Anver Emon

Canada Research Chair in Religion, Pluralism and the Rule of Law

Tier 2 - 2015-01-01
University of Toronto
Social Sciences and Humanities


Research involves

Studying pre-modern and modern Islamic law, governance and legality, and religion and reason.

Research relevance

This research will lead to a deeper understanding of Islam and Islamic law—inside and outside the Muslim world—as it relates to law, governance, and institutional development.

Sharia as Rule of Law

Muslims around the world want more Islamic law, not less, according to a global study by the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think-tank in Washington, D.C. But what is meant by Islamic law (Sharia) and what should its role be in the modern state?

As Canada Research Chair in Religion, Pluralism and the Rule of Law, Dr. Anver Emon wants to answer these essential questions, while critically analyzing why they matter and to whom. His research focuses on Sharia to better understand it as both a system of legal thought and an evolving tradition influencing today’s political landscape. 

While many scholars and policy analysts dismiss religion generally—and Islam specifically—as outdated, Emon believes this line of thinking is undemocratic and creates a culture of exclusion. Religious values, like those reflected in Islamic law, are important sources of value for many around the world, and Emon believes that criticisms of how they have informed political movements are not a good enough reason to reject them wholesale. His research uses the case of Islamic law as a vehicle to explore whether and how a commitment to “normative pluralism” (which views differences in values as a social good) enhances inclusion in democratic society.

Emon is committed to working through Sharia historically, legally, and politically. His research will help reveal the intersection of history, law and politics when Islamic law is invoked, in the Muslim majority world or elsewhere, by Muslims or against Muslims, and whether in support of an inclusive state or an increasingly securitized one.