The Field Guide to Digital Islamic Law Resources provides instructive links and annotations to SHARIAsource and other Harvard resources, global online digital resources, as well as multimedia resources for teaching. Our Digital Islamic Law Collection builds on this by charting these resources alongside digital content repositories, digital humanities sites and tools, manuscript catalogs and collections, and online dictionaries and reference works. The Field Guide Roundups are weekly highlights of variant digital resources that are delivered straight to your inbox.
Educators and researchers around the world are navigating teaching and learning in response to COVID-19 related disruptions and closures. From discussion guides to links to translated primary sources, the following digest features resources for teaching Islamic law and history, and related topics, in virtual settings. Below we provide instructive links and annotations to SHARIAsource and other Harvard resources, global online digital resources, and collected teaching resources. All “COVID-19 and Islamic Law” roundups can be found at this link.
SHARIAsource Resources + Harvard Libraries
- The SHARIAsource Portal and the Islamic Law Blog provide primary source content and scholarly context to ongoing and emerging issues in Islamic law, including global updates on Covid-19 & Islamic Law, weekly scholarship roundups and case roundups, and topical commentary by leading and emerging scholars in the field through guest editor posts on new scholarship, pedagogy, and other developments in Islamic law.
- [New!] For a broader set of primary sources, visit our dynamic, annotated list of over 100 sites in our Digital Islamic Law Collection.
- [Submissions] This Digital Islamic Law Collection was compiled by the SHARIAsource team, with contributions from and grateful acknowledgment to participants in the 2020 OpenITI-SHARIAsource Workshop on Arabic OCR, members of the IDHN network, and from a range of scholars and students over the years–including Will Hanley, Matthew Miller, Elias Muhanna, Intisar Rabb, Maxim Romanov, Sarah Savant, and more! Is there a source that you’d like to see? Please suggest new sites through this quick form!
- Harvard Library
- offers a list of databases, indexes, and bibliographies on Middle East and Islamic Studies. University login required for some databases.
- has updated their digital collection to include around 2.4 million books previously only in print, but are now temporarily available online via HathiTrust. University login required.
- offers a database of 6 million digitized items. Access is free and open to the public.
- offers a comprehensive list of open access resources from publishers and vendors, in a variety of disciplines, incl. resources from their “Open Access Tracking Project.”
- Harvard Law School Library offers a guide, with introductory resources, to researching Islamic Law. University login might be required for some of the databases.
- Harvard Library’s Islamic Heritage Project offers a digital collection of Islamic manuscripts, published texts, and maps from across Harvard’s libraries and museums. Resource open to the public, HarvardKey not required.
- Harvard Library’s Middle East, Africa, and Asia Division
- offers research tips for locating and navigating the increasing collections of materials available online: Get in the habit of doing a three-point check for any one item or topic: 1) HOLLIS [or your preferred library catalog], 2) the likeliest database [starting with this list], and 3) Google or your web search of choice. Harvard affiliates may contact the library liaisons Sarah Demott or Emily Coolidge-Toker for research consultations, general questions, and troubleshooting via email and Zoom.
- Has secured access to the Al-Manhal database for free for the Harvard community, until the end of July. Harvard community members must use this proxied link to access the database.
Global Digital Libraries/Databases
- Arabic Collections Online provides access to 12,810 volumes of scanned books in thousands of subjects in Arabic and Islamic studies, hosted at NYU Abu Dhabi.
- Cambridge University Press has made academic HTML textbooks free to access via higher education institutions. Free access is available to 700 higher education textbooks in HTML format on Cambridge Core. Access will be automatic if your institution is enrolled. If your institution is not yet enrolled, you can learn how to request access on this page.
- The Center for Research Libraries has released the open access digital collection of Middle Eastern & North African Newspapers. Collection content is predominantly in Arabic, and also includes key titles in English and French, featuring titles such as Al-Iqbal (Lebanon), Al Akhaa al Watani (Iraq), Tangier Gazette (Morocco), and La Vérité (Algeria). The database currently covers the years 1876-2014 and will be updated periodically.
- The Internet Archive, a non-profit founded to build an Internet library, has created a National Emergency Library that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, and scholarship with over 1.3 million titles. The library will be available through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.
- GoogleBooks is a good go-to search engine for searches that point to myriad Islam-related books, with links to both full-text books (all books out of copyright) and partial-snippets (all books in copyright).
- Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) holds the world’s largest archive of manuscript photographs in both microfilm and digital format–now at over 200,000 complete manuscripts, selected from manuscript collections around the world in need of photographic preservation. Its Islamic Manuscripts collection boasts tens of thousands of manuscripts already digitized or in the digitization pipeline.
- JSTOR and participating publishers are making content freely available to several institutions through June 30, 2020. Search open and free content (no academic affiliation required), and browse over 10,500 articles on Islamic law and over 17,000 on Islam.
- KITAB Project, a digital tool-box and forum for discussions about Arabic texts, empowers users to explore Arabic texts in innovative ways using data science. One of the project’s applications allows you to search the entire Arabic OpenITI corpus and get access to complete texts via GitHub.
- Manuscripts of the Muslim World, an ongoing digital repository, includes digital editions of more than 500 manuscripts and 827 paintings from the Islamicate world broadly construed. Columbia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, and Haverford College have collaborated to digitize intellectual and cultural heritage of Muslim lands from 1000 to 1900, covering mathematics, astrology, history, law, literature, as well as the Qur’an and Hadith. For discussion of use of the digital archive, see Columbia’s Global Studies Blog.
- Nothing in the Rulebook, a creative collective, has compiled a list of 45 databases offering free, legal, downloads of classic texts, contemporary books, plays, and more. The digest includes works by famous writers, and features big databases, such as “Project Gutenburg” (with 25 Islam-related books).
- Persian Digital Library, an initiative by the University of Maryland’s Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, offers the first machine-actionable premodern Persian corpus. All texts, programs, and technology developed during this project will be open access/open source and will be made publicly available for everyone in the world to download, use, reuse, and adapt.
Multimedia Resources for Teaching
- The American Center for Oriental Research hosts an open access photo archive of historical images of the Middle East/Arab region.
- The Islamic Law Teaching Project collects Islamic law syllabi for courses taught primarily in law schools of the US and UK.
- Unity Productions Foundation, an educational filmmaking non-profit, has posted lesson plans and discussion guides for engaging with their educational films aimed at increasing religious and cultural pluralism on Islam, as well as resources for educational and community film screenings of their films (including sample hosting guides, posters, outreach kits, etc.)
- Middle Ages for Educators shares videos of lectures and audio of podcasts on various medieval topics, which often provide for instructive comparative pedagogy for topics in medieval Islamic history. The team of historians behind the site has also set up a resource exchange for researchers working on medieval history with limited access to resources during this time.