Omar Farahat Visiting Fellow, Spring 2020

Omar Farahat is an Assistant Professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. His research focuses on Islamic legal and moral theories. Farahat’s first book, The Foundation of Norms in Islamic Jurisprudence and Theology (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press) explores the role of divine commands as a source of normativity in classical Islamic thought. Farahat’s research on Islamic legal theory and ethics has also appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion, the Journal of Religious Ethics, and Oriens. His current research focuses on the notion of personhood in law and ethics. Before to joining McGill, he completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University, following which he spent a year as a Research Fellow at Yale Law School. Prior to that, he obtained a dual law degree from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Cairo University, an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, and an interdisciplinary M.A. in the humanities from New York University.

Omar’s project: “Personhood in Islamic Legal Theory” will focus on how the subjects of norms and the bearers of rights and obligations were defined in the classical tradition of Islamic legal theory. The project raises a large set of questions that implicate several inquiries in the area of legal philosophy. What are the basic entities upon which the law tends to make its normative claims? Is “humanity” a sufficient condition for the rise of personhood? Why is personality often granted to corporate entities, but not to non-human animals? The project will further investigate the hypothesis that, in the Islamic tradition, the idea of legal personhood was constructed through a nexus of rights and responsibilities, rather than as an independent abstract idea.