NEWS |  27 Mar 2018
Last month, the British Home Office published a report   on the operation of Islamic family law in the UK: " The Independent Review of Sharia Law in England and Wales. " The UK Home Office produced the report as an official part of the British government's counter-terrorism efforts. Report authors sought to assess whether the UK's sharīʿa councils--groups formed of Muslim religious officials who mediate matters of family and personal law--discriminate against women and whether they should be brought within the purview of the British legal system. In a new symposium that assesses these developments, SHARIAsource invited academic experts in Islamic law in the UK to comment.  Professor Shaheen Sardar Ali   of the University of Warwick and  Professor Ralph Grillo   of the University of Sussex give their takes on the report. They critically assess and comment on the report and query whether its objectives are relevant to Islamic family law practices (e.g.,  nikāḥ religious marriage contracts, divorce) as they intersect with state civil marriage requirements (e.g., registration, solemnnization) in the UK.  Read more. Image credit : Kirsty O’Connor/PA
CASE :: The Prosecution of an Unregistered Married Couple in Aceh, Indonesia
The distinction between state law and religious law remains administratively murky in many countries, including in the Muslim world. Student editor  Waskito Jati  illustrates how a current case in Aceh, Indonesia, exemplifies the problems that result from poorly defined laws. In this case, a couple's marriage was deemed illegitimate because it had not been registered with the civil were accused of "committing  khalwat  (Ar.  khalwa , the act of being in a secluded place between unmarried man and woman)"--a new crime specified by the Islamic Criminal Code in Aceh. Aceh still uses the secular Indonesian Marriage Law of 1974 in determining the legitimacy of a marriage, under which the couple would not have been subject to criminal charges even if their marriage was not registered, which was the basis for the conclusion of illegitimacy. This case exemplifies the dangers of new Islamic criminal law codes, especially where they attach criminal consequences to family matters. Read more. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
IJMES Roundtable :: Digital Islamic Law: Purpose and Prospects
SHARIAsource founding editor Intisar Rabb and deputy editor Sharon Tai write in the February 2018 issue of the International Journal of Middle East Studies on the main principles driving SHARIAsource's development. As it grows, SHARIAsource continues to integrate collaboration, accessibility, and usability within its approach to digital Islamic law, comparative law, and humanities. Read more. Image credit: International Journal of Middle East Studies/Cambridge University Press
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
ILSP: SHARIAsource Senior Scholar Ahmed El Shamsy spoke on March 20th about how the early Muslim community used its treatment of hair to distinguish itself and its law from Jewish law and community. On March 27th ILSP: SHARIAsource Policy Fellow Ebrahim Afsah discussed how Islamic law fits into the history of international law and the ongoing development of its present-day norms.

ILSP SHARIAsource :: Upcoming Events

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Comparing Waqf and Western Landed Trusts (10 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Ebrahim Afsah,  Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School, will discuss 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. Details.

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

Arab American Law Association Talk on Middle Eastern Legal Systems (31 Mar 2018 | Boston, MA). Lawyers John L. Habib and Abduallah Al-Haroun will lead a discussion centered around law and the Middle East. Both John Habib and Abduallah Al-Haroun have experience practicing law in some of the Middle East’s most competitive and emerging markets. In this talk, they will share their experiences and provide insight into some of the biggest obstacles and challenges of practicing law in the region. Details.

Lecture :: Islamic Constitutionalism: Not Secular. Not Theocratic. Not Impossible (6 Apr 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Asifa Quraishi-Landes   , Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin Law School and SHARIAsource Senior Scholar, will explain her current project, proposing a structure for Islamic constitutionalism that is inspired by Islamic jurisprudence and Muslim history, yet designed for contemporary realities. This structure is conceptually different from the typical “Islamic state” imagined by modern political Islam movements, as it is built upon the pre-colonial separation of Muslim lawmaking power: siyasa, made by rulers, and fiqh, articulated by religious legal scholars. She will argue that popular understandings of sharia fail to see the constitutional importance of these two legal realms, largely because global discourses about Islamic government are dominated by Eurocentric concepts of law (especially religious law). Quraishi-Landes will then present a proposal for Islamic constitutionalism that will demonstrate that—if we step outside the European nation-state paradigm to see sharia as an Islamic rule of law made up of both fiqhand siyasa—an Islamic constitutionalism that is not secular and not theocratic is not impossible. Hosted by ILSP: Law and Social Change. 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 .

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.