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Syrian Scholar Dr. Issam Eido to Speak at Washington and Lee

Syrian scholar Dr. Issam Eido will deliver a talk at Washington and Lee University about “Scholars of Islamic Law and the Syrian Revolution” on Monday, March 31, at 5:30 p.m. in W&L’s Law School Lewis Hall, Classroom C. The talk is free and open to the public.

Eido’s lecture will examine the role of traditionally trained Muslim scholars, called ‘ulama in Arabic, in the recent conflict in Syria. Religion, law and the state have been intertwined in complicated ways in the context of the Syrian uprising. Eido’s talk will offer a map to the complex geography of the ‘ulama and their changing relationship to the state.

Eido is a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he teaches in Islamic Studies and Qur’anic Arabic.

Prior to the uprising, Eido served as a lecturer in the faculty of Shari’a in the Department of Qur’anic Studies and History of Islamic Sciences at the University of Damascus. Eido obtained his doctoral degree at the University of Damascus under the supervision of two internationally renowned scholars of prophetic traditions, Dr. Nur al-Din ‘Itr and Dr. ‘Ajaj al-Khatib.

Joel Blecher, W&L assistant professor of religion, said, “Issam’s doctoral work, ‘Early Hadith Scholars and their Methodology of Hadith Criticism,’ broke new ground in understanding the criteria used by Muslim scholars in accepting or rejecting traditions attributed to Muhammad and the transformations of that criteria from the classical to the modern period. His research has helped change the way both historians and Muslim scholars alike think about the authenticity of traditions attributed to Muhammad, as well their application in Islamic law.”

While undertaking his doctoral work in the mid-2000s, Eido solidified an international reputation among Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies experts across disciplines by working closely with visiting researchers and Fulbright scholars in Damascus through an Arabic and Islamic studies institute he founded the Dalalah Institute.

In 2011, as the political situation in Syria deteriorated, Eido fled to Jordan with his family. He taught at the Qasid Institute in Amman, and, in 2012, he joined the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin as a fellow to work with the comparatively focused research program on Europe in the Middle East/Middle East in Europe.

With the help of the Institute for International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, Eido found his current home at the University of Chicago Divinity School where he continues to explore his current research interests in the Qur’an in late antiquity, Hadith Studies, Sufism and Arabic literature.

While on campus, Eido will be meeting with undergraduates and law students in Blecher’s Profit and Prophecy in Islam and Islamic Law in Society classes to discuss their on-going research projects in Islamic studies.