On 29 October, the Shi‘i Studies Unit at The Institute of Ismaili Studies in collaboration with the Law, Authority and Learning in Imami Shi‘ite Islam (LAWALISI) Project from the University of Exeter held an interactive workshop at the Aga Khan Centre, entitled, Hadith, Law and Theology in Early Shiʿite Islam.
Speaking about this unique collaboration with the LAWALISI Project, Dr Gurdofarid Miskinzoda, Head of the Shi‘i Studies Unit at IIS said:
“This workshop was a perfect example of what we want to achieve in our collaborative work with major universities in the area of Shi‘i Studies. It was an absolute privilege to work with Professor Gleave of the University of Exeter and the LAWALISI Project. The workshop focused on two important aspects which have been under-researched – the study of Shi‘i Law and Hadith. In this regard, it represented a shared concern for us in expanding and advancing scholarship on Shi‘i Law and Hadith through engaging multi-disciplinary and comparative approach. We look forward to many future collaborations with the LAWALISI Project.”
Through a study of early Shi‘ite hadith and important aspects of law, this text-based workshop was an opportunity for emerging and established scholars working in the field of Shi‘i Studies in general, and Sunni and Shi‘ite law and hadith in particular, to share and discuss their research in an informal setting. A variety of research areas were explored during the workshop by scholars from IIS, University of Exeter, SOAS and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
During the workshop a number of findings from new and ongoing research projects were presented, which will help to shape discussions in modern scholarship on Shi‘i Islam. Reflecting on his experience, Professor Rob Gleave, Professor of Arabic Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI) at the University of Exeter said:
“The workshop was a fascinating opportunity to bring together early career academics working in the area of Shi‘i hadith studies. The various papers demonstrated how the field has developed over the past ten years and, whilst there is much to be done, the workshop outlined the possible future lines of enquiry. For the LAWALISI project it was an important opportunity to deepen our connections with The Institute of Ismaili Studies and share research results.”
The LAWALISI project is funded by the European Research Council. Their aim is to examine the emergence, development and operation of the Shi‘ite legal system – focusing on how Shi‘ite legal thinkers conceived the divine law, and how legal practitioners from the past and in contemporary times observe the functions of law.
The Shi‘i Studies Unit continues to carry out high-quality research in Shiʿi history, thought, interpretations of the Qur'an, religious law, intellectual traditions, the role of religious authority, the formation of rites and ceremonies, and the important contributions of Shiʿi communities to the intellectual traditions, arts, music, architecture and literature through the ages.