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. 


Omar Abdel-Ghaffar
Research Assistant, 2020-Present
Omar Abdel-GhaffarResearch Assistant, 2020-Present

Omar Abdel-Ghaffar is a PhD Candidate in the History and Middle East Studies program at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Abdelrahman Mahmoud
Research Assistant, 2020-Present
Abdelrahman MahmoudResearch Assistant, 2020-Present

Abdelrahman Mahmoud is a PhD Candidate in the History and Middle East Studies program at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Cem Tecimer
Research Assistant, 2016-Present
Cem TecimerResearch Assistant, 2016-Present

Cem Tecimer is an SJD Candidate at Harvard Law School.

Marzieh Tofighi Darian
Program Student Fellow, 2018-Present
Marzieh Tofighi DarianProgram Student Fellow, 2018-Present

Marzieh Tofighi Darian is an SJD Candidate at Harvard Law School.

Aiyanna Sanders
Research Assistant, 2020-Present
Aiyanna SandersResearch Assistant, 2020-Present

Aiyanna Sanders is a JD student at Harvard Law School.

Shahrad Shahvand
Research Assistant, 2021-Present
Shahrad ShahvandResearch Assistant, 2021-Present

Shahrad Shahvand is a PhD Candidate in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations program at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Past Students and Fellows

Sohaira Siddiqui
Policy Fellow, 2017
Sohaira SiddiquiPolicy Fellow, 2017

Sohaira Siddiqui was 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. 

Her work focuses on the relationship between law, theology and political thought in classical Islam; Islamic law during British colonization; Islamic law in contemporary Muslim societies; and secularism and modernity in relation to Muslims in the West.

Most recently, she is the author of Law and Politics Under the 'Abbasids: An Intellectual Portrait of al-Juwayni (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Locating the Shari'a: Legal Fluidity in Theory, History and Practice (Brill, 2019). She has also published numerous articles in Islamic Law and Society, Journal of Islamic Studies, Journal of the American Oriental Society, and Middle East Law and Governance. She serves as one of the series editors for Mohr Siebeck's Sapientia Islamica: Studies in Islamic Theology, Philosophy and Mysticism.

She received her doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014.

Mubasher Hussain
Fulbright Scholar, 2016-2017
Mubasher HussainFulbright Scholar, 2016-2017

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. 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.

Hussain has a B.A, M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of the Punjab, Pakistan

Ahmed El Shamsy
Senior Fellow, 2017-2018
Ahmed El ShamsySenior Fellow, 2017-2018

Ahmed El Shamsy is a Senior Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law. He is also 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.

El Shamsy has a PhD from Harvard University.

Ebrahim Afsah
Policy Fellow, 2017-2018
Ebrahim AfsahPolicy Fellow, 2017-2018

Ebrahim Afsah is Policy Fellow at the Program in Islamic law. He is an Associate Professor of international law at the University of Copenhagen, where he teaches international, European Union, constitutional and Islamic law. 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.

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.

Mansurah Izzul Mohamed
Visiting Fellow, SHARIAsource, 2017-2018
Mansurah Izzul MohamedVisiting Fellow, SHARIAsource, 2017-2018

Mansurah Izzul Mohamed was a Visiting Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law between 2017-2018. 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.

Her 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). 



Rodrigo Adem
Research Fellow, 2017-2018
Rodrigo AdemResearch Fellow, 2017-2018

Rodrigo Adem Alvarez was a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law between 2017-2018. He 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.

Adem has an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago and a BA in History and German Literature from the University of Wisconson, Madison.

Sheza Alqera
Research Assistant, 2019-2020
Sheza AlqeraResearch Assistant, 2019-2020

Sheza Alqera is a PhD Candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Iman Mohamed
Research Assistant, 2019
Iman MohamedResearch Assistant, 2019

Iman Mohamed is a JD Candidate at Harvard Law School and PhD Candidate in History at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

Ari Schriber
Research Assistant, 2016-2019
Ari SchriberResearch Assistant, 2016-2019

Ari Schriber is a PhD Candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Aaron Spevack
Research Fellow, 2018-2019
Aaron SpevackResearch Fellow, 2018-2019

Aaron Spevack was a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law between 2018-2019. He specializes in Islamic Intellectual History, with an emphasis on 13th-19th-century law, theology, and Sufism.

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.

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. 

Anissa Abdel-Jelil
Research Assistant, 2019-2020
Anissa Abdel-JelilResearch Assistant, 2019-2020

Anissa Abdel-Jelil is an MDiv Candidate at Harvard Divinity School.

Aaron Dunn
Research Assistant, Summer 2020
Aaron DunnResearch Assistant, Summer 2020

Aaron Dunn is a rising 3L at Harvard Law School.

Jason Golfinos
Research Assistant, 2020-2021
Jason GolfinosResearch Assistant, 2020-2021

Jason Golfinos is a JD student at Harvard Law School.

Stephanie Gullo
Research Assistant, 2020-Present
Stephanie GulloResearch Assistant, 2020-Present

Stephanie Gullo is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School.

Daniel Jacobs
Research Assistant, 2019-2020
Daniel JacobsResearch Assistant, 2019-2020

Daniel Jacobs is a PhD Candidate in History at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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

Sohaib Baig was a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law between 2020-2021. 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.

He completed his PhD in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Sohaib has conducted archival research in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Dana Lee
Research Fellow, 2019–2020
Dana LeeResearch Fellow, 2019–2020

Dana Lee is a research fellow at the Program in Islamic Law for the 2019-2020 academic year. 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. 

She received her Ph.D. from the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University in 2019 and previously received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Mariam Sheibani
Research Fellow, 2018–2020
Mariam SheibaniResearch Fellow, 2018–2020

Mariam Sheibani is a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Program in Islamic Law and Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School.  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.

She received her PhD in Islamic Thought from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.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. 

Asma Khoshmehr
Research Assistant, 2019-2020
Asma KhoshmehrResearch Assistant, 2019-2020

Asma Khoshmehr is a MFA student at Emerson College.

Salaam Sbini
Research Assistant, Summer 2020
Salaam SbiniResearch Assistant, Summer 2020

Salaam Sbini is an MTS student at Harvard Divinity School. 

Marta Canneri
Research Assistant, 2020
Marta CanneriResearch Assistant, 2020

Marta Canneri is a JD student at Harvard Law School.

Rehan Staton
Research Assistant, 2020
Rehan StatonResearch Assistant, 2020

Rehan Staton is a JD student at Harvard Law School.

Hassaan Shahawy
SHARIAsource Student Editor, 2020
Hassaan ShahawySHARIAsource Student Editor, 2020

Hassaan Shahawy is a student at Harvard Law School. At HLS, he was elected the first Muslim president of the Harvard Law Review, and also served as the co-president of the Muslim Law Students Association and as a Lead Article Editor with the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He is interested in legal history, criminal law, environmental law, and property. He also has studied Islamic law traditionally in various countries around the world.

Prior to HLS, he received a BA in History and Near Eastern Studies at Harvard University, then an MA and PhD in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. 

Saqib Qureshi
Research Assistant, Summer 2020
Saqib QureshiResearch Assistant, Summer 2020

Saqib Qureshi is an MTS Candidate at Harvard Divinity School.

R. Salah Muhiddin
Research Assistant, 2020-2021
R. Salah MuhiddinResearch Assistant, 2020-2021

Salah Muhiddin is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School.

Zahra Takhshid
Research Affiliate, 2020-2021
Zahra TakhshidResearch Affiliate, 2020-2021

Zahra Takhshid was a Research Affiliate to the Program in Islamic Law and the Reginald Lewis Fellow for Law Teaching at Harvard Law School. She also served as the Islamic Law Fellow at the Institute on Religion, Law, & Lawyer’s Work at Fordham Law School.

She is also a passionate advocate of youth education and has taught and worked with middle school and high school students in Washington, D.C., and New York City. In addition, Zahra writes Op-Eds for several Iranian newspapers on current comparative legal issues. She speaks Farsi as her native language and is fluent in English. She is proficient in French, Arabic, and the programming language Swift. Her scholarly interests include torts, contracts, comparative defamation law and privacy, and Islamic law. In her doctorate dissertation, she analyzed the role of public policy and unconscionability in negligence lawsuits that involve the express assumption of risk defense. She is currently working on a paper which re-examines the unconscionability defense pertaining to arbitration clauses and offers a new perspective. 

Zahra received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and LL.M. in Private and Islamic Law from the University of Tehran School of Law and Political Science. She then pursued her second LL.M. degree at the George Washington University Law School. Zahra earned her Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree from Fordham Law School. 

Rabiat Akande
Research Affiliate, 2019-2021
Rabiat AkandeResearch Affiliate, 2019-2021

Rabiat Akande was a Research Affiliate at the Program in Islamic Law between 2019-2020 and a Clark Byse Fellow at Harvard Law School. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Law at Osgoode University. 

Her current research explores struggles over religion-state relations in comparative contexts and illuminates law’s centrality to one of modernity’s most contested issues–the relationship between religion, and the state, and society–while also interrogating law’s complex relationship with power, political theology, identity, and socio-political change. These issues are at the forefront of her book project, Constitutional Entanglements: Empire, Law and Religion in Colonial Northern Nigeria (under contract with Cambridge University Press), which traces the emergence of “secularism” as a constitutional idea of ordering religion-state relations in early to mid-twentieth century British Colonial Northern Nigeria, and grapples with the postcolonial legacy of that inheritance.

She received her SJD from Harvard Law School in 2019 and obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ibadan, graduating with a First Class Honors and at the top of her class and later studied at the Nigerian Law School from which she also graduated with a First Class Honors.

Mary Elston
Research Affiliate, 2020-2021
Mary ElstonResearch Affiliate, 2020-2021

Mary Elston is a scholar of Islam focusing on the modern and contemporary Middle East. Her research interests are in the anthropology of Islam, religious studies, and Islamic intellectual history, with a focus on education, knowledge, politics, and language. 

Her dissertation, “Reviving Turāth: Islamic Education in Modern Egypt,” combines ethnography and textual analysis to examine the politics, texts, and practices of a traditionalist education movement at Egypt’s al-Azhar, the preeminent institution of Islamic learning located in Cairo, received the Alwaleed Bin Talal Prize for Best dissertation in Islamic Studies in 2020. 

Her research in Egypt was supported by the Loeb Dissertation Research Fellowship in Religious Studies, the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, the American Research Center in Egypt, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Harvard University Center for African Studies. At PLS, Mary plans to turn her dissertation into a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Constructing Tradition: Islamic Turāth in the Contemporary Islamic World.” Her book will take a social scientific and humanistic approach to debates about tradition, knowledge, and Islamic education in the modern and contemporary Muslim world.

 In May 2020, Mary received her Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

email: [email protected]

Karina Halevy
Research Assistant, Summer 2021
Karina HalevyResearch Assistant, Summer 2021

Karina Halevy is an undergraduate student majoring in Applied Math and Computer Science. She's interested in computational linguistics, data science for social good, education, and tech ethics.