A note from the Director
Congratulations to the class of 2020! All of us at the Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School extend a hearty congratulations on your extraordinary accomplishments in your time here at Harvard, and particularly this last semester where you have shown yourself to be an exceptional class in exceptional times. These times provide an opportunity for a collective conscientious pause [see video]. 


SHARIAsource search formCONTENT: Eid in the Time of Corona: Fatwās and Statements by Jurists and Religious Leaders by Video and Tweet
One aim of SHARIAsource is to provide access to primary sources of Islamic law to support research on salient issues of Islamic law and history. One set of sources points to the varied perspectives that Muslim jurists and religious leaders announced on remote participation in Eid activities during the time of Corona. The disagreements about a remote Eid suggested hidden questions of authority: who is to call for Eid, it is a collective or individual obligation or celebration, is it about dispersed communities or formal states? We’ve compiled a roundup of fatwās and statements related to Eid and a robust dataset of over 100 fatwās and statements related to COVID-19. 


CONTEXT: Can AI in Islamic law help bolster the case for a strong rule of reasonable doubt?
A core goal of combining Islamic law with data science is the ability to mine a corpus of texts that tell us something about Islamic practice and values: for example, just how widespread, historically, was the operation of reasonable doubt or rule by evidence in Islamic criminal justice? Professor Mairaj Syed, Associate Professor at the University of California at Davis, in collaboration with Professor Intisar Rabb and Dr. Mariam Sheibani, lead an innovative experiment using Google’s new beta tool for semantic similarity of texts to detect instances of the doubt canon–requiring judges to avoid criminal punishments in cases of doubt–in works of substantive Islamic law (fiqh). Read more.


See the full newsletter.