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Sharia Islamic Law Expert Witness

Abed Awad, Esq.

Abed Awad, Esq.

777 Terrace Avenue
Suite 303

Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604

Phone(201) 462-9500


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Expert WitnessLitigation SupportSpeaker
Abed Awad is a NY/NJ practicing attorney and adjunct law professor; he provides expert witness opinions and testimony explaining Islamic law, laws of Arab countries, Muslim countries, and Muslim culture to clients, attorneys, and courts. He is fluent in Arabic.


Abed Awad can provide expert testimony regarding Islamic and Middle Eastern law involving the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Mali, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Relating to many subjects, including but not limited to the following areas:
-family laws
-Islamic inheritance law
-Commercial laws
-Tort laws
-Inheritance law
-Validity of foreign judgments
-Elements of damages in negligence
-Personal injury liability issues
-Islamic and Arab public policy issues
-Enforceability of agreements
-Service of process issues
-Procedural rules and jurisdictional disputes
-Discovery in foreign countries
-Child abductions
-Validity of foreign divorce and custody decrees
-Validity of foreign marriages
-Enforcement of foreign money judgment in American courts
-Vital Status law

Awad has testified, consulted, and/or provided expert reports for courts and attorneys throughout the United States and England concerning the interpretation and application of Shari'a (Islamic law) and the laws of Middle East, including: Egypt, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Singapore, Pakistan, Mali, Indonesia, Gambia, Bangladesh, Ja'fari (Shia), Jewish law and Canon law (Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Greek Orthodox & Protestant).

Litigation Support Services

Abed Awad provides litigation support services such as briefs and reports explaining Islamic law, Arab Law, and Muslim Culture to attorneys, their clients and courts throughout the United States. If you need an expert in Sharia, Islamic law, Middle Eastern Law or the laws of Arab Countries, Mr. Awad can assist you in these areas and help prepare you for litigation involving these issues.

Areas of Expertise

Additional Expertise:

Foreign Family Law, Islamic Commercial Law, Pakistani Family Law, Dubai Family Law, Egyptian Family Law, Syrian Family Law, Muslim Inheritance, Sharia Estate Planning, Asylum and Immigration.


Abed Awad is an attorney with offices in NY and NJ. His practice focuses on: Sharia-compliant estate planning, complex matrimonial law, commercial law and foreign law. Awad has been qualified and recognized as an expert witness in Islamic law and the law of Muslim countries by courts throughout the United States, Canada and England. In addition to his Juris Doctorate, he holds an M.A. in Near and Middle East Studies and a Certificate in Comparative Law from the University of London. Mr. Awad was a Managing Editor on Pace International Law Review and has published extensively on different areas of the law in various publications including the New Jersey Law Journal, Matrimonial Strategist, the Journal of the Legal Profession, Middle East Executive Reports, among others.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Awad was the Law Clerk for the Honorable George E. Sabbath of the New Jersey Superior Court. Mr. Awad is an Adjunct Law Professor at Rutgers Law School, New Jersey and has taught at Pace Law School, New York and Seton Hall Law School. He has taught: (1) Islamic Jurisprudence; (2) Islamic Banking and Finance; and (3) Matrimonial Litigation. Mr. Awad was a contributor and US Editor (2016-2019) at Shariasource, a Harvard Law School Islamic Law Program initiative. Mr. Awad was selected as one of ten Lawyers of the Year in 2002 by the LAWYERS WEEKLY (USA) for his ground-breaking decision enforcing the mahr provision contained in a Muslim marriage contract.

Mr. Awad is a frequent public speaker at bar associations, universities, conventions, and political events. He lectures throughout the United States on subjects ranging from law, politics, gender, religion to culture. Mr. Awad is a regular media commentator and analyst appearing on numerous television channels including Al-Jazeera, CNN, ABC, BBC Arabic Television, BBC World Service Arabic Radio, NPR, Channel 4 (United Kingdom), Future TV, CNN, CNNfn, Al-Qataria and Al-Arabia among others.

Areas Served

All States

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Professional Experience

Partner, Awad & Khoury, LLP
Practice Areas: civil litigation, matrimonial, estate planning, Sharia-compliant estate planning, laws of the Middle East, Islamic law and international law. Qualified and recognized by American courts as an expert in Islamic law, Islamic family law, Islamic inheritance law, Muslim culture, Jordanian law, Egyptian law, Syrian law, Dubai law & Moroccan law, to name a few.

Rutgers Law School, Newark, NJ
Adjunct Professor, Jan. 2003 - present
Courses taught:(1) Islamic Jurisprudence; (2) Matrimonial Litigation

Pace Law School, White Plains, NY
Adjunct Professor, Jan. 2009 – 2012
Courses taught: Islamic Jurisprudence

Seton Hall Law School, Newark, NJ
Adjunct Professor, July 2011
Course taught: Islamic Banking & Finance

Media Commentator - Political and Legal Issues
Frequent political and legal commentator for numerous television and radio networks, including but not limited to Aljazeera, ABC, CNNfn, BBC World Service Radio, BBC World Service Arabic Television, CNN, NPR, Al-Rafidain TV, Al-Qataria, Al-Saah TV, Al-Arabia, Channel 4 (England), Shams Radio, Vatican-Arabic Radio, & The Voice of Arabs Radio (Cairo).

Honorable George E. Sabbath
NJ Superior Court, Law Clerk – Sept. 1998 – Sept. 1999
Drafted opinions; Wrote legal memoranda; Prepared cases for trials and hearings.


New York and New Jersey

Awards & Honors

Lawyer of the Year (2002). Selected as one of ten Lawyers of the Year for 2002 by the National Lawyers Weekly (USA) for my ground breaking enforcement of a Muslim marriage contract under New Jersey law.

Community Activism Award (2007). Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (Philadelphia).

Vision and Achievement Award (2009). Mental Health Association in Passaic County (New Jersey).

Avenue Magazine's Legal Elite (2010)

Corporate International's Islamic Law Firm of the Year (2017)

Seminars & Training

Panelist, Islamic Law of Bankruptcy, World Bank (Washington DC) November 2015
Panelist, Family Law and Immigration, New Jersey Foundation of Justice, CLE, November 2015
Panelist, Islamic Family Law in American Court, ABA CLE, November 2015
Religion, Culture & Divorce, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (Ohio), October 2011
Panelist, Women and Islam, Gender Equity Conference, US Military Academy, West Point, April 2011
Panelist, Oklahoma Ban on Sharia, New York City Bar Association, December 2010.
Lecturer, Recognition & Enforcement of Foreign Money Judgment by American Courts, U.S. Department of State Training of Iraqi Judges, Washington, D.C., September 2010
Lecturer, Islamic Family Law in American Courts, ACCESS (conducted workshop for Michigan State Court Judges), February 2010.
Panelist, Islamic Capital Markets, New York City Bar Association (CLE), February 2010.
Panelist, Islamic Law of Bankruptcy, Journal of Law & Religion, October 2009.


Articles Cited in Published Decisions:
The Florida Bar v. Bryant, 813 So.2d 38 (2002). Concurring opinion extensively quotes from my Attorney-Client Sexual Relations law review article as authority supporting the suspension of an attorney for his sexual relationship with an existing client.

Articles Published:

- “I'm a NJ Muslim: How I Celebrate Jesus' Birth with My Family”, Star Ledger, December 24, 2016
- “16 is a Little Young to Get Married, Isn't It?” Star Ledger; November 13, 2016
- “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movements,” Jurist, June 11, 2016
- “Why NJ shouldn't Block Freedom of Speech in Israeli Boycott Debate,” Star Ledger, May 26, 2016
- “Five Things You Didn't Know About Religious Veils,”, June 9, 2015
- “What ISIS – and the West – Get Wrong about Jihad,”, May 29, 2015
- “Al-Rida wa Hukum al-'idam (Apostasy and the Death Penalty)” (Arabic), Al-Hawadeth Newspaper, December, 2014
- “Does Islam Really Condemn Converts To Death?”, June 6, 2014
- “Islamic Family Law in American Court: A Rich, Diverse and Evolving Jurisprudence, in Islamic Family Law in the West,” Routledge, 2014
- “Marriage: Legal Foundations,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Women and Islam, 2013
- “Divorce: Legal Foundations”, (co-authored), Oxford Encyclopedia of Women and Islam, 2013
- “Who is Next? Egyptian, Beware of the Military,” (Arabic), Al-Quds Al-Arabi, July 16, 2013
- “The True Story of Sharia in American Courts,” The Nation Magazine, June 13, 2012
- “Chipping Away At Divorce Quagmire for Muslim and Jewish Women,” New Jersey Law Journal (Feb 13, 2012)
- “Negative Connotations Surrounding Sharia Must Be Dispelled,” Jurist-Sidebar, February 2, 2012
- “Appeals Court Had the Chance to Do Right By a Wife and Children – But Declined It,” North Carolina Lawyers Weekly, December 26, 2011
- “Q & A: What Sharia Law Actually Means,”, February 28, 2011
- “Iflas& Chapter 11: Classical Islamic Law and Modern Bankruptcy Law, “44 Int'l Law. 975 (2010) (co-authored)
- “Oklahoma Amendment is Unconstitutional: Barring Court from Considering Sharia Law Violated the Supremacy Clause & the First Amendment'” National Law Journal, November 15, 2010
- “Religion-Based Claim in Abuse Case Wisely Pierced by Appeals Court,” New Jersey Law Journal, September 17, 2010)
- “Umar's Magic Oven” (children's book); co-author, 2010
- “Court Enforces Mahr Provision in Muslim Marriage Contract,) New Jersey Law Journal, September 9, 2002
- “Beware of International Service of Process,” New Jersey Law Journal, March 13, 2002
- “When Custody Disputes Go Global,” New Jersey Law Journal, August 7, 2000
- “Attorney Client Sex Should Always Be Off Limits,” New Jersey Law Journal, March 13, 2000
- “Attorney-Client Sexual Relations,” 22J. Legal Prof. 131, 1998
- “The Concept of Defect in American & English Products Liability Discourse: Despite Strict Liability Linguistics, Negligence is back with a Vengeance!” 10(1) Pace International Law Review, 1998
- “U.S. Claims against Iraq Outside UNCC Jurisdiction: Focus on Letters of Credit,” 22(2) Middle East Exec. Rep. 9, February 1999
- “Enforcement & Setting Aside of Arbitral Awards in Egypt,” (work in progress)
- “Translation and Annotation of Chapter on Bankruptcy in Ibn Qudama's Al-Mughni: Translation with Commentary,” (work in progress)
- “Civil Procedure in the Arab Middle East,” (work in progress)


Pace University School of Law, White Plains, NY
J.D., May 1998

School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, England.
M.A., Near and Middle East Studies, June 1995

School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, England.
Certificate, Comparative Law, June 1994

Columbia University, New York, 1992-1993
Completed the following graduate classes: Islamic Revivalist Movement, Islamic Legal Texts, Arabic Composition, and Modern Arabic Poetry.

Saint Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ
B.A. Political Science, May 1991

Articles Published by Abed Awad, Esq.

Link A Muslim American Reflects on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to yhe U.S. Constitution

As America marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote– in practice it was primarily reserved for white women, we reflect on gender-equitable principles essential to freedom and democracy.

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Link Declaring Muslim Marriage Void Will Have Ruinous Effect on Wives

New Jersey Law Journal, November 20, 2006 Dear Editor: The Appellate Division's ruling, in Yaghoubinejad v. Haghighi, 384 N.J.Super. 339 (App. Div. 2006), declaring a Muslim marriage "absolutely void" when entered into without a state marriage license, will cause inequity to women in New Jersey.

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Link Oklahoma Amendment is Unconstitutional

The National Law Journal, November 15, 2010 On Election Day, the Oklahoma voters passed an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that provides that the "Courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the Court shall not consider International law or Sharia law," dictates the amendment.

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Link When Custody Disputes Go Global

New Jersey Law Journal, August 7, 2000 The rapid globalization of the world economy has facilitated massive migration among nations. This flux has produced an ever-increasing number of marriages among people from different countries. One of the resulting corollaries is the transformation of otherwise simple custody disputes into jurisdictionally complex international quagmires.

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Link Religion-Based Claim in Abuse Case Wisely Pierced by Appeals Court

New Jersey Law Journal, September 20, 2010 On its face, a case working through New Jersey's courts would seem to pit a defendant's religious beliefs against the state's law against domestic violence. Fortunately, the Appellate Division has seen through that argument and reversed the denial of a restraining order.

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Link Attorney-Client Sexual Relations - The Journal of the Legal Profession

Copyright (c) 1997 The Journal of the Legal Profession The Journal of the Legal Profession; 22 J. Legal Prof. 131 1997/1998 Attorney-Client Sexual Relations

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Link Attorney-Client Sex Should Always Be Off Limits

New Jersey Law Journal, March 13, 2000 The issue of attorney-client sex has come under heightened scrutiny by courts and state bar associations in the past several years.

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Link Beware of International Service of Process

If an attorney representing an American litigant seeking to institute an action against a foreign defendant is not very cautious in the method of service used to serve the foreign defendant, the result could be vacation and dismissal years after judgment.

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Link Abu Zahar: Appellate Division Declines to Adopt a Bright-Line Rule Prohibiting Out-of-Country Visitation

Often fueled by intense parental sentiments, custody disputes rank high among the fiercest of legal battles known to jurisprudence. Corollary issues concerning parenting time and post-divorce travel abroad with a child have gained increasing judicial scrutiny in an ever-changing complex and divisive world.

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Link Court Enforces Mahr Provision in Muslim Marriage Contract

Muslim marriage contracts include a provision called mahr, which American courts have mis-construed to be prenuptial agreements. Recently, the New Jersey Superior Court, in Odatalla v. Odatalla, Docket No. FM-16-366-01 (Ch. Div. June 24, 2002), properly used a simple contract approach to resolve a dispute over a mahr. This approach is the most consistent with the charac-ter of mahr under Islamic law and with American notions of equity and justice.

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