Ayesha S. Chaudhry and Rumee Ahmed: Academic Fellowships and Research Interests

Ayesha S. Chaudhry and Rumee Ahmed: Academic Fellowships and Research Interests

So we are getting ready for a year of
academic fellowships where we’re going to be working on these new book project and
I remember thinking what do I want my next project to be about and I thought,
well, the systemic reform works within the Islamic law, and theology, and
prophetic reports, and Koranic text, but I think that what holds it
all together is a story. What is a story of Islam? Right now the story
of Islam is primarily about men and I want that story of Islam to now
include women and so that’s what I’m hoping to do. What you think they look like?
You know, I don’t know, I’m at the beginning of the project very early on
and what’s amazing about this position at Harvard at the Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study is that they select people from around
the world, fifty people, who are doing cutting-edge work in their own fields. People who are not only within the
academy, in every discipline, sciences, arts, but also people who are policymakers
and artists, to come together and spend a year in fellowship where we all present
our work to each other and we all hear each other’s work and we learn from each
other’s work. What about you? So I was fortunate enough to get a fellowship at Stanford
Humanities Centre. I’m going to be working on a project right
now, and I’m calling it “Sharia 2.0: A User’s Guide to Reforming Islamic Law” and the idea is to teach people how you can
engage in the Islamic legal conversation that reform is not a bad word but that
the Islamic tradition has within it a mechanism for reform that muslims can engage in, if they are willing to study a little bit, and I teach them what what do you need to study in order to be
part of this conversation. So that’s what I’ll be doing at Stanford and I’m
talking about blind spots. One of the things I’m really interested in is
they brought people together from across the humanities so when you’re just
looking at Islamic law it’s very easy to have a naive view of reality, whereas an
economist would say, “Well, that’s not actually what’s going on, there are all these economic
concerns that are driving this change in Islamic law historically.” A historian might look at it differently, a political scientist would have a different view. All of this adds to the richness of the legal conversation, the heart of presenting an Islamic legal reform, to say when would
refer to be picked up and when might not be picked up, so it really looking
forward to that conversation.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Maybe Chaudry could explain "Qawm al Kafiroon." I understand it is a Friday sermon where mosque congregations call to Allah to grant Muslims victory over non-Muslims. What other teachings like this are being prayed for in your mosques? Or maybe Ahmed could answer? Or how about "Taqiyya"—apparently it is OK to LIE TO UNBELIEVERS.

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