Teaching Islamic Law in a Red State

If you teach Islamic law, chances are that your students are more cosmopolitan than those at the University of Oklahoma, where for thirteen years I have been teaching courses on Islamic law, Islamic theology, the Qur’an, and broader topics in religious studies. My greatest struggle has been bridging the gap between the questions my training … Continue reading Teaching Islamic Law in a Red State

Getting a handle on large research projects

I am drawn to big projects. Small projects are easier to manage: if I focus on a single well–defined question, and answer it using a narrowly circumscribed set of source material, I can go from idea to article in less than a year, before my thoughts and notes and sources become too unwieldy to handle … Continue reading Getting a handle on large research projects

Is Islamic Legal Theory Conservative?

There are plenty of reasons to say that it is. The corpus of revealed prooftexts is closely guarded and ranked by the decisions of hadith critics of old. The meaning of each word is governed by prescribed literal interpretations that must be followed in the absence of contrary evidence. When prooftexts conflict, abrogation settles the … Continue reading Is Islamic Legal Theory Conservative?

Istanbul conference brings postclassical uṣūl al-fiqh into the limelight

The academic study of Islamic legal theory in the English–speaking world has been marked by several landmark gatherings: in Princeton (1983), Alta, Utah (1999), and Istanbul (2016 and now October 2019). The latest, held October 15–17 at Istanbul University, for the first time gave equal attention to the formative, classical, postclassical, and modern periods of … Continue reading Istanbul conference brings postclassical uṣūl al-fiqh into the limelight