The Hijaz: The First Islamic State

6 July 2018, 3.30pm to 5pm
MEI Conference Room, Level 6 Block B, 29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace Singapore 119620

Speaker: Malik R. Dahlan, Chaired Professor of International Law and Public Policy, Queen Mary University of London

Attendees: Alethea Woo, SATOSHI IKEUCHI, Tang Xiao, Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, James M. Dorsey, Martin van Bruinessen, HSIANG HUANG, Mohamad Shamsuri Juhari


The Hijaz, in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia, was the first Islamic state in Mecca and Medina. Malik Dahlan’s new book of the same title is an interpretative history project that offers a fresh vision of Islamic governance and law as a positive force for political reform in the Middle East and beyond. Applying key Islamic principles of public good to contemporary life, Dahlan challenges two dominant narratives. He reclaims the development of Islamic statecraft as the wellspring of collective identity and statesmanship in the Arab world, simultaneously influenced and disrupted by Westphalian statehood models and Enlightenment notions of self-determination. He equally rejects the appropriation of Islamic governance and the Caliphate concept by both the post-modern, non-territorial Al-Qaeda and the neo-medievalist ISIS. This lecture is the author’s first lecture about the book since its publication by Oxford University Press on 1st June 2018. Limited copies of the book are available on sale at the event with special discounts.

About the Speaker

Malik R. Dahlan is the Chaired Professor of International Law and Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). He is also a Professor and Steering Committee Member of the Energy Law Institute. He leads the Trade Initiative and sits on the Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) Working Group. He teaches in Energy Law and Ethics, Renewable Energy Law and Energy Geopolitics; and supervises Masters and PhD theses on trade, energy and Islamic law, ethics and dispute resolution (please see supervision areas section for greater detail).

In parallel to his academic work at QMUL, Professor Dahlan is the Principal of Institution Quraysh for Law & Policy (iQ), a multifaceted transnational Professional services company in London. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the Rand Corporation. He is also the International Chair of the Advisory Board of Riverstone, a power and energy focused private equity fund, and an Advisory Board member of the Institute for Legal and Constitutional Research at the University of St. Andrew’s. Professor Dahlan is a GCC qualified lawyer, a CEDR accredited mediator, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Between 2014 and 2015, Professor Dahlan was a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge. His fellowship focused on the concept of statehood in international law contrasted with Islamic law. He was also a Visiting Academic and lecturer at the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a research focus primarily driven by international law and international relations methods and the application of neo-functionalism theory on the model of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to mould a new Middle East open regional system taking into account the failures of past attempts. He also lectured ‘Perspectives on the Modern Middle East’ to the Executive MPA candidates.

Professor Dahlan completed his LLB at the University of Jordan. He read special studies in Government at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Harvard University and then went on to pursue an LL.M at Harvard Law School. He also received a Master Degree (AM in Regional Studies) at the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) also at Harvard University. Professor Dahlan completed his Professoriate qualification the (‘Alemiyyah’) Habilitation Higher Doctorate (LLD) in Law and Public Policy at Al-Azhar University in Cairo.