Sohaib Baig is the Librarian for Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian, and Islamic Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his PhD in History at UCLA in 2020. His dissertation, entitled “Indian Hanafis in an Ocean of Hadith: Islamic Legal Authority between South Asia and the Arabian Peninsula, 16th-20th Centuries” won the 2020 Thomas E. Lifka Prize for the best history dissertation at UCLA. Sohaib also served as a Research Fellow at the Program in Islamic Law between 2020-2021.
Sohaib’s book project examines how Indian Hanafis from Sindh and Delhi maneuvered across imperial geographies to pursue ḥadith scholarship and engage multiple legal schools (madhhabs) in the Indian Ocean in the early modern and modern periods. It analyzes how such transregional South Asian-Arab-Ottoman exchanges produced immense debate on legal conformity (taqlīd) to the Islamic legal school (madhhab) and the legal standards for using ḥadith as a source of law, leading to the formation of new Islamic legal institutions in the modern period.