Series Editor's Preface: to Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought, Festschrift in honor of Professor Hossein Modarressi, edited by Asma Sayeed and Inti

Series Preface for Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought

By Khaled Abou El Fadl


This is the first edited collection of scholarly studies to be published in the Palgrave Series in

Islamic Theology, Law, and History. It is a volume that I take great pride in introducing to the

readers of the series. This single volume includes articles studies by some of the most

prominent scholars in the field of Islamic Studies covering a broad array of topics on Islamic

theology, philosophy, law, and history. In many ways, the collection contained in this book

represents an illuminatingly informative survey of some of the most compelling scholarship

being done in the Western academy in the field of Islamic Studies. The contributing editors to

this book have already written an introduction setting out the contributions made by each author,

and I dare not burden the reader by repeating the same information. Read cover to cover, this

volume will leave its readers with a sense of having been treated to an enlightening and

enjoyable engagement with the Islamic tradition. This collection is distinctive not just because of

the range and significance of the topics treated, but also because of the unparalleled caliber of the

scholars contributing to the work. The studies in this volume are model examples of the

kind of serious and rigorous scholarship so urgently in demand in the field of Islamic Studies.

The contributors to this volume are some of the most illustrious and renowned scholars in

their respective fields. This by itself makes the present collection attractive to any series editor,

and makes this book indispensable to any worthwhile library as well as to all serious students of

Islam. But further to this, the prominence of the contributors is a notable testament to the

importance and eminence of the scholar being honored: Professor Hossein Modarressi of

Princeton University. This is another reason why I take special pride in introducing this volume

to the readers of this series. I have the privilege and honor of being one of Professor Hossein

Modarressi’s many admirers, students, and disciples. I can attest to the profound impact this

stoic, soft-spoken, brilliant, and masterful sage of the Islamic tradition has had upon all those

who have had the good fortune of studying or working with him. Modarressi’s profound humility

and ethical probity is matched only by his encyclopedic knowledge, unparalleled scholarship,

generosity, and kindness. Considering the weight and extent of his impact upon the field of

Islamic Studies, this volume is a fitting, but relatively modest acknowledgement of his



Aside from considerations of fidelity and admiration, it is fitting for the Palgrave Series

in Islamic Theology, Law, and History to honor Hossein Modarressi because of what he and this

series represent. Through his teaching and writings, Modarressi truly epitomizes the realization

of the scholarly standards that this series was created to uphold. As all those who are familiar

with his work will readily attest, Modarressi’s scholarship sets a standard that is truly hard to

follow, but his never-ending quest for learning and investigation is infectious and inspirational.

The authors in this collection have all been touched and inspired by Modarressi’s works, and

regardless of whether they are able to uphold the same standards, without a doubt Modarressi’s

legacy lives on in every contribution included in this volume. And for that, this volume

represents a very special event in the history of the series. Both the contributors and the honored

do justice by the reputation and mission of this series.


Khaled Abou El Fadl

Los Angeles, California