First IQSA Studies in the Qur’ān Publication with Lockwood Press “A Qur’ānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūras of the Qur’ān” by Michel Cuypers

IQSA is proud to announce that the first publication in the Studies in the Qur’ān Series, together with Lockwood Press, is now available from ISD: https://isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=93549

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The present volume closes a trilogy devoted to the exegesis of the Qurʾān analyzed according to the principles of Semitic rhetoric, a method of textual analysis developed in the field of biblical studies. It studies the shortest sūrahs of the Qur’ān, which are traditionally dated to the beginnings of the preaching of Muḥammad in Mecca. The reference to the initial vision of Muḥammad in Sūrah 81, the point of departure for his career as Prophet, provides the starting point of the study of this group of sūrahs. The analysis shows that the redactors who assembled the textual fragments of the Qur’ān into a book were guided by precise intentions. In the end, it is these intentions that the rhetorical analysis of the text enables us to discover and better understand.

About the Author:
Michel Cuypers is a researcher at the IDEO, the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies, Cairo, Egypt.

384 pages | 9 x 6 inches | Published October 2018
Hardback | ISBN 9781948488013 | $49.95
PDF eBook | ISBN 9781948480994 | $40.00

* Accessed from https://isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=93549

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

New Publication Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole

Below is an adapted excerpt from Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole. Copyright © 2018. Available from Nation Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. This and the image of the cover are reproduced by kind permission of the author and publishers.

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The Companions of the Right Hand, the second group of good but perhaps not beatific people, are a “crowd of ancients and of moderns.”  That is, there are more contemporaries of the Prophet in this group.  The Event (56:90-91) promises, “And if they are among the companions of the right hand, then they will be greeted, ‘Peace be to you,’ by the companions of the right hand.”  They will dress up in fine silk and exotic brocade as though Asian royalty.  Any lingering rancor or grudges in their hearts for others will be removed, and they will all become siblings.  Concord is so central to the Qur’an’s view of the afterlife that it names heaven for it, saying, “God summons all to the Abode of Peace.”  The association of peace with heaven is also made in the New Testament.  In Luke 19:38, when Jesus approached the Mount of Olives after entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowds are said to have shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

The chapter of Y.S. 36:52-58 represents paradise as having levels, with enjoyment the most basic, then above that a stage in which you recline on couches facing your spouse, followed by a plane on which you savor luscious fruit.  The pinnacle of paradise, however, comes at the fourth stage, when the voice of God addresses you with “Peace!”  Many readers will immediately think of the Paradiso of Dante Alighieri, which imagines heaven as nine levels.  The Qur’an positions peace at the apex of the delights of heaven.

These images have a moral purpose.  The Meccan sanctuary on earth dimly reflects the spectral asylum of the next world.  The comportment of the Vanguard and the Companions of the Right Hand, the Qur’an implies, exemplifies ideal behavior to be mirrored as well as possible even in this world.  Middle Platonism, the “spiritual commonwealth” of late antiquity, held that the spiritual is real and the material earth only participates in the archetypes of the other world.  In the classical rhetorical tradition that was all around Muhmmad when he journeyed north every year, the aim of a speaker was to use vivid, energetic language that brought the thing described to life before the eyes of the audience, making them feel as though they were witnesses to it.  It was not enough, however, simply to describe.  The speaker sought to whip up hearers emotionally by appealing to their imagination.  The Qur’an uses these literary devices in making paradise present to the believers.

Likewise, Christian sermonizers urged believers to keep the prospect of joining the concourse of heaven in mind.  Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386) preached, “Even now, I beseech you, lift up the eye of your understanding: imagine the angelic choirs, and God, the Lord of all sitting, and his Only-begotten Son sitting with him on his right hand, and the Spirit with them present . . .”

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

CALL FOR PAPERS — International Qur’an Conference 2019

 

CALL FOR PAPERS — International Qur’an Conference
Tangier Global Forum
University of New England
Tangier, Morocco
(25-26 July, 2019)

The International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) is happy to announce its third biennial conference July 25-26, 2019, which is hosted by the Tangier Global Forum of the University of New England, Tangier, Morocco. The main theme of the conference is Reading the Qur’an in the Context of Empire. We invite enthusiastic scholars to discuss under-researched aspects of Qur’anic Studies. Papers in all areas of the field are welcome, but we are particularly interested in papers about how rulers, politicians, religious figures and later colonial officers and European travelers contributed to the production, distribution and reception of Scriptures in general and the Qur’an in particular.

 

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Given the history and the pluralistic nature of the conference, participants are encouraged to exchange views on the relationship between the Qur’an and others religions. The conference will unveil new research on the Qur’an, and create a platform for connecting other religions to Qur’anic studies. Further attention will be paid to the important contribution of North African scholars to the emergence and flourishing of methods in the study of Qur’an, tafsir and translation. Also, particular attention will be paid to understudied texts, including Qur’anic commentaries, manuscripts, and translations produced under influential early, medieval and modern Islamic empires and sultanates in Turkey, Persia, Africa, Europe and the Malay-Indonesian world.

As there have been some long discussions about the way the Qur’an is [supposed to be] taught and examined in different Islamic and non-Islamic academic contexts, researchers will find a chance to discuss and challenge recent ideas and trends in Islamic studies by raising questions about: academic study of the Qur’an and its tafsir, reading the Qur’an along with other scriptures, reading the Qur’an in the light of recent archaeological and epigraphic discoveries, among others.

The sub-themes of the conference are as follows:

  • The Qur’an and Other Religions
  • Tafsir and the translation of the Qur’an
  • Qur’anic Manuscripts
  • The Qur’an and Mysticism
  • Modern African traditions of Qur’anic Exegesis
  • Method and Theory in the Study of the Qur’an and its commentaries (past, present, future)

The conference will take place in English, Arabic and French.

Please submit your abstracts (300 words) to: iqsatangier2019@gmail.com by January 30, 2019. Modest financial support may be available to accepted panelists by request, and contingent upon available funds.

Should you have questions about the conference, please contact IQSA conference director, Majid Daneshgar (majid.daneshgar@frias.uni-freiburg.de) or the IQSA administration (contact@iqsaweb.org).

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.


المؤتمر الدولي للقرآن

منتدى طنجة الدولي، جامعة نيو انجلاند

طنجة، المغرب

من 25 إلى 26 يوليو2019

الجمعية الدولية للدراسات القرآنية ستنظم المؤتمر الدولي الثالث من 25 إلى 26 یولیو 2019 في منتدى طنجة الدولي، جامعة نيو انجلاند، المغرب. الموضوع الرئیسي للمؤتمر هو قراءة القرآن في ظل الامبراطوریة. اننا ندعو الباحثین والمتخصصین للمشارکة في جوانب الدراسات القرآنیة المختلفة التي لم تفحص حتى الآن. اننا نرحب بمقالات في جمیع الموضوعات القرآنیة. ولکننا مهتمون بشكل خاص أن تردنا مقالات حول دور الحکام، السیاسیین، العلماء، ولاحقا المستعمرين والسائحين الأوروبيين في إنتاج، توزیع، إدراك و قراءة الکتب المقدسة بشکل عام و القرآن بخاصة.

نظرا لتاريخ ولطبيعة المؤتمر المتنوعة، فاننا نشجع العلماء و الباحثین على تبادل الآراء حول العلاقة بین القرآن والأدیان الأخری. هذا المؤتمر سیکشف مباحث جدیدة عن القرآن و یصنع سیاق لربط الأدیان الأخری بالدراسات القرآنیة. سيتم الترکيز علی المساهمات المهمة للعلماء شمال أفريقيا في إبتكار وتطويرمناهج جدیدة في الدراسات القرآنیة، التفسیر والترجمة. سیکون هناك اهتمام خاص ايضا في نصوص لم تفحص من تفاسیر ومخطوطات قرآنية الى ترجمات للقرآن أنتجت في ظل إمبراطوریات اسلامیة کبیرة ابتداءا من الفترة الأولى للإسلام حتى العصور الوسطی و العصر الحدیث في ترکیا، بلاد فارس، أفریقیا، أوروبا وأرخبیل الملایو.

نظرا لانه كانت هناك نقاشات طويلة، حول الطريقة التي يجب ان يتم بها تدريس القرآن والتحقيق فيه، في المحیط الأکادمية الاسلامیة و غیرالاسلامیة، سیجد الباحثون فرصة لمناقشة الأفکار والتحديات والاتجاهات الأخیرة في الدراسات الإسلامیة من خلال طرح أسئلة مختلفة حول الدراسات الأکادیمیة للقرآن و تفسیره، قراءة القرآن مع الکتب المقدسة الأخری، قراءة القرآن في ضوء الاكتشافات الحديثة من آثار ونقوش، الخ.

لذلك، سيكون هناك موضوعات أخری للمؤتمر وهي علی النحو التالي:

القرآن و الأدیان الأخری

تفسیر و ترجمة القرآن

مخطوطات قرآنية

القرآن والتصوف

التقاليد الحديثة لتفسير القرآن في شمال أفريقيا

المنهج و النظریة فی الدراسات القرآنیة و التفاسیر (في الماضي والحاضر والمستقبل)

المؤتمر هو باللغة الإنجليزية، العربية والفرنسية

يرجى تحمیل الملخص و إرساله عبر هذا البرید الإلكتروني: iqsatangier2019@gmail.com

يرجي إرسال الملخصات حتی30 يناير 2019

قد يكون هناك دعم مالي متواضع(حسب الطلب) للاعضاء المقبولين للمشاركة باعمال المؤتمر. ويتوقف هذا الدعم على الاموال المتاحة.

اذا كان لديكم بعض الأسئلة، یرجی الاتصال بمدیر المؤتمر: د. مجید دانشجار: majid.daneshgar@frias.uni-freiburg.de

أو قسم إدارة الجمعية الدولية للدراسات القرآنية: contact@iqsaweb.org

 

Suggestions for Presenting a Conference Paper at IQSA

With the IQSA Annual Meeting quickly approaching next month, there has never been a better time to catch up on Dr. Devin Stewart’s (Emory University) suggestions for effective presentations at academic conferences!


Attendance at many conferences over the years and observing the presentations of both neophytes and older scholars has proved to me that nearly no one is taught in explicit terms how to write or deliver a conference paper. For the most part scholars have learned by osmosis, watching examples, whether good, middling, or bad. It is my hope that the scholars who participate in IQSA will be able to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make excellent presentations. I have witnessed a number of papers at IQSA that fall short of that mark, and while such lapses are not more prevalent at IQSA than at other conferences, my hope for the performances at IQSA is that they will be exceptionally high.

[The following statements represent my own considered opinions. It does not represent the opinion of the IQSA board or any other identifiable body in academia. My intention in presenting these comments and guidelines is only to help improve the quality of papers at the annual conference and thus to improve the experience and edification of all conference attendees.]

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Alba Fedeli presents her work on the “Birmingham Qur’an” manuscript at the 2015 IQSA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Purpose:

The main purpose of a conference paper is to announce to the world a new result that you have discovered. In practical terms, it is also to force you to write something, or to finish writing something, that you will publish, and to get feedback from scholars in the field before you do so. If you are lucky, members of your audience may alert you to problems in your argument, plausible counter-arguments, sources you have overlooked, or relevant secondary studies you have not come across. They may push you to explain your argument better, more clearly, or more precisely. All of this will help improve the resulting publication and help ensure that you do not publish something that is unoriginal, incompletely documented, or badly argued.

Content:

A conference paper should be a report about completed research that 1) is new, 2) makes a solid argument and 3) emphasizes concrete results. Especially for this society, 4) concrete results primarily consist of concrete conclusions regarding the text of the Qur’an, its meaning, or its historical interpretation and use. This definition has several implications that may go against what young scholars have been told by their sophomoric graduate student peers or benighted advisors and what they have seen performed by droves of misguided conference-goers.

  • The content of your conference paper should not have been published before. It should be a new contribution to the field. You should not deliver a paper that is an info-mercial for your latest book. You should not present something that is an article already in press.
  • A conference paper is a report about research that you have completed. It is not a verbatim, blow-by-blow transcript of the publication you intend to complete. You do not have time to read the entire article or book chapter that you are working on. You are presenting the news story about the project you have completed. Emphasizing the results.
  • A conference paper should not be an interim progress report. While in many organizations, researchers and scholars present such reports as conference papers and lectures, doing so is akin to submitting one’s tax forms or an application for a business license. Many papers produced as part of a government-funded project or by scholars working in teams or for industry are presented as evidence that the project is moving forward and producing tangible results. However, unless the project has reached the point where there are actual results and conclusions can be drawn, it is not yet time to inflict it on the audience. It is acceptable to present something that is not 100% complete, or in which the conclusion is tentative or provisional. It is not acceptable to present something that has no identifiable conclusion yet. One should avoid presenting something that simply states that we have reached the middle of our work, this is the procedure that we are following, and this is where we stand. That is just shop-talk.
  • A conference report should not be a plan for or introduction to research that will be carried out in the future, a prolegomenon, the equivalent of the introduction to a dissertation, a book, or an article. Papers that do this are quite frequent, and leave one asking, “Where’s the beef?” Avoid presenting an introduction to a blank.
  • A conference paper must have a conclusion. Show and tell is not enough. No matter how fantastic the manuscripts you have to show are, it is insufficient merely to describe them. You must explain what they tell us that we did not know before about something greater: the historical transmission of the Qur’ān, its textual variants, patterns of copyists’ errors, and so on. A negative result is still a conclusion; it can make for a good presentation if it is interesting for some particular reason.
  • If you must present the theoretical background or describe a controversy in order to frame your results, do it quickly. An excessively long wind-up is one of the most common faults of conference papers in general. If you write an article or the introduction to your book or dissertation, you can take the time to write at length, but in a conference paper, a long introduction merely delays and in some cases completely displaces the concrete results, which is a disappointment for the audience.
  • Do not leave out the concrete results. Your colleagues in the field are most interested in these, and if you don’t get to specific results, you are robbing them. Include as many results as you can explain well in the time allotted. If you only have only a few examples, then you can spend some time. If you have many examples to choose from, select examples that are representative and can stand in for the others.  A long wind-up to a simple and small example is disappointing.
  • Your paper should take into account the relevant scholarship in the field. There may be too much for you to address in your presentation in any detail, but you should briefly indicate that you are aware of it. Especially in Qur’anic studies, there is a problem with reinventing the wheel. Do not assume that your idea has not been said before. Consult other scholars about the studies that might be relevant, especially studies in German and Arabic.

Structure:

  1. Problem or issue.
  2. Earlier scholarship on the issue, presented briefly.
  3. Your sources, method, approach, briefly
  4. Your results, conclusions [This should be the main part.]
  5. Implications

Presentation:

The single biggest problem with conference presentations in general is that presenters read a prepared text that was written as if it were a journal article or a book chapter.  If you read a prepared text, you must write it to be read aloud in the first place. Most scholars are not trained to do this type of writing. Doing so is a skill on its own, and it takes practice. An alternative is to prepare notes, a handout, or a power-point presentation, and to speak to the audience from these notes.

If you use power-point, do not read out paragraphs of text from the power-point slides—this is an insult to the audience, whom you are accusing of being inattentive or lazy.

Speaking to the audience directly is about ten times better and more engaging than reading, unless you can write like P.G. Wodehouse. Unfortunately, speaking directly to the audience is a road not taken by 80-90% of conference presenters in all fields, and not just ours.

-Dr. Devin Stewart, IQSA President Elect (Emory University)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Beyond Timbuktu: Preserving the Manuscripts of Djenné, Mali

A display at the British Library will chart and celebrate a remarkable project to preserve and digitize Malian manuscripts from Djenné.

Timbuktu hit the headlines in 2013 when local people rallied together to save their manuscripts from militants, who were occupying the city. Djenné, a World Heritage Site, founded in the eighth century, often described as Timbuktu’s “twin city”, was spared the occupation, but its documentary heritage remained vulnerable.  Thanks to the Endangered Archives Programme, these valuable manuscripts are in the process of being digitized and thus preserved for posterity. Established in 2004, the Programme aims to contribute to the preservation of archival material in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide. It is administered by the British Library and has been generously funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

In 2009, a pilot project discovered nearly 3,000 manuscripts held in 13 family collections. However, it quickly became clear that often only a small proportion of the collections were being shown to the team and it was subsequently estimated there were at least 10,000 manuscripts of interest in Djenné and the surrounding area. The overwhelming majority of the material was copied in Djenné on paper using Sudani Arabic script. Some manuscripts are written in local languages using Arabic script. Most of the manuscripts date from between 1700 – 1900, although the oldest dates from the thirteenth century. The condition of the documents varied enormously, with those held by libraries generally being in better condition, although sufficient measures needed to be introduced regarding their safekeeping in acid-free boxes. Manuscripts that had been held privately had often deteriorated considerably, due to damage from termites and water.

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Some of the manuscripts that have been preserved and digitised as part of the project, photograph reproduced courtesy of the British Library.

Concurrent with the digitisation process, courses and study days on various aspects of manuscript and library science were held for the benefit of manuscript owners and to raise awareness of the manuscripts’ cultural value. A reading room for the digitised collection was established, and a website created to host the collection. Since the pilot project, Djenné Manuscript Library has gradually become the custodian of over 100 families’ collections and the library has become the cultural centre of the town. In recent years, the Arabic manuscripts of Mali have helped to change the perception of sub-Saharan West Africa as an area without a written past. These manuscripts belong to the cultural heritage of the world and it is thus a duty to attempt to preserve them.

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A page from qur’ān EAP488/1/8/1 (undated), which appears in the display, reproduced courtesy of the British Library.

The manuscripts from the first stage of the project are now available online . To-date, 187 qur’āns have been digitized and are also available online, representing an invaluable resource for research and teaching.

The display is FREE runs from 28th September 2018 – 6th January 2019.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

 

RSVP to IQSA Denver Receptions!

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It’s hard to believe that we are just two months away from the sixth Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association taking place in Denver, CO from November 16-20, 2018. We are looking forward to another exciting meeting of scholars and friends! Please read the reminders below carefully in preparation for November’s events.

  • IQSA sessions begin one day before the SBL/AAR schedule on Friday November 16th. Please book your travel and accommodation plans accordingly. This year’s opening session will be followed by the General Reception at 6:30pm at Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro. Please RSVP at THIS LINK.
    Note – this year’s meeting will not include a Presidential Address/Keynote
  • On Saturday November 17th, graduate students and early career scholars should attend the Graduate Student Reception, 11:30am-1:00pm, where they will enjoy lunch with leading scholars in the field and share their own research. Please RSVP at THIS LINK or by emailing contact@iqsaweb.org.
  • On Sunday November 18th, all IQSA members are encouraged to attend the 2018 IQSA Business Meeting from 11:30am-12:30pm. See schedule for details.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Standing Committees and our partners we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all friends of IQSA, and we look forward to seeing you in Denver!

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Workshop: The Senses in the Qur’an and in Early Islam | 26 October 2018, Utrech

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, in collaboration with the SENSIS project, will host a workshop on the Quran’s and early Muslims’ conceptualization of the senses and sense perception. The workshop’s aim is two-fold: first, to unearth the roots of the qur’anic/early Islamic sensorium in Late Antique culture, and secondly, to examine the processes of sensory disambiguation of “Muslim” identity as distinct from other identities (Christian, Zoroastrian, etc.) in the formation of Islam. Sources considered include the Qur’an, sīra and Hadith (both Sunni and Shiʿi), as well as texts from the surrounding literary cultures, and potentially non-textual evidence. Prior to the meeting, but no later than 18 October, participants will circulate one or several short texts (in the format of a handout) for close reading in the workshop. Each paper will be 40 minutes long, and include a paper presentation (20 minutes); Q&A (10 min.); a.nd a joint reading and discussion of texts led by the presenter (10 min).

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Utrecht in the heart of the Netherlands

Programme

Location: Janskerkhof 13, 3512 BL Utrecht, room 0.06

Panel 1: Scriptural bases

9:00-9:40: Nora Schmid (Berlin), “Sense perception and the formation of ascetic knowledge in the Meccan surahs of the Qur’an”

9:40-10:20: Thomas Hoffmann (Copenhagen): “The Weltinnenraum of the Qur’an: Towards a visceral phenomenology”

10:20-11:00: Christian Lange (Utrecht): “Sensation in the canonical Sunni hadith corpus”

11:00-11:30: COFFEE BREAK

Panel 2: Sensations in early Islamic thought and sensory practices

11:30-12:10: Adam Bursi (Utrecht), “The old women of Quraysh did that: Touch and its contestations in early Islamic pilgrimage rituals”

12:10-12:50: Maroussia Bednarkiewicz (Oxford): “Diversity in the acoustic space: From the birth of the ādhān to the disappearance of the nāqūs

12:50-14:00: LUNCH

14:00-14:40: Youshaa Patel (Lafayette College): “Looking different: Some hadith traditions against imitation”

Panel 3: Sensory alterities

14:40-15:20: Eyad Abuali (Utrecht): “Voices and Visions in Early Sufi Qur’an commentaries”

15:20-15:50: COFFEE BREAK

15:50-16:30: Arash Ghajarjazi (Utrecht): “The senses in Nahj al-balāgha

16:30-17:10: Mary Thurlkill (University of Mississippi): “Muhammad’s sweet sweat:  Modeling ritual purity in early Islam”

17:10-17:30: Concluding session

18:30-: DINNER (for speakers and invited guests)

No registration is required for participation, but those interested in attending are kindly requested to contact the event’s co-organizer Dr. Adam Bursi at: a.c.bursi@uu.nl

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.