Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, PhD, JD
Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri is the Founder of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Richmond School of Law, and the first American Muslim woman to become a law professor. She is also a former Professor of Philosophy, and founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy.
Dr. al-Hibri incorporated KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights in 1993 in Virginia. She wanted KARAMAH to be the leading organization that educates Muslim women about Islamic law and jurisprudence from a critical gender-equitable perspective rooted in traditional sources. Dr. al-Hibri was KARAMAH’s first president and chair. Over the following 27 years, she remained actively engaged in various leadership roles. She also taught annually at KARAMAH’s Law and Leadership Summer Program. In January of 2021, at the expiration of her term as president, she announced her retirement at KARAMAH’s annual meeting.
KARAMAH's original research and innovative programming, much of which was developed early on by Dr. al-Hibri, includes leadership training and conflict resolution skills. Together, these elements provide Muslim women with the essential tools and knowledge to promote reform in their own communities.
At the request of various institutions, such as the State Department, the United Nations, and international and local universities and Islamic centers, Dr. al-Hibri has shared her perspective at speaking engagements throughout Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, and the United States. She has lectured on issues of Muslim women’s rights, the Islamic marriage contract, Islam and democracy, human rights in Islam, Islamic interfaith values, and Muslim civil rights in the U.S.
Dr. al-Hibri has written many articles on Muslim women’s rights. Her most recent publication is “The Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence, An American Muslim Perspective (ABA Book Publishing 2014). This book critically examines traditional Islamic Jurisprudence in order to develop a gender-equitable understanding of Islam, with respect to society, marriage, family, and democratic governance. She is currently working on expanding her research to other areas.
Dr. al-Hibri was a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (2011-2013), a Library of Congress ScholarinResidence, and Fulbright scholar and National Humanities Center scholar (2000-2001). Dr. al-Hibri is signatory to the Marrakesh Declaration (2016) and the Washington Declaration (2017) asserting freedom of conscience for religious minorities in Muslim countries.
Dr. al-Hibri was previously a member of the board of directors of the Fulbright Association. She has received many honors and awards, including the Virginia First Freedom Award, presented in 2007 by the Council for America’s First Freedom, the Life Time Achievement Award in 2009 from the Journal of Law & Religion and the Dr. Betty
Shabazz Recognition Award in 2006 from Women in Islam. She was also the first American woman invited to deliver a Dars Hassani in Morocco. This lecture is part of the official Ramadan lecture series “Al Dourous Al-Hassaniyyah,” attended by King Muhammad VI and televised to the public.
Dr. al-Hibri and her family foundation have been providing grants to KARAMAH since its inception.