Edmund Hayes is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leiden. He gained his doctorate with honours from the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in June 2015. He works on early Islamic history, in particular Shiʿi history, focusing on the intersection of intellectual developments and social and political dynamics. He also has interests in group dynamics, ethnicity, and gender and sexuality.


He is working on a book  entitled Agents of the Hidden Imam: the Birth Pangs of Twelver Shiʿism, 850-950 CE. He has published, or has articles forthcoming in Iranian Studies, Comparative Islamic Studies and the Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies.


He is  investigating letters as a case-study in the embodiment of authority in pre-modern society. In particular, he uses a comparative perspective to place Shiʿi excommunication letters from the Imams within a typology of excommunication and anathematization practices in Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian and Muslim (Shiʿi and Sunni) communities. This allows us to understand how the ecclesiastical punishment of excommunication can complement, replace or subvert coercive governmental power. He is also looking at tax-demand letters and the relationship between fiscal policy and religious protest in early Islam. This involves  investigating  the development of Islamic canonical revenues, ghanīma, fayʾ, kharāj, khums, anfāl, ṣadaqa, and zakāt, the ways in which these terms overlap and relate to each other, and the ways in which they were both practically applied and conceptualized by early Islamic jurists and thinkers.




Books in press

Agents of the Hidden Imam and the Birth Pangs of Twelver Shiʿism 850-950 CE, Cambridge University Press, in press.

Reason, Revelation, and Esotericism: The Construction of Scholarly Authority in Shiʿi Islam, edited with Rodrigo Adem, Leiden: Brill, in press.

The Ties that Bind: Mechanisms of Social Dependency in the Early Islamic Empire, edited with Petra Sijpesteijn, under review.

Peer-reviewed articles


“The Death of Kings: Group Identity and the Tragedy of Nezhād in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh.” Iranian Studies 48, No. 3 (2015): 369-393.

“Alms and the Man: Finance and Resistance in the Legal Statements of the Shiʿi Imams,” Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 17 (2017): 280-298.

 “Early Islamic Cosmopolitanism? Constructing the ʾUmma of India in Pre-Mongol Muslim Scholarship,” special issue on “Iranian Cosmopolitanisms,” Comparative Islamic Studies 13 No. 1-2 (2017): 75-120.

Unconditionally accepted:

“The Imams as Economic Actors: Early Imami Shiʿism as a “Sacred Economy,”” in The Early Islamic Economy, 750-1050, edited by Fanny Bessard and Hugh Kennedy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

“Perversion and Subversion: Gender Relations and Illicit Sexuality in Ibn Dāniyāl’s Shadow Play,” in Queering the Mediterranean, edited by Peter Thompson and Felipe Rojas, Leiden: Brill.

“The Imam who Might have Been: Jaʿfar ‘the Liar’, his Followers, and the Negotiation between Political Realism and Esotericist Idealism,” in Reason, Revelation, and Esotericism: The Construction of Scholarly Authority in Shiʿi Islam, edited by Edmund Hayes and Rodrigo Adem, Leiden: Brill.

“The Institutions of Imamate: Towards a Social History of Early Imami Shiʿism”, AlMasāq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean.

“Acts of Protection in the Late Antique Middle East,” introduction to a special issue on protection, forthcoming in Annales Islamologiques, co-authored with Eline Scheerlinck, accepted with minor changes.

“Intwined Itineraries: The Ḥajj and the Ziyāra to the Shiʿi Imams,” in Ḥajj and the Arts of the Pilgrimage edited by Nasser D. Khalili, Qaisra Khan, Nahla Nassar.

Other forthcoming:

“The Carnal Prince of Kay Kāʾūs’s Qābūsnāma: the Body in Political Thought,”

“Between Implementation and Legislation: the Shiʿi Imam Muḥammad al-Jawād’s Khums Demand Letter of 220 AH/ 835 CE”

“The Epistolary Imamate: Circular Letters in the Administration of the Shiʿi Community”, in The Ties that Bind: Mechanisms and Structures of Social Dependency in the Early Islamic Empire, edited by Petra Sijpesteijn and Edmund Hayes.

Journal special issues edited

“Acts of Excommunication” in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Middle East”, in Al-ʿUsur al-Wusta, The Journal of Middle East Medievalists, expected publication, November 2021.

“Acts of Protection in the early Islamic Empire,” in Annales Islamologiques, edited with Eline Scheerlinck, expected publication, Spring 2021.


Sean Anthony, The Caliph and the Heretic: Ibn Sabaʾ and the Origins of Shiʿism, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, forthcoming.

Hassan Ansari, L’imamat et l’Occultation selon l’imamisme: Étude bibliographique et histoire des textes, in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies 79, No. 2 (2020), 380-2.

Mushegh Asatryan, Controversies in Formative Shi‘i Islam: The Ghulat Muslims and Their Beliefs., in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 140 No. 2 (2020).

Matthew Pierce, Twelve Infallible Men, in Journal of the American Oriental Society 138, no. 4 (2018): 879-82.

Najam Haider, Shīʿī Islam: An Introduction, in the Journal of Religion 97, No. 4, (2017).




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;

Blog Posts

Edmund Hayes

Profile picture of Edmund Hayes


Active 1 week, 1 day ago