The USPPIP project came to an end on 31st September 2019 – we are no longer maintaining this website, however it continues to represent a record of the USPPIP project’s work between 2016 and 2019. Many thanks to all who have contributed to the project over the years! 

Rob Gleave, November 2019.

Welcome to the Understanding Shari’a project - This two year project addresses how Muslim legal scholars have used the idea of a perfect past to try and change the imperfect present.  Islamic legal thought has always stressed the importance of previous example – legal scholars often refer to the “example of the Prophet” or “established tradition or custom” to justify a rule. This project focuses on these uses of the past, and tries to show how they are changing and how the past is being used to support legal change and reform in contemporary Muslim discourse.

Funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) under their USES OF THE PAST programme, the project team includes scholars in the Universities of Exeter, Leiden, Göttingen and Bergen and examines the uses of the past in the areas of violence, custom, gender and the state.

Details of all our activities, including workshops, conferences and publications, can be found here – and please do get in touch if you have any comments or would like to join our mailing list.

Robert Gleave, University of Exeter - Project Lead

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 649307

Latest News & Events

April 29, 2019

Marriage and Divorce in Modern Islamic Law: Workshop 23 April 2019, University of Exeter

Hosted at the University Exeter, this workshop explored the legal innovations in Islamic thought and practice over the past 200...
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January 8, 2019

USPPIP Project Extended to September 2019

We are pleased to announce that the USPPIP project has been extended until 30th September 2019. The extension will enable...
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January 4, 2019

Uses of the Past: Shari’a and Gender in Palestine and Israel - Published

Uses of the Past: Shari’a and Gender in Palestine and Israel, edited by Irene Scheider and Nijmi Edres has been...
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December 13, 2018

Summer and Autumn Schools Report

USPPIP convened two School weeks for early career scholars, nearing completion of their PhD or recently graduated.   The USPPIP...
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November 12, 2018

Conference Report: Uses of the Past in Islamic Law 27th – 29th September 2018

The project held its major international conference at the University of Exeter, 27th - 29th September 2018.  The programme is...
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September 11, 2018

USPPIP Project Conference Programme Announced

The project will hold its final conference at the University of Exeter, UK, 27-29 September 2018.  A draft programme is...
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July 31, 2018

Congratulations! - USPPIP Postdoctoral Fellow Successes

It is with great pleasure we announce that two of our post-doctoral fellows have recently been appointed to academic positions,...
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July 31, 2018

‘Uses of the Past in Islamic Law’ Conference 27th – 29th September 2018: Panel Titles

The draft programme, including panel titles, for the USPPIP end of project conference is now available here. Paper titles will...
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July 31, 2018

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – Uses of the Past in Islamic Legal Thought and Practice: Autumn School 11th – 17th November 2018

In July 2018, the Understanding Sharia project held its Summer School at the University of Exeter, UK. As a continuation...
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June 2, 2018

28-29 June 2018 “Uses of the Past: Islamic International Law and the Problem of Translation. Concepts and Applications”, University of Göttingen

This workshop, organized by the Göttingen team at Göttingen University, will deal with Islamic legal narratives and practices of international...
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May 22, 2018

Uses of the Past in Islamic Legal Thought and Practice: Summer School 8th - 14th July 2018

Advanced doctoral students and early career researchers in the area of Islamic Legal Studies, have been selected to participate in...
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April 12, 2018

Congratulations! - SSRC Grant Awarded to Mahmood Kooria

Project team member Dr. Mahmood Kooria has been awarded the Trans-regional Research Scholar Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council...
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January 15, 2018

Maslaha, Siyasa and Good Governance: Shari’a and Society Workshop 19th-20th April 2018

On the 19th - 20th April 2018, the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Bergen will host the workshop...
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January 2, 2018

Islamic Law and Sexuality Conference 9th – 11th January 2018, University of Exeter

This two day workshop aims to investigate questions of Islamic law and sexuality, broadly conceived, including but not limited to...
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November 7, 2017

Governance and Violence in Islamic Law Workshop 24th November 2017

This one-day workshop was held under the auspices of the USPPIP project (Understanding Sharia: Past Perfect, Imperfect Present) and hosted...
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October 2, 2017

Invitation: Opening Lecture of the Conference “Gender and Sharīʿah in Muslim Legal Theory and Practice”. Göttingen University, 12th October 2017

Prof. Dr. Irene Schneider, Göttingen University - Seminar für Arabistik/Islamwissenschaft, invites you to the Opening Lecture of the Conference “Gender...
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September 12, 2017

Nordic Seminar on Islamic Legal Studies, University of Bergen, 19th – 20th October 2017

Islamic law can be understood as both a theoretical and ethical system of organising human society and as a practical...
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June 5, 2017

Islamic Law and Sex/uality Workshop 22nd June 2017

The University of Exeter hosted a one day workshop exploring representations of the past by modern Muslims in a range...
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March 23, 2017

Customs, Culture, Shari’a and National Law

The first USPPIP Workshop took place on 24-25 February 2017 in Rabat, Morocco. The workshop entitled “Customs, Culture, Shari’a and...
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January 17, 2017

Meeting in Leiden December 2016

The project team met in Leiden on the 12th of December 2016 to discuss their research, potential publication collaboration and...
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December 19, 2016

Ocean of Law II: Islamic Legal Crossings in the Indian Ocean World

On the 12 - 14th December 2016 several members of the USPPIP project attended a conference at Leiden University entitled:...
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November 25, 2016

Workshop on the Imamate traditions in South Arabia

A workshop was held at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Bergen on 22 November 2016, with the topic...
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