It is our pleasure to introduce our guest blogger for the month of May: Mairaj U. Syed, associate professor of religious studies, director of the medieval and early modern program, and fellow of the College of Arts and Sciences (2020-2023) at the University of California, Davis. He has published in the fields of Islamic law, theology, comparative ethics, hadith literature, and digital humanities. His monograph, Coercion and Responsibility in Islam, published with Oxford University Press in 2016, is a comparative and historical examination of ethical and moral problems coercion raises about responsibility for one’s action. It offers a new model for analyzing ethical thought produced by intellectuals working within traditions in a competitive pluralistic environment.
His recent research uses statistical and computational analytical techniques to understand the development of hadith literature in the first three centuries of Islam. His latest publication (co-authored with Danny Halawi, Behnam Sadeghi, and Nazmus Saquib), “Verifying Source Citations in Hadith Literature“, shows how one may automatically detect and correct mistakes in the citations of sources found in hadith literature.
He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research on hadith, including the University of California, Davis Academic Senate Large Grant and the Middle Ages in the Wider World Summer research grant. In 2014, he was a Fulbright scholar in Istanbul, Turkey. At the University of California, Davis, he teaches a wide variety of classes in Islamic Studies, Comparative Religion, Ethics, Digital Humanities and Social Theory. In addition to his research and teaching, he is active in various American Muslim civil society organizations and has been retained as an expert witness in legal cases involving Islamic law and Muslims in the United States. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
For more on Mairaj’s work, visit his academia page.