Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Intisar A.Rabb
Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor
Harvard University
Interpreting Early Islamic Law: Texts, Courts, Politics

Intisar A. Rabb is a professor of law at Harvard Law School and a director of its Islamic Legal Studies Program. She also holds appointments as the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute and a professor of history at Harvard University. She has published on Islamic law in historical and modern contexts, most recently the monograph Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

While we know much about the jurists who operated in early Islamic law, we know less about the judges and those whose problems they addressed. Rabb seeks to investigate early Islamic courts and the people and procedures operating in them. Who appealed to courts, how, and to what end? Moreover, how was the administration of justice in early Islamic law affected by considerations like access to courts, social status, political context, and prosecutorial discretion? Reflexively, how did those considerations affect how laws were made, modified, and played out? Answers to these questions are essential for rounding out the picture of any legal system beyond the four corners of the pages framing the law in the books.

Rabb received a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MA and PhD from Princeton University. She has conducted research in Egypt, Iran, Syria, and elsewhere. 

2017–2018 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo