Azizah Y. al - Hibri
Associated organisations: 
Cultural Organization
Assistant Professor
Field(s) of expertise: 
Areas of Impact: 
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Personal information

Azizah Y. al - Hibri
Founder, KARAMAH: MUSLIM WOMEN LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS; Founding Editor of HYPATIA: JOURNAL OF FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY; First Muslim Woman tenured Law Professor in the US; First Muslim to deliver Islamic Invocation at Virginia State Senate, January, 1997

Contact information (Work)

+1 202 234 7303


  • J.D. University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1985.
  • PhD. University of Pennsylvania (Philosophy), 1975.
  • B.A. American University of Beirut (Philosophy), 1966.

Work history

Previous Professions: 
  • T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond, (1992-2012) Professor Emeritus, July, 2012--, Professor, July, 1998 – June 2012; Associate Professor, June 1992‑ July 1998.
  • Recipient of the George E. Allen Chair in Corporate Law, 1996‑97.  Courses taught: Islamic Law and jurisprudence, Islamic family law, Securities Regulation, Corporations, Advanced Corporations, and Corporate Finance.
  • Debevoise & Plimpton, Associate, New York, October, 1987‑June, 1992. Area of Practice: General corporate (including reorganization, financing and acquisition).
  • Sullivan & Cromwell, Associate, New York, January, 1986‑September 1987. Area of Practice: General corporate (with special emphasis on securities regulation).
  • The Harvard Divinity School and Center for the Study of World Religions, Visiting Scholar, Fall, 1985.
  • Davis Polk & Wardwell, Summer Associate, New York, summer, 1984. Areas of Practice: General corporate, litigation.
  • United States District Court, Summer Intern for Judge Louis H. Pollak, July‑August, 1983.
  • United States District Court, Summer Intern for Judge William F. Hall, Jr., United States Magistrate, June‑July, 1983.
  • Washington University in St. Louis, Visiting Associate Professor, 1981‑1982. Courses Taught: Deontic logic, ethics, philosophy of technology and philosophy of law.
  • Texas A&M University, Assistant Professor, 1975‑1983 (including two years on leave of absence while in law school). Courses taught: Logic, ethics, feminist theory, and philosophy of technology.

Editorial Experience

  • Guest Editor, special issue on Islam, The Journal of Law and Religion (Fall, 2001).
  • Editorial Board, The Journal of Law and Religion, (1994‑ 2013).
  • Editorial Board, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, (1995‑ 2013).
  • Editorial Board, Studies in Contemporary Islam (2000‑ 2013).
  • Board of Advisors, The Religion and Human Rights Series (Emory University) (1999‑ 2013).
  • Founding Editor, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy since 1982, Editor: 1982‑84; Associate Editor: 1985‑ 99.
  • Editor‑in‑Chief, Journal of Comparative Business and Capital Market Law (now Journal of International Business Law), University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1984‑1985.


Major Achievements

Publications (Books, Articles, Reports, etc.): 


  • Two articles on FGM and the hadith that Angels curse the woman who refuses her husband’s call to bed (2018), requested by the community and widely presented to various women’s groups in the US and abroad, posted on KARAMAH’S website at
  • An Islamic Perspective on Domestic Violence, 27 Fordham International Law Journal 195 (December 2003).
  • Islamic and American Constitutional Law: Borrowing Possibilities or a History of Borrowing? 1 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 492 (1999).
  • Legal Reform: Reviving Human Rights in the Muslim World, 20 Harvard International Review 50 (Summer, 1998).
  • Faith and The Attorney‑Client Relationship: Muslim Perspective, 66 Fordham Law Review 1131 (March 1998).
  • Islam, Law and Custom, 12 American University Journal of International Law and Policy 1 (1997).
  • The American Corporation in the Twenty‑First Century: Future Forms of Structure and Governance, 31 University of Richmond Law Review 1399 (December, 1997).
  • On Being a Muslim Corporate Lawyer, 27 Texas Tech Law Review 947 (1996).
  • The Muslim Perspective on the Clergy‑Penitent Privilege, 29 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 1723 (1996).
  • Symposium on Religious Law: Roman Catholic, Islamic, and Jewish Treatment of Family Matters, Including Education, Abortion, In Vitro Fertilization, Prenuptial Agreement, Contraception and Marital Fraud, 16 Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Journal, 22 (1993).
  • Family Planning and Islamic Jurisprudence, Religious and Ethical Perspectives On Population Issues, 2‑11(The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics, 1993).
  • "My Muslim Ancestor Hagar," LILITH, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 26‑29, spring, 1997.


Exhibitions, lectures & performances: 


International Lectures and Activities 

  • Lecture entitled “Tahaddiyat al-‘Asr wa Shourut al-Nahdah” [ “Challenges of the Times and Conditions for A Renaissance,” Al-Makassed University of Beirut, April, 2023.
  • Lecture entitled “Insights on Alternative Care Systems for Orphaned, Abandoned or Neglected Muslim Children," and another entitled "Conversations on Shari'ah, Peace and Development," University of the Philippines Law Center, October, 2019.
  • Lecture on “Reading the Classical Tradition in Muslim family Law,” at a conference on family law, in Singapore, by invitation of its Mufti SS Dr. Md Fatris Bakaram, October 2019; and a second lecture the next day on FGM and the interpretation of a hadith addressing the sexual responsibilities of a wife.
  • Plenary lecture entitled “The Islamic View of Humanity,” at the World Congress, International Association of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, July, 2019, Lucerne, Switzerland.
  • Led an official delegation of African American imams and women leaders to Morocco, by invitation of the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, to become acquainted with Moroccan Islamic education and practices, April, 2019.
  • Lectured extensively at a two-week workshop for Muslim women organized by KARAMAH and the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines, and hosted by the Catholic institution Miriam College, March, 2018.  Attended by 40 women from the Philippines and surrounding countries.
  • Lecture on the relationship of culture to Islamic scriptural exegesis across national boundaries, Women, Faith and Islam Seminar, The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation November, 2018.
  • Dars Hassani (special lecture) by invitation of King Muhammad VI of Morocco, Casablanca Palace, Ramadan, 2016.
  • Lecture on the Rule of Law in the Middle East, Salzburg Global Seminar on the Rule of Law in a Globalized World, Salzburg, Austria, August, 2011.
  • Lecture entitled “An Introduction to Muslim Women’s Rights,” Karamah -EU, Antwerp, Belgium, October, 2010.
  • Lecture on women’s rights, specifically, and Human Rights, generally, in Shari’ah at NATO School, Siracusa, Italy (October 2010); Oberammergau, Germany, November, 2009.
  • Member, Consulting Committee for Curriculum Review, College for Women, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March, 2010.
  • Lecture to the all-women students at Dar Al-Hikmah Law School, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, March, 2010.
  • Attended the World Justice Forum, co- sponsored by the American Bar Association, Karamah, and other organizations, and held in Vienna, July, 2008, 2009.
  • Testified before the European Parliament, Committee on Women’s and Gender Equality, on the status of Muslim women in light of the Qur’an, Brussels, April 17, 2008.
  • Extensive lectures and meetings with officials, community leaders, human rights activists, and women in Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain, 2007, 2008.
  • Attended meetings of the C-100 Club, at the World Economic Forum, The Dead Sea, Jordan, summer 2007.
  • Conducted extensive meetings with Muslim women jurists in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia to determine the current jurisprudential concerns of Muslim women, and possible avenues of addressing them, summer 2006.
  • Conducted meetings with several Algerian cabinet ministers to explore the possibility of cooperation in connection with various women’s issues, summer 2006.
  • Lectured on Islam and women’s rights in Brussels, Belgium, at the Senate building and at the American Ambassador’s house (winter, 2005); meetings with Belgian women leaders, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
  • Met with Minister of Social Integration and the Commission de Dialogue Inter-Culturel, Brussels, Belgium, summer 2004.
  • Participated in a panel, World Economic Forum, the Dead Sea, Jordan, summer 2004; Davos, winter, 2003.
  • Lecture on “De positi van de vrouw in de Islam en vrouwenrechten in de Islam.” (in English), Conference entitled “Quo Vadis Muslima?” May, 2004, Antwerp, Belgium; invited by conference organizers and the United States Embassy.
  • Met with two women ministers in Algeria to discussed further cooperation that would empower Muslim women, summer, 2003.
  • Consultant, Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Qatar, Spring, 2000.
  • Lectured on various topics relating to Islam, democracy, women's rights and Muslims in the United States, United States Information Agency Speaker's Program and successor program for public diplomacy, Qatar (1999), United Arab Emirates (1999), Oman (1999), Bangladesh (1999), Pakistan (1995,1999); Bahrain (1994, 1999), Yemen (1994, 1996), Kuwait, May (1994), Belgium (2004).
  • Lectured on Islamic jurisprudence and women's rights, Royal Tropical Institute, Soeterijn, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 18, 1998.
  • Gave keynote address at the conference entitled “Women in Indonesian Society: Access, Empowerment and Opportunity,” and co‑sponsored by the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia and McGill University, Canada; held in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 1‑ 4, 1997.
  • Lectured on Islamic Law and Women's Rights, the Museum of Ethnology, Rotterdam, Holland, May, 1996.
  • Presented at "Challenges and Opportunities Facing American Muslim Women," NGO Forum on Women, Huairou, China, September, 1995.
  • Presented, "A Critique of Personal Status Codes in Selected Arab Countries," ESCWA Expert Group Meeting on the Arab Family in a Changing Society, organized by the U.N. under the patronage of H.R.H. Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, President of the United Arab Emirates Women's Union, December 10‑14, 1994, in Abu Dhabi.
  • Contributed as Expert participant, Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995, organized by the UN ESCWA division, under the patronage of H.R.H. Princess Basma Bint Talal and Her Excellency Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, Secretary General of the Conference, Amman, Jordan, November 6‑10, 1994.

US Lectures and Presentations

  • Delivered several lectures on topics such as the Islamic worldview, gender in Islam, Islamic family law, the marriage contract, and divorce laws, at the KARAMAH Law and Leadership Summer Program, June-July, 2019.  [Note:  Dr. al-Hibri has been teaching this program annually since 2001.]
  • Lectured on “The Islamic Worldview,” “Fundamentals of Islamic Jurisprudence,” and “Marriage and family in Islam,” at the KARAMAH Law and Leadership Institute, March, 2019, Dulles, Texas.
  • Various lectures at universities, Islamic centers and churches on women’s issues, state anti-Shari’ah bills, American Muslim civil rights, and constitutional guarantees of religious freedom (2012).
  • “Muslim Women and the Many Faces of Patriarchy,” keynote address at the Feminist Ethics and Social Theory Conference, Zion, Illinois, September, 2011.
  • “Arabic Civilization and the Founding Fathers: A Fresh Examination,” and “Islam, Liberty and the Rule of Law,” College of Law, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, September, 2011.
  • Keynote address, “Voices of Freedom: Muslim Women’s Conference,” University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, April, 2011.
  • “Is Shari’ah Law Applicable to the 21st Century?” Albany Law School, April, 2010.
  • “Islam and Women’s Rights,” Foreign Service Institute, September, 2010.                         
  • Lecture on Trafficking in Women, Clergy without Borders, American University, December 2009.
  • Speech (virtual), keynote panel, “Feminist Legacies, Feminist Futures,” celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Hypatia:  A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, October, 2009.
  • Briefing, “The Economic Consequences of Divorce on Women: Comment on the New CEDAW Concept Paper,” United Nations, March, 2009.
  • Lectures on Islam, University of Pennsylvania (March, 2009; April, 2010); Elon University Law School (January, 2009).
  • Lectures on Islam and Muslim countries, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, winter, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007.
  • “American Corporate Law,” Wharton Business School, as part of an executive course for a delegation of Arab women, spring, 2007.
  • Lecture on Islam, Berkeley College Master’s Tea, Yale University; followed by a campus lecture on the same topic, spring, 2007.
  • “Gender and the Islamic Worldview,” Annual Sabbagh Lecture, University of Arizona, Tucson, February, 2007.
  • “Islam: An Overview,” Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia, fall, 2006.
  • 2004 Annual Lecture, Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Union PSCE), St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia; and a day-long workshop at Union PSCE campus, January, 2004.            
  • “Muslim Women’s Rights After 9/11," Peace Building Institute, Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia, May, 2003.     
  • “The Qur’anic Worldview: A Woman’s Perspective,” Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, April, 2003.
  • “Marriage and Gender in Islam,” University of Virginia, April, 2003.
  • Series of Lectures on Islam, Brandeis University, March 2003.
  • Lecture on Islam, Manhattan College, New York, March, 2003.
  • General lectures on Islam at Virginia sites, such as: Academy of Parish Clergy, April, 2002; Episcopal Church of Incarnation in Mineral, Virginia, April, 2003; and St. Paul Episcopal Church, March 2003.  Numerous other lectures and talks at mosques, churches, and seminaries, such as the “Concept of Shari’ah,” St. Peter’s Catholic Church, March, 2003.
  • “Islam beyond the Caricature,” Rotary Club, Richmond, February, 2003.
  • “Islam and Mercy,” Chautauqua Institution, July, 2002.
  • "The Rights of Muslim Women in the U.S.," Woodrow Wilson Center, November, 2000.
  • "The Islamic Marriage Contract," Chautauqua Institution, July, 2000; also, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, April, 2000.
  • "Recent Changes in the Egyptian Personal Status Code," the American‑Egyptian society, Washington, D.C., May, 2000.
  • "Muslim Women's Right in the Global Village: Opportunities and Challenges," Women in International Law: A Closer Look at the Arab and Muslim World, a symposium at the Supreme Court including Justice O'Connor, September 28, 1999.
  • "Islam, Democracy and Women's Rights," Chautauqua Institution, July 14, 1998.
  • Presenter to United Nations Special Rapporteur, report on civil rights of Muslims in America, Conference entitled "International Human Rights and the United States: The Case of Religion or Belief," Emory University School of Law, January 29, 1998.
  • "Islam and Democracy," Smithsonian Institution, March 13, 1997.
  • "Islam and Personal Status Codes in Muslim Countries", Sawyer Seminar, University of Chicago, April 4‑7, 1997.
  • "Statement on the Comprehensive Antiterrorism Act of 1995 Implications on Civil Liberties," United States House of Representatives, Committee of the Judiciary, June 13, 1995.
  • Statement to the Independent Commission for Population and the Quality of Life, Capitol Hill, March 30, 1994.
  • Briefing on discrimination against American Muslims, United States Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1994.
  • "The Impact of Perception on the Civil Rights of the American Muslim," symposium, entitled Islam in the Eyes of America, sponsored by the Five Colleges, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, December 4, 1993.


  • “Islam in America: Myths and Reality,” Capitol Hill (August, 2010). 
  • Briefing on Karamah’s Critique of “The New CEDAW Concept Paper,” United Nations (Winter, 2010).
  • “A Journal of Her Own: Hypatia’s Founders and Editors,” 25th Anniversary Conference, October, 2009.
  • “Religious Barriers and Culture Aspects of Women’s Education and Its Impact on the Protection of Women’s Health,” Conference on World Law and World Health, Emory University, Spring 2007.
  • “Thinking Outside the Box,” Annual Meeting of the Law School Admission Council, June 4, 2004.
  • “U.S.A. Patriot Act, Civil Liberties and the War on Terror,” Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, February, 2004 (forthcoming).
  • “Women’s Rights and Islamic Law,” plenary session, Workshop on Islamic Law, American Association of Law Schools, January, 2004.
  • “Debates in Islamic Constitutionalism,” plenary session, Workshop on Islamic Law, American Association of Law Schools, January, 2004.
  • Panel on “Natural and Embodied Life,” Conference on “Humanity before God: Contemporary faces of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Ethics,” University of Chicago, fall, 2003.
  • “The Debates Within Islam After September 11,” (moderator) National Press Club, September 5, 2003.             
  • “Religion and the Movement,” Conference on Religion and the Feminist Movement, Harvard Divinity School, November, 2002.
  • "The Muslim Marriage Contract in the 21st Century," Conference on "Globalization and Law in Muslim Societies," The Library of Congress, December, 2000.
  • "The Muslim Marriage Contract in American Courts," National Association of Women Judges, October, 2000.
  • "Redefining Muslim Women's Roles in the Next Century," panel on Roles of Women moderated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Library of Congress Bicentennial, March 2000.
  • "Religion and Global Conflict," International Women's Forum, Washington National Cathedral, October, 1999.
  • “Cultural Variations: The American Adversarial System as Compared with The Civil Law, Islamic and Navajo Systems," addressed Islamic law, 22nd Annual Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia, June 13, 1997.
  • Several panels in the 1980’s at NWSA, SWIP and other venues about Muslim women’s rights.

Internet and Video Activities

  • Interview with Chris Hays, MSNBC, on “Responsible Rhetoric in the Aftermath of Terror,” November, 2015.
  • Interview on Saudi women’s political rights, France 24 TV, September, 2011
  • Interview on “The Scholar’s Chair” program by Khalil Shadeed, community television, Northern Virginia, on Shari’ah 2018 at, and “Islamic Law and Muslim Women,” 2011.
  • Appeared on the Diane Rehm Show, September, 2010.
  • Appeared on Al-Jazirah (addressed issues ranging from democracy to women’s rights, most recent appearance in August, 2007).  Also, Egyptian Television, several interviews, most recently on January 20, 2003.
  • Designated Law Star by Jess Londin, Law Crossing,
  • CNN International, Q&A with Jim Clancy, September, 2003.
  • Faith and Values Television, participated in the special program “Listening to Islam,” May, 2003.
  • Participated in a panel entitled “Arab-American and Islamic Cultural Awareness” broadcast on close circuit nationally by the Justice Television network, to educate the Federal Bureau of Investigation employees and other law enforcement audience about Islam, and Muslims (2002).
  • Channel 12 News (Richmond, VA), Sept. 2001.
  • Middle East Broadcasting Service (MBC), September, 2001.
  • National Public Radio, Talk of The Nation, September, 2001.
  • Current Affairs Radio, the BBC (London), March, 2000.
  • Jim Lehrer Newshour (PBS), "What Should the 2000 Election be About?", August, 1999.
  • CNN Live Today, September 12, 2002; CNN Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer, July, 1999; CNN interview with Judy Woodruff about certain marriage law issues arising in Pakistan and Iran, February, 1997.
  • Robert Abernethy, Perspectives, The Newsweekly of Religion and Ethics, (Fall, 1997, 1998), PBS.
  • Ralph Begleiter, Global View, a half‑hour program aired only in Washington, D.C. and overseas, April, 1997.
  • Islamic Information Service, a cable television program with international coverage, November, 1996.
  • Bill Moyers, NOW, February 15, 2002.
  • Bill Moyers and some religious thinkers, the GENESIS Series, Public Affairs Television, taped Spring, 1995.
  • Bettina Gray, a Parliament of Souls, a public television series, taped Fall, 1993.

Print Media

  • Participated in Jim Lehrer’s We the People, Williamsburg, fall 2007.
  • Interview, Newsweek, September, 2003.
  • Quoted in “No Compromising Faith: Meshing American Law with Shari’ah,” Chicago Lawyer, September, 2003.
  • Quoted in Toronto Star, July 14, 2002; and the Lebanese Daily Star, 3 July, 2003.
  • “Islamic Law vs. Patriarchal Systems: Woman’s perspective,” Perspectives: for and about Women Lawyers, fall, 2002.
  • Quoted in publications such as The New York Times (Sept. 29, Oct. 21, 2001), USA Today (Sept. 24, Oct. 15, 2001), Washington Times (Oct. 11, 2001), Richmond ‑Times Dispatch (Sept. 19, 2001), and Style Magazine (Richmond, Oct. 2001).
  • "Can We Restore America's Historical Role?" The Chronicle Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 28, 2001.


  • Delivering a dars on “Arrogance and Its Modern Manifestations,” as part of the distinguished series “Al-Durous al-Hassaniyyah,” held every Ramadan by invitation only at the Palace of King Muhammad VI, Rabat, Morocco (2016).
  • Delivering the first Muslim invocation at the Virginia State Senate, January 1997.
  • Founding Editor of Hypatia: A Journal of feminist Philosophy (1985)
  • Recognized in the official Congressional Record by Hon Deborah I. Dingell, the Congress woman from Michigan for "Azizah al-Hibri's lifetime of Support and Advocacy on Behalf of Human Rights." The Congressional Record of February 2015 contains the Congresswoman's detailed statement.
  • Awarded “The Purple Rose” Award by the Domestic Violence Awareness Center and Health Program of ACCESS, a major Arab-American Community Health and Research Center, February 2015.
  • Awarded a “Life Achievement Award” from the Journal of Law and Religion, 2009.
  • Awarded “The State of Virginia First Freedom Award,” from the Council for America’s First Freedom, 2007.
  • Awarded the “Distinguished Educator Award” from the University of Richmond, 2004.
  • Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the Fulbright Commission, 2001.

Competences & Skills

Field(s) of Expertise: 
  • Islamic Law (especially in the area of family law, and cases in American courts)
  • Islamic Jurisprudence in the context of the American society
  • Human Rights
  • Women’s Rights
  • American Civil Rights (especially with respect to freedom of religion and related constitutional concerns).
  • Logic
  • Ethics
  • Feminist theory
  • American Corporate Law
  • Philosophy of Technology
  • Arabic
  • English