NEWS |  28 Feb 2018
Should State Law limit the Scope of Speech about Islamic Law? 
On Egypt's Decision to Vet Fatwas
Egypt’s Supreme Media Regulatory Council ( al-Majlis al-Aʿlā li-Tanẓīm al-Iʿlām ) recently decided to allow only fifty select individuals to issues opinions on Islamic law ( fatwā s). Professor Mohammad Fadel considers the implications of that decision, as well as any Islamic law or historical precedents for it. He observes that " classical Islamic law gave the ruler a substantial role to play in the public regulation of Islam." Fadel also emphasizes, however, that "it is important to note that the Islamic Middle Ages and early modernity were characterized not only by a normative pluralism in law...but effective toleration of religious dissenters, not only non-Muslims but also Muslims who dissented from theological orthodoxy." Egypt's move to centrally control the dissemination of dangerously incorrect ideas may depart from this historical practice and may undermine the very goal of countering extremism that is behind the decision in the first place. Read more. Image credit: Reuters/Darren Staples
Expanding the Jurisdiction of Pakistan's Federal
Shariat Court
Renowned Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jehangir passed away this month. Noor Zafar 's commentary examines one of her landmark cases, Abdul Waheed v. Asma Jehangir , which, she argues   expanded Pakistan's Federal Shariat Court's (FSC) jurisdiction. At the core of this conflict was whether the Lahore High Court must consider as binding precedent the FSC's judgment that the consent of a male guardian ( wali) is not required for a young Muslim girl to legally get married. The Supreme Court decided in favor of what it termed a "harmonious interpretation," ruling that "the interests of uniformity and notice dictate that the FSC be granted the authority to bind lower courts on certain issues implicating Islamic law, even if this authority transcends constitutional bounds." Read more. Image credit: The Express Tribune
The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance [Ordinance No. VIII of 1961]
This regulation was issued to give effect to certain recommendations of the commission on marriage and Family Laws in Pakistan . The ordinance is crucial to the Pakistani Supreme Court case  Abdul Waheed v. Asma Jehangir , which examined whether the Lahore High Court was bound to a decision of the Federal Shariat Court regarding Muslim Personal Law (MPL) in Pakistan. The relevant provision makes no mention of a requirement that a wali (male guardian) be present for a young Muslim girl to legally marry. Read more. Image credit: Dunya News TV
Other News

SHARIAsource Book Release: Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (Islamic Legal 
Studies Program/Harvard University Press, 2017)
ILSP: SHARIAsource's book has released the next book in the Harvard Series on Islamic law. Edited by Intisar A. Rabb and Abigail Krasner Balbale , this book presents an in-depth exploration of the administration of justice during Islam’s founding period, 632–1250 CE. Inspired by the scholarship of 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 .

ILSP SHARIAsource :: Upcoming Events

Conference :: Islam and Toleration (Cambridge, MA | 1-2 Mar 2018). The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University is pleased to announce its annual conference on Islam and Toleration. This conference aims to explore the concept and realities of toleration in the Islamic tradition with a focus on contemporary work, from Asia and Africa to Europe and the United States. Co-sponsored by Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program: SHARIAsource. Details .

The Harvard Law and Religion Lecture Series :: The Place of Ethics in Islamic Law (Cambridge, MA | 6 Mar 2018). SHARIAsource Visiting Fellow Ahmed El Shamsy of the University of Chicago studies the intellectual history of Islam, focusing on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context. His research addresses themes such as orality and literacy, the history of the book, and the theory and practice of Islamic law.  Details.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Hair and Identity in Islamic and Jewish Law: Uncovering an Unlikely Link (20 Mar 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Ahmed El Shamsy,  Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will delve into the seemingly frivolous issue of male grooming practices to shed light on how the early Muslim community positioned itself and its law vis-a-vis the Jews and Jewish law.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: International Law from an Islamic Law Point of View (27 Mar 2018 | Cambridge, MA). Ebrahim Afsah,  Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School, will discuss universality and particularity of international law from an Islamic point of view. He will assess the alleged claim of a particular set of rules governing relations between Muslim-majority countries and the related claim of incorporating different cultural traditions into the historical genesis of general international law. 

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.

ILSP Lunch Talk :: TBD (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. 

ILSP Lunch Talk :: Apocalypticism and the Mahdi in Early Islam (TBD 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.

Other Events in Islamic Legal Studies

Early Shiʿi Law in Context (8 Mar 2018 | Princeton, NJ). Law, Authority and Learning in Imami S hīʿīte Islam (LAWALISIS) is a 5-year Advanced Award project (2016-21) funded by the European Research Council. Based at the University of Exeter, the project examines the development of Im ā m ī S hīʿī law from the earliest period to the 20th century. This workshop will introduce LAWALISI's current research focus: the place of S hīʿī law in the context of Islamic legal development more generally. Details .

35th Annual Conference of the American Society for the Study of Islamic Societies (ACSIS): Islam in the Post-Obama Era (Boston, MA | 23-24 Mar 2018). This conference is being co-sponsored by the Institute for the Liberal Arts and the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy. Of note is session 2: "Shariah and the Public Sphere in the United States". 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). Key-note 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.

Annual Meeting on Law and Society (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 .


Law and Social Inquiry’s 2018 Annual Graduate Student Paper Competition (1 Mar 2018). The editors of Law & Social Inquiry are pleased to announce its annual competition for the best journal-length paper in the field of law and social science written by a graduate or law student. Law & Social Inquiry publishes empirical and theoretical studies of socio-legal processes from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Submissions due 1 Mar 2018 . Details .

Law and Social Inquiry’s 2018 Annual Graduate Student Paper Competition (1 Mar 2018). The editors of Law & Social Inquiry are pleased to announce our annual competition for the best journal-length paper in the field of law and social science written by a graduate or law student. Law & Social Inquiry publishes empirical and theoretical studies of sociolegal processes from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. LSI invites direct submissions from graduate and law students and nominations of student work from faculty. The author must be a graduate student or law student at the time the paper was written and when submitted. Faculty nominations should include a short description along with the paper and contact details for the student. Submissions will be evaluated by our editors.  The winning submission will be sent to selected scholars for advisory reviews to aid with revisions prior to publication. All submissions (direct and faculty nominated) are weighted equally in the competition. The winning paper will be published in Law & Social Inquiry and the author(s) will receive a total cash prize of $500 (US). Entries must be received by 1 Mar 2018 . Details .

CFP:: 3rd Annual Legal Studies Graduate Conference: Law, Language and the Archive (27-28 Apr | Providence, RI). The Brown Legal Studies initiative invites paper submissions on the subject of “Law, Language, and the Archive” for its third annual graduate student conference. At a moment when important political and legal institutions in the United States are challenged from within and without, our conference will consider the interaction of language and the law, contemporarily and in broader historical and comparatist contexts, and the ways we, as scholars, interact and interpret the language of the law in the archival sources we use. Applications due 1 Mar 2018 . Details .

Türkiye Scholarships 2018 Second and Third Round of Applications ( 2018 | Country of Choice). Apart from providing education opportunities at an international caliber as well as a wealth of knowledge and experience, Turkey also offers scholarships to outstanding international students from all over the world to study in the most prestigious universities in Turkey. Following the completion of the first round of applications for Türkiye Scholarships, the second and third round of applications will be received according to the scheduled dates announced on its official website. Applications for non-undergrad applications due 5 Mar 2018 . Details .

ASLH Peter Gonville Stein Book Award (15 Mar 2018). The American Society for Legal History announces the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award, to be presented annually for the best book in non-US legal history written in English. To be eligible, a book must be published during the previous calendar year (2017).  Nominations for the Stein Award (including self-nominations) should be submitted by March 15, 2018. Please send an e-mail to the Committee at  and include: (1) a curriculum vitae of the author (including the author’s e-mail address); and (2) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of the contact person at the press who will provide the committee with two copies of the book. This person will be contacted shortly after the deadline. (If a title is short-listed, six further copies will be requested from the publisher.) Nominations due 15 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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