Samy Ayoub

Samy Ayoub

  • Assistant Professor of Law and Middle Eastern Studies

Faculty Profile: Samy Ayoub

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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

Islamic 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:


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.


“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.