Kristen Stilt, with Professor Matthew Stephenson, provided commentary for a talk by Sarah Chayes on her new book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. Chayes is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and an expert in South Asia policy, kleptocracy and anticorruption, and civil-military relations.

On April 14, D?rthe Engelcke, ILSP Visiting Fellow, presented "Reforming Contested Issues of Islamic Family Law: Morocco and Jordan Compared" at the Middle East beyond Borders Graduate Student Workshop convened by Professor Malika Zeghal. Engelcke's paper surveyed a range of contested issues that were debated prior to the issuing of the 2004 Moroccan and the 2010 Jordanian family code, and the various legal suggestions made by state actors, secular feminists, as well as Islamists.
An interview with Professor Intisar Rabb and ILSP Deputy Director Rashid Alvi focusing on ILSP's SHARIAsource project was featured in the May-June issue of Harvard Magazine. The article covers the history and development of the project, and Rabb's vision for its future.

In late March and early April, Professor Intisar Rabb traveled to Brunei to give talks on and to discuss the new Islamic criminal law code passed in 2014 (Syariah Penal Law of 2014), as well as the Islamic criminal procedure code. Read local accounts of the visit in the Borneo Bulletin and Brunei Times
Professor Intisar Rabb's most recent book, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law [Cambridge Series in Islamic Civilization] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), considers an important and largely neglected area of Islamic law by exploring how medieval Muslim jurists resolved criminal cases that could not be proved beyond a doubt. It calls into question a controversial popular notion about Islamic law today, which is that Islamic law is a divine legal tradition that has little room for discretion or doubt, particularly in Islamic criminal law. Despite its contemporary popularity, that notion turns out to have been far outside the mainstream of Islamic law for most of its history. Instead of rejecting doubt, medieval Muslim scholars largely embraced it. In fact, they used doubt to construct Islamic criminal law itself. Through a close examination of legal, historical, and theological sources and a rage of illustrative case studies, this book shows that Muslim jurists developed a highly sophisticated and regulated system for dealing with Islam's unique concept of doubt, through the deployment of legal maxims over the course of the seventh to sixteenth centuries.

kadijustizIn Professor Rabb's forthcoming article, "Against Kadijustiz: On the Negative Citation of Foreign Law in Statutory Interpretation," she argues that, in debates about the judicial citation of foreign law, judges are arguing about values, but they often do not acknowledge the values that they are debating or give specific reasons for why they prefer one over the other in their majority and dissenting opinions - preferring instead to adopt negative models of foreign law against which to make very general claims. She identifies one example of this phenomenon as the American judicial citation of "kadijustiz" - a term introduced by Max Weber and popularized by Justice Frankfurter in a 1949 decision to refer to arbitrariness. But this is wrong for two reasons. First, it is inaccurate, as Islamic legal historians have long pointed out in detailing Islamic judicial procedure in Maml?k, Ottoman, and other courts from the medieval to early modern periods. Second, judicial citation of kadijustiz obscures the reasons for adopting certain values over others in contested judicial decision-making, thereby weakening invoking-judges' arguments overall.

Professor Kristen Stilt's article, "Contextualizing Constitutional Islam: The Malaysian Experience," is forthcoming in the next issue of the International Journal of Constitutional Law. The incorporation of references to Islam and Islamic law (such as the establishment of Islam as the state religion) in modern constitutions is now a recognized phenomenon. The scholarship on these clauses has been focused on an examination of their judicial interpretations, with some attention to the historical contexts of their adoptions. A deeper contextual inquiry into the adoption, or rejection, of these clauses promises a more meaningful understanding of the phenomenon of constitutional Islam - in historical and contemporary settings - than has yet been achieved. The article proposes a contextual approach to constitutional Islam and uses it to examine the making of the Federation of Malaya independence constitution of 1957. In examining both the dynamics within the country and the international context in which the constitutional drafting process took place, this article shows that the establishment clause was attached to debates about many other constitutional issues and that its adoption was ultimately an attempt to provide another avenue of constitutional advantage for ethnic Malays.

At ILSP's Family Law Workshop in February, Professor Stilt presented a paper entitled "Strategies for Muslim Family Law Reform." This article, drawing mainly on examples from Egypt and Morocco, seeks to identify and examine the breadth of family law reform strategies in Sunni Islam. By naming and defining them, the article facilitates discussion and research in this area, among academics and those engaged in reform projects alike, in several specific ways. First, the article encourages empirical studies of the practical impact of reforms. Second, it draws attention to the potential unintended consequences produced by each type of strategy. Third, and related to the first two, it contributes to a larger conversation about the benefits and disadvantages of approaches rooted in Islamic law, on a case by case basis and as a whole, in comparison with other ways that might be used to achieve legal improvements for women and children.

Professor Stilt's working paper "Constitutional Animals," presented at the Federal Judicial Center event described above, starts with the observation that very few countries provide protections for animals in their constitutions. In 2014, Egypt joined this small club. Its constitution requires the state to provide for "kind treatment of animals" in Article 45, which otherwise deals mainly with the environment. A constitutional guarantee of animal welfare - for the animals' own sake, and not limited to animals as resources for human use - seems unlikely in the Egyptian context. In world surveys of animal welfare, Egypt places very poorly, receiving, for example, an "F" from the organization World Animal Protection in 2014. This paper seeks to explain how the constitutional provision was adopted, and focuses on the strategies and arguments used by the Egyptian animal advocates who were instrumental in the process. Based on primary and secondary sources, interviews, and participant observation, the paper shows how the advocates deployed arguments ranging from science to Egyptian, Islamic, and international law. The paper is a narrative account of the emergence of Article 45's language and also, more broadly, an examination of how a social movement determines its frame of reference in a society where a broad range of arguments can be effective while at the same time arguments based in Islam have a particular relevance. 
PLANS FOR 2015-2016
Courses by ILSP Directors 
ILSP Director Professor Kristen Stilt will teach two Spring Semester courses. Islamic Law: Human Rights Advocacy in the Muslim World will address difficult questions at the intersection of human rights law and some interpretations of Islamic law. Animal Law will introduce students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals, and will include significant attention to the laws of other countries and to international law. Professor Intisar Rabb will be on teaching leave, as the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in academic year 2015-2016. For other courses related to Islamic law at Harvard University, see the Courses page on the ILSP website.
Fellowship Applications for 2016-2017 
ILSP's Visiting Fellows Program provides opportunities for outstanding scholars to undertake research, writing, and scholarly engagement on Islamic law in ways that span traditional and interdisciplinary academic disciplines consistent with the Program's mission. ILSP welcomes applicants with a JD, SJD, PhD or other comparable terminal degree from any field of study who are interested in spending a year in residence at Harvard Law School working on outstanding scholarly projects relating to one of ILSP's three research streams: Islamic Law and Legal History, Islamic Law and Society, or Islamic Law Themes in Digital Humanities. We expect to open the application process for the 2016-2017 academic year in late summer. Stay tuned for the announcement, or check the Fellowships page on the ILSP website.

Islamic Legal Studies Program

Harvard Law School

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Cambridge, MA 02138

Tel: (+1) 617-496-3941