NEWS |  18 Oct 2018
Sharī ʿ a vs. the Constitution:
Ex Ante Judicial Review of Iran’s New Criminal Procedure Code
Student editor Marzeh Tofighi Darian considers the recent jurisprudence of Iran’s Guardian Council – the legislative-cum-judicial body in Iran tasked with assessing the compliance of state law with Islamic law and with the constitution. Iran’s parliament recently adopted a Criminal Procedure Code 2014 (amended in 2015). Tofighi Darian examines the Guardian Council's ex ante review of Iran’s 2014/2015 draft Criminal Procedure Code to illuminate the scope of the Council's jurisdiction and its role in Iran's legislative process. She outlines the range of strategies that the Guardian Council takes upon objections to proposed articles: (1) declaring draft articles generally invalid, (2) declaring draft articles to be “in violation of the Constitution," and (3) declaring draft articles to be “in violation of  sharīʿa .” Upon review, it turns out that, in most instances, the Guardian Council issues its rulings without citing  sources—neither those “of Islamic law or  sharīʿa , nor the Iranian Constitution as justification.” Moreover, most objections fall into category 3 – violations that it understands “to be against sharīʿa ." Arguably, there are negative long-term implications for Iranian legislation and legitimacy if the Guardian Council continues to invalidate parliamentary-drafted laws on the basis of sharīʿa but without a state rationale. The practice enlarges the role of Muslim jurists beyond the revolutionary constitutional mandate, and it raises serious questions for the institutional legitimacy of both parliament and the Council. Read more. Image credit: Wikipedia
Iranian Criminal Procedure Code (2014)
After several revisions made to the original Criminal Procedure Bill in answer to rulings by the Guardian Council, the Iranian Criminal Procedure Code became final and entered into force in 2014, with amendments in 2015. Read more.   Image credit: Iranian Parliament/SHARIAsource
Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl on "Islamic Law in an Age of Fear"
On October 1st, 2018, Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl spoke to a gathering of around 40 students and scholars at Harvard Law School for a SHARIAsource lunch talk entitled "Islamic Law in an Age of Fear." He discussed themes from his most recent book, Reasoning with God , focusing on the widening epistemological gaps between historical practice and modern consciousness. "The more law stops making sense to its audience, the more law has to resort to apologetics to legitimize itself ... inflating its own legitimacy at the expense of social reality [and] the more it moves towards a coercive system," (paraphrased) Abou El Fadl proposed. The event was  livetweeted . More is to come when SHARIAsource releases a new podcast series with an episode featuring Professor Abou El Fadl and ILSP Visiting Fellow Mariam Sheibani Image credit: ILSP: SHARIAsource
SHARIAsource News
SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: Authority through Organization? Professionalization and Bureaucratization at Early Islamic Courts. Dr. Nahed Samour , an Early Career Fellow at Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen Institute for Advance Study, presented her current work on the professionalization of judges in early Islamic courts at SHARIAsource’s first lunch talk of the academic year on 24 September 2018. Using Western theories of professionalization, Samour assessed how jurists in early Islamic courts established power and authority.  The event was livetweeted ; this may be found on our Twitter account, @SHARIAsource, under #samourlunchtalk. 

Workshop :: Tools for Digital Islamic Law. On September 27th, Jeremy Guillette , Digital Scholarship Facilitator at Harvard University, led a hands-on workshop on using digital tools to research Islamic law. A group of eight students and scholars worked with Guillette to gain an overview of emerging digital research methods. Space was strictly limited, but due to the number of inquiries, SHARIAsource will be holding more digital tools workshops throughout the year. Topics to be covered will include topic modeling, data visualization, and network analysis. 

SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: The Social Impact of Legal Patchworking ( Talfīq ). Aaron Spevack , ILSP: SHARIAsource Visiting Fellow for the 2018-2019 academic year, spoke on his current research on legal patchworking ( talfīq ) on 2 October 2018. He examined debates for and against this legal stratagem historically, its role in the creation of sharīʿa -compliant financial instruments in modern Islamic law, and the potential harms or social goods that could arise from it.  The event was livetweeted ; this may be found directly on our Twitter account, @SHARIAsource, under #spevacklunchtalk. 

Workshop :: Methods in Islamic Studies. On Friday, 12 October 2018, the  Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program  hosted a workshop for Harvard’s graduate students and faculty on research methods in Islamic studies. The workshop consisted of four sessions: Middle East and Islamic Library Resources, Islamic Studies & the Digital Humanities, Visual Tools for Islamic Studies, and Quest to Document Modern Architecture of Sharjah.  Sharon Tai , Deputy Editor of SHARIAsource, presented the growing suite of research tools in incubation at SHARIAsource as part of the Islamic Studies & the Digital Humanities panel. The event was co-sponsored by Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: SHARIAsource.  
SHARIAsource Publication. The seventh book in the Harvard Series on Islamic Law is out: Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (Islamic Legal Studies Program/Harvard University Press, 2017) . Edited by  Intisar A. Rabb   and  Abigail Krasner Balbale , this book presents a wide-ranging exploration of the administration of justice during Islam’s founding period, 632–1250 CE. Inspired by the scholarship of Professor Emeritus  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.

Features on the SHARIAsource Portal and Blog
Spotlight on New Research Tools :: Data Visualizations of Islamic Law Topics and Themes. The SHARIAsource Portal aims to facilitate thinking about and searching for the often complex set of sources related to Islamic law. Our next phase of development involves creating data visualizations that allow scholars to visually explore research questions about the spread and links between novel ideas in Islamic law, old and new. Our first tool is a set of visualizations for Portal topics and themes . Check out this new way to search, and keep an eye out for new visual tools to come!   

Scholarship Roundup :: The SHARIAsource Blog features weekly scholarship round-ups of new or notable work on Islamic law by SHARIAsource editors and other scholars of Islamic law. This month’s features include: SHARIAsource Senior Scholar  Anver Emon' s recent contribution to   The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law on the historical and policy debates on Islamic finance, an upcoming special issue of The Oxford Journal of Law and Religion focusing on unregistered Muslim marriages, and Mahmoud Jaraba '  s new article in Islamic Law and Society on “The Practice of Khulʿ in Germany: Pragmatism versus Conservativism.” Susanne Lilian Gössl examines in The European Legal Forum whether the Rome III Regulation, an EU legal pact concerning which law to use in divorce cases, prohibits the application of Islamic law; and Maliheh Zare discusses "Creating Laws for Economic Growth in a Hybrid Islamic Legal System" in the forthcoming issue of Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal . (Do you have a new article, book, or case that you’d like to see featured? Feel free to send citations and abstracts to .) 

News Roundup :: Islamic Law in the News. The SHARIAsource Blog regularly adds context to new and developing stories about Islamic law in the news. This month, read about the ongoing row over developments on Islam in China , prisoners' rights, Muslim marriages in South Africa, and Islamic banks and fintech.

SHARIAsource Events at Harvard
World Wide Week Event*
SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: Book Talk on From Slaves to Prisoners of War, The Ottoman Empire, Russia and International Law (Oxford University Press, 2018)
(22 Oct | Cambridge, MA).
Author: Will Smiley, Assistant Professor, University of New Hampshire
Moderator: Intisar Rabb , Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Professor of History, Harvard University
Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies, Harvard University
Mariam Sheibani , Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School
SHARIAsource editor Will Smiley will discuss the research underlying his new book, in which he charts the changing law and practice of captivity and slavery in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East, at the intersection of Islamic and international law. In the eighteenth century, the Ottoman state and its Russian rival, through conflict and diplomacy, worked out a new system of regional international law. In the process, the Ottomans marked out a parallel, non-Western path toward elements of modern international law. Yet this was not a story of European imposition or imitation--the Ottomans acted for their own reasons, maintaining their commitment to Islamic law. For a time even European empires played by these rules, until they were subsumed into the codified global law of war in the late nineteenth century. This story offers new perspectives on the histories of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, of slavery, and of international law. *Organized in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (OVPIA) as part of the Worldwide Week at Harvard University, a week featuring a series of events that showcase Harvard’s global and comparative scholarship around the University. World Wide Week takes place between 22-26 October 2018. RSVP to .

SHARIAsource Lunch Talk:: TRACE: A Tool for Historical and Contemporary Islamic Law (Nov 5 | Cambridge, MA). Sharon Tai , Deputy Editor, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will discuss and demonstrate a new digital tool available to researchers of historical and contemporary Islamic law on SHARIAsource. The tool, built by affiliates and graduates of SHARIAsource and the MIT Media Lab, uses textual analysis to assess patterns of sentiment or bias within textual corpora. RSVP to

SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: Between Legal Conservatism and Legal Change: Fault Lines in Ayyūbid Damascus (Nov 28 | Cambridge, MA). Mariam Sheibani , Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will explore the tensions between conservative and innovative strains in Islamic law in twelfth-century Ayyūbid Damascus. The newly restored refugee capital of Damascus inherited the Shāfiʿī traditions of both Khurāsān and Iraq, which had developed autonomously throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries. While formal attribution to the Khurāsānī and Iraqi streams of the school gradually ceased with the destruction of Khurāsān, Sheibani argues that the intellectual legacies and distinct methodologies of each community vied for authority in Ayyūbid Damascus. She utilizes the rivalry between the leading Shāfiʿī authorities of Damascus, Taqī al-Dīn b. al-Ṣalāḥ (d. 1245) and ʿIzz al-Din b. ʿAbd al-Salām (d. 1262), as a window onto these competing trends within the Shāfiʿī legal school. The talk will also touch upon concerns about the intersection of Islamic theology, legal theory and the substantive aims of legal maxims, and the scope of Islamic legal reasoning ( ijtihād ). RSVP to

SHARIAsource Film Screening – Study Break :: A Separation (Dec. 4 | Cambridge, MA). Come to the film screening of the 2011 movie A Separation —about marriage, divorce, crime, and regret—directed by Oscar Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi (for The Salesman , 2017). A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to do so. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Refreshments provided. For details and location, RSVP to .

Global Events: Islamic Legal Studies

Conference :: Arabic Pasts: Histories and Historiographies (12-13 Oct 2018 | London). The aim of this exploratory and informal workshop is to reflect on methodologies, research agendas, and case studies for investigating history writing in Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa in any period from the seventh century to the present. We are interested in papers that consider the practical and conceptual challenges of working on history writing in the region. Details .

Lecture :: " Just, False and Discrediting Witnesses: Evidence in Sharia Courts" (23 Oct | New Haven, CT). Brinkley Messick , Professor of Anthropology and MESAAS, Columbia University, will be presenting as part the Abdallah S. Kamel Lecture Series at Yale Law School. Details .

Conference :: American Society for Legal Society Annual Meeting: "Judges and Courts in Islamic History" (8-11 Nov 2018 | Houston). This session's date is TBD. P anelists will include Raha Rafii , PhD Candidate in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department at UPenn, Amir Toft , PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago and research fellow at Yale Law School, and Intisar Rabb , Professor of Law and History at Harvard Law School and Harvard University.

Conference :: Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (15-18 Nov 2018 | San Antonio). This year's annual meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio. Sessions on topics of Islamic law include the panel "Topics in Islamic Ritual Law" and "War, Nation, Religion, and Identity in the Later Ottoman Period." Read more .

Opportunities: Jobs, Fellowships, CFPs

Call for Applications :: University of Exeter: Postdoctoral Fellows, Shīʿī Islamic Studies (applications due Oct 17 ; one position available immediately, two positions available starting Apr 1, 2019 ). Details .

Call for Applications :: Wellesley College: Assistant Professor, Islamic Art (applications due Oct 29 ). Details .

Call for Applications :: Princeton University: Postdoctoral Researcher, Modern Iran (applications due Oct 31 ; position starts Sep 1, 2019 ). Details .

Call for Applications :: American University of Sharjah: Professor, Middle Eastern History (applications due Nov 1; position starts Fall 2019). Details .

University of Chicago: Postdoctoral Researcher, History of Knowledge (applications due Nov 1; position starts July 1, 2019). Details .

Call for Applications :: Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellowships (2019-2020 | Harvard University). Applications are invited from a broad range of researchers (faculty and post-docs) and practitioners who will work over the course of the year on pressing issues in ethics. The general theme will be “Ethics of Technological and Biomedical Innovation.” Applications due Nov 15 Details

Call for Applications :: Hampden-Sydney College: Assistant Professor, Islamic History . Applications due Nov 15 . Details .

Call for Applications :: American University of Beirut: Professor, Modern Middle East/Arab History. Applications due Nov 30; position starts Aug 15, 2019. Details .

Call for Applications :: Yale University: Program in Iranian Studies: Ehsan Yarshater Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2019-2020. A pplications due Dec 1; position starts Aug 2019. Details .

Call for Applications :: University of Wisconsin–Madison: Assistant Professor, Gender in the Middle East (applications due Dec 15; position starts Aug 2019). Details .

Call for Papers :: Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting Call for Papers: Asylum and Refugee Rights in Islamic Law (Jan 2019). The AALS Section on Law and Religion and Immigration Law has approved a section on asylum and refugee rights in Islamic law, which will be held during the 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The Muslim World today is currently experiencing the greatest rate of refugee movement in the world. This will allow scholars to explore historical and contemporary discourses on migration and refugee rights. The section will need four panelists to present on this subject If you have conducted a research in area, please reach out to Samy Ayoub and include an abstract at Details.

Call for Papers :: Criminal Law Developments in Muslim-Majority Countries (5-6 Mar 2019 | Tehran, Iran). The Research Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Tehran is inviting abstracts for an international conference on “Criminal Law Developments in the Muslim-Majority Countries in the Light of Interaction between Shari’a and Law.” The judicial and legal structures of Muslim-majority countries have changed drastically in the recent decades. Importantly, the experience of modern criminal law in the context of constitution-making processes in Muslim countries has not been thoroughly discussed yet, particularly from a comparative perspective. Against this background, this conference aims to make a strong contribution to the debate on criminal law reform in the context of public demand for Islamic justice. Please submit abstracts (700-1,000 words) online by Nov 15. Details

Call For Papers :: Ibadi Manuscripts and Manuscript Cultures (5-6 Apr 2019 | Ifrane, Morocco).  This workshop aims to highlight the importance of the cultures of producing, using, buying, selling, endowing, and transmitting Ibadi manuscripts from the earliest history of the community to the 20th century. The intention is to bring those interested in Ibadi manuscripts together in order to workshop drafts of short research articles on different aspects of this topic, which will later be proposed for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts. Applicants will be notified by early Jan 2019. Participants will be asked to submit working drafts of their articles (in Arabic, English, or French) by Mar 1, 2019. Housing and meals at Al Akhawayn University are covered. Please send proposals (max. 500 words) by  Dec 1   2018 to Paul Love ( ) or Soufien Mestaoui ( ). Details .

Call for Papers :: The Qurʾān and Ethiopia: Context and Reception (8 Apr 2019 | Washington, DC) . Connections between the Qurʾān and Ethiopia are vast and varied. On the one hand, Ethiopia provides an important historical context (among many others) for understanding the Qurʾān in its Late Antique milieu. After all, throughout Late Antiquity, Ethiopia was a major political power, situated just across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula. On the other hand, the Qurʾān also had—and still has—a reception in Ethiopia. This one-day symposium aims to locate the Qurʾān in Ethiopia, both as a context for its early development and as a location for its later reception. Abstracts describing the precise topic treated with a length of approximately 200-300 words can be sent as an electronic version (PDF and Word) to Aaron Butts ( ). Papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in an edited volume, which aims to make this interesting topic available to a wider audience. Abstracts due Nov 1 . Details .

Call for Applications :: Mellon Fellowships in Critical Bibliography (2019-2020). The Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography works to advance the study of texts, images, and artifacts as material objects through capacious, interdisciplinary scholarship. This fellowship is open to early-career scholars and includes tuition waivers for two Rare Book School courses, as well as funding for scholars to participate in the Society's Annual Meeting and Orientation. Additional funds are available for fellows to organize symposia at their home institutions, and fellows will have the option of attending a bibliographical field school to visit libraries, archives, and collections in New York City. Online applications due Nov 1 . Details .

Call for Applications :: Endangered Archives Programme (2019-2020) . The EAP has been running at the British Library since 2004 with the aim of preserving rare vulnerable archival material around the world. There three main types of grant: Pilot projects investigate the potential for and/or feasibility of a major grant. A pilot can also be a small digitization project. They should last for no more than 12 months and have a budget limit of £15,000. Major projects gather and copy material. This type of grant may also relocate the material to a more secure location/institution within the country. These projects usually last 12 months, or up to 24 months and have a budget limit of £60,000. Area grants will be awarded for larger scale projects. They are similar to a major grant, but larger in scale and ambition. Applicants must demonstrate an outstanding track record of archival preservation work and be associated with an institution that has the capacity to facilitate a large-scale project. The EAP will only award a maximum of two area grants in each funding round. They can last for up to 24 months and have a budget limit of £150,000. A further type of grant will be introduced in 2019: Rapid-response grants can be used to safeguard an archive which is in immediate and severe danger. These grants are intended for the most urgent situations where a delay in the decision process could result in extensive damage to the material. These grants are not subject to the time restrictions of the yearly EAP funding cycle and can be applied for at any time. They must last for less than 12 months and have a budget limit of £15,000. See website for instructions on how to submit an application by Nov 19 . Details .

Call for Papers :: British Association for Islamic Studies (BRAIS) Conference (15-16 Apr 2019 | Nottingham, UK). The organizers invite proposals for whole panels or individual papers for our sixth annual conference. Islamic Studies is broadly understood to include all disciplinary approaches to the study of Islam and Muslim societies (majority and minority), modern and premodern. Plenary lectures will be delivered by Maribel Fierro (CSIC, Madrid), Khaled Fahmy (University of Cambridge), and Alison Scott-Baumann (SOAS, London). Please submit a 200-word abstract using the online form to  by Nov 30 . Details .

Call for Applications :: Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (9-22 Jun 2019 | Madison, WI). The American Society for Legal History and the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School are pleased to invite applications for the tenth biennial Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History. The two-week program features presentations by guest scholars, discussions of core readings in legal history, and analysis of the work of the participants in the Institute. It will be led by Mitra Sharafi, Professor of Law and Legal Studies at UW-M. Scholars in law, history, and other disciplines pursuing research on legal history of any part of the world are eligible to apply (preference will be given to applications from scholars at an early stage of their career: beginning faculty members, doctoral students who have completed or almost completed their dissertations, and J.D. graduates with appropriate backgrounds). Travel, hotel room, and most meals will be provided. Submit the following in a single attachment to : CV and Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words) describing your current work, specific research interests, and the broader perspectives on legal history that inform your work. In addition, arrange to have two letters of recommendation emailed by the deadline of Dec 3 . Details .

Call for Papers :: Symposia Iranica (9-10 Apr 2019 | Cambridge, UK). For the 4th Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies, hosted by the University of Cambridge at St. John's College, we are welcoming proposals that engage with any aspect of Iranian studies within the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Topics include history, politics, law, cultural heritage, literature, media, and comparative studies. Online submissions due Dec 30. Details .

Call for Applications :: American Center of Oriental Research Fellowships (2019-2020 | Amman, Jordan) . Funding/residential fellowships are available for graduate students and scholars in all areas of Middle Eastern studies, including archaeological fieldwork. Apply online by Feb 1 . Details .

Call for Papers :: Law and Development Institute Conference (6 Dec 2019 | Dubai, UAE). Law, legal frameworks, and institutions have a significant impact on economic and social development. This tenth annual international conference will focus on the role of law and legal institutions for development in the Islamic world. Interested speakers should email a one-page abstract by Feb 1 to Details .

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