M. Issam Eido
Research and Teaching
Issam Eido is a former Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic from the University of Chicago Divinity School (2013-2015). Eido's research focuses on the Qur'an in late antiquity, Hadīth Studies, Sufism, and Arabic language. His teaching interests focus on Modern and Classical Arabic language, Arabic Literature, Islamic Studies, and Qur'ānic Arabic. Prior to the Syrian uprising, Eido served as a lecturer in the faculty of Islamic Studies in the Department of Qur'an and Hadīth Studies at the University of Damascus. His doctoral work, 'Early Hadīth Scholars and their Criteria of Hadīth Criticism,' presented a new understanding of the criteria used by Muslim scholars in accepting or rejecting traditions attributed to Muhammad and the transformations of that criteria from the classical to the modern period. While undertaking his doctoral work in the mid-2000s, Eido solidified an international reputation among Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies experts across disciplines by working closely with visiting researchers and Fulbright scholars in Damascus through and Arabic and Islamic studies institute he founded, named the Dalalah Institute. In 2012, he was a Fellow of the "Europe in the Middle East/Middle East in Europe" Research program at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin (affiliated with Corpus Coranicum) and worked with Angelika Neuwirth. Currently, his research focuses on the question of Authenticity and the shaping of authoritative Islamic texts among Muslim scholars in the Islamic formative period.
Dr. Eido has also become active locally in the arts since moving the Nashville. Most significantly, he worked closely with Nashville Ballet to produce the world premier of Layla and the Majnun. "Because Nashville is Music City, I was exited with the director of Nashville Ballet contacted me about helping him with the show. Layla and the Majnun is the Arab equivalent of Romeo and Juliet and it's great to see people in Nashville take an interest in Middle Eastern arts and history."
Early Hadīth Scholars and their Criteria of Hadīth Criticism is a two-volume work on the criteria followed by the scholars of hadith (muhaddith), Hanafī legal experts (fuqahā') and rationalist theologians (mu 'tazila) in the early Islamic period (8th-11th centuries). The book is divided into three major sections: an introduction covering the origin and evolution of hadīth criticism; section one on the epistemological approaches followed by scholars in terms of verifying intrinsically the veracity of prophetic reports; and section two on how the prophetic reports can be criticized extrinsically according to their overlap with other sources such as Qur'an, sunna, analogy and legal maxims.
Professor Eido serves as Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies At Vanderbilt University. To read further work by Dr. Eido, see his review of Khadiga Musa's "A Critical Edition of 'Umdat al-Nāzir 'alā al-Ashbāh wa'l-Nazā 'ir" in the American Academy of Religion's Reading Religion, and his article, "The Rise of Syrian Salafism: From Denial to Recognition," which can be found in Raymond Hinnesbach and Omar Imady's edited volume, The Syrian Uprising: From Denial to Recognition (Routledge, 2018).