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Faculty Bios

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Dr. Zainab Alwani
Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies
Dr. Zainab Alwani is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Howard University School of Divinity. She is an Islamic scholar, researcher, and community activist. In addition to being the first female jurist to serve on the board for the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), Dr. Alwani currently serves as the Vice President of the FCNA. Her research focuses on Quranic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of family and gender, comparative religions, and inter-religious dialogue.

Prior to joining the School of Divinity, Dr. Alwani was the Program Director and Adjunct Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Northern Virginia Community College. She was also an Adjunct Professor of Arabic Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She developed courses in Arabic Studies that focused on the link between Islamic philosophy, language, and culture. She also taught Islamic history, inter-religious dialogue, and comparative religion at Wesley Theological Seminary and the Washington National Cathedral.

Dr. Alwani has authored and co-authored a wide variety of scholarly articles and chapter books including: "The Qur'anic Model to Harmony in Family Relations"; "What Islam Says about Domestic Violence"; "Perspectives: Arabic Language and Culture in Films"; and "The development of Maqasid/objectives of al Shariah in the contemporary context". "Her forthcoming publications include scholarly books, chapter books, and articles.

Dr. Alwani received her Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences (Usul Al-Fiqh) and Islamic Jurisprudence from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Her Ph.D dissertation focused on Islamic jurisprudence: the implementation of the Maqasid/objectives of al Shariah in the American Muslim family.

Dr. Alwani is a mother of four, and a grandmother of two. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, teaching, reading, and traveling.

Representative Publications:
Books: Author
Maqasid Al shariah in the Family: American Muslim Family. Herndon: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012.

Muslim Women and Global Challenges: Seeking change through a Quranic Textual Approach and the Prophetic Model.
New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, 2012.

The Development of the Islamic Legal Theory and The Objectives of Shariah: A Conversation with Taha Al alwani. Herndon: The International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2012.

Co-Author: What Islam says about Domestic Violence (Herndon: FAITH, 2003) second edition, 2012.
Chapter Books:
• Zainab Alwani, Conflict Resolution: Muslim reflection. Interfaith JustPeaceMaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War. Edited by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-230-33989-7

• Alwani, Z., Sryfi, M., Isleem, N. Perspectives: Arabic Language and Culture in Films.( USA: Alucen Learning, 2009)

• Zainab Alwani. Family Relations: Islamic Perspective. In Domestic Violence Cross Cultural Perspectives. Edited by: M. Basheer Ahmed. Published by: MCC for Human Service: Northern Texas. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-4415-4472-8

• Zainab Alwani, The Quranic Model for Harmony in family relations, eds. Maha B. Alkhateeb & Salma Elkadi Abugideiri. (VA Peacefulfamilies, 2007). ISBN 0-9791389-0-6
Peer-reviewed journal:
“The Quranic Model on Social change: Family structure as a method of social reform” in Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) Journal vol. 3 no. 1 (November 2011) an international

“Alqazali and his methodology in Fiqh legislation, Journal: Islamiyat Alma’rafa, No. 27, 2001, Published by IIIT.

Aicha’s Istidrakat and Their Methodological Premises: Reclaiming a Stunted Tradition. Journal: Women & Civilization, No.3, 2002. Published by The Association for the study of Women in Civilization.

Encyclopedia Entery:
“Domestic Violence” in Oxford University Press: The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Islam and Women.
Forthcoming Scholarly Peer-reviewed articles:
• “Women’s Religious Scholarship: Historical trends and their contemporary implications, in Control, Consent and Choice: New Voices of Muslim Women Theologians, edited by E. Mendeni, E. Aslan, and M. Hermansen (Brill). Spring, 2013.

• “Muslim Minorities and the Registration of Civil Marriages,” with Celene Ayat Lizzio, in Facts, Fears, and Future: Muslim Family Law in Western Societies, edited by M. S. Berger (Leiden University Press). Expected date: Spring, 2013
General Journals and Magazines:
• Series of articles on Interfaith Dialogue and spiritual rituals, American Muslim Family Magazine, 2004-2005

• Muslim Woman in America After 9/11, Journal: Al hiwar, 2002, Washington.

• Muslim Woman in America After 9/11, Magazine: Al Mujtama’a, 2002, Kuwait.

• Peace. Jihad & Conflict Resolution, Journal: Islamiyat Alma’rafa, No 29, 2002, Published by IIIT.

• Jihad & Conflict Resolution in America, American Journal of Islamic and Social Sciences, Volume 20, No1, 2003. Association of Muslim Social Scientists/ IIIT.

• Peace & Conflict Resolution, Newsletter: AMSS Association of Muslim Social Scientists, 2002.

Personal website:
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updated: June 24, 2013

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