The Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School is dedicated to promoting research and providing resources for the academic study of Islamic law.
We host a suite of projects toward that end: a Portal for organizing the world’s information on Islamic law (SHARIAsource), a set of Publications for cutting-edge scholarship in Islamic legal studies (a book series, occasional papers, and a peer-reviewed journal), and myriad Program events and support for students, fellows, and scholars working in the field of Islamic legal studies.
Professor Intisar Rabb leads the Program as its faculty director. Our community comprises of a dynamic group of staff, fellows, students, affiliates, editors, and advisors. We work with the Harvard Library, Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and Berkman Klein Center, and a global team of scholars and institutional partners to advance Islamic law scholarship, including the use of data science methods and AI tools to facilitate new research and analysis in this field.
Harvard Law School was the first law school in the U.S. to offer courses in Islamic law, beginning in the 1950s. It recognized that offering courses on the legal system of the world was required if it were truly to be a global law school and leader in legal education. At the invitation of the late comparative law scholar, Professor Arthur von Mehren, several visiting professors taught single courses on the subject. In the 1976, alumni donations helped support Islamic law programming further. And in 1991, the Islamic Legal Studies Program was formally created as an expression of HLS’s growing interests in Islamic law. Professor Frank E. Vogel led the Program until 2006. Professor Intisar Rabb became a director of ILSP when she joined Harvard in 2014. Formerly a part of ILSP, the Program in Islamic Law is now a new research program directed by Professor Rabb.