SHARIAsource operates under a Creative Commons license. Under this license, any party may copy and share the original work they find on SHARIAsource for non-commercial purposes provided that they attribute authorship to SHARIAsource. Authors retain full rights over their original work (e.g., policy papers, research pieces or book reviews, and case commentaries). Under Creative Commons, others may share the author’s work, but must attribute the author, in addition to SHARIAsource. 

Recommended citation: Author, SHARIAsource (Date).

Note: No derivative works are allowed. According to United States Copyright Act in 17 U.S.C. § 101, derivative work is a “ work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a ‘derivative work’.” SHARIAsource does NOT have an exclusivity clause regarding the documents it has on its site.

For more specifics on the use and citation of primary sources, see below. 

General Questions

Is it my responsibility to make sure I have the copyright permissions to post or share documents that I upload? To what extent?

Yes, it is your responsibility as an editor to make sure you have permission to post or share documents on SHARIAsource. For American sources, posting should follow standard copyright laws.

For original legal documents, fatwās, court cases, and the like (“primary sources”), you should make sure that the original author or source of the content (scholar, institution, sovereign entity, etc.) agrees to the distribution of their documents through SHARIAsource and its Creative Commons platform. If you need a letter of institutional support from SHARIAsource in order to procure primary sources, please email [email protected]

For content authored by editors and other contributors (“secondary sources”), you are responsible for ensuring that each author has signed the SHARIAsource Creative Commons – IP agreement. Alternatively, or in addition, you may include excerpts of a secondary source that adhere to standards of Fair Use.

Can I share sources that I find on SHARIAsource elsewhere?

Under Creative Commons, the goal is disseminate knowledge. Thus, we actively encourage sharing any and all sources found on SHARIAsource, with simple attribution to its author and/or to the site itself.

How do I cite primary sources that appear on SHARIAsource?

We ask that you use the following format: Author, Title, SHARIAsource (date), at <URL>.

Who contributes sources to the portal?

SHARIAsource portal is growing in multiple ways. Some sources, companions, and collections are curated internally at PIL/SHARIAsouce, while others are added by a global network of contributors/editors who submit project proposals that are then reviewed and accepted, so there isn’t a number of fixed editors. The sources on the Portal are aggregated overtime by editors and contributors from across the globe who want to make primary sources more publicly accessible, many of which are proposed using this form. The editorship is on a submission/project basis, which can be outlined in the proposal. Invited editors get guaranteed review of a proposal for the year they serve as editor and if accepted have the opportunity to publish on SHARIAsource sites and/or blog; thereafter, as a scholar in the field they may opt to be a contributor (though the numbers of those wanting to contribute are so large that we cannot guarantee review). We offer editorships as a way of engaging scholars in a small but growing and internationally collaborative effort to increase and engage more content and context to Islamic law (and data science) online. We welcome you to engage however you see to be of most interest and benefit to you and the scholarly community. 

How many sources is an editor expected to contribute to the portal?

There is a bit of flexibility at the editor’s discretion as to how many sources they contribute to the portal. The number of sources being submitted can range in any quantity and are dependent on each editor’s proposal. Depending on the project you propose, you could dedicate a semester or two to the curation of a Special Collection that would include a large number of primary sources based around a theme or topic, or you could submit any number of primary sources that pertain to Islamic law that are not thematically related, or you could submit several primary sources that you use in your own work. Proposals should be submitted through this submission form and should specify the type of sources, the number of sources, as well as a specific timeline of 3 months to one year that the editor will spend working on their contributions if their proposal is accepted.

What types of documents do you accept? 

Primary sources have to pertain to Islamic law, but do not have to be contemporary. They can be from any time period or geography, and there is a large range of document types, from fatwas to maps to out-of-publication books. You can explore the variety of time, place, topic, theme, and document type on the Portal. Generally, our portal does not house secondary sources unless they are out-of-publication books or books published in our Harvard Series in Islamic Law.

 I have some documents I would like to donate to SHARIAsource. What should I do?

You can submit a proposal to contribute primary source materials and/or collections as a guest editor or contributor via the official Program in Islamic Law (PIL) publications proposal form. We ask that you provide brief explanation of the contents, quality, the original source, date and place of origin (if known), and whether you are able to provide a brief summary for each source that gives a brief overview of the contents of each document. 

Primary Sources

 Who has rights to what?

Primary sources include original legal documents, fatwās, court cases, and the like – whether classical or contemporary (“primary sources”). Your ability to include them on SHARIAsource must follow local laws of copyright, ownership, and distribution. Please see our chart for general country-specific rules. (You should always double-check to see if these rules cover the sources that you seek to upload. If you have questions, you should work with your regional editor to resolve them, or email us as [email protected])

Depending on their individual agreements with the sources from which they procure documents, institutional collaborators may retain rights to the documents that they obtain and upload. 

What is a derivative work?

Anything copying the original work in its original form is not considered a copy, and is not considered derivative (e.g., including a SHARIAsource article in an anthology or casebook, reproducing SHARIAsource content on another site with attribution). Changing pagination, headings, footers, etc. is considered derivative. Some examples include: creating an encyclopedia from a series SHARIAsource posts, annotating cases that appear on SHARIAsource. While derivative works are authorized (with attribution), profiting from them is not without permission of the original author of the work.

Who enforces the copyright?

Authors themselves enforce the copyright for their own works. If you are an author, it is your responsibility to make sure your work is not being used in a way that’s in violation of the Creative Commons agreement to which you’ve agreed. As able, SHARIAsource will assist. If you find a violation, you may send a “cease and desist” letter to the offender and should also bring it to the attention of SHARIAsource administrators at [email protected]

What if I don’t want to give others the right to use my work without attribution, but would still like to collaborate with SHARIAsource?

You’re in luck! Creative Commons requires that anyone who uses your work must attribute the work to you. So, you can feel free to collaborate with SHARIAsource, secure that we too will require attribution to anyone who wishes to use your work.


Something on the site isn’t attributed correctly. I believe I’m the correct owner for a document on the site. What do I do?

Please email us with the document URL and the bibliographical information you believe to be correct at [email protected] If you believe yourself to be the exclusive owner of the document, please state as much and also email us any supporting materials. 

I’m unable to find this agreement on dropbox or the pil email archives; I did find capstone IP agreements from 2019 & 2020. Is this agreement something that is available or would it need to be drafted?