The enduring jurist: qazis, courts and living shari'a in modern India

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Theology and Religion Faculty

Abstract

The endurance of Islamic law in modern Muslim societies remains a heavily discussed and controversial issue in contemporary academia and public life alike. Who has the right to make decisions on points of Islamic law, and how can such edicts be implemented? How can Islamic laws be observed within modern states which aspire to be secular, pluralist nations? With the world's second largest Muslim population and its largest Muslim minority, India makes an essential focal point for considering these questions.

Examining a long historical era from the late-nineteenth century until the present, this project explores understandings of law and legal authority within modern South Asian Islam. Turning away from an emphasis on government legislation and 'formal' legal sources which have dominated much legal history, this project uncovers a range of vernacular discussions, in languages such as Urdu, about the meaning and practice of Muslim laws in the everyday lives of Muslims. How, for instance, did Muslims argue that religious laws could be preserved after the fall of Muslim rule and imposition of British power? Perhaps most importantly, who had the authority to speak on issues of Islamic law, in an era when the courts of state, both colonial and postcolonial, claimed jurisdiction over Muslim legal affairs?

This project focuses upon the 'ulama, the 'traditional' class of learned Islamic scholars and legal specialists. Focusing upon a number of Muslim clerics and religious organisations functioning during the last century, this project examines how, despite being formally divested of their roles as jurists and judges, these religious professionals have continued to claim ongoing command over legal questions affecting Indian Muslims. Their efforts to assert their continued legal authority include expanding and formalising the release of fatwas (edicts), setting up a network of non-government shari'a courts across India, and imposing pressure upon the Indian government at various points on particular legal issues, whether divorce, adoption or alimony. This argument that Muslim religious leaders have preserved an enduring status as legal consultants and practitioners has profound implications for our understanding of legal practice and judicial authority within Islam, and also for our knowledge of the historical relationship between law and religion in the Indian subcontinent.

This project's major academic outputs will include a monograph on the idea of the Muslim 'judge' in modern India, as well as articles on the related questions of the issuing of fatwas and of the protection of women's rights under Islamic law. However, the contemporary relevance of this project will allow a number of engagements with the media, policy forums and non-governmental organisations, both in India and Britain. First, the project will contribute to contemporary discussion of Muslim women's rights in India. In partnership with one of India's most significant Islamic feminist alliances, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, I will organise a workshop entitled 'Shari'a and women's rights in India: modern questions and modern solutions.' This initiative will seek to identify pertinent legal questions affecting Muslim women today and formulate resolutions, which will then inform the work of women's rights activists within Muslim communities. Second, the project will in its later stages seek to compare the everyday realities of Muslim laws in India with those in other Muslim minority societies, such as Britain. A conference on shari'a councils in India and European nations will assess these institutions in different settings, and will also initiate discussion and exchange between a number of academics, lawyers and policy-makers on this complex issue.

Planned Impact

This research project engages questions which remain of fundamental relevance in contemporary public and political life. These include the role of shari'a in the modern world, the rights of Muslim women, and the reconciliation of Islamic law with secular and multicultural national polities. As such, the project promises numerous possibilities for public and policy-related engagements, some of which have already been identified, and others of which will be developed during the tenure of the fellowship.

This project involves two main strands of impact activity, each of which draws from different research questions raised by the project. The first entails collaboration with one of India's most important Islamic feminist organisations, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA: the Muslim Women's Movement of India), to address means of improving the social and legal rights of Muslim women. In collaboration with the Ashana Trust, a non-governmental organisation which works under the umbrella of the BMMA, I will make plans for a workshop to be held in India to facilitate exchange among a number of activists, NGOs and community leaders upon numerous contemporary initiatives. The second involves the convening of a conference in Oxford to discuss shari'a-based legal forums in contemporary Muslim minority societies, chiefly India and Europe. The conference will combine contributions from academics and legal professionals working outside of academia, from both Britain and India (please see 'Case for Support' and 'Pathways to Impact' statement). Through these initiatives, the project will have non-academic impacts at local, national and international levels, for a range of beneficiaries.

Benefits beyond the academy: This project will promote meaningful knowledge exchange with a range of professionals beyond the academy who are involved with questions of contemporary Muslim laws in their work, in both India and Britain. These will include lawyers, social activists and those working for third-sector and non-governmental organisations. Both the workshop in Delhi and the conference in Oxford will facilitate dialogue between academics and non-academics, and will encourage the exchange of experiences by those working across these sectors themselves. For NGOs and charities working with questions of Muslim women's development and rights, it is hoped that these discussions will procure significant long-term benefits by providing new insights and strategies for promoting these causes. Equally, through the Oxford conference, legal professionals working with issues of Islamic law in either India or Britain will benefit from the opportunity to engage with European and Indian legal contexts comparatively.

Engagement with contemporary issues and public policy: Both impact initiatives will foster discussion of contemporary legal issues that have significant implications for public policy in both Britain and India, and I will explore these as part of the project. I will reach out to a professional and public audience via a project webpage hosted by the University of Oxford. This will include a blog, which will offer reflections on major contemporary questions addressed by the project, will publish accounts of the deliberations and main findings of both impact events, and will circulate podcasts of key presentations from the Oxford conference. Consequently, the webpage has the potential to become a useful resource for policy makers and interested publics, as well as academics. To increase the likelihood of my research having impact upon policy debates, and of reaching wider audiences, I will also write two non-academic articles that will be submitted to established and widely read online public policy forums and discussion groups, including The Conversation, based in Britain, and Kafila, based in India (see 'Case for Support').
 
Description On the basis of this research grant, I have now conducted extensive research in India, the UK, Pakistan, the USA, Turkey and elsewhere. I have worked with an array of sources in different languages, and in institutions ranging from archives to institutional and private collections. My research has uncovered an array of findings relating to the lives realities of Islamic legal adjudication in India, particularly with regard to the issuing of edicts (fatwas) and non-judicial legal resolutions (qazaiyas). I have explored a range of sources never used by academics before, such as sharia court judgements and vernacular legal treatises; and I am developing a distinctive research framework for understanding the semi-autonomous legal life of Muslim family laws as they exist in India, using India's pluralised legal structure as a way of exploring how religious scholars have maintained considerable social power. This study of everyday law, and the context of interlegality between state and non-state legal forums, has been a very fruitful line of enquiry. Linked to this is the work on Islamic feminism. This line of research grew out of the 'pathways to impact' aspect of the award, but so strong was this partnership that it led to a whole new body of work on women's rights that has commanded significant interest.

Furthermore, as a result of the 'impact' work as part of the award, I have simultaneously developed work on Islamic feminism in India, examining how Muslim women's groups work at local community levels, and how their normative practical efforts engage with wider dialogues of legal and Islamic reform. I have produced several articles and other writings on the changing dynamics of Islamic feminism, as seen from grassroots levels in India. My close work with these groups has enabled me to build a new framework for understanding Islamic feminism in India.
Exploitation Route The findings will be useful for historians, anthropologists and legal scholars working on Islam and/or on South Asia, as well as those exploring Islam and gender in various contexts. While the process of writing and publication remain ongoing, I have presented my work to and discussed it with academic audiences on many occasions during conferences and invited seminars during the tenure of the award.

Immediate implications of the findings can also be seen in the discussions and productions achieved by the research network on Muslim marriage and divorce in Europe built up through this fellowship. They are also visible in the improvement of the professional practice of the many social activists, NGO staff, charity workers and legal campaigners who have participated in the impact-related activities of this grant. My research has been both practically applied through the delivery of training sessions to these project partners, and disseminated through surveys and reports compiled by these organisations.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://torch.ox.ac.uk/Reformulating#quicktabs-theme_term_quicktab=0
 
Description The Impact activities of this project have been far more extensive and profound than was expected at the beginning of the fellowship, and increasingly, have defined the project and future endeavours. The project originally aimed to hold one knowledge-exchange programme in Delhi in 2017, bringing together a number of women's rights activists and NGOs to consider strategies for women's empowerment, chief among them the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA: Muslim Women's Movement of India). This workshop was highly successful, equipping these women with knowledge in law, religious studies and social activism. Participants consistently claimed to have learnt a great deal, and to be able to enhance their professional work as a result. The workshop has thus produced multiple impacts, including influencing the legal aid and advice given by local NGOs, and providing the basis for education programmes run at the grassroots by participant NGOs. So successful was the programme that, subsequently, it has been expanded from a one-off event, as originally proposed, into a series of three events. An equivalent workshop, part-funded by ActionAid India, was held in 2018, building upon and following the format of the first; while a third, funded by an internal university Knowledge Exchange fund and further support from ActionAid, was held in 2019. Direct impact on the work of the core group of 40-45 activists has been profound; indirectly, the work through them in turn benefits tens of thousands of vulnerable people with whom they work. These workshops have benefitted these women's activists in various ways. They have provided them with essential knowledge on Islamic family law; the rights of women in Islam; and the concomitant rights provided by Islam and the Indian constitution. These activists have - by their own accounts - used knowledge generated at these events to disseminate in local workshops aimed at local women and young persons; and have also used it to engage in dialogue with imams and religious leaders in order to enhance the rights of women onn the ground. The workshops have also helped the BMMA articulate and justify its central campaigns. The workshops discussed, for instance, the issue of the appointment of female religious judges; and the possible benefits of codifying Islamic family law. Both of these issues have gained significant public attention since then, including through statements to the press and public debates, and these workshops have played a highly constructive role within these. The success of this initiative has led to other forms of ongoing work with the BMMA. I have hosted the BMMA's co-leader in Oxford, where she spoke in a round-table with other international Islamic feminists. I have also offered research and consultancy to the organisation's recent report on polygamous marriage in India, which is being used to promote public awareness and advise lawyers and community social workers. I have also produced several public-facing articles on issues that have been engaged throughout this collaboration, including Muslim divorce, and the legitimacy of female judges in Islamic law. Separately, I have also conducted Impact-related activity on the subject of Muslim law in Europe, including hosting an academic/practitioner interface workshop, offering consultancy to a European philanthropic organization, and producing a public-facing blog series on shari'a law in the UK. I anticipate further Impact activities could come out of this in future. In sum, the non-academic impacts of this project have been far more extensive and wide-ranging than anticipated at the outset, and I am working hard to continue on this path.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Knowledge exchange programme with the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The collaborative knowledge exchange workshop and training programme held with the Bharatiya Mahila Muslim Andolan in August 2017-2019 (please see 'Collaborations and Partnerships' section for contextual details) has led to significant impacts on professional practice among social activists. This programme aimed to train working activists in handling aspects of Muslim family law and relations which they encounter as part of their work within communities in India. Feedback collection from these participants in the workshop has shown that they believe themselves to have learnt and benefited greatly from the event, both in terms of session content and in bringing them together with other, fellow partners working in other regions. All suggest that the workshop has influenced their work. Some have added specifically that it has helped/ will help them to advise ordinary women on issues such as pursing their rights through legal institutions, navigating divorces and other family legal matters, and confuting hostile/ gendered assumptions from within their communities. Other aspects of enhancement of their practice have included: - New knowledge of campaigns to codify Islamic family law. Issues discussed at these events led to press conferences and other communications of this agenda. - The same is true for the appointment of female religious judges: these workshops provided useful supporting knowledge to the organisation. - Local teaching and knowledge dissemination. Activists have used knowledge discussed here on Qur'anic teachings, women's rights etc and used it in their own local teachings, and have conveyed knowledge to local imams and religious leaders to promote gender-just practices.
 
Description 'Ubharte Rehnuma' women's development programme
Amount रू 120,000 (INR)
Organisation ActionAid 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country India
Start 07/2018 
End 08/2018
 
Description Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH), University of Oxford
Amount £9,800 (GBP)
Organisation University of Oxford 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 04/2020
 
Description Symposium (conference) Grant
Amount € 39,600 (EUR)
Organisation Volkswagen Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Germany
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2019
 
Description Academic network on Islamic matrimonial law in Europe 
Organisation Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have built up a new research network comparing Islamic matrimonial law and practice in certain European states, chiefly the UK and Germany. This brings together a range of scholars of all levels from universities including the University of Warwick and University of Birmingham (UK), as well as the Centre for Islamic Theology, University of Tubingen, the Centre for Islam and Law in Europe, University of Erlangen, and the Department of Law and Anthropology, Max Planck Institute, Halle (Germany). In June 2018, I organised a conference in Oxford entitled 'Reformulating matrimony in Islamic law: new responses in India and Europe.' This conference had approximately 40 participants and led to an online, 7-part blog series on Islamic Law Blog, and a special issue of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (see details below). In September 2019, I was co-applicant for a large grant that supported a large conference on a related topic, held in Hannover. I have also been a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute in Halle. The project also elicited a successful funding bid (for which I was co-applicant) to the Volkswagen Foundation for a large, follow-on conference grant (40,000 Euros). This conference was held over three days in Hannover in September 2019. This event brought together approximately 50 scholars from around the world, and is also leading to a Special Issue of Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law.
Collaborator Contribution Professor Mouez Khalfaoui, University of Tuebingen: pacted as principal applicant for the successful funding bid to the Volkswagen Foundation to continue the project. Professor Shaheen Sardar Ali: collaborating as co-editor for a blog-series, 'Muslim marriage and divorce in the UK', hosted on ShariaSource/ Islamic Law Blog, a leading academic blog hosted at Harvard University (https://islamiclaw.blog/). Dr Yafa Shanneik: collaborating as co-editor for a special issue of Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (Taylor and Francis) to publish papers from this conference and a related conference in Birmingham (publication March 2020). Professor Marie-Claire Foblets: collaborating partner for above events and host during grantee's visit to Max Planck Institute in Halle.
Impact This multi-pronged research network brings together a range of academics in several universities in the UK and Germany, in departments of Theology/Religious Studies, Law, History and Anthropology. It has also gained involvement from non-academic partners, including lawyers, social activists and community leaders. At present, it has directly produced three workshops/conferences, two journal special issues (both due in 2020), and a seven-part blog series, all of which the grant PI is involved in. The network is likely to continue and produce further future outputs.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan 
Organisation Indian Muslim Women's Movement
Country India 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution My collaboration with the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (The Indian Muslim Women's Association - an alliance of women's rights NGOs), and its partner organisation, the Ashana Trust, has been an unexpectedly large, ambitious and successful initiative, which has now had major achievements. Together with the organisation, I have helped to establish an extensive knowledge exchange and training programme entitled 'Ubharti Rehnuma' ('Aspiring Leaders'). The first event was held in Delhi on 22-24 August 2017, and brought together approximately 50 academics, civil society activists, community leaders and professionals from across India with active working engagement with women's rights, in order to address new strategies to improve women's rights in issues such as Muslim personal laws. In particular, the aim was to bring together experienced professionals with younger, upcoming activists from various NGOs, to share their experience and develop the latter's professional practice. The three-day workshop comprised a number of panels on subjects of Muslim women's religious and legal rights, and the practices of legal advocacy, at which multiple ideas were shared and engaged. I ran three sessions based on my research, on the respective subjects of: the comparative handling of Muslim family laws in different countries; the laws of Islamic divorce; and Islamic perspectives on the legitimacy of female judges. The success of the initiative led to a second, slightly smaller event in August 2018, organised along the model of the former, but addressing the subjects that had come out of the first event as needing further discussion. This event was funding by a small amount of remaining funding in the AHRC grant, and by funds granted as a result of a successful bid to Action Aid in India to continue the project, due to its links with aligned themes of social development and women's empowerment. I also successfully won further Knowledge Exchange funding from the University of Oxford, which was used to hold a third installment of this training programme in November 2019. This event again brought together c.50 participants over two days for a knowledge exchange programme. It received administrative support from Action Aid India. I hope that my collaboration with this organisation will be ongoing, and discussions are continuing.
Collaborator Contribution The BMMA has contributed much towards the organisation of the programme, and the making of all necessary accommodation and travel arrangements for all participants. Affiliated individuals and organisations delivered all the major sessions of the workshop, including numerous activists, affiliates of New Age Islam (a public discussion forum), Action Aid India (the regional branch of the global charity), the Centre for Peace Studies (a research centre based in Hyderabad) and the NGO Astitya. The BMMA also organised other support such as bookings, and providing staff to act in photography, translation and minuting. In the second and third events in 2018 and 2019, the BMMA once again contributed the local administrative and logistical support, and acted as the main applicants to Action Aid India.
Impact I offer more information on specific outcomes below, under 'Influence on Policy/ The Public'. A major outcome of this event will be its professional impact upon the young activists and trainees who were intended as the main beneficiaries of the workshop. Feedback collection has shown that participants believed themselves to have learnt and benefited greatly from the event, both in terms of session content and in bringing them together with other, fellow partners working in other regions. Following each event, I produced a report summarising the main findings and suggestions of the programme, for circulation among the BMMA and some of its major partners (they have asked that it be kept out of the public domain for now) for their future use. Specific outcomes include the following: - conference participants have claimed that they have been using the learning gained at the conference in their own education work, equipping women with better knowledge and skills to protect their rights and seek legal help. One activist in Bhopal, for instance, is running school classes about Islam and the Constitution of India which are based on the Ubharte Rehnuma conferences. - Activists report themselves more able to offer legal guidance and counselling to their service users. For instance, they report that they are more literate in marriage and divorce law and better able to give guidance. Following the workshops, some organisation activists have even started to adjudicate religious marriages and divorces, which they had not done previously. - I have produced the historical / contextual sections to a BMMA report entitled 'Status of women in polygamous marriages and need for legal protection', based on a survey of the experiences of women in polygamous marriages. This report is being used to as part of the organisation's legal activism, and may inform Public Interest Litigation in the coming years. - The workshops have provided intellectual armory and publicity to the BMMA's cause of a codified Islamic family law, and also, its attempts to establish female Islamic judges. The workshops have forestalled press conferences and media interventions attempting to promote these causes.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Centre for the Study of Social Sciences, Kolkata 
Organisation Centre for the Study of Social Change
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution CSSS is a prestigious, interdisciplinary research centre based in Kolkata, which is affiliated to the city's universities and participates in their postgraduate supervision programmes. I took up a formal visiting academic affiliation at this institution from January-July 2017, during which I have presented a research paper, discussed research and further collaborations with a number of colleagues in affiliated fields, as well as offering advice to the institution's postgraduate students.
Collaborator Contribution The affiliation gave me access to the institution's workspaces, online resources and library, all of which I have used.
Impact One research seminar and presentation, and numerous research conversions which have given me useful research feedback. I continue to maintain academic contact and dialogue with these academic contacts, and maintain possibilities for future collaborations.
Start Year 2017
 
Description ISAR, Istanbul 
Organisation Istanbul Foundation for Research and Education
Country Turkey 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I travelled to this institution, an independent research centre affiliated to Istanbul University, in October 2016 in order to speak to leading scholars to share my research and develop conversations relating to Indian-Ottoman legal links. Further collaborations have been discussed; I was due to participate in a relevant workshop organised by the institution in Delhi in 2017, which unfortunately has been postponed.
Collaborator Contribution I presented my research to academics, scholars and students of ISAR and Istanbul University.
Impact One research presentation and further conversations.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Porticus 
Organisation Porticus
Country Global 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I was an invited and active member of the International Expert Group on Muslim Communities in Europe (IEMCE), an advisory panel of eight scholars that was charged with assessing the debates and conditions facing Muslim communities in contemporary Europe. The initiative was funded and led by Porticus, a charitable and philanthropic organisation that engages globally with education, social issues and welfare, and also runs various initiatives relating to social cohesion and dialogue. The panel convened three times in 2017, with the task of providing a position paper for Porticus's own internal use, to inform their work in Europe. I used my research into Muslim minority law, and historic interaction between Islam, secularism and national identity, as well as the close ethnic and religious ties between South Asian and British Muslims, to inform panel discussions. In 2018, the expert group produced a 125.pp report (for internal use only) entitled 'Islam, Muslims and Muslim Communities in European Societies.' For this, I produced an extensive contribution entitled 'Shari'a in Europe: Legal Challenges and Responses in the Accommodation of Islamic Laws.' This discussed questions of Muslim laws in minority societies and drew from my research into interactions between state and community laws in different contexts.
Collaborator Contribution Porticus covers the costs of holding the meetings of the working group, plus all travel. They are also responsible for further supporting any activities to come out of the consultations.
Impact The expert group presented its findings to the Central Board of Porticus in a specially convened meeting in March 2018. Porticus continue to use its findings in planning their enterprises in education and social integration in Europe. Separately, my work with senior staff in Porticus has led to their interest in funding several postdoctoral appointments in Theology/Religious Studies. Discussions are ongoing, but we expect these discussions to lead to some excellent opportunities for postdoctoral scholars in 2019/2020.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Article in The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was an article on The Conversation entitled 'India: why a new law criminalising Muslim "instant divorce" has divided feminists', published on 3 September 2019. It has so far recieved c.30,400 viewings and a range of social media shares.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://theconversation.com/india-why-a-new-law-criminalising-muslim-instant-divorce-has-divided-fem...
 
Description Contribution to Agarmikal 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was invited to contribute to the online newspaper Agamikal, an online magazine with a wide readership based in Kolkata, India, and did so in February 2017. The article is entitled "Islam as a 'fatwa religion': thinking about religious edicts in modern India" and based on recent research. For publication, it has been translated into Bengali. The newspaper has been unable to give me official readership figures, but it is widely known in West Bengal and has a strong online presence, including on social media as well as the website itself, and is aimed chiefly at an educated, non-specialist public readership, such as university students and professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://agamikal.com/
 
Description Contribution to New Age Islam 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I contributed an essay to the influential liberal Muslim website 'New Age Islam', hosted in Delhi, entitled 'Can A Woman Be An Islamic Judge? Revisiting the Question of the Judgeship in Islam'. This came out of the research on this project. The website has been known to receive up to 100,000 readers per day. This article gained a significant number of comments from online readers, most of which were sympathetic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/can-a-woman-be-an-islamic-judge?-revisiting-the...
 
Description Contribution to The Conversation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The Conversation is an online news forum. In August, drawing from discussions in the collaborative event I held with the BMMA, I published an article entitled 'India's instant divorce ban: the end result or the first step in reforming Islamic law?'. The article discussed an important recent legal intervention that had recently occurred in India. To date, the article has attracted over 14,000 readers, has been widely circulated, and has been picked up by several other news websites.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://theconversation.com/indias-instant-divorce-ban-the-end-result-or-the-first-step-in-reforming...
 
Description Contribution to The Immanent Frame 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I have contributed an invited contribution to a discussion forum of approximately ten contributions entitled 'Conversion and Crossing' to the website The Immanent Frame, an academic and policy-oriented forum focused upon themes of secularism, religion and the public sphere, funded by the Social Sciences Research Council. My article, entitled 'Conversion marriages: rethinking the category of 'religion' in India's courtrooms' is due to be published in March-April 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://tif.ssrc.org/
 
Description Contribution to The Oxford Theologian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I produced an article entitled 'Shari'a Courts; Exploring Law and Ethics in Contemporary Islam' for 'The Oxford Theologian, 2017', the annual magazine produced by my Faculty, to discuss some of the initial findings of my research. Its main audience comprises past and present members, students and various academic parties of all levels.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.theology.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/theology/documents/media/oxford_theologian_2017.pd...
 
Description Islamic family law in Europe and the Islamic world 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, this academic conference drew from some of the exchanges developed as part of this award. It assembled approximately 60 academics from arond the world for a dedicated symposium/ series of round tables on the subject of Islamic family law in comparative contexts. It is giving rise to a journal special issue and other exchanges.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Muslim Study Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented my research on Islamic feminism to a local Muslim society based in London, January 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description News Broadcast: Rogue Rocket 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I contributed research consultancy and an interview to the news platform Rogue Rocket (based in the USA) for a You-Tube news film entitled "Instantly Divorced by Text?! Triple Talaq & Ban Controversy Explained...", released on 27 August 2019. It has had c. 111,000 viewings and a range of comments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnfgIn6xM2Q
 
Description Public lecture, Friends of Pitt Rivers Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In November 2018, I was invited to deliver a public lecture to the Friends Society of the Pitt Rivers Museum. The lecture, entitled 'Islamic feminism: problems and prospects for a new religious activism', was based upon my the collaborations conducted during this project. This lecture was attended by approximately 60-70 members of the general public, and it was warmly received; many left generous feedback.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/events
 
Description Public report on polygamous marriage 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact I provided some of the research material for the BMMA's report on polygyny in India, entitled: 'Status of women in polygamous marriages and need for legal protection'. The report is currently being made public in India.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-will-file-pil-against-polygamy-nikah-halala-muslim-women-s-ri...
 
Description Reformulating matrimony in Islamic law 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This conference, held in Oxford in June 2018, brought together about 20 speakers and an attendance of approximately 45-50. It included both academics and non-academic practitioners and professionals, including lawyers, activists and community leaders. It prompted considerable discussion and is leading to an edited journal volume, a blog series, further publications, as well as a follow-on event to be held in Germany in 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Research presentation, University of Delhi 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I offered a presentation at the University of Delhi in January 2017, on contemporary issues in religious law and legal pluralism in India, as drawn from my research. While the audience was chiefly academic (professional, postgraduate and undergraduate), the event was also attended by a number of professional lawyers and legal activists, many of whom have responded to my work and provided useful feedback. Some suggested that the paper's conclusions were persuasive and deserved further dissemination to professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk and round table with Zakia Soman 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A round table session at the University of Oxford with Zakia Soman, co-leader of the Bharatiya Mahila Muslim Andolan (Muslim Women's Movement of India) the project partner organisation; and Professor Ziba Mir-Hosseini, one of the world's leading practitioner-academics on Islamic feminism. The event, held on 24th May 2018, was attended by approximately 60 members of the university, and some members of the public. It allowed a forum for discussion of issues pertaining to women's rights and legal access in contemporary India. It also provided a unique opportunity to bring an Indian grassroots movement into dialogue with a major figurehead of transnational Islamic feminism.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018