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KARAMAH is one of the central sources of scholarship on Islamic Law. Through original and gathered content, our research department educates Muslim and Interfaith communities about Shari’ah in general and the rights afforded to women in Islam, as well as conflict resolution, civil rights, and leadership. In addition to providing various works of scholarship, KARAMAH also disseminates the scholarship of Muslim jurists and other scholars from around the world, creating a strong body of knowledge which creates the curricula for our unparalleled educational programs on Islamic Law and a variety of other important topics.

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Research is the core of KARAMAH’s work and serves as the bridge between thought and action in the struggle for justice. KARAMAH’s authentic, yet innovative research in Islamic jurisprudence is the source of the knowledge base essential to the promotion of the rights of Muslim women, and human rights for all, in an Islamic context. However, an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence alone is not enough to build networks of Muslim women and men around the world who support this mission. In order to become agents of change, future leaders also need knowledge and skills that will allow them to navigate sensitive issues and cogently present their thoughts. For this reason, KARAMAH also produces, collects, and disseminates research on leadership and conflict resolution.

KARAMAH’s Jurist Network – a network of over 400 scholars from around the world who contribute scholarly works on a variety of topics to our scholarship database, is vital to the success of many of KARAMAH’s endeavors. With their guidance and scholarly contributions, KARAMAH communicates knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, leadership, and conflict resolution to the public at large by way of our educational programming and Law and Leadership Summer Program (LLSP).

“Domestic Violence: Islamic Perspective” by Zainab Alwani

By: Zainab Alwani Islam, as the final message from God to humankind, came to light in a brutal and cruel environment. Violence was a common practice in Arabia and around ...

“Freedom of Expression in Islam” by Mohammad Hashim Kamali

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "One of the manifestations of personal liberty is the freedom of the individual to profess the religion of his or her choice without compulsion. Everyone must ...

#NoMuslimBanEver

KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights (“KARAMAH”) is a research-based educational organization. We strive to advance justice, gender equity, civil rights, and religious freedom within our Muslim community, in ...

A Methodology for Understanding the Qurʾān in the Modern Day

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani This paper is concerned with the Qurʾānic methodology of Al-waḥda al-bināʾiyya li-l-Qurʾān and its impact in the arena of religious sciences and beyond. I provide a ...

Āda and ‘Urf in Hanafi and Shafii” Fiqh

By: Noha Adel Bakr " In this chapter, I have briefly traced the position of custom, or ‘Urf, in the Islamic legal tradition from it’s inception through the mid-seventh/ thirteenth ...

Alabama’s abortion law is not ‘Christian Sharia,’ professor says. Sharia isn’t as inflexible, as draconian.

By: Abed Awad, Esq. The near-complete ban of abortion in Alabama coupled with the proposed anti-abortion legislation spreading around the country bring into focus the destructive consequences visited upon women’s ...

An Introduction to Muslim Women’s Rights

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "The topic of Muslim women's rights is vast; Muslim jurists have been writing about it for centuries. Because jurists are partly the product of their societies ...

An Introduction to the Study of Al-Qawaid Al-Fiqhiyya

By: Noha Adel Bakr " The earliest phase of jurisprudential development in the Islamic context is characterized by a shift in focus from the Qurʾān to the sunna of the ...

An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. Al-Hibri presents a holistic analysis of the "Chastisement Verse" (4:34), grounded on the Qur'an's egalitarian and harmonious vision of gender relations.   Invoking the core principle of ...

Beyond Tolerance: Lessons on Religious Tension from Nigeria

By: Oludamini Ogunnaike “If we want to keep America’s religious tensions from erupting as they have in Nigeria, we need to move beyond mere tolerance and begin valuing and reaping ...

Book Publications Authored By Dr. Zainab Alwani

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani View Publications

Capital Punishment in the United States: An Islamic Perspective

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "Capital punishment is imposed in the United States for a limited number of reasons, such as treason and murder. Recently, all executions have been related to ...

Chipping Away at Divorce Quagmire For Muslim and Jewish Women

By: Abed Awad, Esq. Our country needs a legal remedy to protect women within our secular legal system. The U.S. Supreme Court anchors its separation of church and state jurispru­dence ...

Debunking the Myth that Islam Requires FGM

By Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, Ghada Ghazal, and Aljawharah Alassaf KARAMAH February 2018 PAPER ABSTRACT In the case of female khitan (FGM), proponents of this practice rely on (a) a single verse in the Qur’an and ...

Debunking The Myth: Angels Cursing Hadith

By Dr. Azizah al-Hibri and Ghada Ghazal. KARAMAH October 2018 ABSTRACT This is the second installment in our white paper series entitled “Debunking the Myth.” The series addresses religiously significant issues that ...

Diversity and Pluralism: A Qur’anic Perspective

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "The term ‘pluralism’ is used very frequently these days, and like many words so freely and often employed it tends to become a cliché, which is ...

Divine Justice and the Human Order

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. The Qur'anic worldview is a seamless web of ideas that begins with tawhid (the belief in a single God) and permeates various aspects of Qur'anic teaching from creation ...

Domestic Abuse and American Muslims

By: Engy Abdelkader, Esq. "While I did not know Nazish Noorani, the story of her death haunts me: an American Muslim stay-at-home mother of two gunned down in a suburban ...

Don’t be surprised if one of these horrific massacres happens ‘at a mosque near you,’ N.J. Muslim attorney says

By: Abed Awad, Esq. “To those who, when calamity strikes, Say: ‘We belong to God, and to Him we shall return.’ Upon them descend blessings from God and mercy. They ...

Family Planning and Islamic Jurisprudence

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "To understand the fullness of the Islamic position on family planning, we need to look more carefully at the total picture. Its departure point, of course, ...

Family Relations: An Islamic Perspective

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani Islam, as God’s final message to humanity, came to light in a brutal and cruel environment. Violence was a common practice in pre-Islamic Arabic, and the ...

Fatwa Concerning the United States Supreme Courtroom Frieze

By: Taha Jabir Al- Alwani “What I have seen in the Supreme Courtroom deserves nothing but appreciation and gratitude from American Muslims. This is a positive gesture toward Islam made ...

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Perspective

By: Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad "A war is raging, with extremists on both sides, over the issue of circumcision. On one side are fanatic secularists whose antipathy to religion has induced them ...

Freedom of Association: The Islamic Perspective

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "Compared to other themes of Islamic constitutional law, the subject of fundamental rights and liberties has received little attention in the works of the early ulema. ...

From Moorish-Indios to Park 51: A Brief History of Islamophobia in the United States

By: Sophia Rose Arjana "I begin my reflections on the rise of Islamophobia in America over the past decade by pointing out an often-neglected fact: the fear and hatred directed ...

General Recommendations by KARAMAH, New Cedaw Concept Paper: “Economic Consequences of Marriage and its Dissolution

"This paper is a collection of detailed comments on the proposed CEDAW General Recommendation on the Economic Consequences of Marriage and its Dissolution (The Concept Note) currently being circulated by ...

Hanafi Qawaid Fiqhiyya: ‘Al-Ada Muhakkama’ (Fourth/Tenth to Tenth/Sixteenth Century)

By: Noha Adel Bakr " In this chapter, we will examine the Hanafī school’s perspective on 'āda through the general principle ‘al 'āda muhakkama’, or ‘custom is an arbiter’ from the ...

Her Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-Sensitive Perspective

By: Asifa Quraishi-Landes "I remember as a child having to describe Pakistan as that small country next to India. I haven’t used that description in a long time. By now, ...

Hermeneutics of Gendered Space and Discourse

By: Asma Afsaruddin "The study of gender as an academic discipline is a fairly recent development in the humanities and social sciences. Pioneering works that have focused on gender have ...

I Am A Muslim: Final Words From Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani Earlier this month, we mourned the passing of a pioneer in the Muslim community, Shaykh Taha Jabir Al-Alwani. At the 2016 Pearls of the Qur'an conference, Dr. ...

I have been called a terrorist…

By: Samena Premjee "Being a Muslim today is a constant struggle for many. Being asked to choose between being American and being Muslim is an insult and is not fair. The ...

I worry about my religion

By: Ahsan Pervez Daredia "We all know the stereotype; a Muslim on an airplane follows an explosion. I know, I know, it’s over-exaggerated, but that’s what we’ve come to know ...

Interpreting the Qur’an and the Constitution: Similarities in the Use of Text, Tradition, and Reason in Islamic and American Jurisprudence

By: Asifa Quraishi-Landes Can interpreting the Qur’an be anything like interpreting the Constitution? These documents are usually seen to represent overwhelming opposites in our global legal and cultural landscapes. How, ...

Islam, Law, and Custom: Redefining Muslim Women’s Rights

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "Muslim women's rights have been the subject of a great deal of debate, most recently in Beijing and Huairou. While many secular feminists have criticized patriarchal ...

Islamic & American Constitutional Law by Dr. Azizah al-Hibri

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. Islam is commonly viewed in the West as being incompatible with democracy. It is also viewed as an "Oriental" religion that has spawned violence and encouraged ...

Islamic Constitutionalism and the Concept of Democracy

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. Recent developments in the Arab World, especially those surrounding the Gulf War, prompted demands for the introduction of democratic changes to systems of government in that ...

Issues in the understanding of Jihad and Ijtihad

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "Jihad and ijtihad both are derived from the same root j-h-d, which signifies striving, whether physical or intellectual, on the part of a Muslim or a group of Muslims to ...

Laicite, Women’s Rights, and the Headscarf Issue in France

By: Raja El Habti "The recent French law banning visible religious signs that display a student's religious affiliation in public schools has unleashed heated debates on wearing the Islamic headscarf/veil/hijab (used ...

Law, Religion, and the Prophetic Method of Social Change

By: Jawdat Said "We live in a world in which four fifths of its population live in frustration while the other fifth lives in fear. The United Nations, our world’s ...

Mahr in the Context of The Islamic Marriage Contract

By: Raja El Habti "Mahr is the obligatory gift given by the husband to the wife at the time of marriage. It is an expression of the man’s love, respect, ...

Maqasid Al-Shari’ah: The Objectives of Islamic Law

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "This essay is presented in five sections beginning with general characterisation of the maqasid al-Shari'ah and its origins in the Qur'an. The next section addresses the classification of ...

Marriage in Pakistan – Divorce in Maryland – A Sequel (2009)

By: John Mansfield "At the Karamah program a year ago, I gave a talk with the same title--"Marriage in Pakistan - Divorce in Maryland"- about the case - Aleem v. Aleem - just then ...

Marriage in Pakistan – Divorce in Maryland (2008)

By: John Mansfield "Aleem v. Aleem is a recent case from Maryland's highest court, the Maryland Court of Appeals. Husband and wife were married in Pakistan in a ceremony that ...

Marriage: The Cornerstone of Civilization

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani Although there may be hurt feelings on both sides, the [Quran] advises compassion in decision-making, encouraging the couple to remember anything good that they shared. As ...

Mastering Management: How to Groom the Leaders Of the Future

By: Michael Useem "For management writer Peter Drucker, leadership is having followers who "do the right thing". For political historian James MacGregor Burns, leadership is a "calling". For US president ...

Mastering People Management: The UPS and Downs of Leading People

By: Michael Useem "Managers have to be ready to take up the reins of leadership, and that includes calculating risks, voicing concerns, and guiding uncertain superiors. An unexplored yet critical ...

Mastering Uncertainty: Making Better Choices

By: Michael Useem "Uncertainty can make it hard for executives to take good decisions. Better preparation, having good advisers, and learning from experience can help managers avoid poor choices. Making ...

Muslim Women’s Rights in the Global Village: Challenges and Opportunities

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "In this age of information technology that shrank our world into a global village, it is fair to ask how this recent development has impacted Muslim ...

Negative Connotations Surrounding Sharia Must be Dispelled

By: Abed Awad, Esq. As attorneys, we have an obligation to correct the truth about the role of any foreign law in our system. It is always subject to the ...

Of Condemnation and Divinity: Praying for our Religious Freedom

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "Recently, Reverend Franklin Graham frankly expressed his views on Islam on Fox and PBS. He said that Islam was an evil and violent religion, and that ...

Oklahoma Amendment is Unconstitutional: Barring Courts From Considering Shariah Law Violates the Supremacy Clause and the First Amendment

By: Abed Awad, Esq. On Election Day, the Oklahoma voters passed an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that provides that the "Courts shall not look to the legal precepts of ...

On Being A Muslim Corporate Lawyer

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "It is not easy for me to discern the ways in which my faith has informed my professional life. I have been shielded from this awareness ...

Patriarchal Customs, Not Shariah Law

By: Nevine Abdullah "On August 16, 2010, The New York Times reported that the Taliban, in Afghanistan, ordered their first public executions by stoning since their fall from power. They ...

Principles of Islamic Interpersonal Conflict Intervention

By: Amr Abdalla "The purpose of this paper is to discuss potential principles for interpersonal dispute resolution models within an Islamic context. Such a task requires an Islamic researcher to ...

Prophet Muhammad’s Promise to Christians

By: Muqtedar Khan Muslims and Christians together constitute over 50 percent of the world. If they lived in peace, we would be halfway to world peace. One small step we ...

Qur’anic Foundations of the Rights of Muslim Women in the Twenty-First Century

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "The crisis of modernity in Islamic societies, generally, and of Muslim women's rights, specifically, has led some individuals to wonder whether Islam has become outdated. After ...

Raiding Islam

By: John G. Douglass "On the morning of March 20, 2002, while television cameras recorded the events for the evening news, dozens of federal agents entered and searched the offices ...

Reclaiming a Lost Tradition

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani View Article (Requires George Mason University Login)

Redefining Muslim Women’s Roles in the Next Century

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "The new millennium is blowing winds of change over the Muslim world. After centuries of relative seclusion, Muslim women have awakened to their critical role in ...

Reinterpreting the Guardian’s Role in the Islamic Contract of Marriage: The Case of the Maliki School

By: Mohammad Fadel This Essay takes a critical look at a doctrine that is often cited - by Muslims and non-Muslims alike - as indicative of Islamic law's systematic gender ...

Religion-Based Claim in Abuse Case Wisely Pierced by Appeals Court

By: Abed Awad, Esq. The three-judge panel held on July 23 in S.D. v. M.J.R , A-6107-08, that the defendant's nonconsensual sexual intercourse with his wife was "unquestionably knowing, regardless ...

Report of the Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Initiative on First Amendment Issues

By: Elizabeth Dahl "The Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Initiative was launched in the days following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The Initiative consists ...

Seeking Guidance: Contemplating the Qur’an

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani In this age of globalization, technology and the vast spread of information, we as Muslims need a model to better capture dimensions of Muslim reality more ...

Shafii Qawaid Fiqhiyya: ‘Al-‘Ada Muhakkama’ (Fourth/Tenth to Tenth/Sixteenth Century)

By: Noha Adel Bakr " Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafii" (d. 204/820) was one of the most influential theoreticians of Islamic law during his time and remains so to the present ...

Shari’ah: What It Is and Isn’t (interview)

By: Asifa Quraishi-Landes "For Muslims, Shari‘ah is the way they believe God wants us to live in the world. One would look to a particular source of understanding of what God ...

Shariah ban Violates Muslim, Jewish, and Christian American Civil Liberties

By: Qasim Rashid "Since Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to pass anti-Shari‘ah legislation in July 2010, at least 20 more states passed, or attempted to pass, legislation banning Shari‘ah. ...

Some Misappropriations of Qur’anic Verses

By: David Dakake "Qur'an (5:51): "O, you who believe, do not take Jews and Christians as awliya'. They are awliya' to one another, and the one among you who turns to them is ...

Symposium on Religious Law

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "Prophet Muhammad, who carried the message of Islam, was illiterate. The first divine world revealed to him was the imperative: 'Read.' The rest of the Qur'an is replete ...

Teaching Other Faiths About Islam

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani Over the course of the last century, we have witnessed a revival of religion and religious traditions, contrary to speculations about the gradual decline of religion ...

The ‘anti-Shari’ah Legislation’s Adverse Human Rights Implications and Other Unintended Consequences

By: Engy Abdelkader, Esq. "In 2000, Layla and Ahmed were married in an Islamic religious ceremony in Egypt. Layla recently filed for divorce in New Jersey and her husband moved to ...

The Bottom Rung of America’s Race Ladder

By: Jonathan K. Stubbs "On September 11, 2001, did American Muslims become America's newest race? This essay offers preliminary observations regarding that question. Using the word 'race' in America is ...

The Charter of Madinah and Religious Freedom

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. The Madinah Charter was executed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the one hand, and the various Muslim and Jewish tribes on the other. He had ...

The Middle Grounds of Islamic Civilisation: The Qur’anic Principle of Wasatiyyah

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "Is there such a thing as 'moderate Islam', and if so, what form does it take? The events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent Global ...

The Muslim Perspective On The Clergy – Penitent Privilege

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. "Before Jones confesses his crimes to Imam Ahmad, he should be clear on the duties and role of the imam of a mosque. The imam's duties ...

The Nature Of The Islamic Marriage

By: Azizah al-Hibri, Esq. The nature of the Islamic marriage contract (kitab) has been largely misunderstood by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. On the Muslim side, the problem has been one ...

The Qur’an: The Arbiter of Diverse Interpretations

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani The question of Qur'anic interpretation is at the heart of any juristic interpretation.  Some of the questions are ones that have been debated among scholars throughout Islamic ...

The Right of Muslim Women to Become Judges

By: Nevine Abdullah "In some Muslim societies, this question is still being asked, although in other Muslim countries, women have made great strides and contributions in the areas of law ...

The Scope of Diversity and Ikhtilaf (Juristic Disagreement) in the Shari’ah

By: Mohammad Hashim Kamali "It is due mainly to the recognition and tolerance of disagreement among the"ulama" over juristic issues that Islamic law is often described as a diversity within unity: ...

The True Story of Sharia in American Courts

By: Abed Awad, Esq. On May 21 Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation prohibiting judges in the state from considering foreign law in their rulings. The law declares that any ...

Transformational Teaching: Prophet Muhammad as a Teacher and Murabbī

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani This article analyzes the transformative role of Prophet Muhammad as a murabbī.  Dr. Alwani1 applies a hermeneutic reading the divine text as a structural unity, a concept known ...

Transformational Teaching: Prophet Muhammad as a Teacher and Murabbī (Part 2)

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani How does the Qur’an describe and analyze this experience? What are the main issues that it emphasizes? How does it examine the people’s attitude toward this ...

Turning Insult into Opportunity: Anti-Sharia Sentiments in America and their Implications for American Muslims

By: Celene Ayat Lizzio "A September 2011 resolution of the Fiqh Council of North America, a body of esteemed American Muslim religious scholars, takes just this stance. In their statement ...

Understanding Trends in American Muslim Divorce and Marriage

By: Julie Macfarlane The primary objective of the study was to document, using a qualitative, interview-based approach, how North American Muslim communities manage divorce. Specifically, the study explores Islamic approaches ...

What is Shariah and Why Does It Matter?

By: Sherman Jackson "At the most basic level, Shari‘ah is the Muslim universe of ideals. It is the result of their collective effort to understand and apply the Quran and supplementary ...

What Kind of Liberation Are We Talking About?” from The Qur’an and Women: A Reading of Liberation

By: Asma Lamrabet "The question of women in Islam has long been seen from within the framework of one of two extreme viewpoints: the one bound by a strict conservative ...

Who Says Shari’a Demands the Stoning of Women? A Description of Islamic Law and Constitutionalism

By: Asifa Quraishi-Landes "I titled this presentation “Who Says Shari’a Demands the Stoning of Women?” And I mean the “who says” in a couple of different ways. First, quite literally: ...

With A’isha In Mind: Reading Surat Al-Nur Through The Quran’s Structural Unity

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani While a multiplicity of interpretations is a consistent historical feature in Qur’anic scholarship, the intratextual method (tafsir al-Qur’an bi-l-Qur’an) has been accepted as a central method ...

Women and Leadership

By: Monica McGrath "Women learn leadership in many ways, through books, classes and by watching others, but they learn the most through the challenging, interesting and sometimes difficult experiences of ...

Zina, Rape, and Islamic Law: An Islamic Legal Analysis of the Rape Laws in Pakistan

"The zina and rape laws of Pakistan are the subject of heated debate both inside and outside the Muslim world. Opponents of the Shari'a law have found in the subject an ideal opportunity to ...

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