Space Available for the Mentorship Lunch – Reserve Yours Today!

cropped-header22.pngCurrent grad students and new PhDs! There is still space available for the IQSA Mentorship Lunch in San Diego! Scheduled for Saturday 22 November, during the upcoming IQSA Annual Meeting, the Mentorship Lunch is a special opportunity to connect with leading scholars in Qur’anic studies and learn practical tips for finding your place in the field. Fred Donner, Ebrahim Moosa, Angelika Neuwirth, Gabriel Reynolds, and Andrew Rippin look forward to sharing with you their perspectives on issues that matter to emerging professionals, including:

  • networking skills
  • publishing strategies
  • marketing your work in a diverse job market
  • achieving a healthy work-life balance
  • charting your career path for long-term success

Act now to take advantage of this great opportunity! To sign up for the Mentorship Lunch, please email IQSA at contact@iqsaweb.org.

The full program for our Annual Meeting 2014 is available at: http://iqsaweb.wordpress.com/meetings/am2014/

Hope to see you there!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

All IQSA Members Urged to Attend Business Meeting in San Diego, Sunday 23 November

cropped-header22.pngThe IQSA Business Meeting will take place at our Annual Meeting in San Diego on Sunday 23 November from 11:30 AM until 12:00 noon (after a panel on the Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition). All IQSA members (and only IQSA members) are strongly encouraged to attend the Business Meeting, when IQSA’s acting President, Andrew Rippin, will present to a vote of IQSA members-in-attendance the nominees for the 2015 President-Elect and a fifth member of the Nominating Committee. It’s not too late to register for a free 2014 IQSA membership! Just submit an online Membership Form here. Then take advantage of your membership by participating in the Business Meeting!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

Two Electronic Collections of Articles on the Qur’an and Qur’an Manuscripts

by Efim Rezvan*

A series of significant articles in Qur’anic studies from Russia, originally published between 1992 and 2008, have been collected into two volumes now conveniently available in English online.

Q and its WorldE. A. Rezvan. The Qur’an and Its World. Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg: Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), 2012. Internet resource: http://kunstkamera.ru/lib/rubrikator/02/978-5-88431-178-7

This electronic publication presents the first edition of “The Qur’an and Its World” by Efim Rezvan, published in 1996-1999 as a series of articles in Manuscripta Orientalia: International Journal for Oriental Manuscript Research.

The Russian enlarged and revised edition  [ISBN 978-5-85803-183-3] was published by “Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie” in 2001. It is approximately one-third larger than the journal version and richly illustrated with over 100 color and black-and-white illustrations. It provides an overview of the various traditions of recitation of the Qur’an and includes the database of Qur’anic manuscripts from the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The book won the National Award “Book of the Year” (Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of Russia and the Publishers’ Association of Russia) (2001), the UNESCO diploma as the best edition making a significant contribution to the culture of peace and nonviolence and dialogue among civilizations (2001), and the National Prize “The Book of the Year” of the Islamic Republic of Iran (2002).

Q and MS traditionE. A. Rezvan and M. E. Rezvan. The Qur’an and Muslim Manuscript Tradition: Selected Articles. Saint-Petersburg: Russian Academy of Sciences, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), 2013. Internet resource: http://kunstkamera.ru/lib/rubrikator/02/978-5-88431-236-4

This electronic publication presents 15 articles by Efim and Maryam Rezvan published in 1992-2008, mostly in Manuscripta Orientalia, and devoted to different aspects of the Qur’an’s realization in the Muslim manuscript tradition.

* Dr. Efim Rezvan is Editor-in-Chief of Manuscripta Orientalia: International Journal for Oriental Manuscript Research, and Deputy Director of Kunstkamera Museum in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

New Book: Qur’an in Conversation*

Cover image from Baylor University Press; http://www.baylorpress.com/Book/419/Qur'an_in_Conversation.html

Cover image from Baylor University Press

The Qur’an is God’s verbatim speech for most traditional Muslims. Michael Birkel’s new book, Qur’an in Conversation (Baylor University Press, 2014), reflects how this sacred text comes into dialogue with the contemporary world through the voices of its interpreters. Birkel, who is Professor of Religion at Earlham College, engages North American Muslim religious leaders and academics in conversations of scriptural interpretation. Scholars, practicing imams, and younger public intellectuals wrestle with key suras of the Qur’an.

Qur’an in Conversation demonstrates a wide spectrum of interpretation and diversity of approaches in reading Islam’s scripture. The discussions directly address key issues in Muslim theology—good versus evil, the nature of God, and the future of Islam. Younger North American Muslims read the Qur’an in varied ways; this is analogous to the diverse ways in which Jews and Christians have interpreted their own holy books.

Michael Birkel welcomes people of goodwill into a public conversation about the current role of Western Muslims in Islam. Qur’an in Conversation encourages non-specialists and Muslim scholars alike to imagine how the Qur’an will be interpreted among North American Muslims in years to come.

* Text adopted from product page of Baylor University Press.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

IQSA San Diego Program, 21-24 November 2014

cropped-header22.pngThe Qur’an: Historical Context, Manuscripts, and Material Culture (IQSA)
11/21/2014
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 23 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Panel 2: The Qur’an: Historical Context and Material Culture
Wadad Kadi, Oriental Institute, Chicago
‘Abd al-Hamid al-Katib’s Use of the Qur’an in His Legal, Theological, and Historical Letters (30 min)
Francesca Leoni, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Mighty (S)words: Protective and Apotropaic Uses of the Qur’an (30 min)
Peter Webb, University of London
Inhabiting the Book: The Qur’an and Space in Mamluk Religious Architecture (30 min)
Robert Hoyland, Oriental Institute, Oxford
Writing the Qur’an in Stone: Use of the Muslim Scripture in Early Arabic Inscriptions (30 min)
International Qur’anic Studies Association
11/21/2014
4:00 PM to 5:15 PM
Room: Room 23 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Keynote Lecture Emran El-Badawi, University of Houston, Presiding
Emran El-Badawi, University of Houston, Introduction (10 min)
Angelika Neuwirth, Freie Universität Berlin
Qur’anic Studies and Historical-Critical Philology. The Qur’an’s Staging, Penetrating, and Eclipsing Biblical tradition (45 min)
Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria (BC), Respondent (20 min)
International Qur’anic Studies Association
11/21/2014
5:15 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 24 A (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Reception
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics (IQSA)
11/22/2014

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Room: Room 24 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: The Qur’an and Justice: How Removable are the Contradictions?
Farid Esack, University of Johannesburg
The Qur’an on Black and White: Exploring Possible Traces of Race and Racism in Tafsir (20 min)
Jerusha Tanner Lamptey, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Muslima Theology and Relational Qur’anic Hermeneutics (20 min)
Karen Bauer, The Institute of Ismaili Studies
Interpreting away the Qur’an: Hermeneutical Strategies for Reconciling Text and Values (20 min)
Fred M. Donner, University of Chicago
Approaching the Qur’an’s Contradictory Statements on Ahl al-Kitab (20 min)
Discussion (20 min)
International Qur’anic Studies Association
11/22/2014
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Room: Room 1 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Mentorship Lunch (Details TBA)
The Qur’an: Historical Context, Manuscripts, and Material Culture (IQSA)
11/22/2014
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 24 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Panel 1: Historical Context and Qur’an Manuscripts
François Déroche, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
MS R38 from Kairouan, Tunisia and Its Umayyad Context (20 min)
Daniel Brubaker, Rice University
Manuscript and Tradition: Exploring Scribal Alterations in Early Qur’ans in View of the Qira’at and Masahif Literature (20 min)
Umberto Bongianino, University of Oxford
Early Qur’anic Manuscripts from the Muslim West: A Typological Survey (20 min)
Nuria Martínez-de-Castilla-Muñoz, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Sixteenth-Century Spanish Translations of the Qur’an: The Almonacid de la Sierra Atelier (20 min)
Discussion (50 min)
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition (IQSA)
Joint Session With: The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition (IQSA), Syriac Literature and Interpretations of Sacred Texts
11/22/2014
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 24 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme:The Qur’an and Christian Oriental Traditions
Holger Zellentin, University of Nottingham, Presiding
Sidney Griffith, Catholic University of America
The Suhuf of Abraham and Moses (25 min)
Abdulla Galadari, Masdar Institute
The Camel Passing through the Eye of the Needle: A Comparison between the Qur’an, the Greek Gospels, and Tatian’s Syriac Diatessaron (25 min)
Cornelia B. Horn, Catholic University of America
Parallel Structures, Polemical Interpretations: An Intertextual Approach to Jesus’ Miracles in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Normative and Interpretive Texts (25 min)
Nicolai Sinai, Oxford University
The Eschatological Kerygma of the Early Qur’anic Surahs in Light of Syriac Literature (25 min)
Paul Neuenkirchen, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
The Qur’anic “Vision Pericopes” in Light of a Christian Apocrypha (25 min)
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition (IQSA)
11/23/2014

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Room: Room 24 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Bible, Qur’an, and Jewish Traditions
Cornelia Horn, Catholic University of America, Presiding
Hamza M. Zafer, University of Washington
Jonah and the Ninevites: Prophecy to Communal Outsiders in the Qur’an (25 min)
Emad Botros, McMaster Divinity College
The Recalcitrant Prophet: Jonah Between the Qur’an and the Hebrew Bible Traditions (25 min)
Michael Pregill, Elon University
Another Brick in the Wall: The Intertwining of Biblical and Qur’anic Exegesis in Islamicate Midrash (25 min)
Reuven Firestone, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (California Branch)
Shabbat Violation in Qur’anic Discourse (25 min)
Holger Zellentin, University of Nottingham
The Qur’an and Rabbinic Judaism: “Mecca” and “Medina” between Palestine and Babylonia (25 min)
Business Meeting (30 min) - All IQSA Members are expected to attend!
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics (IQSA)
11/23/2014

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Room: Room 24 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Qur’anic Hermeneutics: Diversity Beyond Muslim/Non-Muslim Binaries
Ebrahim Moosa, Duke University, Presiding
Clare Wilde, University of Auckland
Contemporary Echoes of Early Christian Arabic Approaches to the Qur’an (20 min)
Sayeh Meisami, University of Toronto
Qur’anic Hermeneutics and Islamic Philosophy: A Study of Ibn Sina’s Commentary on Surat al-Falaq in Comparison with His Philosophical Writings on the Problem of Evil (20 min)
David R. Vishanoff, University of Oklahoma
Reenchanting the Qur’an: Hermeneutical Applications of the Ash’ari Concept of God’s Eternal Speech (20 min)
Yusuf Rahman, State Islamic University Jakarta Indonesia
The Indonesian Muslim Responses to the Use of Hermeneutics in the Study of the Qur’an (20 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Andrew Rippin, University of Victoria (BC), Respondent (10 min)
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition (IQSA)
Joint Session With: The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition (IQSA), Qur’an and Biblical Literature
11/23/2014
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 24 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Bible and Qur’an: Confirmation, Conversation, Conflict
John Kaltner, Rhodes College, Presiding
Ashoor Yousif, University of Toronto
Claiming the Claimed: Islamic Exegesis of Biblical Prophecies During the ‘Abbasid Period (30 min)
Salah Mahgoub Edris, Cairo University
The Christian Interpretation of the Qur’an in Syriac Literature (30 min)
Mohammad Hasan Ahmadi, University of Tehran
The Qur’anic Terminology of the Biblical Tradition (30 min)
Carol Schersten LaHurd, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
The Academy vs. the Grassroots: Cognitive Dissonance on Interfaith Dialogue (30 min)
Roberta Sabbath, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Teaching Tanakh, New Testament, and Qur’an to Undergraduate English Majors and Elective Students (30 min)
Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus (IQSA)
11/23/2014
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Room: Room 24 C (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Themes and Rhetorical Tools in the Qur’an
Sarra Tlili, University of Florida, Presiding
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau, University of Groningen, Presiding
D.S. Adnan Majid, University of California-San Diego
Virgins of a Virginal Paradise: The Use of Synecdoche in Surah Rahman (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Thomas Hoffmann, Københavns Universitet
Delivering the Qur’an: Metaphors of Qur’anic Maternality and Natality (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Devin Stewart, Emory University
Anomalous Rhyme-Words in the Qur’an and Their Implications (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Break (10 min)
Vanessa De Gifis, Wayne State University
The Economy of Excellence: A Thematic Study of Fadl in the Qur’an (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Andrew G. Bannister, Melbourne School of Theology
Retelling the Tale: A Computerized Oral-Formulaic Analysis of the Qur’an (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Carl Ernst, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Respondent (25 min)
Qur’an Seminar (IQSA)
11/24/2014
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: AB (Level 3 (Aqua)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Theme: Surah 74 and Q 18:60–102
Participants will discuss together the two selected Qur’anic passages.
Mehdi Azaiez, University of Notre Dame, Panelist
Gerald Hawting, School of Oriental and African Studies, Panelist
Thomas Hoffmann, Københavns Universitet, Panelist
Daniel Madigan, Georgetown University, Panelist
David Penchansky, University of Saint Thomas (Saint Paul, MN), Panelist
Gabriel Reynolds, University of Notre Dame, Panelist
Stephen Shoemaker, University of Oregon, Panelist
Tommaso Tesei, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Panelist
Sarra Tlili, University of Florida, Panelist
Qur’an Seminar (IQSA)
11/24/2014
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: AB (Level 3 (Aqua)) – Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Theme: Surahs 19 and 88
Participants will discuss together the two selected Qur’anic passages.
Mehdi Azaiez, University of Notre Dame, Panelist
Gerald Hawting, School of Oriental and African Studies, Panelist
Thomas Hoffmann, Københavns Universitet, Panelist
Daniel Madigan, Georgetown University, Panelist
David Penchansky, University of Saint Thomas (Saint Paul, MN), Panelist
Gabriel Reynolds, University of Notre Dame, Panelist
Stephen Shoemaker, University of Oregon, Panelist
Tommaso Tesei, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Sarra Tlili, University of Florida, Panelist
Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus (IQSA)
11/24/2014
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Room 17 B (Mezzanine level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Detecting Ring Patterns: Insights into the Qur’an’s Structure and Meaning
This panel is dedicated to the emerging field of Semitic Rhetoric/Ring Composition theory applied to the Qur’an.
Sarra Tlili, University of Florida, Presiding
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau, University of Groningen, Presiding
Dalia Abo-Haggar, Harvard University
Symmetry and Asymmetry in the Qur’an (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Giuliano Lancioni, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, and Raoul Villano, Università degli Studi Roma Tre
The Self-Similar Koran (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
AbdelMadjid Benhabib, University of Tlemcen – Algeria
Lexical Repetition in Noah’s Discourse in the Qur’an (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Break (10 min)
Raymond Farrin, American University of Kuwait
Ring Structure in Sura 9: Repentance Emphasized (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Rick Oakes, North-West University (South Africa)
The Semitic Rhetoric of Surat al-Nisa’ 153-162 Imparts Meaning to Shubbiha in Aya 157a (18 min)
Discussion (5 min)
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau, University of Groningen, Respondent (10 min)
Discussion (15 min)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

Understanding dīn and islām in Q 5:3

by Rachid Benzine*

It seems that the section of Q 5:3 that reads “al-yawm akmaltu la-kum dīnakum…al-islām dīnan” is an interpolation inserted between two parts of the verse that should be read continuously, as they pertain to dietary restrictions and to exemptions in life-threatening situations or in case of force majeure (cf. Q 2:175 and 16:115). The key words in the interpolated section are dīn and islām, with islām possibly meaning “being in the act of islām,” referring to various modalities of joining a protection contract with God.

Arabic text of Qur'an 5:3; image from quran.com.

Arabic text of Qur’an 5:3; image from quran.com.

In order to better understand this section of Q 5:3, it is helpful to compare various translations:

Yusuf Ali: “This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” 

Pickthal: “This day are those who disbelieve in despair of (ever harming) your religion; so fear them not, fear Me! This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam.”

Jacques Berque: “Aujourd’hui les dénégateurs désespèrent (de venir à bout) de votre religion. Ne les craignez pas; craignez-moi. Aujourd’hui j’ai parachevé pour vous votre religion, parfait pour vous mon bienfait en agréant pour vous l’islam comme religion.”

Hamza Boubakeur: “Aujourd’hui les mécréants désespèrent (de vous détourner) de votre religion. Ne les redoutez pas; redoutez moi. Aujourd’hui j’ai parachevé pour vous votre religion, vous ai comblé de mon bienfait et ai agréé l’islam comme doctrine religieuse pour vous.”

It is also instructive to compare the use of islām and dīn in other Qur’anic verses. The word islām appears in Q 61:7: “Who does greater wrong than the one who forges a lie against Allah, even if he is being invited to islām? And Allah does not guide those who do wrong” (trans. Yusuf Ali). The meaning of the verbal noun islām is complicated, and best understood in light of its foundational meaning as a verb (aslama), as in Q 2:112: “man aslama wajhahu lillāh.” This phrase should not be translated as “whosoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah” (Pickthall) or “whoever submits his whole self to Allah” (Yusuf Ali), but more accurately as “he who turns his face towards God” in an act of salām. This would mean that the person approaches God peaceably, without any hostility, which enables him to receive God’s protection and guidance (as Q 61:7 indicates with the word hudā). Thus islām is actually a contractual relationship between man and God.

As for the word dīn, it cannot be adequately translated as “religion.” It rather expresses the idea of a way or path, as in Q 109:6: “lakum dīnukum wa-lī dīn (to you your way [conduite] and to me mine),” and in Q 30:43: “aqim wajhaka lil-dīn al-qayyim min qabl an ya’tiya yawm lā maradd lahu min Allāh (follow [turn your face towards] the right path before there comes the day when there is no chance to escape from God).” The phrase aqim wajhaka can be considered similar to “making an act of islām,” by turning one’s face to God as a gesture of commitment to Him in request of His approval and protection. The phrase “al-dīn al-qayyim” refers to the content of the contract into which man enters, namely the behavior adopted on the right path.

Returning to the interpolated section of Q 5:3, it announces God’s will to take care of those who seek His protection. Concerning the interpretation of the two factitive verbs, akmala and atmama, they designate effects not of time but of quality. The verb akmala, which signals the signing of the contract between man and God and accepting of all its terms, should be understood not as “to complete” but “to make kāmil (perfect).” Likewise, the verb atmama should be understood not as “to finish” but “to make tamām (entire).” Thus I propose the following translations, in French and English:

“Aujourd’hui ceux qui récusent désespèrent [de vous détourner] de la conduite que vous avez adoptée, dīn: ne les craignez pas; c’est moi que vous devez craindre [en raison du Jugement eschatologique annoncé et de ses conséquences]. Aujourd’hui j’ai validé entièrement la conduite que vous devez tenir [eu égard au contrat qui a été conclu]; [en vertu de ce contrat] je vous ai fait bénéficier de ma totale bienfaisance; [et en retour] j’ai agréé le fait que vous vous soyez engagés à vous mettre sous ma protection en adoptant la conduite convenue.”

“Today those who disbelieve are desperate of [leading you away from] the conduct you have adopted (dīnikum). Do not fear them, but fear Me [because of the eschatological Judgment that has been announced and its consequences]. Today I have perfected the behavior by which you are to live [in fulfillment of the contract]. [Following the content of this contract] I made you benefit from My entire good will; [in return] I have agreed to the fact that you have committed yourself to My protection in adopting the right conduct.”

Alternatively, “akmaltu lakum dīnakum wa-atmamtu ʿalaykum niʿmatī” may be rendered: “Today I gave you the best rule of conduct and I fully dispense to you My good will, and I accept the fact that you are committed to adopt this way.”

* Rachid Benzine is a lecturer at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Aix en Provence and the Institut Protestant de Theology in Paris, and a research associate at the Observatoire du religieux (Aix en Provence). He is the author of Les nouveaux penseurs de l’islam (Albin Michel, 2008) and Le Coran expliqué aux jeunes (Le Seuil, 2013).

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.

IQSA Annual Meeting: Full Program Available!

The full program for the IQSA Annual Meeting 2014 in San Diego is now available. You can view it here, and access it anytime under the “Meetings” menu. Please note that the IQSA Annual Meeting starts on FRIDAY 21 November, one day before the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings. Highlights in the IQSA program include:

• 11/21/2014, 4:00 PM
Keynote Lecture by Angelika Neuwirth, Freie Universität Berlin
Qur’anic Studies and Historical-Critical Philology: The Qur’an’s staging, penetrating, and eclipsing Biblical tradition – with a Response by IQSA President, Andrew Rippin
• 11/21/2014, 5:15 PM
Reception following Keynote Lecture
• 11/22/2014, 12:00 PM
Mentorship Lunch, with an opportunity to network with senior professors in Qur’anic and Islamic Studies

Please join us! We look forward to seeing you soon!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2014. All rights reserved.