NEWS | 13 Aug 2019
SPOTLIGHT :: India’s Criminalization of Extrajudicial Divorce 
The Indian legislature recently passed a legislative response to the country’s Supreme Court decision two years ago condemning a form of extrajudicial divorce in India, by which Muslim men pronounce the Arabic word for divorce three times (“ triple  ṭalāq “) and claim the practice to be authorized by classical Islamic law. The judges in the 2017 Shayara Bano case called their claim into question, and asked Parliament to intervene . In reviewing the case, LUMS Professor and SHARIAsource editor Zubair Abbasi in Pakistan noted that the Court had outlawed the practice of triple  ṭalāq   because it violated Muslim women’s constitutional rights . The Court gave the legislature six months to pass legislation that would address the problem. The legislature took up the charge but only passed legislation two years later, earlier this summer in 2019. Reviewing that legislation, Abbasi now assesses whether the law can protect women through criminalizing the practice among the men : "The Act, as its name suggests, is to protect the rights of married Muslim women by safeguarding them from being instantly divorced by their husbands. The Act does so by declaring triple  ṭalāq  to be 'void and illegal' and subjecting the offender husbands to imprisonment of three years and an unspecified fine."  Critics of the law raise concerns that it will prosecute Muslim men but has not taken affirmative measures to protect women. Abbasi's concedes to the critics' concerns and underscor es the importance of focusing on how the law might protect Muslim women. Read more . Image credit: BBC
New Legislation :: Muslim Women Act of 2019 [India]
In  Shayara Bano v. Union of India  (2017), the Supreme Court of India declared the practice of triple  ṭalāq  (instant divorce) to be an unconstitutional violation of Muslim women’s rights. Recently passed legislation, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act of 2019 is the legislative response to that judgment . It criminalizes the practice of extrajudicial divorce through triple  ṭalāq with the aim of protecting Muslim women subjected to it. Read more . Image credit: India Today
NEWS: New PIL Website
We are happy to announce the launch of our new program website . Here, you can meet the evolving group of dynamic professors, fellows, and students working in the field, find out about  our events at Harvard, and discover the range of global events and opportunities through a constantly updated clearinghouse of  jobs, conferences/CFPs, and grants in Islamic legal studies and related fields around the world.  Scholars may be especially interested in our  fellowship announcements , publications , and projects . Students can learn about relevant courses at Harvard and area schools, opportunities for travel grants , and an annual paper prize sponsored by the dean’s office at HLS.  A one-stop shop for all things related to the academic study of Islamic law and history.  Image credit: PIL
Program in Islamic Law News
Job Opening: Associate Director. The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School  is recruiting a Cambridge-based  Associate Director  with top-notch research, development, and program management skills to administer the Program, with particular emphasis on  expanding partnerships and  its online portal combining Islamic law and  digital humanities or  science  tools Associate Director details.

Job Opening: Software Engineer.  The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is looking for a software engineer to join the team developing digital tools for the SHARIAsource online portal for Islamic law. The software engineer will work closely with the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS), the Program on Islamic Law, and the Harvard Libraries to develop tools to mine library collections for source material, leverage Arabic OCR and data visualization tools for historical Arabic texts, and develop scalable analytical tools for research. Software Engineer details.

Book Publication. We are pleased to announce that the forthcoming publication of an English translation of Al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, the Royal Moroccan Edition: The Recension of Yaḥyā Ibn Yaḥyā al-Laythī , edited and translated by Professor Mohammad Fadel (University of Toronto Faculty of Law) and Professor Connell Monette (American Academy Casablanca). This book will be the first in our Program’s new  Harvard Series in Islamic Law . The translation will be released this Fall, together with an Online Companion that provides biographies of key figures in the book, maps, and more, on the  SHARIAsource Portal . See excerpts from the translators.
Features on the ISLAMICLAW blog

Scholarship Roundup :: Recent Islamic law scholarship featured this month includes:  Adeel Hussain ’s paper on Muslim nationality in late colonial India; Susanna Mancini ’s paper on the shift in the ratio of European measures regulating Muslim women’s clothing; Avi Rubin’ s book on the relevance of 1876 Yildiz case to present day Turkey; a book on the range of needs and challenges related to familial practices edited by Marja Tiilikainen , Mulki Al-Sharmani , and Sanna Mustasaari ; a paper on the EU law  legislation and cases addressing religion by  Peter Oliver  and  Philippa Watson ; Béligh Elbalti ’s chapter on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment in matters relating to filiation; a chapter from Mālik’s  Muwaṭṭaʾ   on the earliest Muslim community performing Hajj, edited and translated by Mohammad Fadel  and  Connell Monnette; Ihsan Yilmaz ’s paper on Islamic  legal perspectives governing individuals’ relationships with God; and a paper by Nafiseh Ghafournia and Patricia L. Easteal on Muslim immigrant DV survivors in New South Wales.

Global Events: Islamic Legal Studies

Conference :: Political Theology Network Conference (17-19 Oct 2019 | New York, NY). “Political Theology” covers a multidisciplinary field of research that engages the unwieldy relationship between religion and politics out of a desire for justice. This conference will extend this engagement by bringing together scholars, activists, artists, and religious leaders working both inside and outside the academy. Professor Intisar Rabb will be one of the speakers at this conference, which features over 70 presentations of projects and papers. Space is limited, so please register by Oct 11. Details .

Conference :: MESA Annual Meeting (14-17 Nov 2019 | New Orleans, LA). This conference features 305 panels and special sessions on a variety of topics related to Middle East studies, and is complemented by meetings of MESA's affiliated groups, an exciting 4-day film festival, a comprehensive book bazaar featuring the latest books and software in the field, and other informal events. Pre-registration is available until Oct 24. Details .

Conference :: Constitution-Making and Constitutional Change (17-18 Jan 2020 | Austin, TX). This conference features concurrent panels in which submitted works-in-progress will be the focus of discussion; and a series of plenary lectures delivered by the Comparative Constitutionalism faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. Submissions due Sep 1. Details .

Opportunities: Jobs, Fellowships, CFPs

Call for Applications :: Faculty Position in Islamic Studies, Harvard Divinity School . This is a tenure-track position. The successful candidate will work closely with all levels of students in Harvard’s religion programs. We are particularly interested in a candidate with scholarly expertise either in Islam in the Americas, Islam in Southeast Asia, or Qurʾānic studies. The candidate should be competent in the appropriate research languages and conversant with the broader, global history of Islamic religion and culture. Please submit cover letter, CV, writing sample, and three references. Review of applications will begin in September. Details .

Call for Applications :: Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, California State University at Long Beach . This position will teach courses in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Candidates should have expertise in public policy, public health, or non-profit or community-based organizing; with a focus on Asian diaspora or Asian-American communities; or Muslim countries, cultures, or communities. Please submit cover letter, CV, three letters of recommendation, two syllabi, writing sample, transcript, and a diversity statement by Oct 15 . Details .

Call for Applications :: Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship . Radcliffe fellows are exceptional scientists, writers, scholars, public intellectuals, and artists whose work is making a difference in their professional fields and in the larger world. With access to Harvard’s unparalleled resources, Radcliffe fellows develop new tools and methods, challenge artistic and scholarly conventions, and illuminate our past and our present. The deadline for applications in humanities, social sciences, and creative arts is Sep 12 . Details .

Call for Nominations :: Harold Berman Prize for Excellence in Law & Religion Scholarship. This annual award, presented by the Association of American Law Schools, Section on Law and Religion, recognizes a paper that “has made an outstanding scholarly contribution to the field of law and religion.” To be eligible, a paper must be published by a faculty member or fellow at an AALS Member School with no more than 10 years’ experience between July 15, 2018 and July 15, 2019. Self-nominations are accepted. Nominations should include the name of the author, the title of the paper, a statement of eligibility, and a brief rationale for choosing the paper for the award, and should be sent to Christopher Lund at by Aug 15 . The winner will receive an award plaque at the AALS annual meeting in January 2020. Details .

Call for Applications :: Middle East Studies Association Awards. MESA is inviting nominations for the graduate student paper prize ( Aug 31 ) and undergraduate education award ( Aug 31 ). Details .

Call for Papers :: “Acts of Excommunication” in the Late Antique and Early Islamicate Middle East (12-13 Mar 2020 | Leiden, Netherlands) . This workshop will help illuminate the dynamics implicit in the act of excommunication and associated practices: ostracism, anathema, and other forms of religio-social exclusion, among the major religious communities of the Islamicate world, 600-1200 CE. Please send abstracts of 300 words to by Oct 1 . Details .

Call for Papers/Posters :: Digital Methods and Resources in Legal History (19-20 Mar 2020 | Frankfurt, Germany). We invite researchers to present collections, databases, gazetteers, and similar resources of relevance to legal history, but also to show how they have been put to use in concrete project contexts. Note that we explicitly invite reports about research questions, projects, or approaches that have failed to find or create digital means to work with in a satisfactory manner, too. Please email proposals for papers (up to 1,200 words) and posters (up to 500 words) to by Sep 15 . Details .

Call for Papers :: Women and Gender Studies in the Middle East (Mar 2021 | Beirut, Lebanon). The Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) is inviting submissions for an international conference. A variety of topics are welcome, including politics, economics, history, sexualities, culture, arts, and digital humanities. Please email abstracts (250 words) to by Oct 30 . Details .

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