The Program in Islamic Law (PIL) is pleased to announce that Sohaib Baig, PIL fellow, won the Thomas E. Lifka Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation in the Department of History at UCLA. Baig’s dissertation is titled “Indian Hanafis in an Ocean of Hadith: Islamic Legal Authority between South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, 16th – 20th Centuries.”
The thesis examines how Indian Ḥanafīs from Sindh and Delhi maneuvered across imperial geographies to pursue ḥadīth 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 ḥadīth as legal evidence, leading to the formation of new Islamic legal institutions in the modern period.
As part of the PIL fellowship, Baig focuses on a book project based on his thesis.