NEWS |  22 May 2018
SHARIAsource Special Collections ::
The Nigeria Papers:
Sharīʿa Implementation in Northern Nigeria
SHARIAsource has launched a new set of Special Collections ! These Special Collections are curated resources in Islamic law compiled by staff and editors working in collaboration with SHARIAsource at Harvard Law School. Each is designed to focus on resources that facilitate research and teaching in historical, contemporary, and digital Islamic law. The first collaborative Collection is now available: The Nigeria Papers. Compiled and curated by independent scholar  Philip Ostien , and edited for the Collection by SJD student editor Rabiat Akande , The Nigeria Papers provide  a comprehensive collection of documentary materials and scholarly analysis on the programs of “sharīʿa implementation” undertaken by twelve northern Nigerian states beginning in 1999 and continuing today. The materials include various Northern Nigerian state statutes establishing Sharia Courts and other institutions, Northern Nigerian Islamic Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Codes; and select court cases that have been widely publicized and criticized; and analysis of how Northern Nigerian officials are applying the new laws. Read more. Image credit : SHARIAsource
The Nigeria Papers :: A Sourcebook Volume I: Historical Background
The first part of The Nigeria Papers Special Collection is the a Sourcebook that contains five volumes. Each volume covers a different topic regarding the implementation of a Northern Nigerian version of Islamic law. For example, Volume I provides historical background. It documents Nigeria’s “Settlement of 1960”, under which, as part of the run-up to Nigerian Independence, important changes were made to the laws and legal institutions of the Northern Region. These changes included abrogation of the previous Islamic criminal laws (as well of all varieties of “ethnic” criminal laws and custom that were formerly applied), and adoption of new Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Codes that Northern Nigerian officials determine to be applicable in all courts in that region. In addition to the Sourcebook, with an additional set of materials, Phil Ostien provides a qualitative and quantitative overview of civil procedure in the new courts, of jurisdiction and judges, of the court caseloads, and of judgments imposed by the courts between 2011 and 2015.  Read more.  Image credit: Panos/BBC
SHARIAsource Selects 2018-2019 Visiting Fellow
ILSP: SHARIAsource is very pleased to announce that  Mariam Sheibani will be joining us for the 2018-2019 academic year as a Visiting Fellow. We are excited to support her project  Islamic Law in an Age of Crisis and Consolidation: ‘Izz al-Dīn Ibn ‘Abd al-Salām and the Ethical Turn in Medieval Islamic Law . While this year’s pool was competitive, Mariam’s work stood out for its relevance and clarity of thinking. We are very much looking forward to having her here this fall after she receives her PhD from the University of Chicago and begins her career as a young scholar. Read more. Image credit: Mariam Sheibani
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 Welcomes New Editors
SHARIAsource is pleased to welcome five new editors: Muhammad Abderrazzaq, Emily O’Dell, Sohair Omar, Jafar Shokrolah Zadeh, Katarzyna Sidło. These five scholars will be researching and commenting on a wide range of topics related to Islamic law, including adjudication of the environment in Oman, the collaborative/sharing economy,  maqāṣid methodology, modern Afghani legal codes, and modern Iranian legal treatises. Details.

SHARIAsource Events
SHARIAsource Visiting Fellow Mansurah Izzul Mohamed presented her current research to a group of twenty-one students and scholars during her April 24th ILSP: SHARIAsource Lunch Talk entitled “A Southeast Asian Model of Sharīʿa Law? The Evolution and Possibility in Southeast Asian Countries.” Using the example of Brunei, Mohamed’s discussion outlined how a Southeast Asian Model of Islamic law could be designed and why. This event was livetweeted .

SHARIAsource Visiting Fellow Rodrigo Adem presented to a group of eight students and scholars on "Early Islamic Political Theory Between Legal Discourse and Political Anthropology" during his April 26th ILSP: SHARIAsource Lunch Talk. Adem’s research not only pushed back against the idea of Sunnis and Shīʿites or caliphs and imams, but also against the very idea of a scholarly class. He challenged these concepts in order to dissect imāma, the idea of authority, and its source. This event was livetweeted .

SHARIAsource guest lecturer Amir Toft presented to a group of twelve students and scholars on “A Gentleman and a Scholar: Profile of an Ottoman Judge in the Late Sixteenth Century” during the May 1st ILSP: SHARIAsource Lunch Talk. Toft is a 2017-2018 Research Fellow in the Abdallah S. Kamel Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School and Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Thought in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Using a court register from the late sixteenth century case about a homicide case, Toft compelled the audience to consider the non-explicit elements of the record—in particular the judge. His discussion spanned historiography and legal history, and guided the audience into considering questions about social and judicial structures in the Ottoman Empire, and what texts recorded then explicitly and implicitly reveal. This event was livetweeted .

SHARIAsource Editor and Iran Project Coordinator at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs Mohammad Sagha presented to a group of seven students and scholars on "Apocalypticism and the Mahdi in Early Islam" during his May 3rd ILSP: SHARIAsource Lunch Talk. Sagha took a close look at a newly published manuscript of Ibn al-Munādī, copied in 1855 and written in the 4 th /10 th century. In this manuscript Ibn al-Munādī pondered on who the Mahdī is, and what purpose he served. Sagha took care to note that Ibn al-Munādī was an independent scholar whose work took care to consider the political realities of the Abbasid period. In doing so, he successfully presented the manuscript as a rich text of great value to those studying sectarianism within Islam. This event was livetweeted

Aron Zysow  (Harvard JD & PhD, 1984), the eminent scholar of Islamic law and theology, turns 70 this year. To celebrate his intellectual generosity and his immense contributions to Islamic studies, a group of his long-time friends gathered at Harvard Law School on May 6 for a one-day symposium on a topic close to Aron’s heart: books. Participants presented and discussed interesting works of Islamic scholarship spanning the seventh to twentieth centuries.  Joseph Lowry  (University of Pennsylvania) analyzed the position of legal verses in the longest chapter of the Quran;  Joseph Witztum  (Hebrew University) demonstrated an early Muslim exegete’s method of integrating Christian and Jewish prophetic lore;  Ahmed El Shamsy  (University of Chicago) sketched the ninth-century textual genealogy of Islamic legal theory;  Peri Bearman  (retired from the Islamic Legal Studies Program) presented a tenth-century Central Asian text on law and later mutations of its use as a popular religious manual;  Kevin Reinhart  (Dartmouth) discussed the influence of philosophical terminology on fifteenth-century Ottoman legal thought;  Himmet Taskomur  (Harvard University) outlined debates regarding cash endowments in sixteenth-century Ottoman law and the role of custom in these debates; and  Brinkley Messick  (Columbia University) presented evidence of the usage of legal decisions by Zaydi Imams as precedent in Yemeni courts. The event was cosponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program: SHARIAsource, the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. Read more.

Other Events in Islamic Legal Studies
Workshop: Historical and Comparative Macrosociology of Middle Eastern Legal Systems (24-25 May 2018 | Gipuzkoa, Spain). T hose who approach law from an area studies viewpoint or from various disciplines more anchored in the humanities and more interpretive social sciences (such as religious studies, history, and anthropology) excel with the study of texts, intellectual history, legal thought, and the premodern period. But the questions they ask tend to be resistant to generalization and comparative analysis; and when they do make forays into the modern period (as anthropology does), it is generally to develop rich but highly contextualized understanding. Our aim in this workshop is to bring together a group of scholars who have made individual forays toward bridging this gap in a more comprehensive and collaborate effort aiming at understanding the politics and sociology of law in the modern Middle East. In designing this workshop, we are reaching out to a range of scholars—fairly senior figures, middle-generation academics, and some at the beginning of their careers. We have also worked to cover the entire region and to draw on academics who have been trained in a variety of locations (North America, Europe, and the Middle East). 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 .

University of Cape Town Course: Muslim Marriage Contracts (25-26 Jun 2018 | Cape Town, South Africa). This two-day course will unpack the legal implications of the Muslim marriage contract by considering: 1) A brief historical context relating to the non-recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa 2) A synopsis of the legal implications of the non-recognition of Muslim marriages in South Africa 3) An analysis of South African case law that recognises the Muslim marriage as a contract and its legal implications 4) The significance of imams being registered as marriage officers under the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 5) The way in which Muslim marriage contracts can be drafted as ante-nuptial contracts in a way that is consistent with Islamic law and South African civil law. The course will include a component that will provide attendees an opportunity to practice drafting a Muslim marriage contract. Details.

Course: Digital Islamic Humanities (2-4 Jul 2018 | Ghent, Belgium). The three-day intensive course in Digital Islamic Humanities is intended for advanced graduate students and other qualified participants. It will be offered by Dr Maxim Romanov (Universität Wien) and will be held immediately before the fifth conference of the School of Mamluk Studies at Ghent University, in collaboration with the Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities (July 2-4, 2018). The course will be demanding and hands-on in its format, but no previous training is required. The course will cover topics such as digitization, computational analysis, datamodelling, etc., and will introduce digital tools, projects, repositories and practices that are currently available for historical/Islamic/Mamluk research. The Fifth Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies wiill immediately follow. Details.

Fifth Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies (5-7 Jul 2018 | Ghent, Belgium). The first day of the conference, July 5, will be themed. The theme of this part of the conference will be Historiography/Adab. The following two days of the conference (July 6 and 7) will be structured in pre-organized panels that will focus on any aspect of the intellectual, political, social, economic, and artistic life of the Mamluk period . 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 .


Call for Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel, 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies (9-12 May 2018 | Kalamazoo, MI). To encourage the integration of Byzantine studies within the scholarly community and medieval studies in particular, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 9–12, 2019. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies.Successful applicants will be notified by May 30, 2018, if their proposal has been selected for submission to the International Medieval Congress. The Mary Jaharis Center will submit the session proposal to the Congress and will keep the potential organizer informed about the status of the proposal. Proposals due 27 May 2018 . Read more .

Call for Papers: Criminalising Violent Pasts: Multiple Roots and Forgotten Pathways 1950s-2010s
(15-16 Nov 2018 | London). This conference seeks to explore the history of the (often forgotten) pathways and contested visions through which the criminalization paradigm developed. This conference welcomes contributions that explore the emergence of multiple, potentially competitive visions of criminal pasts. Taking as its starting point the moment of an acceleration of decolonisation, globalisation and de-Stalinisation in the 1950s, we encourage papers that explore the variety of actors, activisms and political projects that lay behind the global expansion of such ideas. Human rights organisations, international legal associations, post-colonial and Communist states, all variously developed the idea of overcoming criminal pasts as they sought, to legitimate new political projects, reconceptualise the relationship between the individual and the state, or seek collective or socio-economic justice for past wrongs. The conference welcomes papers that, for example, address the complexity and interplay of these ideas in different arenas and seek to connect these phenomena to wider literatures. Applications due 31 May 2018 . Details .

Call for Papers: "Whither Islamicate Digital Humanities: Analytics, Tools, Corpora" (13-15 Dec | Amsterdam). “Whither Islamicate Digital Humanities? Analytics, Tools, Corpora” is a three-day international conference dedicated to the budding field of Islamicate Digital Humanities (IDH). In recent years, the number of projects, initiatives and research programs in this field has greatly increased. Recognition of these efforts has already resulted in the formulation of guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship by the Middle East Studies Association, as well as a recent proposal for a set of principles to guide scholarly corpus building (IJMES 50, “Roundtable”). These developments signal a field gradually coming of age. Yet, most scholars would also agree that much work remains to be done before a plug-and-play, one-click survey of the vast Islamicate textual heritage becomes even remotely realistic. This conference seeks to take stock and showcase efforts currently underway in global IDH text-mining and identify ways of promoting collaboration and synergy. Proposals less than 500 words for 20-minute presentations are due 31 May 2018 . Details.

Johnson Program for First Book Authors (Nov 2018-Spring 2019). The American Society for Legal History (ASLH) announces a new program designed to provide advice and support to scholars working toward the publication of first books in legal history, broadly defined. In conversation with peers and with the advice of senior scholars, participants will develop and revise book proposals and sample chapters, and they will meet with guest editors to learn about approaching and working with publishers. Applications for Johnson Fellows are invited from early career, pre-tenure scholars, publishing in English, who have completed PhDs or JDs and are working on first books in legal history. Scholars with expertise in all chronological periods and geographical fields are encouraged to apply, as are students who may not (yet) identify as legal historians. Applications due Jun 30 . Details .

Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting Call for Papers: 21st Century Textualism (2019). The AALS Section on Legislation & Law of the Political Process is pleased to announce a call for papers for its section program, which will be held during the 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The program is entitled “21st Century Textualism.” Statutes dominate the American legal landscape and statutory text has become the focal point for questions of statutory interpretation. But, despite widespread agreement that text matters, there is less agreement among scholars and judges about how statutory text helps determine statutory meaning. This panel will explore how textualist arguments and methods are developing in the 21st Century, including current trends and practices in the courts and theoretical justifications for, and objections to, textualist methods of statutory interpretation. Eligibility and Submission Requirements: This Call for Papers is open to all faculty members from AALS member schools. Submissions should be an extended abstract of 2-3 pages in length and relate to the topic of the panel. Submissions due Jul 31 . Details.

Call for Papers: The 2nd Annual International Graduate Edinburgh Byzantine Conference (30 Nov–1 Dec 2018 | Edinburgh) . Reception and appropriation (whether reuse, imitation, or variation) have long been recognised as necessary tools for the interpretation of Byzantine literature, art, architecture and archaeology, while research on innovations is still at a relatively early stage. The key theme of this conference is dialogue – dialogue between Byzantium and its neighbouring cultures. The conference will explore all three of the fundamental modes of dialogue and discourse (reception, appropriation and innovation) between Byzantium and its neighbours during any time period from the 5th-15th c. Confirmed invited speakers include Professor Claudia Rapp (Vienna), Dr Andrew Marsham (Cambridge), and Father Justin Sinaites (Librarian of St. Catherine’s, Mt. Sinai), in addition to confirmed internal speakers, both Byzantinists and Islamicists. We strongly encourage papers highlighting exchange in both directions, Byzantium receiving from other cultures and/or others receiving from Byzantium. Abstracts due 1 Aug 2018 . Details.

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Opportunities in Law (Various Locations | 2019-2020). The  Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program  offers teaching, research or combination teaching and research awards in over 125 countries for the 2019-2020 academic year. Opportunities are available for college and university faculty as well as for professionals and independent scholars. Awards that may be of interest to scholars of Islamic law include opportunities in Canada and the Maldives. Details.

Share & Sign Up for News on Islamic Law
Do you have an upcoming event or research opportunity on Islamic law? To include it in our mailings, send details to

Sign up for general announcements by emailing with "Sign up for announcements" in the subject line. 

Editors, contributors, scholars, and researchers: collaborate and discuss possible ideas on  the community listserv.