Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Samy Ayoub (on leave 2018-2019)


Assistant ProfessorPh.D., University of Arizona

Samy Ayoub (on leave 2018-2019)

Contact

Interests


Islamic Law in the early modern Ottoman Empire; modern Arab legal regimes; Muslim Ethics; modernity and Arab and Islamic Thought

Biography


Samy Ayoub specializes in Islamic law, modern Middle East law, and law and religion in contemporary Muslim societies. He focuses on issues concerning law, its interaction with religion, and the role of religion in contemporary legal and socio-political systems within a global comparative perspective. He has legal training in Egypt and in the United States, and in Islamic studies. He has taught in law schools, and in religion and Middle Eastern Studies departments. Dr. Ayoub is currently serving as the president of the Islamic Law Section at the Associaton of American Law Schools (AALS).

Dr. Ayoub earned his PhD in Islamic law from the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. He earned a BA in Islamic jurisprudence from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, in 2006, where he received systematic instruction in Ḥanafī jurisprudence. He also received an MSc. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, in 2008. Dr. Ayoub’s dissertation and current book project, Law, Empire, and the Sultan: Ottoman Imperial Authority in Late Ḥanafī Jurisprudence, won the 2015 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award. It is currently under review with Oxford University Press.

Before joining UT Austin, Professor Ayoub was a postdoctoral faculty fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he was nominated by the student body to the Margaret T. Getman Service to Students Award. Professor Ayoub's published scholarship focuses on the intersections of law, religion and the state in the early modern Ottoman Empire. His articles may be downloaded from here.

Dr. Ayoub’s second book project is a legal study of political violence in the early modern Ottoman Empire. It investigates Muslim jurists' responses to armed rebellion against Ottoman political order, and traces how these premodern Muslim legal formulations on dissent, rebellion, and terrorism shape contemporary Muslim legal discourses on these issues.

Teaching Areas: Islamic Law, Islamic Legal Theory, Islamic Ethics, Islam and Politics, Comparative Middle Eastern Law, Islamic Commercial Law, Late Ottoman Empire

Courses Recently Taught

Islam Law and Political Violence

Islamic Law and Society

Comparative Middle Eastern Law 

Islamic Commercial Law

Rule of Law in Muslim Societies

Arabic Readings in Islamic Texts

Modern Islamic Political Thought                                                                        

Islamic Ethics

Late Ottoman State & Society

 

Publication Highlights:

Book:

Law, Empire, and the Sultan: Ottoman Imperial Authority in Late Ḥanafī Jurisprudence

(Oxford University Press)  

Edited Volumes:

Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law on “Islamic Law and Empire” (Fall, 2017)

Rethinking Late Ottoman Civilization (University of Edinburgh Press, Under review)

Selected Articles:

“The Sulṭān Says: State Authority in The Late Ḥanafī Tradition.” Islamic Law and Society 23 (2016) 239-278.

“The Mecelle: Sharīʿa, and Ottoman State: Fashioning and Refashioning of Islamic Law in the 19th – 20th Century CE.” The Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 2:1 (2015): 121-146.

Interviews:

“Fear of Sharia: Harvard project aims to shed light on Islamic law,” Middle East Eye, May 4, 2017.

 “Late Hanafi Law in the Ottoman Empire,” Ottoman History Podcast, November 24, 2015.

Courses


ISL S340 • Islamic Ethics

83686 • Summer 2018
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 206
(also listed as MES S342)

DESCRIPTION: 

This course will engage in a close consideration and reading of classical and modern works on Islamic ethics.  In so doing, we will examine them in light of modern ethical and legal contexts, most notably contemporary “virtue ethics” as well as current ethical theories of action such as deontology, consequentialism, and Religiously-Based Ethics, “Divine Command Theory”. Case studies will include debates about abortion, gay marriage, fundamentalism, war, organ donations, Euthanasia, religious pluralism, and suicide bombing.  

 

TEXT: 

Ali, Kecia. Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qurʾan, Hadith and Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006 

 

Brockopp, Jonathan E. Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War, and Euthanasia. (University of South Carolina Press, 2004)  

 

Hamdy, Sherine. Our Bodies Belong to God. Berkeley 2012.  

 

Safi, Omid, ed. Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism. (Oneworld  Publications, 2003). 

 

Naguib, Nefissa. Nurturing Masculinities: Men, Food, and Family in Contemporary Egypt (University of Texas Press, 2015) 

 

GRADING: 

Response Papers                                30% 

Class participation                              20% 

Midterm                                              20% 

Book Review                                      10% 

Final Exam           20%  

ISL 373 • Islam And Politics

41115 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 416
(also listed as GOV 365N, R S 358)

Please check back for updates.

MES 384 • Islam & Political Violence

41530 • Spring 2018
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM MEZ 2.124
(also listed as GOV 390L, LAW 397S, R S 390T)

Description

This seminar examines theories and approaches to the study of political violence. It starts with a survey of the juristic discussions on legitimate and illegitimate violence. It shows how Muslim jurists, by the 11th century, had developed a sophisticated discourse on the proper limits on the conduct of warfare, political violence, and terrorism. This seminar would then show how these juristic discourses are no longer part of the normative categories of contemporary Muslim societies. The seminar would shift attention to the rise of Islamism as a response to the failure of the nationalist projects of the post-colonial era in Muslim majority countries. The seminar would address specific case studies of Islamist political violence in local and global contexts. Some of central questions that we would examine throughout the course include: How does violence differ from other types of political action? What are the reasons of Islamist political violence?

Course Type

Seminar

Level

Graduate

Grading Method

Final paper

Grading Option

Student may take as Pass/fail

 

ISL 340 • Islamic Law

41520 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 201
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 358, WGS 340)

This course will serve as a survey of central aspects of Islamic law from its origins to modern times. It introduces students to several classical Islamic legal texts in translation and devotes special attention to topics in Muslim devotional, family, and criminal law. We conclude with an investigation of the modern topics of personal status laws and the relevance of Islamic law today in the American context. Some knowledge of Islam is expected of students enrolling in this class, although there are no specific course requirements.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

  • Wael Hallaq, An Introduction to Islamic Law, Cambridge University Press (2009) All additional required readings will be available on CANVAS. SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS:
  • Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law, Rudolph Peters Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, Ibn Rushd (in translation) Islamic Law and Finance, Frank Vogel and Samuel Hayes Islam and Colonialism, Rudolph Peters
  • Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam, Rudolph Peters

GRADING:

  • Response Papers 30%
  • Midterm Test 20%
  • Class participation 20%
  • Final Exam 30%

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Upon completing this course you should be better equipped than before to:

  • Sketch an outline of Islamic legal history
  • Articulate the basic sources, tensions, transformation of Islamic legal thought and practice
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the great variety of Islamic legal reasoning and its practical expressions 

ISL 340 • Islamic Ethics

41570 • Spring 2017
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as MES 342, R S 358, WGS 340)

This course will engage in a close consideration and reading of classical and modern works on Islamic ethics. In so doing, we will examine it in light of modern ethical and legal contexts, most notably contemporary “virtue ethics” as well as current theories of legal interpretation. Case studies will include debates about abortion, gay marriage, fundamentalism, war, organ donations, euthanasia, religious pluralism, and suicide bombing.

Texts

Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur?an, Hadith and Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006 Hamdy, Sherine. Our Bodies Belong to God. Berkeley 2012. Brockopp, Jonathan E. Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War, and Euthanasia. (University of South Carolina Press, 2004) Safi, Omid, ed. Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism. (Oneworld Publications, 2003).

Grading

Response Papers 30% Class participation 20% Midterm 20% Final Paper 30% (on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor)

MES 384 • Comparative Middle East Law

41990 • Spring 2017
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as LAW 397S)

Description borrowed from Spring 2016

This seminar explores modern legal structures - legislative and judicial - of the Middle East. It introduces students to the process by which traditional Islamic law was transformed into state law in the 19th and 20th centuries CE, by investigating debates on codification, legal modernity and legal borrowing. With the emergence of the modern nation-states across the Muslim World, many countries accorded constitutional status to Islamic law as "a source" or "the source" of law and some states purport to base their entire systems on particular versions of Islamic law. The formation of the modern legal regimes in the Middle East was a hybrid product of Islamic and western legal traditions, which raises questions about legal authority, legality, and the creation of modern legal and judicial institutions. The course aims to encourage comparative legal analysis to assess generalizations about law typically formulated with respect to Western legal traditions. The course discusses cases and codes from Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The topics covered in this course are constitutional law, judicial review, administrative law, obligations, commercial law, family law, human rights and criminal law.

Texts/Readings

Required Texts Mallat, Chibli. Introduction to Middle Eastern Law (Oxford University Press, 2009) Supplemental readings: To be placed o the course website Recommended Readings: Nathan Brown, Rule of law in the Arab world: Courts in Egypt and the Gulf, Cambridge 1997.

Grading Policy

Class participation: 30%

Response papers: 30%

Research paper: 40%

MES 386 • Late Ottoman State & Society

42005 • Spring 2017
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 422

The Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey, Iraq, the Levant, Egypt, North Africa and the Balkans) was one of the most important political formations in the premodern world. This seminar aims to examine the dynamics that shaped state and society in the late Ottoman Empire (c. 1700-1922). It examines the complex social and political transformations it went through, the emergence of independent nation-states in its former territories, and the legacy it left behind. The seminar focuses on the social and economic life, religion, law, government, ideology, arts, and sciences of the late Ottoman period and territory. It addresses how people negotiated their relationships to the Ottoman state in their daily lives, and the fundamental changes that the empire faced as it disintegrated into nation-states.

ARA 360L • Ara Readings Classcl Isl Txts

41155 • Fall 2016
Meets MW 3:00PM-4:30PM CAL 200
(also listed as ARA 387)

This seminar provides an opportunity to directly engage the language of the Quran and to explore the political, philosophical, and theological writings of some of the key thinkers of classical and modern lslam. This course will involve a weekly Quranic memorization and reading assignment. A good knowledge of Arabic is required to maximize the learning in this course. The discussions in this course will be conducted in Arabic. 

ISL 340 • Islamic Law

41420 • Fall 2016
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM PAR 1
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 358, WGS 340)

Course Description

This course will serve as a survey of central aspects of Islamic law from its origins to modern times. It introduces students to several classical Islamic legal texts in translation and devotes special attention to topics in Muslim devotional, family, and criminal law. We conclude with an investigation of the modern topics of personal status laws and the relevance of Islamic law today in the American context. Some knowledge of Islam is expected of students enrolling in this class, although there are no specific course requirements.

REQUIRED TEXTBOOK

Wael Hallaq, An Introduction to Islamic Law, Cambridge University Press (2009)

All additional required readings will be available online.

GRADING

Required Assignments

Response Papers                                30%

Midterm Test                                     20%

Class participation                              20%

Final Exam                                          30%

 

 

ISL 372 • Rule Of Law In The Mid East

40801 • Spring 2016
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:30PM CAL 21

Please check back for updates.

ISL 373 • Islam And Politics

40806 • Spring 2016
Meets MW 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 201
(also listed as GOV 365N, MES 341, R S 358)

This course is an introduction to modern Islamic political thought. It seeks to provide both an overview of key ideas and themes that have informed mainstream Muslim politics during the 20th century as well provide an engagement with influential thinkers and texts that have shaped Muslim political behavior during this period. We will examine the way in which modernity was negotiated in the emerging Muslims states, the debate on God’s sovereignty versus popular sovereignty and more broadly the moral bases of legitimate political authority. We will also explore how prominent Muslim thinkers have sought to engage with and respond to the rise of nationalism, socialism, capitalism, democracy, human rights, colonialism, imperialism and Zionism.

Texts

Roxanne Euben and Muhammad Qasim Zaman eds., Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Texts and Contexts from al-Banna to Bin Laden (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009). Sayyid Qutb, Social Justice in Islam, translated by John Hardie, revised translation and introduction by Hamid Algar (Oneonta, NY: Islamic Publications International, 2000).

Grading Policy

Response Papers 30% Class participation 20% Midterm 20% Final Paper 30% 30%

ISL 373 • Rule Of Law In The Mid East

40807 • Spring 2016
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 1
(also listed as GOV 365N, MES 341, R S 358)

The rule of law has become one of the foundations of modern government. Its purpose is to limit the exercise of state power and to prevent its abuse. This course explores modern legal structures - legislative and judicial - in the Muslim World. The course engages with questions such as how modern legal orders respond to war, conflict, and revolution. It introduces students to the process by which traditional Islamic law was transformed into state law in the 19th and 20th centuries CE, by investigating debates on codification, legal modernity and legal borrowing. With the emergence of the modern nation-states across the Muslim World, many countries accorded constitutional status to Islamic law as "a source" or "the source" of law, and some states purport to base their entire systems on particular versions of Islamic law. The formation of the modern legal regimes in Muslim societies was a hybrid product of Islamic and western legal traditions, which raises questions about legal authority, legality, and the creation of modern legal and judicial institutions.

Texts

The Rule of Law in the Middle East and the Islamic World: Human Rights and the Judicial Process, eds. Eugene Cotran, Mai Yamani (I. B. Tauris (September 2, 2000) Mallat, Chibli. Introduction to Middle Eastern Law (Oxford University Press, 2009) Supplemental readings: To be placed on the course website

Grading Policy

Response Papers 30%

Class participation 20%

Midterm 20%

Final Paper 30% (on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor)

MES 384 • Comparative Middle East Law

41154 • Spring 2016
Meets F 9:00AM-12:00PM BEN 1.118
(also listed as LAW 397S)

This seminar explores modern legal structures - legislative and judicial - of the Middle East. It introduces students to the process by which traditional Islamic law was transformed into state law in the 19th and 20th centuries CE, by investigating debates on codification, legal modernity and legal borrowing. With the emergence of the modern nation-states across the Muslim World, many countries accorded constitutional status to Islamic law as "a source" or "the source" of law and some states purport to base their entire systems on particular versions of Islamic law. The formation of the modern legal regimes in the Middle East was a hybrid product of Islamic and western legal traditions, which raises questions about legal authority, legality, and the creation of modern legal and judicial institutions. The course aims to encourage comparative legal analysis to assess generalizations about law typically formulated with respect to Western legal traditions. The course discusses cases and codes from Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. The topics covered in this course are constitutional law, judicial review, administrative law, obligations, commercial law, family law, human rights and criminal law.

Texts/Readings

Required Texts Mallat, Chibli. Introduction to Middle Eastern Law (Oxford University Press, 2009) Supplemental readings: To be placed o the course website Recommended Readings: Nathan Brown, Rule of law in the Arab world: Courts in Egypt and the Gulf, Cambridge 1997.

Grading Policy

Class participation: 30%

Response papers: 30%

Research paper: 40%

ISL 340 • Islamic Ethics

40619 • Fall 2015
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as MES 342)

This course will engage in a close consideration and reading of classical and modern works on Islamic ethics. In so doing, we will examine it in light of modern ethical and legal contexts, most notably contemporary “virtue ethics” as well as current theories of legal interpretation. Case studies will include debates about abortion, gay marriage, fundamentalism, war, organ donations, euthanasia, religious pluralism, and suicide bombing.

Texts

Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur?an, Hadith and Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006 Hamdy, Sherine. Our Bodies Belong to God. Berkeley 2012. Brockopp, Jonathan E. Islamic Ethics of Life: Abortion, War, and Euthanasia. (University of South Carolina Press, 2004) Safi, Omid, ed. Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism. (Oneworld Publications, 2003).

Grading

Response Papers 30% Class participation 20% Midterm 20% Final Paper 30% (on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor)

 

MES 386 • Late Ottoman State & Society

41008 • Fall 2015
Meets T 4:00PM-7:00PM CBA 4.336

The Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey, Iraq, the Levant, Egypt, North Africa and the Balkans) was one of the most important political formations in the premodern world. This seminar aims to examine the dynamics that shaped state and society in the late Ottoman Empire (c. 1700-1922). It examines the complex social and political transformations it went through, the emergence of independent nation-states in its former territories, and the legacy it left behind. The seminar focuses on the social and economic life, religion, law, government, ideology, arts, and sciences of the late Ottoman period and territory. It addresses how people negotiated their relationships to the Ottoman state in their daily lives, and the fundamental changes that the empire faced as it disintegrated into nation-states.

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