NewsProfessor Intisar Rabb Appointed Special Adviser to the ICCPIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb, was recently appointed Special Adviser on Islamic Law to the International Criminal Court. Professor Rabb was appointed as one of 17 experts selected to serve as Special Advisers to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim A.A. Khan QC. The appointments were drawn from across the world to "bring on-board rich expertise and experiences from different legal systems and specializations." Prosecutor Khan appointed this group of experts to "reinforce the Office's capabilities to effectively and efficiently discharge its mandate under the Statute, and to strengthen specialization on a wide range of issues." In a recent press release, Prosecutor Khan stated "I am delighted to welcome such an outstanding group of experts and I am grateful for their willingness to serve as my Special Advisers. I have no doubt that with their enormous experience and hugely impressive credentials, they will significantly contribute to the work of the Office and the cause of international criminal justice. I very much look forward to working with and learning from them." A meeting will soon be convened to discuss what lays ahead and to coordinate between the Special Adviser's respective mandates and portfolios.
COVID-19 UpdatesAugust 20, 2021 HLS recently announced their updated policies and FAQs related to our return to campus. These policies outlined the steps we need to take in returning to campus, which we at the Program in Islamic Law will be following. This is all outlined here on this return to campus checklist, as well as summarized below: Before you come to campus: Verify your vaccination status with Harvard University Health Services immediately, if you have not already done so. Review the COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training. Take the Self-Administration of COVID-19 Test training. Your first day on campus: Remember to bring your University-approved face covering/mask and please wear it securely over your nose and mouth when and where required. Bring your Harvard University ID (HUID). Access to HLS buildings will be limited to HLS and University community members using HUIDs (and their guests under the official visitor policy). Create your Color account, which will be used for COVID-19 testing. Take your first COVID-19 test (more details here on the return to campus checklist). Once you have returned to campus: Check your Color test results when available and confirm that your last test was negative. If you are feeling symptomatic, complete the Crimson Clear Health Attestation and follow the instructions provided. Wear a University-approved face covering/maskindoors at all times (except when eating in designated areas). Continue testing at your assigned cadence (once per week for vaccinated individuals, twice per week for unvaccinated individuals with an approved exemption). Follow good hygiene practices and any University or HLS specific safety requirements. Much more detail and additional information is available here on the HLS return to campus webpage, including FAQs for faculty and staff. Even more material is available here on the University’s Keeping Harvard Healthy site. August 18, 2021 All faculty, fellows, and staff at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant. Harvard University President, Lawrence S. Bacow, recently issued a statement about the COVID-19 pandemic and our upcoming return to campus. In the statement, he outlines the following guidelines: Vaccination - Campus-wide vaccination is the best weapon against the coronavirus, including the highly contagious Delta variant. Currently, the vaccination rate for University employees is 93% and for students is 87%. The University will provide updates on vaccination rates on the University’s COVID Dashboard in the coming weeks as we begin the fall semester. Some members of our community will not have access to vaccine until they arrive on campus. They will be able to receive vaccine through Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) upon arrival. All members of our community must verify their vaccination through the university. Testing - COVID-19 testing requirements remain in place for every member of the community who is authorized to be on campus, including those who come to campus infrequently. Regular testing will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus on and off campus, help us avoid severe illness in high-risk community members, and limit further mutation of the virus. Masking - Masks are highly effective at limiting spread of the coronavirus. The University’s indoor mask requirement remains in place, regardless of vaccination status. If You Feel Sick, Stay Home - Stay home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Use Crimson Clear to inform us if you are experiencing symptoms, have tested positive outside of the University’s testing program or HUHS, or have a known COVID-19 exposure. Over the last 18 months, our community has taken steps with two priorities in mind: first, safeguarding the health and safety of our community, and second, ensuring that teaching, learning, and research continue at the highest levels of excellence. As we embark on the fall 2021 semester, we can continue to Keep Harvard Healthy together. Please take a few minutes to visit the University’s Return to Campus webpage, which offers checklists, FAQs, and links to resources. August 13, 2021 We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation. Harvard Law School has published extensive new policy guidance and FAQs for students, faculty and staff, on its main Return to Campus webpage. This information covers areas ranging from detailed building access for HLS and Harvard University community members, as well as the procedures necessary for inviting visitors, to the public health requirements that must be followed in our classrooms, in planning gatherings, and when eating and drinking on campus. These provisions are designed by Harvard University and HLS to ensure a safe and healthy beginning to the new year, and we appreciate everyone’s partnership and cooperation in that effort. Each of these topics and many more are covered in greater detail on the general Return to Campus webpage. August 5, 2021 All faculty, fellows, and staff at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard University Health Services’ guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In addition to the HUHS guidance outlined below, the Program in Islamic Law will also have no on-campus events or visitors. To help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the University will increase its COVID-19 testing cadence requirements, effective Monday, August 9. The updated testing cadences are as follows and apply to all students, faculty, staff, and researchers with any on-campus presence: Fully Vaccinated – once per week Unvaccinated, including for medical/religious exemption – twice per week Note: Residents in Undergraduate Housing were already required to test at these cadences, so this update does not affect their testing requirements. Faculty, staff, and researchers with an infrequent presence on campus are not required to come to campus for the sole purpose of testing. Simply test the next time you are on campus. Campus-wide vaccination is the best weapon against the coronavirus, including the Delta variant. Fully vaccinated persons are very well protected from severe illness and hospitalization. So please get vaccinated, as soon as possible, if you aren’t already. Additionally, masks work. They are highly effective at protecting ourselves, colleagues, and our loved ones from infections. With that in mind, the University continues to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. July 29, 2021 We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following Harvard Law School guidance as we navigate our upcoming return to campus amid the evolving public health situation, including the potential impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant. In addition to the HLS guidance outlined below, the Program in Islamic Law will also have no short-term visitors or events on campus. COVID-19 Vaccinations: As previously announced, the University is requiring that every person with an on-campus presence be vaccinated, with exemptions permitted only by submission of a formal request, for medical or religious reasons. Face Coverings: The current guidance from the University is that masks will be required for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Physical Distancing: If you are vaccinated, you no longer need to maintain physical distance either indoors or outdoors. If you are not vaccinated, and space is available for you to distance from others, you should continue to do so. COVID-19 Testing: Everyone will be required to test on a regular cadence, using easy, self-administered tests provided by the University. If you are vaccinated, you will be expected to test every other week. If you are unvaccinated, you will need to test every week. Travel Guidance: Harvard also has revised travel restrictions such that fully vaccinated community members are once again permitted to engage in University-related travel within the U.S. and to certain international destinations. There will be a petition process for unvaccinated individuals to engage in University-related travel and for vaccinated persons to travel to certain higher risk countries. Doing More to Stay Healthy: These public health protocols are the minimum standards that each person must follow while on campus (depending on their vaccination status), but every member of our community may choose to do more than what the University is requiring. Campus Visitors: While the protocols mentioned above apply to members of our community (and are, as mentioned, subject to change), the University also has established requirements for "official visitors" and the general public. You can find these requirements on this page of the University website. To ensure that you can always access the most up-to-date information about our return plans, HLS has launched a new HLS Return to Campus website. Because guidance will continue to change, we urge you to visit this site regularly for the latest news. July 28, 2021 Given the rise in COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, primarily associated with the Delta variant, Harvard University has released the following guidance: Our best weapon against the Delta variant is campus-wide vaccination. We all play a role in protecting our community. Please report your vaccination status to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) if you have not done so already. The vaccines work in preventing serious infections. A small percentage of vaccinated persons have experienced “breakthrough” infections, but these cases tend to have mild or moderate symptoms (or no symptoms). Nearly all serious COVID-19 infections are among unvaccinated persons. Masks are another highly effective way to protect ourselves, colleagues, and our loved ones. For that reason, the University will continue to require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. We at the Program in Islamic Law will be following this guidance, requiring masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The University is continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to update health and safety guidance as needed. Please check the University’s Return to Campus webpage for the latest guidance and helpful resources for faculty, staff, and researchers during this transition. Thank you again for your commitment to Keep Harvard Healthy as many more members of our community begin returning to campus in the coming weeks. July 22, 2021 Extensive planning efforts are now underway, as we approach the return to campus. As we navigate this time of transition and experimentation, we are looking forward to an in-person Fall semester for students and fellows on campus alongside continuing our PIL events online. We continue to follow University and HLS guidelines for travel, health precautions, and a commitment to the four principles that the University has outlined: putting health and safety first, protecting and promoting academic research, leveraging our breadth and diversity, and preserving access. The “Return to Campus Planning Guide” is continually updated to provide the latest answers to frequently asked questions, information about policies, toolkits and other relevant resources. The latest information on the return to campus can be found on the University’s coronavirus website. July 8, 2021 As we continue to plan for the start of the fall semester and the return of more of our faculty, staff, researchers, and students in the weeks ahead, we want to share some reminders and updates. Vaccination against COVID-19 is required by July 15. This applies to all students, faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows who will spend any time on Harvard’s campus this fall. If you have begun your vaccination series but not completed it (i.e., you have had only one dose of a two-dose vaccine), please submit information about what has been completed so we know that your vaccination is in process. Thank you to every member of our community who has already verified their COVID vaccination by submitting it to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). If you haven’t submitted your verification yet, please visit the Verify Your Vaccination webpage and follow the instructions. If you received your vaccine through HUHS, you do not need to submit any information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential. COVID testing will remain a part of the University’s ongoing efforts to track and limit the coronavirus within our community. New testing frequency requirements take effect on July 28. Your required testing cadence will be determined by factors including whether you live on or off campus, your vaccination status, and infection rates in the local community. June 25, 2021 All Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence are now required to provide verification of COVID vaccination to Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). We ask that vaccine verification be submitted by July 15. A high vaccination rate across our community is critical as we continue to consider health and safety guidance and requirements for the fall semester. As we are able to confirm a high vaccination rate, we anticipate being in a position to further ease or lift some requirements, such as indoor masking and distancing. If you have not yet submitted your vaccine information, there is an updated process using your HarvardKey to access the HUHS Patient Portal. This process is available to all Harvard students, staff, faculty, and researchers, even if you are not an HUHS patient. Instructions for submitting are available on the Verify Your Vaccination webpage. If you have already submitted your vaccine card to HUHS through email or Accellion Kiteworks, you do not need to resubmit it. Additionally, if you received your vaccination through HUHS, you do not need to submit any information, as HUHS already has your information on file. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students claiming an exemption should complete the Student Vaccine Exemption Form. Faculty, staff, and researchers wishing to claim an exemption to the vaccine requirement will be able to do so starting in early July. Please check the Verify Your Vaccination webpage in early July for the process for claiming an exemption. Unvaccinated individuals may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals. Harvard Vaccine Clinics HUHS is holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics each week through the end of August. Vaccine appointments are open to all students, staff, faculty, researchers and HUHS patients, and can be scheduled through the HUHS Patient Portal. For international students and others who may not currently have access to a vaccine, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival to campus. Please note, however, that you may be subject to additional requirements, such as more frequent testing, until you are considered fully vaccinated. May 12, 2021 Harvard University hopes to be able to offer a less restricted, robust on-campus experience this fall. The latest information on the return to campus can be found on the University’s coronavirus website. To repopulate campus in the summer and fall, Harvard expects to continue to draw upon health and safety protocols that have helped to keep our community members safe during the current academic year. A key feature will be continued regular coronavirus testing, which will enable Harvard to monitor the status and impact of the virus on campus. Updates regarding testing requirements, frequency, and other specific guidelines will be forthcoming. To reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all students who will be on campus this fall. As with existing student requirements for other vaccines, exceptions will be provided only for medical or religious reasons. For international students and any others unable to access an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine before the fall, the University plans to offer vaccination on arrival. Harvard expects that faculty, staff, and researchers working on campus will make every effort to be vaccinated as well. Further guidance regarding vaccination expectations will be provided in the near future. For more about the requirements, how to submit documentation, or to ask questions on the vaccine, please consult the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) website. Harvard University has issued new travel guidance effective May 15, 2021. Harvard faculty, students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are fully vaccinated may undertake Harvard-related travel within the U.S., or to any country rated Level 1 or Level 2 for COVID-19 by the CDC. Harvard faculty, doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff who are not fully vaccinated or who wish to travel to a country rated Level 3, Level 4, or Level Unknown for COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status, may petition for an exemption to Harvard’s travel restriction if they meet certain criteria. The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives and protocols. November 13, 2020 Harvard University has issued updated Coronavirus Workplace Policies. Unless otherwise advised, all staff, faculty, and academic personnel should plan to continue to work remotely through June 30, 2021. Effective January 15, 2021, idled Harvard employees whose work cannot be performed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency may use the emergency excused absence benefit to sustain up to 70% of their regular pay. Also, the University’s 2020 winter recess will now begin on Monday, December 21 rather than at noon on Thursday, December 24. The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives and protocols. October 20, 2020 Dean Manning announced today that Harvard Law School will remain online for the Winter and Spring 2021 Terms due to increasing risks and uncertainties associated with the pandemic and seasonal interactions. Nevertheless, the entire Law School, including the Program in Islamic Law, will remain open and active virtually. Students will be provided with enhanced support through additional Teaching Fellow positions, new on-campus housing options for students encountering unexpected challenges, emergency dependent care support, renewed support for the Technology Assistance Fund, stipends for textbook shipping expenses for international students, student funding for printing course packs, and streamlining the class recording request process. The extension for students to apply for voluntary leaves of absence for Winter and Spring 2021 has been extended to December 1, 2020. For those facing challenges, please reach out to the Dean of Students Office or Counseling and Mental Health Services at Harvard University Health Services (HUHS). All HLS research programs remain committed to the work and to supporting the student experience by building an inclusive and equally accessible community of learning and service. The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives and protocols. August 20, 2020 Harvard University has extended its prohibition on University-related domestic and international travel and continues to strongly discourage personal travel. Those who require travel for work directly and immediately related to the COVID-19 pandemic or that enables critical research activities may file for the petition process with the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs. The prohibition does not affect student and personnel returning to Cambridge/Boston for the purposes of regular work or moving into on-campus housing. All those traveling or returning to Massachusetts must comply with the Massachusetts Travel Order. The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School adheres to Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Harvard University, and Harvard Law School directives. August 7, 2020 The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School will continue to work entirely remotely through at least the end of the 2020 calendar year. For any students returning to campus, beginning August 16, recurring COVID-19 testing will be required. The University’s test results website details comprehensive next steps, including contact tracing in case of a positive test result. Timely communication is essential and all students, staff, and affiliates are asked to keep mobile phones and electronic devices powered and on hand. Please refer to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as well as all Harvard University and Harvard Law School directives, particularly as regards travel arriving from outside of Massachusetts. June 15, 2020 Harvard Law School has announced that the Fall Term 2020 will be fully operational and online. The Program in Islamic Law will also remain fully operational as a virtual center. The Program will continue to follow Harvard University and Harvard Law School directives on reopening on-campus operations. Decisions as regard Spring Term 2021 have not been made. All COVID-19 related updates as concern the Program in Islamic Law will continue to be posted to this dedicated webpage. May 20, 2020 The May 19 Massachusetts reopening announcement by the Office of the Governor does not affect the current remote operations of the Program in Islamic Law. The Program will follow Harvard University and Harvard Law School guidance on reopening and operations. All COVID-19 related updates as concern the Program in Islamic Law will continue to be posted to this dedicated webpage. May 5, 2020 Please consult the Harvard University and Harvard Law School dedicated sites for updates on Covid-19, which we follow. Harvard University remains operational. The University will be open for the Fall 2020 semester in some form with it yet to be announced whether on-campus activities will resume. For Program in Islamic Law (PIL) specific updates, please check this dedicated PIL Covid-19 site. PIL Events & Activities: Although all in-person events are canceled until further notice, PIL continues to engage the University and global communities through online platforms with new content, podcasts, and remote learning. The SHARIAsource Portal and Islamic Law Blog have new content encompassing an expanded set of primary source content and new collections of Islamic law research—including weekly roundups from around the world on Covid-19 and Islamic law, scholarship roundups, and guest blog posts by leading and emerging scholars of Islamic law on new scholarship, pedagogy, and other recent developments in Islamic law. March 16, 2020 Program in Islamic Law Updates Please consult the Harvard University and Harvard Law School dedicated sites for updates on Covid-19, which we follow. For PIL-specific updates, please check this dedicated PIL/Covid-19 site. Events: All events are canceled until further notice, but podcasts featuring current fellows and recent book authors will be available later this semester. Updates will be posted through regular channels. Harvard Library Resources: As announced this week on the Harvard Libraries dedicated site for Covid-19 updates, all university libraries are closed, and all print-based services (including borrowing returns, and Scan & Deliver) are suspended until further notice. For Islamic and Middle Eastern law questions, library liaisons remain available for research consultations, general questions, and troubleshooting via email and Zoom; contact them at [email protected] or [email protected] They compiled the following advice for Harvard affiliates needing to access materials in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at this time: Electronic Materials: There is a lot more now available online, either open access or via HarvardKey, than was available even just last week. Many of the publishers and vendors that provide our online resources are stepping up and offering free or expanded access during this time. It’ll be a good idea to get in the habit of doing a three-point check for any one item or topic: 1) HOLLIS, 2) the likeliest database, and 3) Google or your web search of choice. For remote access to Arabic monographs, this is a reminder that Arabic Collections Online can be a useful resource that provides access to scanned collection material. Please do consult our Guide for Harvard Middle East Collection for tips on searching: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/mideast. In addition to the generous Harvard resources, the Middle East Librarians Association (MELA) is also active and sharing resources and support. You can always send specific citations or topic-based requests my way and take advantage of our greater network of librarians that may be able to resource materials. Teaching Remotely: For instructors and faculty, please be in touch if you are missing course reserves, have upcoming assignments that require library research, or would like to offer a virtual library session via Zoom. Harvard Library has been gathering an inventory of Library resources and materials to support your remote classroom teaching: https://library.harvard.edu/how-to/use-library-resources-remote-teaching PIL Resources. The SHARIAsource Portal and the Islamic Law Blog will continue to operate and provide primary source content and scholarly context to various issues in Islamic law. This includes updates from around the world on Covid-19 & Islamic Law, weekly scholarship roundups, reviews of recent cases, and topical commentary by leading and emerging scholars of Islamic law who post as guest bloggers on new scholarship, pedagogy, and other recent developments in Islamic law or who provide material often of relevance to research interests or teaching use. March 11, 2020 Program in Islamic Law Updates Following Harvard University and Harvard Law School directives, in effect for the remainder of the semester, we are taking the following measures: Events: PIL will no longer hold scheduled events on campus during this period. For news on each event and other updates, please check this dedicated PIL/Covid-19 site. For events that PIL co-sponsors, please seek additional information from the principal event hosts. For out-of-state events, please follow University guidance in cancelling travel that may relate to the Program in Islamic Law; all University-related non-essential travel is prohibited both domestically and internationally through at least 4/30. Operations: PIL will continue our regular operations remotely, to the extent possible. Our offices and workspace will be closed for the remainder of the semester. If you have not already, please consult the University tools for remote access and work. Thank you for your patience as we deal with a rapidly changing situation. Please use your best discretion to take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.
NewsIn their recent article "Digitized Canon: Intisar Rabb's Work to Develop SHARIAsource and Other Resources on Islamic Law," the Institute for Quantitative Social Science spotlights PIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb. In this interview, Professor Rabb describes the journey that created her vision of a world where scholars like herself could find sources online, which was just the beginning of what would become SHARIAsource. She is now working with scholars and institutions to concentrate on the larger challenge that will advance the most promising frontier of legal scholarship: expansive AI and data science tools to gain insights into Islamic law. “If indeed we think of ourselves as a global institution and a global law school, then certainly a part of that has to be leading the charge in consuming and expanding the study of Islamic law as a part of the laws of the world; after all, this field covers a fifth of the world’s population,” said Professor Rabb. “Combining data science tools plus digital texts, and placing them in comparative context, will strengthen the study of both American and Islamic law in a way that is simply unparalleled. We are excited for what is to come.” Read the entire article here.
Upcoming EventOn Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST via Zoom, with Dr. Yusuf Celik, will speak about redefining the hermeneutical circle in the age of data science. Dr. Celik is currently the inaugural Data Science Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School and at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. He has previously served as a lecturer and researcher at the University of Utrecht. His research centers on philosophical hermeneutics in the Islamic tradition and on Continental philosophy. He has also been active for years in the field of software engineering and is currently exploring ways to synthesize insights from philosophical hermeneutics with deep learning and other new technologies. Dr. Celik received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2020. Registration is required.
Upcoming EventOn Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST via Zoom, Professor Anas Sarmini, will speak on the form, function, and historical development of ikhtilāf al-fuqahāʾ as a genre as part of our ongoing monthly lecture series. Dr. Sarmini is an Assistant Professor at the Istanbul 29 May University. His research focuses on ḥadīth, uṣūl al-fiqh (jurisprudence), and Arabic. He completed his doctoral degree on ḥadīth and sunna from the University of Jinan in 2015, and a master’s degree on Arabic literature in 2013, and a second master’s degree from the University of Damascus in ḥadīth studies. Registration is required.
AnnouncementCollaboration with the Library of CongressWe are delighted to share with you that the Library of Congress and the Program in Islamic Law have initiated a collaborative effort to “identify, select and assess the copyright status of materials focusing on national legal gazettes.” Initially set for three years, the collaboration will focus on the legal analysis of Library of Congress’ collections related to Islamic law. As part of the joint effort, following copyright clearance, the Library of Congress will make the selected materials accessible for online use, with the Program in Islamic Law being able to repost the same content, rendering them accessible to the Harvard community and beyond. The Program in Islamic Law is also working on developing an AI-powered search tool, “SEARCHstrata,” to assist researchers in generating more effective search results that will include bibliographic metadata (e.g. peoples, titles, places) related to users’ searches. The Law Library at the Library of Congress has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity to help develop this search tool. Commenting on the joint collaboration, PIL Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb stated: “This collaborative effort with the Library of Congress will expand access to and insights from the extensive and growing collection of primary sources at the Library, which provide the essential grist for the transformative work of any researcher, historian, and lawyer.”
AnnouncementNEW! Journal of Islamic Law Volume 2The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce the publication of the second volume of the open-access, peer-reviewed Journal of Islamic Law. We invite you to digitally explore the second issue which includes a look at developments at the intersections of law and data science, internationally engaging with scholars across the field of Islamic law, and a forum featuring selections from our Islamic Law Blog's Roundtable on Islamic Law & Legal History. This volume features: long-form articles case briefs student notes new developments in digital Islamic law scholarship and much more!
VideoOn February 23, 2021, Sohaib Baig (Harvard Law School) presented in our Islamic Law Speaker Series. In his talk titled "Towards a Transregional History of Sunni Legal Pluralism: Indian Hanafis in the Indian Ocean, 1500-1926," Baig surveyed the dynamic histories of the Hanafi school (madhhab) and Sunni legal pluralism in the Indian Ocean in the early modern and modern periods. He explored how Hanafi interplay with other Sunni schools and traditions across multiple empires produced major transformations as Indian Hanafis reformulated foundational concepts concerning legal authority, including independent reasoning (ijtihād) and legal conformity (taqlīd). This talk explored some of these transformations, including the steady rise of hadith-based legal reasoning amongst Hanafis in the Indian Ocean, the expansion of legal fluidity between the Sunni legal schools, and the eventual displacement of the madhhabs as the central basis of Sunni legal authority in the modern period. Rather than explain such transformations primarily in terms of colonial modernity, this talk foregrounds Sunni legal pluralism and the power of its contending forces in shaping intellectual and legal history. He was joined by Professor Manan Ahmed (Columbia University, Associate Professor, Department of History).
Upcoming EventOn Wednesday, August 25, 2021 12-1:30pm EST, Professor Walter Edward Young (McGill University) will present “Form, Function and Historical Development of Genres of Juristic Dialectic (ʿilm al-jadal and 'ilm al-khilāf),” This lecture is next in our ongoing Monthly Lectures on Islamic Legal Genres, which is convened by Professors Hakki Arslan, Necmettin Kizilkaya, and Intisar Rabb, a group of scholars and students of Islamic law and history have been meeting monthly to explore the form and function of genres popular in Islamic law from the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries. The working group hypothesizes that the development of different genres accompanied different functions and diversity of content to match the evolving needs of Islamic law and society. You can watch previous lectures here and read their summaries on our blog. Subscribe to our lists for the latest on this ongoing workshop.
VideoOn March 8, 2021, Zahra Moballegh (University of Tehran) presented "Beyond God the Commander: Data Analysis Uncovering the Narrator God and Reconstructing an Islamic Narrative Theology." She explained the results of a narratological study in the Qur’anic stories. Alireza Javanmard and Zahra Moballegh examined 26 Qur’anic fragments in which a woman has a role (as a heroine or a secondary character) in their textual contexts and via linguistic and narratological analysis methods to see how women are represented and characterized in the stories. In the first step, through coding all the characteristics for the characters and analyzing the codes in terms of their frequencies and dependences on each other, the two scholars have reached an imaginary integrated female character that is in sharp contrast to what is traditionally represented in the Islamic theological and legal sources.
VideoOn March 22, 2021, Ahmet Faruk Çelik (Marmara University) and Taha Emre presented "AI for Comparing and Understanding Ottoman Fatwa Collections." Fatwa collections are the corpora compiled from Ottoman Shaykhal-Islāms. Today, they are considered as the main reference guide in many disciplines especially by Ottoman History and Ottoman Law. Although there has been a recent interest in academia, there is no standard way to analyze them, in terms of transliteration and translation. Bearing in mind that, most corpora contain more ten thousand fatwas, it is practically impossible to compare corpora between each other. Ahmet Faruk Celik and Taha Emre employed a statistics and machine learning (Natural Language Processing-NLP) based approach to compare fatwas in these two corpora with each other (5 thousand and 12 thousand fatwas, and 60 million comparison) using traditional term frequency–inverse document frequency (TF-IDF) and calculating similarity with cosine distance.
NewsAugust NewsletterThe Program in Islamic Law’s (PIL) monthly newsletter is out for the month of August! Content includes an announcement about our new 2021-2022 Program in Islamic Law Fellows, Hedayat Heikal and Yusuf Celik, our new SHARIAsource Instagram account, our recent Call for Memes campaign, the recent lectures in our monthly Islamic Legal Genres series, blog contributions from last month's guest editor, Professor Nurfadzilah Yahaya, and much more! Subscribe to receive the newsletter every month! View previous newsletters which are packed with updates and research in the field of Islamic Law and Data Science.