The Program in Islamic Law supports scholarship in Islamic law through research fellowships for post-docs and faculty interested in spending a semester or a year at Harvard, editorships for scholars of Islamic law from around the globe interested in joining a growing community of their peers, and program affiliations for faculty and fellows in the field from other departments or whose interests are Islamic law-adjacent. We seek to support scholars from from a diverse range of backgrounds, academic traditions, and scholarly interests. In addition to formal positions, see our regular publications and projects for scholarship and initiatives of interest.

Research Fellows

Sohaib Baig
Research Fellow, 2020–2021
Sohaib BaigResearch Fellow, 2020–2021

Sohaib Baig completed his PhD in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is interested broadly in connected intellectual and social histories of Islam across South Asia, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East in the early modern and modern period.

Sohaib's book project is based on his dissertation, entitled "Indian Hanafis in an Ocean of Hadith: Islamic Legal Authority between South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, 16th - 20th Centuries." It examines how Indian Hanafis from Sindh and Delhi maneuvered across imperial geographies to pursue hadith scholarship and engage multiple legal schools (madhhabs) in the Indian Ocean. It analyzes how such transregional exchanges produced immense debate on the authority of the Islamic legal school and the usage of hadith as legal evidence, leading to the formation of new Islamic legal institutions in the modern period.

Sohaib has conducted archival research in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Seyed Masoud Noori
Global Academy Scholar, 2020-2021
Seyed Masoud NooriGlobal Academy Scholar, 2020-2021

Dr. Noori is a Global Academy Scholar in partnership with the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).  He is also a scholar in residence at New York University School of Law.

M Issam Eido
Global Academy Scholar, 2020-2021

Faculty Affiliates

Rosie Bsheer
Harvard University
Rosie BsheerHarvard University

Rosie Bsheer is an historian of the modern Middle East and Assistant Professor of History at Harvard University. Her teaching and research interests center on Arab intellectual and social movements, petro-capitalism and state formation, and the production of historical knowledge and commemorative spaces. 

William A. Graham
Harvard Divinity School (emeritus)
William A. GrahamHarvard Divinity School (emeritus)

William A. Graham is Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, and Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies (Faculty of Arts and Sciences). Graham served as Dean of Harvard Divinity School from 2002 to 2012, when he stepped down to return to research and teaching. His scholarly work has focused on early Islamic religious history and textual traditions (Qur’an and Hadith), and on topics in the global history of religion. His book Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam was awarded the American Council of Learned Societies History of Religions Prize in 1978. He is the author of Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (1987) and Islamic and Comparative Religious Studies(2010). He has co-authored three books and is also the author of numerous articles and reviews. He is a summa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds honorary doctorates from UNC and Lehigh University.

Baber Johansen
Harvard Divinity School (emeritus)
Baber JohansenHarvard Divinity School (emeritus)

Baber Johansen was appointed Professor of Islamic Religious Studies at Harvard Divinity School in 2005. Prior to his appointment, he served as Directeur d’études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Centre d’étude des normes juridiques), Paris (1995–2005), and Professor for Islamic Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (1972–1995). In 2006 he was appointed an affiliated professor at Harvard Law School and acting director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program from 2006 to 2010. In 2007 he was affiliated with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and from July 2010 to June 2013, he was the director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is also a faculty associate of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and a member of its Executive Committee.

Cemal Kafadar
Harvard History Department
Cemal KafadarHarvard History Department

Cemal Kafadar is the Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University. Prof. Kafadar is interested in the social and cultural history of the Middle East and southeastern Europe in the late medieval/early modern era. He teaches courses on Ottoman history, urban space, travel, popular culture, history and cinema. His latest publications include “How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: the Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul” and “Evliya Celebi in Dalmatia: an Ottoman Traveler’s Encounters with the Arts of the Franks.” 

Ousmane Kane
Harvard Divinity School
Ousmane KaneHarvard Divinity School

Ousmane Kane, a scholar of Islamic studies and comparative and Islamic politics, joined Harvard Divinity School in July 2012 as the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at HDS. Since 2002, he was an associate professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the African Studies Association of North America and the Council for the Development of Social and Economic Research in Africa. Kane studies the history of Islamic religious institutions and organizations since the eighteenth century, and he is engaged in documenting the intellectual history of Islam in Africa.

Asim Ijaz Khwaja
Harvard Kennedy School
Asim Ijaz KhwajaHarvard Kennedy School

Asim Ijaz Khwaja is the Sumitomo-Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Co-Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD). His areas of interest include economic development, finance, education, political economy, institutions, and contract theory/mechanism design. His research combines extensive fieldwork, rigorous empirical analysis, and microeconomic theory to answer questions that are motivated by and engage with policy. His recent work ranges from understanding market failures in emerging financial markets to examining the private education market in low-income countries. He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 to pursue research on how religious institutions impact individual beliefs. Khwaja received BS degrees in economics and in mathematics with computer science from MIT and a PhD in economics from Harvard.

Tarek Masoud
Harvard Kennedy School
Tarek MasoudHarvard Kennedy School

Tarek Masoud is the Sultan of Oman Associate Professor of International Relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses on the role of religion in the Muslim world’s political development. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2014), the co-author of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform (Oxford University Press, 2015), as well as of several articles and book chapters. He is a 2009 Carnegie Scholar, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy, and the recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the Paul and Daisy Soros foundation, among others. He holds an AB from Brown and a PhD from Yale, both in political science.

Roy Mottahedeh
Harvard University (emeritus)
Roy MottahedehHarvard University (emeritus)

Roy Parviz Mottahedeh is the Gurney Professor of History, Emeritus, at Harvard University.  He served as the Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1987 to 1990 and founded the Harvard Middle East and Islamic Review as a medium for Harvard students and teachers to publish their work. He was elected a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a series editor for several academic publishers. In 1994 he was appointed Gurney Professor of History. Together with Angeliki Laiou he co-edited The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World (2001). His book Lessons in Islamic Jurisprudence, published in 2003, studies the philosophy of Islamic law as taught in Shi’ite seminaries. Professor Mottahedeh received an honorary degree from the University of Lund, Sweden, in 2006. He served as Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard from 2006 to 2011.

Professor Mottahedeh is the author of numerous articles that demonstrate his wide range of interests from the Abbasid period in the eighth century to Islamic revival movements of the present day. One of his most widely distributed articles, which has been translated into many languages, was his critique of Huntington’s theory of the clash of civilizations. Professor Mottahedeh’s other publications consider such diverse topics as the transmission of learning in the Muslim world, the social bonds that connected people in the early Islamic Middle East, the theme of “wonders” in The Thousand and One Nights, the concept of jihad in the early Islamic period, and perceptions of Persepolis among later Muslims.

Malika Zeghal
Harvard NELC Department
Malika ZeghalHarvard NELC Department

Malika Zeghal is the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor in contemporary Islamic thought and life at Harvard and studies religion through the lens of Islam and power. She is particularly interested in Islamist movements and in the institutionalization of Islam in the Muslim world, with special focus on the Middle East and North Africa in the postcolonial period and on Muslim diasporas in North America and Western Europe. She has more general interests in the circulation and role of religious ideologies in situations of conflict and/or dialogue. She has published a study of central religious institutions in Egypt, Gardiens de l’Islam, (1996), and a volume on Islam and politics in Morocco, Islamism in Morocco: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Electoral Politics (2008), which has won the French Voices-Pen American Center Award. She is currently working on a book on states, secularity, and Islam in the contemporary Arab world.