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Conference: Celebrating the scholarship and teaching of Prof. Christopher Melchert, Pembroke College, Oxford, September 25, 2023

September 25

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a conference celebrating the scholarship and teaching of Prof. Christopher Melchert, to be held at Pembroke College, Oxford, on Monday 25 September 2023. The program ranges broadly across Islamic law and piety and the study of the hadith literature and can be found below. If you would like to attend, please register by sending an e-mail to <[email protected]>.

Best wishes,

Belal Alabbas, Robert Gleave, and Nicolai Sinai


Hadith, Piety, and Law:
A Conference in Honour of Christopher Melchert

Monday, 25 September 2023

09:00 – 09:15 Arrival and coffee

09:15 – 09:30 Welcome note by Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

09:30 – 11:00 Islamic Law (1)
Chair: Maribel Fierro (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid)

Devin Stewart (Emory University): “Five Theories regarding al-Shāfiʿī’s Risāla”

Joseph Lowry (University of Pennsylvania): “Who Does the Qurʾan Think Will Enforce its Laws?”

Ahmad Khan (American University of Cairo): “Qāḍīs, Caliphs, and Law-Making in the Ninth Century”

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00 Hadith
Chair: Pavel Pavlovitch (Sofia University)

Belal Alabbas (University of Bristol): “Abū ʿĪsā al-Tirmidhī’s Life and Works”

Maroussia Bednarkiewicz (University of Tübingen): “Regularity and Variation in Hadith Chains of Transmission”

Matthieu Tillier (Université Paris-Sorbonne): “Hadith Transmission in Ninth-Century Egypt: The View from the Papyri”

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 15:30 Piety and Sufism
Chair: Talal Al-Azem (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies)

Karen Bauer (Institute of Ismaili Studies): “Fear of God and Qur’anic Piety”

Nora Schmid (University of Oxford): “Asceticism and Scripture-Based Piety in Kharijite Poetry”

Harith Bin Ramli (independent scholar): “Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī and the Basran Origins of Sufism”

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:00 Islamic Law (2)
Chair: Robert Gleave (University of Exeter)

Paul Gledhill (University of Exeter): “Abū Muṣʿab al-Zuhrī’s (d. 242/857?) Defence of the Medinese Regional School”

Salman Younas (Cambridge Muslim College): “Hadith Criticism according to Ṭarīqat al-Fuqahāʾ in the Discourse of Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ”

17:00 – 17:30 AFTERSHOCK
Shawkat Toorawa (Yale University): “Christoph Melchert’s (un)Orthodox Scholarship”

The conference organisers gratefully acknowledge the generous support of Pembroke College’s Brian Wilson memorial fund.

Dr Belal Alabbas
Lecturer in Global Islam
University of Bristol
Department of Religion and Theology
3 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB, UK