Welcome Rashid Alvi! We are excited to welcome Rashid Alvi, who returns as the Executive Director of the Program in Islamic Law, where he will be working directly with Faculty Director, Professor Intisar Rabb to make possible an exciting slate of new projects in the Program’s SHARIAsource Lab, where we are building data science tools to use with Islamic law texts. Rashid is no stranger to Harvard: he was the Deputy Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program—PIL’s predecessor ten years ago—and helped launch the SHARIAsource portal. “I’m delighted to return to Harvard’s Program in Islamic Law! I look forward to working with Professor Intisar Rabb and the PIL team to help shepherd PIL and SHARIAsource to even greater heights.” says Rashid. “In particular, I’m eager to work on collaborations with other institutions as we create lasting legacies in the use of digital tools, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, for the study of Islamic law and Islamic studies more generally.” Rashid holds a JD from Columbia Law School, an MA from the University of Southern California, and a BA from Binghamton University. He has served as a chief strategy officer, manager, and deal advisor with strategic, fiscal, and operations leadership. We look forward to working together to fulfill our Program’s mission to promote research and provide resources for the academic study of Islamic law, with the use of digital tools!
CONTEXT: Islamic Law, the Taliban, and the Modern State Last month, Haroun Rahimi (Assistant Professor of Law at the American University of Afghanistan) joined us to present a talk on the “Taliban and Modernity” as part of our Islamic Law Speaker Series. The talk explored the Taliban’s approaches to law, rights, governance, education, and the public and private spheres. He examined what those approaches can tell us about the problems of modernity within Afghan society. He posited that understanding and offering new interpretations of premodern conceptions of separation of powers principles in Islamic tradition could plausibly counter the Taliban’s brand of theocratic authoritarianism. Rahimi also published a related essay on the Islamic Law Blog, titled “Islamic Law, the Taliban, and the Modern State,” His essay addresses the question whether the Taliban can be considered modern and why this consideration is significant. Read his essay and watch his talk today!