NEW Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 7, no.6)


In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 7, no.6), Gordon Nickel reviews W. Richard Oakes Jr., The Cross of Christ: Islamic Perspectives (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020).


In the review, Nickel writes “In the middle of his translation of several traditions from al-Ṭabarī’s (d. 310/923) interpretation of Q al-Nisāʾ 4:157, Richard Oakes presents a story that would likely intrigue many readers well familiar with the Gospel passion accounts but with only the most general Islamic explanation of how Jesus did not die on the cross (190–191). As recorded by Oakes in his recently published The Cross of Christ: Islamic Perspectives, al-Ṭabarī’s story begins with Allāh telling ʿĪsā that he will leave this world…”

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, 2021. All rights reserved. 

Fellowship: Middle East Medievalists (MEM)

mem-logo-750As promised in a July 2020 Statement on Anti-Racism, the Board of Directors of Middle East Medievalists (MEM) is pleased to announce the second round of applications for our new fellowship to support graduate students of color in medieval studies attending the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). In light of uncertainties around travel to the 2021 meeting, we have decided to use this round to help graduate students of color who wish to attend (either virtually or in person) pay the registration fee.

In order to be considered in this round, please send a paragraph containing the following information to the MEM secretary ( your graduate program/institutional affiliation; whether or not you are a MESA member; a brief statement about why you wish to attend the MESA annual meeting; and any other sources of funding available to you. We will review applications as they come in, so that we can fund as many as possible before MESA’s September 15 pre-registration deadline. We will continue to consider applications as long as we have funds available (up to our pledged total of $1500). Please note that we are willing to reimburse participants or attendees who have already paid the registration fee if they demonstrate need. Any questions about the process should be directed to the MEM secretary (

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

IQSA Annual Meeting Reminders & Updates


Are you presenting or attending the 2021 International Qur’anic Studies Association’s Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, TX from November 18–21, 2021? Don’t forget to register by September 23rd before regular rates increase! IQSA members can save on the forthcoming registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member HERE. To become an IQSA member click HERE.

In-Person Meeting Information
Need more information on the Annual Meeting including registration rates, housing information, meeting locations, airline discounts, etc? Please visit our Annual Meeting website here.
Virtual-Only Sessions Information
Need more information regarding the Virtual Only Sessions including registration rates, sessions included, benefits of attending virtually, etc. Please visit our Annual Meeting website here.


Q: How do I register for the IQSA Annual Meeting?
To register for this year’s meeting, visit the SBL Annual Meeting Page and choose Register as a Member of an Affiliate Organization. Then, complete a New Registration under the Affiliate Members category, and choose International Qur’anic Studies Association when prompted.

Q: Do I have to be an IQSA member to register for the Annual Meeting?
YES – current IQSA membership is required and verified by staff upon registration. However, SBL/AAR membership is not required to attend the IQSA Annual Meeting. You can renew your IQSA membership HERE.

Q: I already registered for the Annual Meeting as an SBL/AAR member. Do I have to register again as an affiliate to attend IQSA events?
No – duplicate registration is not required to attend IQSA events if one has already registered as an SBL/AAR member. However, you must register as an active IQSA member if you are presenting at an IQSA session.

Q: Where can I find a schedule of events for the Annual Meeting?
Find the IQSA Conference Schedule online at, and view the full SBL/AAR Program here.

Q: Does IQSA provide funding or reimbursement for its members to attend the meeting?
At this time, IQSA does not have the resources to provide financial assistance for Annual Meeting registration costs. However, IQSA encourages its members to seek financial aid through institutional grants and other funding.

Q: Can I cancel my registration due to Covid-19 health concerns?
We recognize that the coronavirus continues to impact your planning for the Annual Meeting this year so we’re giving you more time to make registration changes without penalty. You now have until Oct. 21 to receive a full refund.

Please also note…

Questions? Email! We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Call for Papers: International Congress for Medieval Studies

Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 9.22.54 AMThe Great Lakes Adiban Society (GLAS) is the sponsor of two events at the upcoming International Congress for Medieval Studies, to convene on May 9–14, 2022. This event includes two panels relating to medieval Islam:

  1. Sociability between Justice and Tyranny
  2. Medieval Islamicate Paratexts in Contexts

To submit a paper to either of these events, go to, select the respective title for which you would like to apply under the dropdown menu “Session Selection,” or follow the hyperlinks noted below.

The due-date for all submissions is September 15, 2021. We will inform you of our decision within a week, and per ICMS guidelines, any papers not accepted will be passed on to the Medieval Institute to be considered for inclusion in the General Sessions.

For any questions, please contact Nathan Tabor,

Please read below for the full descriptions of these panels; for more information about our group, and to join our mailing list, visit

Panel 1. Sociability between Justice and Tyranny

This panel explores the question of how Islamicate texts from a wide variety of traditions ambivalently consider the role of sociability within pre-modern settings, whether lauded as ethical conduct or condemned as unjust tyranny. Muslim majority and Muslim-ruled societies dwelling in lands between the western reaches of the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern Indian Ocean shared notions of association and political order informed by connected multi-lingual literatures and widely accepted notions of proper comportment. Among these varied settings, friendship could be a deeply existential and often a political endeavor, and noble enmities were often grounded in conversation and intellectual exchange. So too, pre-modern Islamicate texts occasionally valorized characters, settings, and scenarios that unseated the social order, as tricksters (ʿayyarun) and conspirators (khuwwan) interrupted friendships or overturned proper governance.

This tension between maintaining social order and overturning it can be witnessed in Islamicate literary manuals, works on ethical guidance, and didactic stories that portray sociability as accommodating both conviviality and competition; while treatises on political instruction and governance dwell on the just and companionable charisma of absolutist rulers. In the marketplace, Sufi brotherhoods and professional guilds cultivated values that appeared to overturn accepted norms on sociability and centralized rule, witnessed among the ideas of qalandar, khaksar, and luti orders; on the political front, accusations of conspiracy or heretical practices served to legitimate conquests that often began under similarly questionable circumstances; and within the private realm family relationships were often fraught to the point that go-betweens and servants became singular trustworthy intimates. Potential questions that could be addressed within this panel include:

  • How does a military leader comport with a victorious or defeated adversary?
  • What is the proper way to rejoin a party after being sick from imbibing too much alcohol?
  • What are the rules of conduct in literary, physical, and martial competitions?
  • What are the gracious ways to defer confrontation with kings and other social superiors?
  • What are the rules of ethical seduction?
  • How do certain texts obfuscate their counter arguments against social cohesion?
  • What are the ways in which mirrors for princes perhaps distract rulers from tyranny?

We hope that by considering a wide variety of texts from across Islamicate traditions this panel can illuminate subtle ambivalences toward sociability and despotism to better understand the competitive nature of friendship and the seductive pull of absolutist rule. Click here to apply.

Panel 2. Medieval Islamicate Paratexts in Contexts

In recent years, the study of paratexts in modern and premodern contexts has received increased critical attention, with scholars examining how features of a book or manuscript outside of its primary textual content contribute to the work’s overall meaning, reception, and interpretation. Oftentimes, modern editions of premodern works obscure or entirely erase such features, significantly altering the reading or perusing experience. In an effort to heighten sensitivities to the dynamics of such phenomena, this panel will explore the nature of the paratext in the lettered traditions of the medieval Islamicate world and ask how developments in textual technology (manuscript, lithograph, print, digital) as well as practices of reading and editing have changed how such works are understood and valorized.

As the existence of detailed style guides for premodern Muslim scribes and secretaries demonstrates, how one decided to present a text on the page and in a book was not just an aesthetic choice, but one of profound social importance. The medieval Islamicate paratext was therefore often subject to careful consideration and possessed of a certain shared semiotics. In the context of premodern Islamicate manuscript culture, aspects of the paratext may be thought to include (though are not limited to): prefaces and prologues, marginalia, illustrations, illuminations, calligraphic choices, colophons, doodles, page layout, and binding. In order to understand the complicated ways in which these elements imbued meaning, the panel might consider the following questions:

  • What role have paratexts played in a work’s reception and canonicity?
  • How stable are paratexts across different manuscript editions?
  • How did paratexts work in different textual genres (literary works, history, biography, law etc.)?
  • What do paratexts communicate about genre, authority, and textual community?
  • What, if anything, distinguishes the paratext from the text in the medieval Islamicate context?
  • How does paratextuality complicate understandings of Islamicate authorship?
  • How have new textual technologies shifted the borders between text and paratext, and what are the implications of these shifts?
  • What possibilities and problems does the digitization of manuscripts present for retrieving the premodern paratext?
  • What do secretarial style guides (inshaʾ treatises) reveal about premodern attitudes to the paratext?
  • How does paratextuality in the Islamicate world contribute to or complicate Eurocentric theories of the paratext and the history of the book?

In exploring these and related questions, we hope to illuminate historically contingent and yet expansive ways of reading and interpreting Islamicate written works, stimulate comparative discussion between scholars of diverse lettered traditions, and highlight especially problematic examples and trends of what we might call paratextual erasure. Click here to apply.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Publication–The Quran: Keyword Collocations (Gorgias Press, 2021)

Gorgias Press recently published The Quran: Keyword Collocations by Elie Wardini. IQSA readers can find more information and purchase the book here.

collocationsPublisher’s Description: This bundle brings together the 16 volumes of Elie Wardini’s The Quran: Key Word Collocations. The aim of these volumes is to present the Quran as raw data with as little interpretation as possible. The digital text used for this purpose is the Uthmani text of the Tanzil Quran Text. In the present series, Collocation is defined as a Key Word, here adjectives, nouns, proper nouns and verbs, forming the center of a cluster with four co-occurring Key Words (1° and 2° of proximity), the first two to the left and to the right, where available. Every Collocation of each Key Word in the Quran is presented in context, as a rule with six words to the right and six to the left of it, where available or where the formatting permits. The central Key Words have been grouped by root > lemma. Classical dictionaries and Quran commentaries, as well as modern Quran dictionaries have been consulted.

Elie Wardini is professor of Arabic at Stockholm University, Sweden. His research has focused on Semitic languages, especially Aramaic-Arabic contact from a diachronic and sociolinguistic perspective.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Publication: Jews and the Qur’an (Princeton U. Press, 2021)

Princeton University Press recently published Jews and the Qur’an by Meir Bar-Asher (2021). Interested readers can purchase the book here at the publisher’s website. 

jewsPublisher’s Description: In this panoramic and multifaceted book, Meir Bar-Asher examines how Jews and Judaism are depicted in the Qur’an and later Islamic literature, providing needed context to those passages critical of Jews that are most often invoked to divide Muslims and Jews or to promote Islamophobia. He traces the Qur’anic origins of the protection of Jews and other minorities living under the rule of Islam, and shows how attitudes toward Jews in Shi‘i Islam are substantially different from those in Sunni Islam. Bar-Asher sheds light on the extraordinary contribution of Jewish tradition to the Muslim exegesis of the Qur’an, and draws important parallels between Jewish religious law, or halakha, and shari‘a law.

An illuminating work on a topic of vital relevance today, Jews and the Qur’an offers a nuanced understanding of Islam’s engagement with Judaism in the time of Muhammad and his followers, and serves as a needed corrective to common misperceptions about Islam.


$24.95 / £20.00
Published (US):
Nov 30, 2021
Published (UK):
Jan 4, 2022

Meir M. Bar-Asher is the Max Schloessinger Professor of Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His books include Scripture and Exegesis in Early Imāmī Shiism and The Nusayrī-‘Alawī Religion: An Enquiry into Its Theology and Liturgy. He lives in Jerusalem.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Publication: Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500 (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Bloomsbury is set to release a new anthology in January, 2022, The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500, edited by David Thomas. Interested readers can pre-order here.


Description: This reader brings together 50 extracts from the major works left by Christians and Muslims that reflect their reciprocal knowledge and attitudes. It spans the early 7th century, when Islam originated, to 1500. The general introduction provides a historical and geographical summary of Christian-Muslim encounters in the period and a short account of the religious, intellectual and social circumstances in which encounters took place and works were written. Nearly all the translations are new, and a map is provided. On the Christian side topics include: condemnations of the Qur’an as a fake and Muhammad as a fraud, depictions of Islam as a sign of the final judgement, and proofs that it was a Christian heresy. On the Muslim side they include: demonstrations of the Bible as corrupt, proofs that Christian doctrines were illogical, comments on the inferior status of Christians, and accounts of Christian and Muslim scholars in collaboration together.

Table of Contents

General Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
1. Muslim Arabic works
Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
2. Christian Arabic works
Introduction, David Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)
3. Andalusian Arabic works
Introduction, Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala (University of Cordoba, Spain)
4. Syriac, Persian and other Eastern language works
Introduction, Thomas Carlson (Oklahoma State University, USA)
5. Greek works
Introduction, Johannes Pahlitzsch (University of Mainz, Germany)
6. Latin and European vernacular works
Introduction, Graham Barrett (University of Lincoln, UK)
7. Table of themes
8. List of contributors

Product details

Published Jan 13 2022
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 272
ISBN 9781350214101
Imprint Bloomsbury Academic
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Annual Meeting Updates: Letter from the SBL Executive Director

Friends of IQSA—please find a message from the Executive Director of our affiliate organization, the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), with important updates regarding this year’s Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, Texas.


6 August 2021

Dear Colleagues,

SBL recognizes that the coronavirus continues to impact your planning for the Annual Meeting, and comfort levels, health constraints, and accessibility will vary from person to person. We have worked hard to be able to offer both in-person and virtual-only options. We thank all who are currently registered for the upcoming SBL Annual Meeting 2021 and offer a brief update to those registered or planning to register.

The continuing uncertainty is a source of anxiety for everyone. At the same time, we are being careful not to rush into decisions in the midst of a rapidly changing situation.

Your health and safety are key to our planning. We are closely monitoring governmental and medical recommendations regarding COVID-19 and the Delta variant in order to follow best practices to help reduce your exposure and risk. As we get closer to the meeting, we will issue protocols appropriate to the situation.

We will be as flexible as possible to accommodate the varying needs of members. Already we are taking the following steps:

  •  The change date for registrations, including full refunds or change in registration types, has been extended to 21 October 2021. You can register now and alter your plans as you see fit through that date with no penalty.
  • We will continue to work with program unit chairs to adapt sessions according to the changing needs of presenters.
  • As guidance changes, we will continue to keep the Annual Meetings website up-to-date with meeting requirements, recommendations, and best practices. The challenge of planning for the 2021 Annual Meetings is one that exceeds even that of 2020. We ask for your continued patience as we work to provide the best and safest experience that meets your needs.

Please feel free to write to with any questions you may have about registration, and bookmark the SBL Annual Meeting Website for updates.


John F. Kutsko
Executive Director

JIQSA Volume 5 (2020) Now Available!

cover_issue_39_en_USIQSA is thrilled to announce that the fifth volume of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (founding editors: Michael Pregill and Vanessa De Gifis) has now been published online, with print copies due to ship soon (see also 

The issue’s contents include:

  • an obituary of the historian F. E. Peters by Reuven Firestone;
  • an exploration of Qur’anic doublets, drawing on studies of doublets in the New Testament, and the implication of such doublets for the history of the Qur’an’s origin and composition, by Gabriel Said Reynolds;
  • a close examination of a Copto-Qur’anic palimpsest by Éléonore Cellard and Catherine Louis, inspecting both the Qur’anic upper text and the biblical Coptic lower text, and considering the implications of the palimpsest for early Qur’anic scribal practices;
  • a study of the opening oath and the Prophet’s visions in Sūrat al-Najm by Saqib Hussain, in light of pre-Islamic astral concerns in the Qur’anic milieu as recoverable from early Islamic literature and Safaitic inscriptions;
  • an analysis of the regionality of early Qur’an manuscripts by Hythem Sidky, based on a comparison between variants in regional codices as recorded by Muslim scholars and regionality data recoverable from surviving Qur’an manuscripts;
  • and an Arabic article by Nadeen Alsulaimi on the structure of Sūrat al-Insān and on whether it should be classified as Meccan or Medinan.

Editor of Volume 5, Dr. Nicolai Sinai (Oxford University), notes that many thanks are owed for the hard work and commitment that went into the publication of this volume: to all authors for contributing such a rich selection of pioneering research; to our anonymous peer reviewers for making available their expertise and for offering many constructive and learned comments on those submissions that did make it into the issue; to the journal’s associate editor Saqib Hussain (who is still blissfully ignorant of the reviewers of his own submission); and to Billie Jean Collins of Lockwood Press for unfailing professional standards. It is especially gratifying that the issue includes revised and extended versions of two past winners of IQSA’s Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (namely, the contributions by Cellard/Louis and Hussain).

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!

Institutional Access

Institutions wishing to subscribe for print and/or online access should fill out the form HERE. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

Workshop/Webinar: Princeton-UCLA Arabic Manuscript Workshop

manworkThe Princeton-UCLA Arabic Manuscript Workshop will be held on August 23-27, 2021. Full details for the workshop can be found here, including signup details and a complete list of presenters. While the application process is now closed for full participation, interested readers can still sign up for the webinars online at the official website.

Description: This week-long workshop will be led by leading authorities in the historical, philological and material study of Arabic manuscripts. Co-organized by Princeton and UCLA, which house the two largest repositories of Islamicate manuscripts in North America, the workshop will equip emerging scholars with the basic tools to conduct research using original handwritten texts in Arabic script. Over the course of four days, participants will learn the basics of codicology, palaeography, and manuscript production and circulation, and receive exposure to an expansive vision of current debates in Arabic manuscript research. Topics include:

  • anatomy of the codex 
  • text blocks, colophons, audition notes, owners’ notes, readers’ notes
  • supports, inks, bindings
  • scribes and other craftspeople
  • scripts, canonical and informal; strategies for decipherment
  • technical terminology
  • transmission practices and patterns
  • digital collections; contemporary ethics and best practices

Organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA)

For questions about the application process, contact

For questions about content, contact the organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA).

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.