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.
Past Students and Fellows
Professor Sohaira Siddiqui joins SHARIAsource as a Policy Fellow for the spring 2017 semester. She is currently Assistant Professor of Theology and Islamic Studies at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar. Professor Siddiqui's research focuses on how Islamic jurisprudence impacts how jurists understand the relationship between law, politics, and society. While with SHARIAsource, she will look at, in part, how Islamic law is codified in a variety of global locations and the rise of Islamic constitutionalism. For more information on Professor Siddiqui's research go to http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/szs8/.
Professor Mubasher Hussain comes to SHARIAsource as a Fulbright Scholar for the 2016-2017 academic year. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Islamic Law and head of the Hadith and Sirah Department at the International Islamic University, Pakistan. Professor Hussain also serves as the Secretary of the National Sirah Centre at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. His current research project engages the neglected life and legacy of Shah Waliullah and his impact on traditional Islamic thought and Islamic law. More information on Professor Hussain’s research.
Ahmed El Shamsy is an Associate Professor of Islamic thought at the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, focusing on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context. His research addresses themes such as orality and literacy, the history of the book, and the theory and practice of Islamic law. His first book, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History, traces the transformation of Islamic law from a primarily oral tradition to a systematic written discipline in the eighth and ninth centuries. He is now at work on his second book, a study of the reinvention of the Islamic scholarly tradition and its textual canon via the printing press in the early twentieth century.
Ebrahim Afsah is an associate professor of international law at the University of Copenhagen, where he teaches international, European Union, constitutional and Islamic law. He has been trained at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Trinity College Dublin, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and the Max Planck Institute for International Law in Heidelberg. Before joining the faculty in Copenhagen, he worked for a decade as a management consultant in the Middle East and Central Asia, primarily on administrative and legal reform, counter-narcotics, prisons and legal training.
His areas of interest are public international law, especially the law of armed conflict; public law, especially administrative and constitutional law in post-conflict settings; and Islamic law, again especially its (underdeveloped) public law. Ebrahim has been a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, a senior fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo and will be in residence at Harvard during the spring semester 2018.
During this period, he will compare the Islamic instrument of waqf and the related Western concept of a (landed) trust. He is interested in examining the methodological and theoretical foundations of the waqf and its integration into modern state bureaucracies and legal systems, which have been heavily characterised by borrowings from Western law. He seeks to investigate three related aspects in contemporary Muslim legal systems: first, how the modern Ministries of Charitable Endowments, which exist in one way or other in virtually all Muslim nations, operate; second, the legal basis in the modern period under which foundations operate in the Muslim world, especially the extremely influential bonyads in the Islamic Republic of Iran; and, thirdly, the manner in which certain institutions that historically have been key beneficiaries of charitable endowments – especially schools, universities, seminaries – have been legally incorporated in the modern period.
Mansurah Izzul Mohamed’s research interests include Southeast Asian studies that address the political aspects, as well as the socio-economic implications of Shariah introduction and subsequent legal implementation in a country. Mohamed is also interested in areas where human rights and the different cultural understandings intersect; as well as the use of negotiation studies to further understand crisis management situations, and she has explored these in her Masters and Bachelors dissertations.
Mohamed holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Fletcher School, Tufts University (2017) and a Master of Arts in Political Studies from Auckland University (2011), respectively and a Single Honors Bachelor Degree in International Relations from Keele University (2006). She has been awarded a Brunei Government In-Service Training (LDP) Scholarship to undergo graduate level studies.
Before commencing her postgraduate studies in New Zealand and the United States (US), Mohamed worked in Brunei Darussalam as a Research Officer and then Assistant Director at the Department of International Organizations (DIO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT).
While at the Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP), Mohamed will work on a on a paper pertaining to the introduction and evolution of Shariah law in Southeast Asian countries, with particular emphasis on its impact to countries in the region. The research will address several perspectives, including but not limited to human rights, political and economic standpoints. Mohamed is also involved in the SHARIAsource Digitization Project undertaken by the Harvard Law School Library particularly concerned with the Brunei sources in the Pilot Project. Her role will be to translate relevant documents in Malay and advise on relevant and important sources to be introduced and digitized. She will be in residence at ILSP during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Rodrigo Adem Alvarez studies pre-modern Muslim thought as an intellectual and social historian. He is particularly interested in how scholarly networks mediated social and epistemic authority within the urban and political development of the Near East and Mediterranean over the 8th to 14th century. He hopes to further current understanding of how paradigmatic scholarly traditions of law, theology, historiography, philosophy, mysticism, and political thought came to be codified during this period, and persist in key facets of Muslim thought to the present day.
Aaron Spevack specializes in Islamic Intellectual History, with an emphasis on 13th-19th-century law, theology, and Sufism. He obtained a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Intellectual History from Boston University and an ALB from Harvard University’s Extension Division. He also studied Jazz performance and composition at the New England Conservatory of Music and has extensive experience performing Jazz, Hip-hop, and Sufi music from Morocco, Turkey, and the Levant. He has published two books and a number of articles on Islamic intellectual history. His book The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri was published by SUNY Press in 2014; through a study of various commentaries written by the 19th-century Egyptian scholar Ibrahim al-Bajuri, he challenges popular theories of intellectual decline and anti-rationalism. One of his more recent works focuses on the coalescence of Northwest African and Persian theological and philosophical thought in 13th-19th century Islamic education, especially its reception in Egypt's al-Azhar University.
Dana Lee is a research fellow at the Program in Islamic Law for the 2019-2020 academic year. She received her Ph.D. from the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University this year and previously received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. She is currently working on her first book project based on her dissertation entitled, At the Limits of Law: Necessity in Islamic Legal History, Second/Eighth through Tenth/Sixteenth Centuries.
Mariam Sheibani is a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Program in Islamic Law and Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. She received her PhD in Islamic Thought from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Her research interests are in Islamic intellectual and social history, with a focus on law, ethics, gender, and contemporary Islamic thought. She serves as Lead Blog Editor for the Islamic Law Blog (formerly the SHARIAsourceBLOG) based at Harvard Law School.
Her first book project, Islamic Legal Philosophy: Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām and the Ethical Turn in Medieval Islamic Law, examines how Muslim jurists from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries addressed salient questions of legal philosophy and ethics, leading them to develop competing legal methodologies and visions of the law. In particular, she traces the development of a purposive, analytical, and socially responsive legal discourse that originated among Shāfiʿī jurists in Khorasan and continued to evolve in Ayyubid Damascus and Mamluk Cairo in subsequent centuries. The study centers on a prominent Damascene heir of Khorasani Shāfiʿism, ʿIzz al-Dīn b. ʿAbd al-Salām, a pivotal figure in the development of Islamic legal philosophy, ethics, and legal maxims (qawāʿid fiqhiyya). Learn more about her book project and other current research projects.
In 2019–2020, Mariam is teaching two graduate seminars at Harvard: Islamic Ethics: Between Reason, Revelation, and Reform (Fall 2019) and The Thought and Legacy of al-Ghazālī (Spring 2020). Prior to her doctoral studies, she earned a BA in Public Affairs and Policy Management, an MA in Legal Studies, and a second an MA in Islamic Thought. She has conducted research in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, the UK, and West Africa.