NEWS |  26 Jun 2018
Today: Islamic Law in SCOTUS
Senior Scholar Noah Feldman commented today in Bloomberg News on the U.S. Supreme Court “travel ban” case,  Trump v. Hawaii , calling the Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold the Executive Order restricting immigration to the U.S. of citizens from seven countries—most of which are predominantly Muslim— "a decision that will live in infamy." He had previously suggested  that " Justice Elena Kagan has a plan to end Trump’s travel ban. " But Feldman noted today that Justice Kagan " joined [pragmatist Justice Stephen Breyer ] in a more cautious dissent focused on the system of exemptions that the executive order permits ... [which, if used] would lend some credence to the idea that the ban was actually motivated by national security. " Feldman took issue with this approach: "Unfortunately, the wrongness of the travel ban lies as much in its symbolic effect as in its exclusion of people from five Muslim-majority countries. This wasn’t the right case for Breyer and Kagan to be quite so pragmatic."

Related to Islamic law, the Executive Order bans immigrants from mostly Muslim-majority countries on grounds that falsely conflate Islam and Muslims with notions of sharīʿa or jihād as inherently violent. For exampleas noted by counsel, lower-court judges, and the Justices who did not prevailthe presidential campaign statement initially calling for the ban falsely proclaimed that “Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against nonbelievers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the  majority opinion upholding the Order . In it, he focused on the "broad" and "ample" scope of presidential authority to regulate matters of national security and foreign affairs under the Constitution and under the Immigration and Nationality Act.  But the Court did not reach the Establishment Clause claim. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor  took up the Establishment Clause claim and, as noted on SCOTUSblog, "lamented that the Court had ‘blindly’ endorsed ‘a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward’ Muslims.” Rather than deferring to the President on a light-touch "rational basis" review, the majority should have assessed the Order more critically according to the dissent; that is, the Court should have applied the "strict scrutiny" standard that governs official religious discrimination. Justice Sotomayor reasoned that the explicitly discriminatory call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” was subsequently laundered into an Order “putatively based on national-security concerns” that she, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, argued failed to erase the Order's taint, given that it was contaminated from the beginning “by impermissible discriminatory animus against Islam and its followers." Also notable about this case: the Court finally condemned the 1944 Korematsu decision, which upheld wartime internment of Japanese-Americans, as immoral and wrongly decided on the day it came down. But Justice Sotomayor's dissent condemned the decision on those very grounds, comparing this case to the 1944 decision, noting that the majority "'merely replaces one 'gravely wrong' decision with another," and prompting legal commentators to deem this decision " A New Korematsu ." For further commentary, see the SHARIAsource Blog  in the coming weeks.   

*This edition of SHARIAsource NEWS has been updated to correct some factual errors in the description of the Trump v. Hawaii case issued by the Supreme Court yesterday; SHARIAsource staff editors have also added further commentary to the brief analysis of that case and the ways in which it relates to Islamic law.
Spotlight on Ismāʿīlī Law:
A Case Study of Family Law Jurisdiction in Kenya
This month, student editor Aleema Jamal places the spotlight on otherwise often elusive Ismāʿīlī law as it operates in modern courts. The Aga Khan, leader of the Ismā ͑īlī communitywho refer to themselves in full as Shī ͑ī Imāmī Ismāʿīlī Muslimssought to unify his followers under an Ismāʿīlī Constitution in 1986. The Constitution laid out a dispute resolution system that was meant to create a sense of community identity and ethos for a group dispersed across different states, even though it did not preclude the practice of state law on citizens of those various states. Two divorce cases in Kenya, Nurani v. Nurani in 1982 and TSJ v. SHSR in 2014 illuminated whether and how that goal operated in practice. According to Jamal, for the dispute resolution system to be effective internally, it had to be “subservient to, and reliant upon its relationship with the modern nation-state." Initially, the Nairobi Court of Appeal recognized and legitimized the Ismāʿīlī Constitution’s dispute resolution systems by providing a high degree of deference to the Ismāʿīlī Arbitration Council in the country's Kadhi courts. But by 2014, the Nairobi High Court determined that the Ismāʿīlī Council could only deal with matters 'not within the exclusive jurisdiction of either the ordinary courts or the Kadhis’ …courts.'"   Read more. Image credit: CRW Flags
Nurani v. Nurani (Nairobi Court of Appeal): Kenyan Ismāʿīlī Divorce Case of 1982   
The Nairobi Court of Appeal adjudicated Nurani v. Nurani in 1982, a divorce case involving Ismāʿīlī parties seeking to separate. The Court held that it had concurrent jurisdiction with the Ismaili Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Kenyadeemed a “sectarian tribunal”when, as here, both husband and wife submitted to its jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court issued a decision on issues arising from the couple's divorce. The Court also clarified the role of the sectarian tribunal as a part of Kenya's pluralist legal system. Read more.   Image credit: Chief Registrar of The Kenyan Judiciary Supreme Court   
TSJ v. SHSR (Nairobi High Court): Kenyan Ismāʿīlī Divorce Case of 2014   
In TSJ v. SHSR , the Nairobi High Court concluded that the Ismaili Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Kenya lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate a matter of divorce despite the fact that both husband and wife had initially submitted to its jurisdiction. Reversing a 1982 precedent laid out in Nurani v. Nurani , the Court rolled back the jurisdiction of “sectarian tribunals” and determined that only either ordinary courts or Kadhi Courts could have exclusive jurisdiction on such matters . Read more. Image credit: Capital News of Kenya  
SHARIAsource News
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 .

Islamic Law in the News
The Toronto Star turned to SHARIAsource Senior Scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl in its article on the creation of Saudi Wahhabism . SHARIAsource U.S. Editor Abed Awad discussed the history of Ramadan in the United States this past month. The National Review referred to SHARIAsource Senior Scholar Noah Feldman's commentary on applying the First Amendment to a private platform in a piece arguing that  " Moderate Islam Falters in the Face of Silicon Valley Censorship ." Morocco World News and Al Arabiya reviewed Senior Scholar Wael Hallaq 's book The Impossible State in discussions about modernity and Islam. Senior Scholar Sherman Jackson gave a talk entitled " Probing the Islamic Secular: Preliminary Legal, Political, and Theological Implications " at Georgetown-Qatar. Senior Scholar Asifa Quraishi-Landes hosted a film discussion on the documentary production  The Judge , chronicling the rise of  Kholoud Al-Faqih to become the first woman judge appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East .

SHARIAsource Features
SHARIAsource Portal: Search by Topics & Themes. The SHARIAsource Portal aims to facilitate thinking about and searching for the often complex set of sources related to Islamic law. Scholars at the beginning of a new research project can access sources organized according to field-recognized  " Topics & Themes ." The categories and metadata used to organize these sources assist researchers looking for trends across historical and contemporary contexts, or interested in adding their own sources to the Portal.   

SHARIAsource Blog : Scholarship Round-Up. The Blog now features weekly scholarship round-ups of new or notable work in the field.   This week's Round-Up highlights Editor Matthew Erie's work on Islamic revival in China and Haider Ala Hamoudi and Mark Cammack's new casebook on Islamic law. (Do you have a new article, book, or case that you’d like to see featured? Feel free to send citations and abstracts to .) 

SHARIAsource Blog : Islamic Law Lexicon. The Blog now features scholarship by noted Islamic law scholars seeking to define both common and controversial terms in the field. Consider the posts a teaching tool for the initiated, interesting takes on core terms to push scholars and non-scholars to reconsider their own definitions, and invitations to discuss or debate the terms in your own work. This month, check out the posts on ijtihād and ḥadīth

Global Events: Islamic Legal Studies

Lecture :: "Female Judges – Experiences, Successes and Challenges in Palestine and Germany” (27 Jun 2018 | Göttingen, Germany). This lecture will combine the talks of two experts on law and gender: Judge Somoud Al-Damiri (Palestine) and Prof. Maria Wersig (Germany) Since 2009, Judge Somoud al-Damiri is one of the first female Muslim judges working in sharīʿa courts in the Middle East. At the same time, she is public prosecutor in family law in Ramallah. Professor Maria Wersig is a German professor of law in social work at the University of Applied Science in Dortmund. Her work focuses on law and gender and anti-discrimination legislation. Both will assess the role of female judges in their legal orders and the question of anti-discrimination for women. Details.

Workshop :: Uses of the Past: Islamic International Law and the Problem of Translation. (28-29 Jun 2018 | Göttingen, Germany). The work­shop is orga­ni­zed as a coope­ra­tion bet­ween Prof. Dr. Irene Schnei­der , Dr. Nijmi Edres , Prof. Dr. Jens Hans­sen , Semi­nar für Arabistik/Islamwissenschaft, Göt­tin­gen Uni­ver­sity and Dr. Nahed Samour , Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göt­tin­gen, Insti­tute of Advan­ced Study, in the frame of the activi­ties of the HERA pro­ject Under­stan­ding Sharīʿah: Past Per­fect, Imper­fect Pre­sent 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.

Workshop :: Cultural Expertise in Ancient and Modern History (4-5 Jul 2018 | Oxford, UK). This workshop takes place within the project Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for? (EURO-EXPERT) funded by the European Research Council and directed by Livia Holden. This workshop explores cultural expertise in the ancient and modern history of expert witnessing. The stress of this workshop will be on development and change of culture-related expert witnessing, culture-related adjudication and resolution of dispute, criminal litigation and other kinds of court and out of court proceedings that make reference to notions of culture with or without the appointment of experts. Two sets of topics will be discussed: the reflection on the definition of cultural expertise and its ancient and modern historical background. This workshop aims on the one hand to understand if cultural expertise has been relevant in court and out of court for the resolution of conflicts in the history of law, and on the other hand to trace the historical developments of most recent trends of cultural expertise. How does ancient and modern history report the judicial practices involving the specialists of local laws and customs? What have been the most frequent fields of expert witnessing that are related with culture? Who were the experts? What were their links with local communities and also with the courts and the state power? How cultural expert witnessing was received by judges and other members of the legal profession? Details .

Conference :: 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 .

Conference :: 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 .

Conference :: 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 .

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 .

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.

Opportunities: Jobs, Fellowships, CFPs

Middle Eastern Studies Association: Call for Nominations and Submissions (Jul-Aug 2018). MESA is now accepting submissions and nominations for a number of awards. For students and recent PhD graduates: MESA Graduate Student Paper Prize and the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Awards. For retired faculty, academics, and those serving Middle East Studies: MESA Mentoring Award, Jere L. Bacharach Service Award, MESA Undergraduate Education Award. Submissions and nominations are due from 1 Jul to 15 Aug 2018 . Details .

Open Call :: Modeling Travels in History: an ORBIS-esque Hackaton (18-20 Jul 2018 | Vienna). Everyone is familiar with Google Maps—all of us are using it on a daily basis. In 2012 a group of researchers at Stanford (led by Walter Scheidel), developed Orbis ( ), which, one may put, applied the same geographical principles to a particular historical context. Dubbed “a Google Maps for the Roman Empire,” this model became a popular historical online resource and an object of envy for scholars working in other historical contexts. Inspired by Orbis, the Uni-Wien DH Team is organizing a three-day hackathon at the University of Vienna on the theme of map visualisations for historical data. One specific objective of the hackathon will be to build a sort of “Orbis-in-a-Box”—an open-source platform that would allow others to model movements of people and objects in different historical and cultural contexts. (For more details on this particular idea, see: ). We are inviting interested digital humanists with an inclination for coding to partake in this 3-day event in Vienna. We are able to offer small bursaries to offset traveling costs. If you would like to attend, please send a message to with “ORBIS-esque Hackathon” in the subject by 30 Jun 2018 , stating your current institutional affiliation (if any) and your motivation for participating in the hackathon. Please also specify whether you are applying for a bursary. 

Call for Papers :: Sharia and the Secular (19-20 Oct 2018 | Santa Barbara, CA). The SoCal Islamic Studies Graduate Student Consortium invites papers exploring the theme of “Sharia and the Secular.” Does Sharia rule Muslims’ lives? Is there a non-shar’ia side of life that could be conceived of as ‘secular’? How do non-shar’i aspects of state policy relate to Sharia? We are interested in papers that interrogate how Sharia and the realm of the non-shar’i has been constructed historically and how the practical application of Sharia reflects the non-shar’i domain. Papers that address shar’i and non-shar’i themes pertaining to the economy, medicine, society, public policy, and family life are especially welcome. In honor of Saba Mahmood, the conference also invites proposals that focus on her approach to the secular and secularism and how these relate to Sharia.This call is not limited to any specific geographic location, theoretical approach, or methodology. Anthropologists, sociologists, comparative literature scholars, historians, religious studies scholars as well as scholars of Islamic law whose work includes a focus on Muslims are invited to submit an abstract. Please submit a 300-word abstract indicating the topic, main argument, and methodology of your paper. Proposals should be sent to  and must be received by Jul 30 . Details .

Humboldt Yale History Travel Grants (Aug 2019). Funded by the Anneliese Maier Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and with support from Yale University, the Humboldt Yale History Network aims to assemble and sustain a global research network of historians. To that end, the network will offer a series of travel grants over the coming years. This year the Foundation is pleased to offer up to 10 short-term research grants of between $1,000 and $4,000 to support travel (for up to three months) to or within Europe for research on topics in the following areas: European history, Middle Eastern history, global early modern history, the history of empires, and environmental history. Applications for projects that cut across geographies, chronologies, and methods are encouraged. Priority will be given to those seeking support to visit archives and libraries to further their original research in the stated fields. These grants can support the research of scholars at any stage in their careers past the point of Ph.D. candidacy. These monies are meant to be supplemental grants to bridge funding gaps in ongoing research work. These grants do not represent employment and do not come with health insurance, childcare, social security, visa expenses, or the like. Applications due Aug 1 . 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 :: Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting Call for Papers: 21st Century Textualism (Jan 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.

Call for Chapter Contributors :: Windows into the Medieval Mediterranean (2018). Contributors are sought for an edited collection designed for undergraduate through first-year graduate students, under contract with publishers Taylor and Francis, that illuminates the many worlds of the Medieval Mediterranean, 470-1350. Contributors are asked to provide narrative essays accompanied by primary source materials, written and/or visual, illustrative of their argument, and meant to engage students more deeply into the topic. Essays will vary between 2000 and 3000 words. The general theme of the chapters are as follows The Mediterranean and its Environmental History, The Mediterranean of Antiquity, Daily Life in the Medieval Mediterranean, A Space of Conflict, Corsairs and Pirates, A Space of Convergence and Cooperation, A Profitable Mediterranean, Religion in the Medieval Mediterranean World, Culture and Cultural Exchanges, Meeting in the Middle - Mediterranean Connections to Arabia and the Silk Road, Toward a Renaissance Mediterranean. Please send a 300-500 word abstract, including initial thoughts on primary sources to Jeanette M. Fregulia, by Sep 7, 2018

Fellowship with the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study (2019 | Princeton, NJ). School of Historical Studies, Opportunities for Scholars 2019-2020. The Institute is an independent private institution founded in 1930 to create a community of scholars focused on intellectual inquiry, free from teaching and other university obligations. Scholars from around the world come to the Institute to pursue their own research. Candidates of any nationality may apply for a single term or a full academic year. Scholars may apply for a stipend, but those with sabbatical funding, other grants, retirement funding or other means are also invited to apply for a non-stipendiary membership. Some short-term visitorships (for less than a full term, and without stipend) are also available on an ad-hoc basis. Open to all fields of historical research, the School of Historical Studies' principal interests are Greek and Roman civilization, the history of Europe (medieval, early modern, and modern), the Islamic world, East Asian studies, art history, the history of science and philosophy, modern international relations and music studies.  Residence in Princeton during term time is required. The only other obligation of Members is to pursue their own research. The Ph.D. (or equivalent) and substantial publications are required. Inquiries sent by post should be addressed to the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Dr., Princeton, N.J. 08540 (E-mail address: Applications are due 14 Oct 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.

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