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Professor Robert Gleave

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 ( 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