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

Mohammad Abderrazzaq
Research Affiliate, 2020-2022
Mohammad AbderrazzaqResearch Affiliate, 2020-2022

Mohammad A. Abderrazzaq is a Research Affiliate at the Program in Islamic Law. He has also been a contributing editor for the Sharia Source Project at Harvard Law School. In addition to his research in Islamic legal theory, Mohammad has taught courses on Islam in America, Islamic intellectual history, Islamic law, Islamic history, and Qur’anic exegesis.

His dissertation was a study of the development of maqāṣid juridical theory, which he is preparing for publication under the title The Higher Objectives of Islamic Law: The Development of Maqāṣid Theory from al-Shāṭibī to Ibn ʿĀshūr and the Contemporary Maqāṣid Movement. Mohammad is also an editor for a book series treating the maqāṣid thought of premodern and modern legal figures.

He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 

Yusuf Celik
Data Science Fellow, 2021-2022
Yusuf CelikData Science Fellow, 2021-2022

Yusuf Celik is the lead data scientist for the SHARIAsource Courts and Canons Project, 2020-2021. He  is currently an adjunct lecturer and researcher at the University of Utrecht.

His research is on Philosophical Hermeneutics in the Islamic tradition and Continental philosophy. Yusuf Celik has also been active for years in the field of software engineering. As an independent contractor he has worked for different high profile clients in the capacity of lead developer, consultant, code coach, and Scrum master. He is currently exploring ways to synthesize insights from Philosophical Hermeneutics with new technologies such as Deep Learning.

Celik received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2020.

Issam Eido
MESA Global Academy Fellow, 2020-2022
Issam EidoMESA Global Academy Fellow, 2020-2022

Dr. Issam Eido is a Global Academy Scholar in partnership with the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). He is also an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University Department of Religious Studies. A former visiting scholar of Islamic and Arabic Studies at The University of Chicago-Divinity School (2013-2015). Prior to the Syrian uprising, Eido served as a lecturer in the faculty of Islamic Studies in the Department of Quran and Hadith Studies at the University of Damascus. 

Eido's research focuses on the Qur'an, Hadith Studies, Sufism. His teaching interests focus on Qur’an, Hadith, Early Islamic legal theory, and Arabic Studies. 

Eido received his Ph.D. from the Department of Quran and Hadith Studies at Damascus University in 2010. For more information visit his webpage

Hedayat Heikal
Research Fellow, 2021-2022
Hedayat HeikalResearch Fellow, 2021-2022

Hedayat Heikal is a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law and a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She served as a Research Scholar in Law and the inaugural Islamic Law and Civilization Research Fellow at Yale Law School, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo, as well as a Graduate Program Fellow at Harvard Law School. Her academic work focuses on comparative constitutional law, the rise of the administrative state, and Middle Eastern and Islamic law. Between 2009 and 2013, she practiced as a litigation, arbitration, and enforcement attorney at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York, representing clients on a wide array of disputes and regulatory matters.

She recently completed a  dissertation titled “Beyond Juristocracy: The Rise and Fall of Judicial Activism on National Identity Questions in the Middle East.”

Hedayat also holds a Doctor of Law (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) summa cum laude from the American University in Cairo. 

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. She comes to Harvard University from Yale University, where she was Assistant Professor of History (2014–2018). She is the recipient of the Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching at Yale University (2017) and Yale College’s Sarai Ribicoff ‘75 Award for the Encouragement of Teaching (2018).

Bsheer’s work has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Whiting Foundation, and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life.  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. 

She is the author of Archive Wars: The Politics of History in Saudi Arabia (Stanford University Press, October 2020). he is Associate Producer of the 2007 Oscar-nominated film& My Country, My Country, Co-Editor of Jadaliyya E-zine, and Associate Editor of Tadween Publishing.

She received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University (2014).

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.

His research and teaching focus on the relationship between religion and law in the classical and the modern Muslim world. His book Muhammad Husain Haikal Europa und der Orient im Weltbild eines ägyptischen Liberalen (1967), translated into Arabic in Abu Dhabi in 2010, examines twentieth-century liberal interpretations of Islam; Islam und Staat (1982) looks at modern Muslim debates on state models; and Islamic Law on Land Tax and Rent (1988) considers long-term changes in classical and postclassical legal doctrine. Contingency in a Sacred Law: Legal and Ethical Norms in the Muslim Fiqh (1999) focuses on law, social practice, and ethics in Islam.

Johansen has a PhD in Habilitation in Islamic Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin.

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.” 

Kafadar graduated from Robert College, then Hamilton College, and received his PhD from the McGill University Institute of Islamic Studies in 1987.

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.

Kane has also focused on the phenomenon of Muslim globalization. His book Homeland Is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America (Oxford University Press, 2010) looks at the community of Senegalese immigrants to the United States in New York and the importance these immigrants assign to their religious communities for the organization of their lives. His other books include Muslim Modernity in Postcolonial Nigeria (Brill, 2003), Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (Harvard University Press, 2016), and, most recently, Islamic Scholarship in Africa. New Directions and Global Contexts (James Currey, 2021). He has published articles in the Harvard International ReviewPolitique étrangèreAfrique contemporaineAfrican Journal of International AffairsCahiers d’Etudes AfricainesIslam et Sociétés au Sud du Sahara, and Religions.

Kane received a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic and a Masters in Islamic Studies from the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales at the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, and an M. Phil and a Ph.D in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

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). He was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 2009 to pursue research on how religious institutions impact individual beliefs.

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.

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. 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. 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 holds an AB from Brown and a PhD from Yale, both in political science.

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. An alumna of the Ecole Normale Supérieure de la Rue d'Ulm (Paris, France),

Malika Zeghal holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (1994). 

Mohsen Goudarzi
Harvard Divinity School
Mohsen GoudarziHarvard Divinity School

Mohsen Goudarzi is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. A scholar of the Qur'an and early Islamic history, he has published on the Qur'an's theological and legal dimensions, its relationship to the Bible and post-biblical literature, its reception in Muslim exegesis, and its textual genesis. His current projects include an article that rethinks the Qur’an’s legal philosophy and a monograph that explores the Islamic scripture’s historical vision. 

Goudarzi obtained his PhD from Harvard's Committee on the Study of Religion in 2018, after which he taught as Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) for three years, before joining the Harvard Divinity School in July 2021.