Harvard Journal in Islamic Law and SHARIAsource Portal work together to fulfill the overarching goal of providing content and context on Islamic law to academics. While the Portal aims to build a comprehensive platform housing a database of primary sources from every era and country over Islamic Law’s 1400-year history, the Journal aims to promote and host a lively platform for scholarly discussions surrounding those sources and on various aspects of Islamic Law.
There are various ways that scholars can be involved in this journey, including becoming a scholar-editor, a contributor, or an affiliate.
Become a Contributor
Aiming to be more than an online library, the Portal runs two main type of projects: “primary source collection projects” and “digital Islamic law tools projects.” While the former’s purpose is to identify and collect the most reliable sources from around the world, the latter’s purpose is to use the latest technologies to make resources available online in the most research-friendly way. (To learn more about the Portal please visit […Portal’s Landing Page].)
We rely on our contributors for many of our projects, for instance, to identify and collect the most reliable primary resources from around the world, and to carry out or test our digital projects. These sources will include modern court cases, legislation, and fatwās as well as medieval court records, fiqh manuals, and other archival sources. Contributors are at the heart of the Portal achieving its goal, and we always value and welcome scholars who would like to join us on this journey.
Below is an overview of the roles and rights of a contributor. If you are interested in getting involved, please fill out this Form, or contact us at […email address ]. In your email, please include a Resume and a bio, and briefly explain why you are interested and how you believe you would be able to contribute to the SHARIAsource Portal.
Overview of a Contributor’s Roles and Rights:
Both the “primary source collection projects” and the “digital Islamic law tools projects” involve a considerable amount of team work among the contributors, staff, and RAs. Additionally, both types of projects are of an ongoing nature, and often, we cannot envisage an end date for them because they are always in need of updates.
For these reasons, our contributors’ participation in any such projects involve a great deal of team-work. This entails routine meetings (in-person or virtual) with other team members in order to set milestones, discuss progress and define the next steps. While it is important to have regular meetings and fixed milestones, considering the busy schedule of our contributors, we leave it to our contributors to make decisions about the frequency of meetings and setting the milestones.
As mentioned, most of the projects are ongoing and may never end, given their constant need for updates. The contributors may choose to stay involved as long as they want. However, they are expected to finish the milestones they themselves defined and to which they have committed.
Below are some examples of how scholars may get involved in the Portal’s projects as a contributor.
- In primary source collection projects:
A. The contributor takes ownership of a project and collects primary sources that he or she has legal access to. Contributors shall determine whether the relevant laws allow sharing such primary resources with the Portal. This includes, inter alia, assessment of applicable intellectual property laws. Examples of such collaborations are:
- Collecting Islamic laws from a specific country
- Collecting court cases on Islamic laws in a specific country
- Collecting fatwas
Examples of previous (and still ongoing) projects are:
- Country Profiles: offers succinct overview and resources for each country’s legal history, institutional structures, and legal status of Islamic law. Scholars who are interested, may become the project leader for a specific country to create and/or update that country’s profile.
The contributor leads or participates in a special project related to primary source collection. For instance, we often collect primary sources that are not in English. While we typically do not translate the entire source, we create summaries and meta-data for the source, in order to make it more useful after it is uploaded to the Portal. Considering the technical nature of the documents, it is important that such summaries are created by experts in the field. This is an opportunity for collaboration with scholars who are interested in this type of involvement.
Usually the same contributor who leads the collection of the resources, also helps in the translation and meta-data creation stages.
2. In the digital Islamic law tools project:
Contributors may be of different academic backgrounds, from law to data science, as a variety of expertise are usually needed for these projects. Examples of such collaborations are:
- OCR Project, which aims to convert pictures and scans of primary sources (especially handwritten and non-Latin manuscripts) into machine readable documents. We are currently working on Arabic and Persian texts, and we collaborate with more than […] legal scholars, data scientists, and technology experts.
We welcome scholars of various fields who are interested in collaborating in such projects in any capacity.
- Courts & Canons Project:
- Stacklife-Digital Library:
Contributors positions are unpaid; however, the contributors are entitled to the following rights:
- The contributor’s name shall be acknowledged in every primary source that is published in the Portal. Additionally, all the special projects have a dedicated page in the Portal where the name and profile of the contributors are featured (to see examples of Project Pages please visit […]).
- The contributor can take the role of an editor whenever he or she decides to prepare a commentary or write an article related to the primary sources uploaded to the Portal. (To see the roles and rights of the editors, please visit […]). In fact, contributors who work on digital projects, are specifically encouraged to write about their projects and other developments in digital Islamic law. Their work will be considered for publication in the Journal.
- The contributor will be given access to online resources at Harvard Law School, subject to specific limitations and conditions.
- The contributor has priority for being a guest in our Podcast interviews, and/or for holding an event at Program in Islamic Law at Harvard or SHARIAsource, such as a talk or a book launch.
We can add more examples such as Brunei Project or The Nigeria Papers, with a link to the page in the Portal