New Publication: Recent Trends in Qur’anic Scholarship (Viva Books, 2020)

Viva Books has recently published a new book of interest to IQSA members and affiliates: Recent Trends in Qur’anic Scholarship by Tauseef Ahmad Parray (2020).


Qur’anic Studies’ (alDirasat al-Qur’aniyya) is a remarkable and noteworthy academic sub-genre in the area of Islamic studies to which Muslims and non-Muslims have contributed extensively. Qur’anic scholarship has seen a rapid and broad-ranging development, especially in the present century, as it is seen as a vibrant and multidimensional scholarly pursuit to which scholars have introduced a multiplicity of approaches. Keeping in view the academic study of the Qur’an in its present scenario, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the Qur’anic studies have emerged as a vibrant field of research globally. In this context, the present work (consisting of 11 chapters) attempts to explore some facets of and the recent trends in the 21st century Qur’anic studies by: exploring some Qur’anic concepts and themes of socio-political and moral significance vis-à-vis their contemporary relevance (such as Ihsan, Shura, inter-connection of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm, rise and fall of societies/ nations and social ethics vis-à-vis the institution of family); assessing and evaluating the scholarly contribution of some prominent scholars of the 21st century in the field of Qur’anic studies (including Abdur Raheem Kidwai, Abdullah Saeed, Ziauddin Sardar, Andrew Rippin and Jane D. McAuliffe) and focusing on the teaching, research and recent works in Qur’anic studies by providing a description of the activities of some academies, journals and recent research carried on different aspects in this field. Thus, blending the scholarship of the past and the present, it reflects on some major trends and issues of diverse nature. The present work will prove valuable and appealing to the students, general readers and the specialists alike. It seeks to explore the relevance of the teachings of the noble Qur’an to the readers of the 21st century.


“Parray displays his knowledge to give a detailed and lively picture of Qur’anic Studies and its leading figures in both the Muslim World and the West. A rich, and welcome source of information that will be invaluable to scholars of Islam in general, and of the Qur’an in particular”

Dr. Majid Daneshgar, University of Freiburg, Germany


“A readable and accessible introduction to some of the key debates on the Qur’an and its interpretation today”

Professor Abdullah Saeed, University of Melbourne, Australia



Part I: Qur’anic Concepts and Themes
Chapter 1. Concept of Ihsan (Excellence) as a Virtue: Text, Traditions and Interpretations

Chapter 2. The Qur’anic Concept of Shura: Text, Tradition and Modern (Varied) Interpretations

Chapter 3. Reasoning and Pondering as ‘Sources of Knowledge’: Inter-connecting the Qur’anic Concepts of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm

Chapter 4. Rise and Fall of Societies in the Qur’anic Perspective: The Views of Some Contemporary Scholars

Chapter 5. Social Ethics vis-à-vis the Institution of Family: The Contemporary Crisis and the Qur’anic Paradigm

 Part II: 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship

Chapter 6. Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s Contribution to the Qur’anic Studies: An Evaluation of His Important Works

Chapter 7. Abdullah Saeed’s Contribution to the 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship: An Evaluation

Chapter 8. Ziauddin Sardar vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies: A Critical Evaluation of His ‘Reading the Qur’an’ (2015)

Chapter 9. 21st Century Western Scholarship in the Qur’anic Studies: A Comparative Study of the Works of Jane D. McAuliffe and Andrew Rippin

Part III: Recent Works and Research vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies
Chapter 10. A Critical Assessment of Some Recent Works on the Qur’anic Studies (2010–2019)

Chapter 11. Teaching and Research on the Qur’anic Studies: Introducing Some Exemplary Academies and Journals on the Qur’anic Studies


Tauseef Ahmad Parray is presently working as Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, Govt. Degree College for Women, Pulwama, Higher Education Department, J&K (India). He holds his masters, PhD and postdoctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Kashmir (2008), Aligarh Muslim University (2014), Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue (IRD), International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan (2015) respectively.

He is the author of Towards Understanding Some Qur’anic Terms, Concepts, and Themes (2017), Muslim Intellectual Deficit: Reasons and Remedies (2018), Exploring the Qur’an: Concepts and Themes (2019) and Mediating Islam and Modernity (2019). He has published in numerous reputed academic journals, magazines and newspapers, from over a dozen countries, around the world. He is on the editorial board (and is also a member) of various journals based in Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and the UK. His major areas of interest are: Islam and Democracy; Modernist/Reformist Thought in South Asia; and Recent Trends and English Scholarship in Qur’anic Studies.

Readers can purchase the book online here.


Content courtesy of Viva Books.



© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 6 (2020)


In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 6, no.6), Ilkka Lindstedt (University of Helsinki) reviews Nicolai Sinai’s Rain-Giver, Bone-Breaker, Score-Settler: Allāh in Pre-Quranic Poetry (New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, 2019).

raingiverIn his review, Ilkka writes “Nicolai Sinai’s small book, or essay, is a very welcome contribution to the study of the deity Allāh and the religious map of Arabia on the eve of Islam based on the jāhiliyyah (pre-Islamic) poetry. The work is available as an open-access e-book. Sinai’s study is rich in methodological considerations and lucid in style. The argumentation is easy to follow. In short, the essay is a joy to read. What I find especially significant is his integrated use of different source sets: in addition to Arabic poetry, he employs the Qurʾān and ancient Arabian epigraphic evidence as comparative materials (while eschewing Arabic prose literature). The picture that he puts forward is credible and well documented…”

Want to read more? For full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), members can log in HERE. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

IQSA Annual Meeting Update (July 2020)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Given the continued risk and danger due to the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), the Boston Annual Meeting 2020, originally scheduled November 22-25, has been cancelled and moved online. The meeting will be 100% virtual and hosted by our affiliate, the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

While an online meeting cannot fully replace the multi-faceted benefits of meeting in person, IQSA is optimistic about the new opportunities this brings its members and guests, especially colleagues with limited access to funds to travel or face travel restrictions.

The online meeting will widen access for members without funding or resources to attend an in-person meeting, including international members, students, adjunct and contingent faculty, and independent scholars. It will open up possibilities for both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) participation. It will allow attendees to avoid the inevitable scheduling conflicts that prevent participation in sessions of interest. We are exploring options to allow some presenters to pre-record presentations. The executive office is working directly with SBL and can offer the following preliminary guidance to virtual presenters and attendees:

* The new meeting schedule will be extended to avoid potential timing conflicts, time zone limitations, and religious and Thanksgiving holidays. The meeting will take place Monday – Thursday over two weeks. The new dates are November 30 – December 3 and December 7 – 10, from 9AM to 9PM EST / 1PM to 1AM ECT.

* Conference attendees will have access to recorded presentations through a meeting application for approximately one month.

* Conference attendees will have access to a virtual book exhibit, including the possibility of meeting virtually with publishers.

* We are working on holding virtual receptions, business meeting and committee meetings.

* The IQSA Program Book AM 2020 will be published online as normal. No print copies will be available.

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. We understand these are challenging times, and offer our heartfelt gratitude for your patience and trust.



Emran El-Badawi
Executive Director
July 17, 2020

Recent Publication: Rediscovering the Islamic Classics by Ahmed El Shamsy

Princeton University Press has recently published a new book on Islamic intellectual history of interest to IQSA members and affiliates: Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition by Ahmed El Shamsy (February 2020).

ShamsyPublisher’s Overview
Islamic book culture dates back to late antiquity, when Muslim scholars began to write down their doctrines on parchment, papyrus, and paper and then to compose increasingly elaborate analyses of, and commentaries on, these ideas. Movable type was adopted in the Middle East only in the early nineteenth century, and it wasn’t until the second half of the century that the first works of classical Islamic religious scholarship were printed there. But from that moment on, Ahmed El Shamsy reveals, the technology of print transformed Islamic scholarship and Arabic literature.

In the first wide-ranging account of the effects of print and the publishing industry on Islamic scholarship, El Shamsy tells the fascinating story of how a small group of editors and intellectuals brought forgotten works of Islamic literature into print and defined what became the classical canon of Islamic thought. Through the lens of the literary culture of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Arab cities—especially Cairo, a hot spot of the nascent publishing business—he explores the contributions of these individuals, who included some of the most important thinkers of the time. Through their efforts to find and publish classical literature, El Shamsy shows, many nearly lost works were recovered, disseminated, and harnessed for agendas of linguistic, ethical, and religious reform.

Bringing to light the agents and events of the Islamic print revolution, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics is an absorbing examination of the central role printing and its advocates played in the intellectual history of the modern Arab world.

Readers can purchase the book online, or find a copy via your institutional library.


About the author
Ahmed El Shamsy is associate professor of Islamic thought at the University of Chicago and the author of The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History.


Content courtesy of Princeton University Press.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

JIQSA Volume 4 (2019) Now Available!

IQSA is proud to announce the official release of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association V.4 2019 (Lockwood Press) edited by Nicolai Sinai (Oxford University).


Volume four is available to IQSA members for FREE online via the member login on Non-members can receive access by signing up for membership HERE.

Institutions wishing to subscribe for print and/or online access should fill out the form HERE. To request that your institutional library subscribe to JIQSA, please present this form. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

ISSN 2474-8390 (Print)
2474-8420 (Online)

Subscription Rates:
Print and Online: US$70
Print only: US$40
Online only: US$40

JIQSA is now accessible through the online academic digital library JSTOR. Libraries and other institutions with a subscription to JSTOR can access JIQSA HERE.

Member Access

Full online access to the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association is available by signing in to the member portal at HERE. Use the top menu to navigate to “JIQSA” and select the desired volume via the drop-down menu. Online access to JIQSA is NOT  available via Lockwood Press’ website.

If you experience trouble logging in, please email to reset your password or confirm your membership.

Renew or sign up for IQSA membership HERE for full access to JIQSA, RQR, and more!

Table of Contents (Vol. 4, 2019)

  1. Farrin, Raymond K. “The Verse Numbering Systems of the Qurʾān: A Statistical and Literary Comparison.” JIQSA 4 (2019): 3-58.
  2. Tlili, Sarra. “Fa’ṣdaʿ bi-mā tuʾmar: A Motif-Based Study of Sūrat al-Ḥijr.” JIQSA 4 (2019): 59-84.
  3. Melchert, Christopher. “The Controversy over Reciting the Qurʾān with Tones (al‑qirāʾah bi’l‑alḥān).” JIQSA 4 (2019): 85-110.
  4. Christiansen, Johanne Louise. ““Their Prayer at the House Is Nothing but Whistling and Clapping of Hands” (Q al-Anfāl 8:35): Negotiating Processions in the Qurʾān.” JIQSA 4 (2019): 111-140.
  5. Rashwani, Samer. “Review Essay: Al-Ḥākim al-Jishumī and the History and Study of Muʿtazilī Exegesis.” JIQSA 4 (2019): 141-154.

The journal’s website, including additional information and contact details, can be found at For more information on theInternational Qur’anic Studies Association, please visit


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

New Publication: ‘Muhammad and the Empires of Faith’ by Sean Anthony

University of California Press has recently released a publication of interest to IQSA members and affiliates: Muhammad and the Empires of Faith: The Making of the Prophet of Islam by Sean Anthony (April 2020). 


Muhammad and the Empires of Faith, Sean W. Anthony demonstrates how critical readings of non-Muslim and Muslim sources in tandem can breathe new life into the historical study of Muhammad and how his message transformed the world. By placing these sources within the intellectual and cultural world of Late Antiquity, Anthony offers a fresh assessment of the earliest sources for Muhammad’s life, taking readers on a grand tour of the available evidence, and suggests what new insights stand to be gained from the techniques and methods pioneered by countless scholars over the decades in a variety of fields. Muhammad and the Empires of Faith offers both an authoritative introduction to the multilayered traditions surrounding the life of Muhammad and a compelling exploration of how these traditions interacted with the broader landscape of Late Antiquity.

Readers can find this item for purchase online in a variety of formats, or through institutional and public libraries.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (April 21, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0520340418
ISBN-13: 978-0520340411

About the Author
Sean W. Anthony is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University and author of The Caliph and the Heretic: Ibn Saba and the Origins of Shiism and Crucifixion and Death as Spectacle: Umayyad Crucifixion in its Late Antique Context.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.


Freiburg Conversations on Tafsir & Transregional Islamic Networks, Summer 2020

Freiburg conversations on tafsir and transregional Islamic networks, summer 2020

Hosted by Majid Daneshgar and Johanna Pink


Please register *HERE*. You will be sent an invitation to the Zoom meeting by email.
All sessions have a duration of 75 minutes including a discussant’s statement and a Q&A period. Please note that, in order to accommodate speakers and discussants from different continents, the starting time may vary.
Click here to download the programme (PDF)
July 1, 4pm CEST
Pieter Coppens, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: “Did print change everything? Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi’s (1866-1914) tafsir between local and transregional networks“
Discussant: Walid Saleh, University of Toronto
July 8, 10am CEST
Peter G. Riddell, Melbourne School of Theology: “Exegesis across cultures: Reconfiguring Arabic tafsir for Southeast Asian audiences”
Discussant: Nico Kaptein, Universiteit Leiden
July 15, 10am CEST
Majid Daneshgar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg: “Persian Shi’ism in Malay-Indonesian Qur’anic Commentaries”
Discussant: Peter G. Riddell, Melbourne School of Theology
July 22, 4pm CEST
Nico Kaptein, Universiteit Leiden: “Ahmad Khatib al-Minangkabawi (1860-1916) and transregional networks”
Discussant: Amr Ryad, KU Leuven
July 29, 4pm CEST
Arnold Yasin Mol, Universiteit Leiden: “Thick Comparative Tafsīr Studies: A Case Study using Q.11:117″
Discussant: Pieter Coppens, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
August 5, 4pm CEST
Walid A. Saleh, University of Toronto: “Tafsir and royalty”
Discussant: Brett Wilson, Central European University Budapest/Vienna
August 12, 4pm CEST
Ahmed El Shamsy, University of Chicago: “Muslim and Orientalist reconstructions of the classical tafsir tradition in the age of print”
Discussant: Islam Dayeh, Freie Universität Berlin
August 19, 4pm CEST
Johanna Pink, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg: “Ibn Kathir, modern Salafism and the making of a global exegetical authority“
Discussant: Younus Mirza, Shenandoah University
August 26, 4pm CEST
Amr Ryad, KU Leuven: “Salafiyya and Ahmadiyya missionary work in interwar Europe“
Discussant: Rainer Brunner, CNRS, Paris
September 2, 5pm CEST
Ash Geissinger, Carleton University, Ottawa: “Authority, gender, and contemporary Muslim appropriations of classical Qur’an commentary”
Discussant: Karen Bauer, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
September 9, 4pm CEST
Annabel Gallop, British Library: “Qur’an manuscripts from Southeast Asia with interlinear translations: influences and networks”
Discussant: Ervan Nurtawab, State Institute of Islamic Studies Metro, Lampung
September 12, 3pm CEST

Samuel Ross, Texas Christian University: “What Were the Most Popular Qur’an Commentaries in Islamic History? An Assessment of the Manuscript Record and the State of Tafsīr Studies“

Discussant: Ahmed El Shamsy, University of Chicago

* Text adopted from the University of Freiburg website.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

The Golden Calf between Bible and Qur’an

The Golden Calf between Bible and Qur’an: Scripture, Polemic, and Exegesis From Late Antiquity to Islam

Michael E. Pregill

Oxford Studies in the Abrahamic Religions

  • A compelling exploration of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic understandings of the account of the Golden Calf
  • Contributes to the ongoing reevaluation of the relationship between Bible and Qur’an
  • The first major monograph on the story of the Golden Calf
  • The book also addresses the issue of Western approaches to the Qur’an, arguing that the historical reliance of scholars and translators on classical Muslim exegesis of scripture has led to misleading conclusions


This book explores the story of the Israelites’ worship of the Golden Calf in its Jewish, Christian, and Muslim contexts, from ancient Israel to the emergence of Islam. It focuses in particular on the Qur’an’s presentation of the narrative and its background in Jewish and Christian retellings of the episode from Late Antiquity. Across the centuries, the interpretation of the Calf episode underwent major changes reflecting the varying cultural, religious, and ideological contexts in which various communities used the story to legitimate their own tradition, challenge the claims of others, and delineate the boundaries between self and other. The book contributes to the ongoing reevaluation of the relationship between Bible and Qur’an, arguing for the necessity of understanding the Qur’an and Islamic interpretations of the history and narratives of ancient Israel as part of the broader biblical tradition. The Calf narrative in the Qur’an, central to the qur’anic conception of the legacy of Israel and the status of the Jews of its own time, reflects a profound engagement with the biblical account in Exodus, as well as being informed by exegetical and parascriptural traditions in circulation in the Qur’an’s milieu in Late Antiquity. The book also addresses the issue of Western approaches to the Qur’an, arguing that the historical reliance of scholars and translators on classical Muslim exegesis of scripture has led to misleading conclusions about the meaning of qur’anic episodes.

* Text adopted from the Oxford University Press product page.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 5 (2020)


In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 6, no.5),  Juliane Hammer (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) reviews Communities of the Qur’an: Dialogue, Debate, and Diversity in the 21st Century edited by Emran El-Badawi and Paula Sanders (London: Oneworld, 2020). 

CommunitiesIn her review, Hammer writes “When I first saw the title of the book under review here, ‘Communities of the Qur’an,’ I was excited. In the field of qurʾānic studies, there has been a decades-long (if not longer) focus on the qurʾānic text itself, on its origins and history, its linguistic and literary qualities, but rather much silence about the people who engage with it. This volume, edited by Emran El-Badawi and Paula Sanders, aims to change that by bringing together scholars who, in complex ways, write about and often also represent communities of the Qurʾān that the editors selected based on a thoughtful process. The result is a collection of essays, ten plus the introduction by the editors, rounded out with a foreword by Reza Aslan, and an afterword by Reuven Firestone…”

Want to read more? For full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), members can log in HERE. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

User Feedback: IQSA Video Series

Last week marked the final installment in the IQSA Zoom video series designed to bring scholars and students of the Qur’an together at a time when many are in social isolation. These seminars were part of IQSA’s larger mission to advance “cutting edge, intellectually rigorous, academic research on the Qurʾan” and to be “a bridge between different global communities of Qurʾanic scholarship.”

These free online lectures given by leading scholars in the field were met with an overwhelming positive response, encouraging conversation amongst scholars and expanding IQSA’s community and membership worldwide. You can view recordings of all seven lectures at or on IQSA’s YouTube channel.

As the #IQSAZoom series comes to a close, we want to hear from you regarding your experience and suggestions for future resources as we continue to engage in learning and researching from a distance. Please take a moment to complete this brief survey to share your feedback on IQSA’s engagement with online resources. We look forward to hearing from you!