Research Fellows

Dilyara Agisheva
PIL-LC Fellow, 2022-2023
Dilyara AgishevaPIL-LC Fellow, 2022-2023

Dilyara Agisheva received an undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science from UCLA and an M.A. in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University. As a Ph.D. student at Georgetown University, she specialized in Islamic legal studies and Ottoman history. In August 2021, she defended her doctoral thesis entitled “Entangled Legal Formations: Crimea Under Russian Rule in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries.” Her doctoral research was supported by scholarships and grants, including the Heath W. Lowry Dissertation Writing Fellowship of Distinction from the Institute of Turkish Studies and the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship.

Faiz Ahmed
Research Affiliate, 2022-2023
Faiz AhmedResearch Affiliate, 2022-2023

Faiz Ahmed (PhD, UC Berkeley; JD, UC College of Law, San Francisco) is currently Joukowsky Family Distinguished Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at Brown University. Ahmed’s primary specializations are the late Ottoman Empire, Afghanistan, and the British Empire, as well as diasporic communities tied to the region we today call the Middle East. His core research and teaching engage questions of human mobility, travel, and migration; social histories of Islamic law and learning; and the intersections of constitutionalism, citizenship, and diplomacy.

Ahmed’s first book, Afghanistan Rising: Islamic Law and Statecraft between the Ottoman and British Empires (Harvard University Press), was awarded the American Historical Association’s John F. Richards Prize in 2018. His current research explores historical ties and engagements of the Ottoman Empire in the Americas, with a focus on social, economic, and legal connections to the United States and Canada during the long nineteenth century. His published articles have appeared in journals of law, history, and Middle East Studies, including Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; Global Jurist; International History Review; International Journal of Middle East Studies; Iranian Studies; Jadaliyya; Osmanlı Araştırmaları (Journal of Ottoman Studies); Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association; and Perspectives on History. Dr. Ahmed is also co-organizer with Brown University colleagues Michael Vorenberg, Emily Owens, and Rebecca Nedostup of the Brown Legal History Workshop and the Brown Legal Studies collaborative.

 

Fatima Essop
Research Affiliate, 2022-2023
Fatima EssopResearch Affiliate, 2022-2023

Fatima Essop is a Fellow at the Program on Law & Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School and an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. She has practiced in the areas of public interest litigation, administrative law, environmental law, torts, and family law, and is an accredited family law mediator with experience in the area of Muslim family law. 

Her current research focuses on the practice of Muslim family law, by the Muslim minority community in South Africa. She has undertaken socio-legal, empirical research in the areas of Islamic divorce and inheritance in order to identify the disparities between the theory of law and the lived reality of the law, as experienced by the Muslim community in South Africa. 

Essop has a PhD from the University of Cape Town (UCT) where her thesis focused on the intersection between the Islamic laws of inheritance and the South African laws of inheritance, and has lectured on the Interpretation of Statutes in UCT’s Law Faculty. She also has a BA degree in Arabic and Islamic law from the International Peace College of South Africa and a Certificate in Islamic Finance from the ETHICA Institute of Islamic Finance based in the United Arab Emirates.

Haroun Rahimi
Global MESA Fellow, 2022-2023
Haroun RahimiGlobal MESA Fellow, 2022-2023

Haroun  Rahimi is an Assistant Professor of Law at the American University of Afghanistan and a Visiting Professor of Law at Bocconi University School of Law and is a Global Academy Scholar at MESA.. His research focuses on economic laws, institutional reform, Islamic finance, and divergent conceptions of rule of law in Muslim and modern thoughts, and religious authority, and his research has appeared in reputable local and international journals. Rahimi has also collaborated as an independent consultant with a number of research firms and policy think tanks conducting policy research on institutional development and good governance in the South Asia context. At the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, he has worked on Islamic finance as a poverty alleviation strategy, the legal history of Afghanistan, and the ways that legal transplantation is legitimized in Muslim countries.

Rahimi was a visiting scholar at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) in Rome. He obtained his B.A. in Law from Herat University, his LLM in Global Business Law, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Marwa Sharafeldin
Research Affiliate, 2022-2023
Marwa SharafeldinResearch Affiliate, 2022-2023

Dr. Marwa Sharafeldin is an Egyptian scholar activist. She is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World at Harvard Law School. She is also the Senior Advisor in Musawah the Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. Dr. Sharafeldin has a PhD in Socio-Legal Studies from the Law Faculty in the University of Oxford and a Masters in Development Management from the London School of Economics. Her work covers the intersection between Islamic law, international human rights law, and feminist activism. 

Her publications include “Islamic Law Meets Human Rights: Reformulating Qiwama and Wilaya for Personal Status Law Reform Advocacy in Egypt”; “Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law”; “Challenges of Islamic Feminism in Personal Status Law Reform in Egypt”. She co-founded and served on the Executive and Advisory Boards of several international, regional and national feminist organizations such as Musawah, the Global Fund for Women, the Young Arab Feminist Network, and the Network for Women’s Rights Organisations in Egypt. Dr. Sharafeldin is also a technical expert for the publication of several regional and international reports such as the UN's Progress of the World's Women Report and the UN's Gender Justice and Law Arab Region Report. She believes in the power of art for social transformation, and is a story collector,  performer and  writer.

Students

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.

Tiran Bajgiran
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Tiran BajgiranResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Tiran Bajgiran is an SJD candidate and Knox Fellow at Harvard Law School

Ariq Hatibie
Research Assistant, 2021-Present
Ariq HatibieResearch Assistant, 2021-Present

Ariq Hatibie is a 1L at Harvard Law School interested in human rights and international law. He has worked for the European Commission on investor-state arbitration issues, collaborated with the International Crisis Group on a transitional justice project for the Yazidis of Northern Iraq, and conducted research in the fields of public health, nuclear diplomacy, and peacebuilding. At Harvard, he is an articles editor for the Human Rights Journal, and is part of the Advocates for Human Rights.

Ariq holds a BA in Global Affairs from Yale University and an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford.

Shanzay Javaid
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Shanzay JavaidResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Shanzay Javaid is an LL.M. candidate at Harvard Law School. Her areas of focus include issues in cyberlaw and regulation of tech space, as well as commercial and contract law. She is also interested in research of Islamic law and the digitization of its sources to provide accessibility world-wide. Before coming to Harvard, she worked as a transactional lawyer and served as a legal advisor for a UK-based tech company in Pakistan

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.

Lily Moens
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Lily MoensResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Lily Moens is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School.

Abdul Wahab Niaz
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Abdul Wahab NiazResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Abdul Wahab Niaz is an LL.M Candidate at Harvard Law School. Prior to attending HLS, he worked as a law clerk to Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and also rendered services in the dispute resolution and corporate advisory team of a leading Pakistani law firm. His research interests in Islamic law center around studying judicial islamization of laws in Pakistan and exploring Islamic constitutionalism in muslim-majority countries. At PIL, he is interested in working on digitization of Islamic law resources and also exploring the intersection between law and technology in our digitized world.

Niaz holds BA.-LL.B (Honours) from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Ramsha Rasheed
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Ramsha RasheedResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Ramsha Rasheed is a Corporate Lawyer from Pakistan and currently an LLM Candidate at Harvard Law School.

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

Cem Tecimer is an SJD Candidate at Harvard Law School.

Aliya Zuberi
Research Assistant, 2022-Present
Aliya ZuberiResearch Assistant, 2022-Present

Aliya Zuberi is a 2L at Harvard Law School. She holds a BA in History from Barnard College.

Past Students and Fellows

Sohaira Siddiqui
Research Fellow, 2017
Sohaira SiddiquiResearch 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). 

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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. 

Deyaa Alrwishdi
Research Assistant, Fall 2021
Deyaa AlrwishdiResearch Assistant, Fall 2021

Deyaa Alrwishdi is a Syrian lawyer and adjunct professor of law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). He has a decade of project management and legal development experience. Prior to the Syrian conflict, Alrwishdi served as the legal deputy at the Syrian Construction and Establishment Institute, where he provided leadership and direction for staff and ensured compliance with the institution’s policies. Following the Syrian uprising, Alrwishdi worked at the national and international levels to defend victims of human rights violations in Syria, including directly defending activists arrested at protests and documenting atrocities across Syria. Mr. Alrwishdi founded the Free Syrian Lawyers Association and the Center for Rule of Law and Good Governance with the goal of amplifying the voices of Syrian civil society and working towards the transition to justice in post-conflict situations. He received the U.S. Department of State Leader for Democracy Fellowship, the Rubin International Human Rights Award from Stanford Law School, and the Alumni Fund Scholarship from WCL. Alrwishdi holds an LL.B. from Damascus University, an LL.M. from WCL, and an M.P.A. from the AU School of Public Affairs.

Israa Alzamli
Research Assistant, 2021-2022
Israa AlzamliResearch Assistant, 2021-2022

Israa Alzamli is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School.

Samiha Baseer
Research Assistant, 2022
Samiha BaseerResearch Assistant, 2022

Samiha Baseer is a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School. At HDS, her main area of focus is Islamic studies. She is broadly interested in Islamic law and the history of Islam across South Asia. Prior to HDS, Samiha received a BA at the University of California Berkeley.

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, 2020-2021
Stephanie GulloResearch Assistant, 2020-2021

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.

Marzieh Tofighi Darian
Program Student Fellow, 2018-2022
Marzieh Tofighi DarianProgram Student Fellow, 2018-2022

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

Saleh Ismail
Research Assistant, 2021-2022
Saleh IsmailResearch Assistant, 2021-2022

Saleh Ismail is a J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School.

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. 

R. Salah Muhiddin
Research Assistant, Spring 2022
R. Salah MuhiddinResearch Assistant, Spring 2022

Salah Muhiddin is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School.

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. 

Hani Ramadan
Research Assistant, Fall 2021
Hani RamadanResearch Assistant, Fall 2021

Hani Ramadan is a PhD candidate in Histories and Cultures of Muslim Societies, in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), Harvard. His main focus is on Quranic Studies and Sufism. His MA dissertation (American University of Beirut) focused on the methodology of the Sufi interpretation of the Quran.

Faris Rehman
Research Assistant, Fall 2021
Faris RehmanResearch Assistant, Fall 2021

Faris Rehman is a 1L at Harvard Law School hoping to concentrate in the intersection between law and technology. He has his B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Ohio State University, where he specialized in artificial intelligence.

Marta Canneri
Research Assistant, 2020
Marta CanneriResearch Assistant, 2020

Marta Canneri is a JD student at Harvard Law School.

Aiyanna Sanders
Research Assistant, 2020-2022
Aiyanna SandersResearch Assistant, 2020-2022

Aiyanna Sanders 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.

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. Zahra is a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University  and has been selected as the 2021 Quantum Fellow at the Center for Quantum Networks of University of Arizona in partnership with Yale Law School’s Information Society Project (ISP).

She teaches and writes about torts, contracts, privacy, social media, technology and the law. Part of her scholarship explores how to use tools from torts and contracts in resolving challenges with emerging technological developments. A second strand of her interest is Islamic and comparative law. 

Zahra holds a doctorate (S.J.D.) from Fordham Law School. She earned an LL.M. from the George Washington University Law School where she was the recipient of full tuition Thomas Buergenthal Scholarship. She also has an LL.M. (Summa Cum Laude) and an LL.B. (Magna Cum Laude) from University of Tehran School of Law and Political Science.

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.

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 for his dissertation on contemporary Qur’an hermeneutics in Turkey.

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. 

Shahrad Shahvand
Research Assistant, Fall 2021
Shahrad ShahvandResearch Assistant, Fall 2021

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

Simon Loynes
Research Editor, 2020-2022
Simon LoynesResearch Editor, 2020-2022

Simon is a Research Editor at the Program in Islamic Law. He has previously worked as part of the Knowledge, Information Technology, and the Arabic Book project at the Aga Khan University, London. He is a specialist in the Qur’an and is particularly interested in its literary aspects, its relationship to early Arabic poetry, and its place in Late Antiquity. His research also applies Digital Humanities methodologies to the study of the Qur’an, and he interested, more broadly, in the digitisation of Arabic texts and the challenges presented by building large-scale digital corpora.

His first monograph, "Revelation in the Qur’an," investigates the Qur’anic concept of revelation through the roots n-z-l and w-ḥ-y, was published in early 2021 in Brill’s Texts and Studies on the Qurʾān series (Brill, 2021).

He holds a PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh (2019) and a MA in Islamic Societies and Cultures from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2014).