Welcome to our June Guest Bloggers: Robert Gleave and Kumail Rajani

Robert Gleave is Principal Investigator of the Law, Authority and Learning In Imami Shiite Islam project (LAWALISI), based at the University of Exeter, a five-year project funded by the European research Council (www.lawalisi.eu).  His main research has been in Shi’i legal developments in the premodern period, with an occasional foray in the 20th and even 21st centuries.  His publications include Inevitable Doubt: Two Theories of Shi’i Jurisprudence (Leiden: Brill, 2000), Scripturalist Islam: The History and doctrines of the Akhbari Shi’i School (Leiden: Brill, 2007) and Islam and Literalism: Literal Meaning and Interpretation in Islamic Legal Theory (Edinburgh: EUP, 2011).  He is currently researching the development of the early Shi’i school in the wider Islamic legal environment, and also the development of Shi’i legal theory in the 19th century.

Since 2005, he has been Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter, UK, based in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. He has led projects on Islamic legal approaches to violence, the history of the Shi’i seminary (the Hawza) and Ifta in the British context.  He graduated from the University of Manchester in 1996, and for the next decade was lecturer and the Reader in Islamic Studies at the University of Bristol.  He has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Tehran, Michigan, Washington, Chicago, Jerusalem and Princeton, and has been Executive Director of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, and President of the British Institute of Persian Studies.

Kumail Rajani is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. Though primarily focused on the origins and development of hadith corpora, his research includes Islamic law, legal theory, and Shiʿi studies more broadly. He published an article entitled “Between Qum and Qayrawān: Unearthing early Shii adīth sources” (BSOAS  84/3, 2021). He also edited The Sound Traditions: Studies in Ismaili Texts and Thought (Brill, 2021) and co-edited Shiʿite Legal Theory: Sources and Commentaries (EUP, 2023). Rajani spent a number of years in Shiʿite seminary (awza) of Qum studying and teaching classical Islamic texts of adīthfiqh and Islamic legal theory. Rajani is the recipient of Post Doctoral Writing Fellowship from British Institute for Libyan and Northern African Studies for one year (2022) as well as British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship for 3 years (2023-2025).

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