Photo of Professor Robert Gleave

Professor Robert Gleave

Professor of Arabic Studies

4025

01392 724025

Rob Gleave is Professor of Arabic Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam (CSI), IAIS, University of Exeter. The CSI organises regular seminars and workshops, bringing together staff, researchers and students studying topics related to Islam to share research. His research interests include Islamic legal theory, particularly legal hermeneutics, and the history of Shi’ite legal thought and institutions. Click here to see his principal publications. His Project Administrator and PA is Mrs Pam Navran.

He is currently Principal Investigator of 2 major projects:

  • Understanding Shari’a: Past Present Imperfect Present (www.usppip.eu); this two-year project (2016-2018) is funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area consortium as part of the “Uses of the Past” programme. It is a collaboration between the universities of Exeter, Gottingen, Bergen and Leiden, with a team of lead researchers and postdoctoral fellows in each centre. The project examines the ways in which the notion of a “perfect past” informs programmes of reform of the “imperfect present” in Islamic legal thinking. The postdoctoral research fellow on this project is Dr Omar Anchassi.
  • Law, Authority and Learning in Imami Shi’ite Islam (www.lawalisi.eu) is a 5-year project (2016-2021) funded by the European Research Council (as an Advanced Award) aims to integrate the study of Imami Shi’ite law into the broader field of Islamic legal studies. The project has appointed two postdoctoral research fellows for its first phase (2016-2019) examining early and classical Imami jurisprudence. The post-doctoral fellows are Dr Paul Gledhill and Dr Wissam Halawi.

His most recent projects include:

Islamic Reformulations: Belief, Governance, Violence (www.islamicreformulations.net), a 3-year project (2013-16) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the PACCS programme. Islamic Reformulations examined questions around the reformulation of notions of belief, governance and their relationship to violence in contemporary Islamic thought. The research fellows on this project were Drs Sarah Elibiary and Mustafa Baig.

Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence in Islamic Thought (www.livitproject.net) was a 3-year programme (2010-2013) funded by the ESRC as part of the Global Uncertainties Programme.  The project examned how violence has been justified in the intellectual history of Islam, and has produced the series of the same name, publiced by Edinburgh University Press.

For details on his past projects click here.  They include:

Understanding Religion and Law: Fatwas, Muftis and Law in British Islam (2015-2017) (www.britishfatwas.co.uk)

NWO-AHRC Netherlands-UK (Leiden-Exeter) collaborative grant: The Sharia Project (2011-2013)

The Hawza Project: Shiite Seminaries in Iraq and Iran, (2009-2013)

The UK Network of Practitioners and Researchers in Islamic Law (2007-2009)

Rob Gleave has been visiting fellow/scholar at the universities of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Oxford, Washington (Seattle), Meiji (Tokyo), Tehran, Chicago and the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton.

Rob Gleave is currently the Principal Investigator on the University of Exeter ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (ESRC-IAA).The aim of the ESRC-IAA is to facilitate academics working with external partners across the social sciences. For more information on the ESRC-IAA, click here. For his administrative duties, both within and outside of the University of Exeter, click here.

Research interests

My primary research interests include:

  • Hermeneutics and Scriptural Exegesis in Islam
  • Islamic Law, in particular works of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh)
  • Violence and its justification in Islamic thought
  • Shi'ism, in particular Shi'i legal and political theory

My past major funded projects include:

GW4 Accelerator Award: Understanding Religion and Law: Fatwas, Muftis and Law in British Islam (www.britishfatwas.co.uk) was a two-year (2015-2017) collaboration of the universities of Exeter, Bristol, Cardiff and Bath. The project established a network of researchers on religion an law between the 4 universities, focussing on the role of the mufti and the importance of the fatwa in the British Muslim community. The research fellow on this project was Dr Tayyeb Mimouni.

NWO-AHRC Netherlands-UK (Leiden-Exeter) collaborative grant: The Sharia Project (2011-2013) – working with Leiden University in the Netherlands, holding a series of joint seminars on cutting edge research in Islamic legal studies, with accompanying master-classes by Professors Baudouin Dupret, Kecia Ali and Wael Hallaq.

The Hawza Project: Shiite Seminaries in Iraq and Iran, (2009-2013) funded by the British Academy under the auspices of the British Institute for Persian Studies, this project examined the history and operation of the Shi’ite seminary system (the Hawza) focussing on the seminaries in Qum (Iran) and Najaf (Iraq).

The UK Network of Practitioners and Researchers in Islamic Law; a two year project (2007-2009), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to increase contact and collaboration between academic experts and legal practitioners working in Islamic law.

Research supervision

Postgraduate research topics I have supervised include:

  • Debating al-Ḥākimiyyah and Takfīr in Salafism
  • A critical approach to the origins and evolution of Usūl al-Fiqh and the methodologies of interpretation and inference, with a case of hijāb
  • Understanding the Salafi Doctrine of al-Walāʾ wal-Barāʾa
  • The Conceptualisation of Power in the thought of Muḥammad Ḥusayn Faḍalallāh
  • The Theory of Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa in Shīʿī jurisprudence: Muḥammad Taqī al-Mudarrisī as a Model
  • al-Qawāʾid al-Fiqhiyya in Contemporary Islamic Law
  • A study on Muḍārabah in Islamic law and its application in Malaysian Islamic banks
  • Necessity (ḍarūra) in Islamic law : a study with special reference to the Harm Reduction programme in Malaysia
  • A critical edition of Qawāʾid al-Taṣawwuf by Aḥmad Zarrūq (d. 899/1493) with an introduction

Other information

Rob Gleave is currently the Principal Investigator on the University of Exeter ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (ESRC-IAA).  The aim of the ESRC-IAA is to facilitate academics working with external partners across the social sciences.  For more information on the ESRC-IAA, click here.   He has been Director (and Director of Research) of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (University of Exeter), and Associate Dean for International and Development (College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter).  He has also been Executive Director of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, Secretary and President of the British Institute of Persian Studies, and President and Secretary of the International Society for Islamic Legal Studies.  He serves on the editorial boards of a number of journals and is sub-editor of Islamic Law and Society.

Modules taught