NEWS |  11 Apr 2018
Avoiding Execution in a Medieval Andalusian Court:
Religious Belief versus Judicial Procedure
Cases of religious dissent in courts in the Andalusian Umayyad Caliphate provide insight into how one Islamic judicial system established procedures protecting non-Muslim constituents without undermining the sovereignty of the Islamic government.  Dr. Maribel Fierro of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (The Spanish National Research Council) examines one such case as related by tenth-century biographer Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī, in which a Cordovan judge, Aslam b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, is asked to decide the case of a Christian man who wished to be executed, even though he had committed no crime. He wished to die in imitation of Jesus. The Christian man claimed that, like Jesus, his true self, his spiritual self, would not feel pain if violently treated, and that only his earthly self would die. The judge ordered the Christian flogged in order to disprove that claim. This move "emphasizes the necessity of a ‘common sense’ approach to dispensing justice, given the probability that the claimants will act in folly." Furthermore, "the narrative presents violent penalties as a tool employable at the judge’s discretion," which, in this case, enabled the judge to acknowledge the desire of the Christian without acceding to his beliefs in court as a matter of law. Read more. Image credit : Abd-ar-Rahman III and his court in Medina Azahara receiving the Monk Juan de Gorza in 959 AD, by Dionisio Baixeras Verdaguer/Qatar Foundation
CASE :: The Case of the Christian Who Wanted to be Executed
Maribel Fierro   translates Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī's report of a case from the Umayyad West, in which a Christian man appeared before the judge Aslam b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, petitioning to be executed. The judge rebuked the man because he had committed no crime. The Christian contested that he wished to die as an act of virtue, as had Jesus, and further claimed that he would feel no pain because only his earthly body would perish. The judge ordered him flogged to disprove the Christian man's claims and avoid execution. Read more. Image credit: Ken Welsh/Getty Images
A Petition to the Ottoman Sultan from Egypt, 1155 AH (1742-3)
James Baldwin   of the University of London examines the close links between the Ottoman Empire's two methods of dispute resolution in two different venues: the sharīʿa courts and the Dīvān-i Hümāyūn (The Imperial Council). While the former was more procedural, the latter is understood to have been more patrimonial by virtue of the Sultan's magnanimity. However, in the resolution of this dispute between a Muslim and a Christian, it is clear that "petitioning was not a vehicle for the imposition of arbitrary justice based on the discretion of the Sultan or Grand Vizier ... the Dīvān-i Hümāyūn recognized the limitations imposed by the lack of a full adjudicatory process, and so often declined to make a definitive judgment, instead deferring to local authorities who were in a position to investigate a petitioner’s claim." Read more. Image credit: Jean Baptiste Vanmour - The Yorck Project/Public Domain
Other News

SHARIAsource Book Release: Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (Islamic Legal 
Studies Program/Harvard University Press, 2017)
The seventh book in the Harvard Series on Islamic law is out. Edited by  Intisar A. Rabb   and  Abigail Krasner Balbale , this book presents an wide-ranging exploration of the administration of justice during Islam’s founding period, 632–1250 CE. Inspired by the scholarship of Professor Roy Parviz Mottahedeh and composed in his honor, this volume brings together ten leading scholars of Islamic law to examine the history of early Islamic courts. The book is available through Harvard University Press .

SHARIAsource Events
On April 10th ILSP: SHARIAsource Policy Fellow Ebrahim Afsah discussed his current research on a structured comparison between waqf and the Western institution of landed trust and the implications for Islamic administrative and public law. He examined universities and how Western landed trusts and waqf historically influenced these institutions' development, and continue to do so. Quotes from the event can be found on the SHARIAsource twitter .

ILSP SHARIAsource :: Upcoming Events

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Early Islamic Political Theory Between Legal Discourse and Political Anthropology (17 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Rodrigo Adem,  ILSP: SHARIAsource fellow and Dumbarton Oaks College Fellow in Medieval Mediterranean History at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies , will speak on his work regarding how scholarly networks mediated social and epistemic authority within the urban and political development of the Near East and Mediterranean over the 8th to 14th century.  Details.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Apocalypticism and the Mahdi in Early Islam (19 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Mohammad Sagha, SHARIAsource Editor an d Iran Project Coordinator at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, will discuss Ibn al-Munādī’s Kitāb al-Malāḥim and sectarian identity in the ḥa d ī th corpus of Shi’a and Sunni law schools. Details.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: A Southeast Asian Model of Sharīʿa Law? The Evolution and Possibility in Southeast Asian Countries (24 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Mansurah Izzul Mohamed , Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will discuss her current research on how some Southeast Asian countries introduce and/or implement sharīʿa law practices. She will assess the history of the region and whether this model will hold up in the face of political, economic and human rights pressure from the wider international community. Details.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: A Gentleman and a Scholar: Profile of an Ottoman Judge in the Late Sixteenth Century (1 May 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Amir Toft Research Scholar in Law and an Islamic Law & Civilization Research Fellow, Yale Law School, will profile the education and career of a judge who served for one year around 1580 as judge in the court of Üsküdar, one of the districts of Istanbul. The purpose of this talk, as well as the project on which it draws, is to provide more narrative depth to the historiography of early modern Ottoman law. Details.

Other Events in Islamic Legal Studies

Timbuktu and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of West African Manuscript–Round Table
(11 Apr 2018 | NY, NY). A fundamental source for the history of West Africa lies in rich archival collections, most famously the manuscript libraries of Timbuktu. Documents from the Mali and Songhai Empires and the centuries before European colonial rule offer a vital window into the region’s complex ties to the wider Muslim world, and to cultures and polities in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Ousmane Kane  (Harvard) and  Michael Gomez  (NYU) will discuss their recent work reassessing the religious and political history of West Africa, research which relied heavily on the documentary evidence to be found in such collections. Details .

3rd USPPIP Team Meeting and Workshop :: Maslaha, Siyasa and Good Governance: Shari’a and Society (19-20 Apr 2018 | Bergen, Norway). Keynote addresses by Professors Mohammed Fadel and Felicitas Opwis . This workshop will focus on the use of concepts such as maslaha and siyasa in Islamic discussion of reform and orthopraxy. To what degree do Islamic NGOs appeal to maslala in their activities? To what degree do Muslim thinkers today use the terms of siyasa  and maslaha in their discussions of state activities and laws in Muslim, mixed and non-Muslim states? A central concept for many state-oriented NGOs is “good governance”. This term, which may be used for accountability of the ruler, or more widely for works promoting democratic practices, is in many ways akin to “promotion of public welfare”, i.e. maslaha.   Details.

The IX Islamic Legal Studies Conference (6-9 Jun 2018 | Helsinki, Finland). Convened by the International Society for Islamic Legal Studies (ISILS), this year's conference will be held under the auspices of the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, Finland. The conference will be divided into two parts. In the first, which will take place in Helsinki on June 6, a keynote address and an invited panel of five speakers will present on “Islamic Law and the Relationship between Ruler and Ruled.”  Details.

The Law and Society Association Annual Meeting (7-10 Jun 2018 | Toronto, Canada).  The Law and Society Association and the Canadian Law and Society Association hope that their joint meeting,  Law at the Crossroads: Le Droit À La Croisée Des Chemins   , in Toronto will be creative and fruitful, in keeping with the traditional use of this land as a gathering place, and that visitors to the area will take the opportunity to make new connections not only with one another but also with diverse local communities. Details .

20th General Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (22-28 Jul 2018 | Fukuoka, Japan). A week-long conference on topics of comparative law, including workshops, round tables, and lunch meetings. A forum for younger scholars will also be held. Details .

The RCSL-SDJ Lisbon Meeting 2018: “Law and Citizenship Beyond The States” (10-13 Sep 2018 | Lisbon). The conference will discuss, among other topics of sociology of law and justice, the contribution of law to the power of citizens, at a time of increasing competition between state law, once the main source of people’s rights, and multiple global and local normativities. Details .


Postdoctoral Fellowship in Middle East Studies (Early Modern History and Culture) (New Haven, CT). The Council on Middle East Studies at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale invites applications for a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University for AY2018-2019 with the possibility of renewal for a second and final year, commencing on July 1, 2018. They invite applications from any relevant field in the humanities, although we anticipate teaching needs particularly on early modern Middle East history and culture (1350-1800). The successful candidate will be required to teach one undergraduate course during each year of their appointment. Applications will be reviewed beginning 1 Mar 2018 until the position is filled. Details.

Application: Assistant Pr ofessor, Middle East History (West Point, NY). The The United States Military Academy's Department of History is seeking applications for a full-time term Assistant Professor position beginning on or about 9 July 2018. This appointment is NTE 36 months. Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria: 1) academic accomplishment (a Ph.D. is preferred), 2) ability to teach the Middle East version of “Regional Studies in World History” and the “Modern Middle East” elective, 3) demonstrated proficiency in student-centered and active-learning instruction, 4) demonstrated scholarly potential, 5) demonstrated potential to contribute to cadet development. Review of files will continue until 30 Mar 2018. Details.

Applications :: Intensive Summer Course: The Scholars of al-Andalus: The Politics of Knowledge ( 1 Apr 2018 | Cordoba, Spain). The course – this year – focuses on the scholars of al-Andalus, most especially the religious scholars (‘ulama’) but also those involved in the ‘sciences of the ancients’. Both continuities and changes will be explored from the Umayyad to the Nasrid period, dealing also with the specific features of the Mudejar and Morisco scholarly context. Special attention will be paid to the scholarly and social practices that allowed them to relate different groups in society, from the ruling elites to the common people. The main aim of the course is to assess the state of the art and to identify which areas need to be studied or to be further explored. Taught in English, the third edition of this Intensive Summer Course, organized by Casa Árabe and the CSIC, under the scientific direction of Maribel Fierro (ILC-CCHS, CSIC) and Luis Molina (EEA – CSIC). Applications due 1 Apr 2018 . Details.

MESA Book Awards (Including Two New Awards) (1 Apr 2018). The MESA Board of Directors has approved the creation of two new book awards honoring the pioneering efforts of two women. The inaugural awards will be presented at the 52nd MESA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. The Nikki Keddie Book Award was established to recognize an outstanding contribution on religion, revolution, and history/society. The annual award was named for Nikki Keddie to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and teacher. The Fatima Mernissi Book Award was established to recognize an outstanding contribution to studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. The annual award was named for Fatima Mernissi to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and as a public intellectual. Nominations for all awards due 1 Apr 2018 . Details.

18th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists on “International and Transnational Crimes” (27 May–4 Jun 2018 | Siracusa, Italy). ISISC is glad to announce that the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights – the new public name adopted by the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) – is organizing its 18th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists on “International and Transnational Crimes”, dedicated to the memory of prof. M. Cherif Bassiouni (1937-2017). The Siracusa Institute will select 60 participants who should have a university degree, ideally in law or with some studies in law, and be 35 years of age or under. Provision may be made for auditors who do not fulfil these conditions. Furthermore, the Institute will offer 10 scholarships to applicants from Developing and Less Developed Countries.   Applications due 4 Apr 2018 . Details .

Northwestern University Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Law & Inequality (2018-2020 | Chicago, IL). Northwestern University’s Center for Legal Studies invites applications from outstanding candidates for a full-time, two-year, non-renewable teaching and research post-doctoral fellowship beginning fall 2018. The purpose of the fellowship is to recognize and support original interdisciplinary research and teaching in the study of law and inequality in race, crime, policing, mass incarceration, civil rights, and related subject areas.Eligible candidates will hold a PhD in sociology, political science, history, psychology, economics or related disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields by the start of the appointment (August 15, 2018) and have a record of excellence in teaching and research in law and racial inequality. Applications due 15 Apr 2018 . Details .

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