Deadline Approaching: IQSA 2021 Annual Meeting Call for Papers

CFP_IQSA21The Call for Papers deadline for the IQSA Annual Meeting to be held in San Antonio, TX from November 18–21, 2021 is quickly approaching! Paper proposals should be submitted through the SBL’s automated online submission system under the corresponding “Affiliates” link by March 23, 2021 though 11:59 PM (23:59) Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) (note: IQSA membership is required for proposal submission; see below). Submission links can be found below under the respective program units. If you require further information or experience difficulties with the submission process, please contact the chairs of the program unit to which you would like to apply.

Please note that all proposals must include:

  • Author name and affiliation
  • Paper title
  • 400 word paper abstract (written in English)

Eligibility for proposal submissions is contingent upon the following:

  • Active IQSA membership is required at the time of proposal submission for the IQSA Program, and the membership status of all applicants will be checked prior to acceptance
  • Participants must maintain current IQSA Membership through their participation in the Annual Meeting

Please also note that:

  • To ensure equity and diversity amongst participants, participants should submit only one paper presentation per IQSA Annual Meeting
  • All participants must adhere to IQSA’s Professional Conduct Policy
  • Participants will be required to register for the conference by submitting payment through SBL’s online registration system (users are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the “Super Saver” rates which end mid-May)

The Annual Meeting includes panels for each of IQSA’s seven program units:

Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus
The Qur’an: Surah Studies
Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics
The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition
The Qur’an and Late Antiquity
The Societal Qur’an


Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus

Program Unit Chairs
Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau
Mohsen Goudarzi

The Linguistic, Literary, and Thematic Perspectives on the Qur’anic Corpus unit invites proposals for papers that engage with the techniques utilized in the Qur’an for crafting imagery, characters, and narratives. Proposals may attend to artistic and literary strategies as well as to the broader social, religious, and political ends towards which these strategies are deployed

The Qur’an: Surah Studies

Program Unit Chairs
Nevin Reda
Shawkat Toorawa

The Surah Studies Unit invites proposals for individual papers on any aspect of Surat al-Naml (27, “The Ants”). Much of the attention directed at the surah has focused on the story of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Proposals about any aspect of that narrative are welcome—in particular ones that explore power and gender dynamics—but proposals that can take our thinking about the surah in new directions are especially encouraged. These might broach such topics as: the deployment of animals as characters; the nature of the Arabian prophets’ missions; the role of the surahs’s inaugurators (fawati?), ?a Sin, both in the surah and within the Qur’an as a whole; the rhetorical relationship between the various prophets and prophet-stories; miracles; and much else besides. The Surah Studies Unit welcomes diverse methods and new approaches. The raison d’être of the Unit is to bring different perspectives on a given surah into dialogue with one another.

Qur’anic Studies: Methodology and Hermeneutics

Program Unit Chairs
Khalil Andani
Celene Ibrahim

This unit aims to understand and contextualize the methods and hermeneutics applied to the Qur’anic text, both historical and contemporary. The Methodology and Hermeneutics unit addresses questions that might implicitly govern other units, such as: What is Qur’anic Studies, and how does the study of the Qur’an differ from the study of its interpretation? What are the methodological differences between descriptive and normative approaches to the text? How does context (intellectual, social, ethical, historical) affect hermeneutical approaches to the text? The unit welcomes papers addressed to the hermeneutics and methods of particular schools of interpretation or thought, and also on hermeneutics as applied to specific subjects or concepts such as social justice and gender. This year the Methodology and Hermeneutics Unit invites submissions for two panels on any aspect of Qur’anic interpretation, hermeneutics, and methodology. Proposals can focus on, among other topics, the following areas:

• The overlaps and distinctions between tafsir and ta’wil in exoteric and esoteric Qur’an commentary literature as they have evolved historically;
• The distinctive hermeneutical features of Qur’anic exegesis performed by minority Muslim communities including Sufi and Shi‘i (Twelver, Ismaili, Nusayri) commentators;
• How the Muslim Peripatetics (falasifa), such as Avicenna, have engaged with the Qur’an through Aristotelian and Neoplatonic lenses;
• The unique hermeneutical approaches of Muslim modernist thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries;
• Interpretative engagements with the Qur’an from thinkers in South Asia and Southeastern Asia.

Any other topic that deals with Qur’anic hermeneutics is welcome.

The Qur’an: Manuscripts and Textual Criticism

Program Unit Chairs
Alba Fedeli
Shady Hekmat Nasser

The aim of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit is to provide a cross-disciplinary setting for the exploration of the various interconnected issues that arise when questions concerning the Qur’an’s text are investigated through the prism of its manuscript tradition. This latter term encompasses the field of Qur’an manuscripts per se, but also alludes to such information regarding the history of the text that can be gleaned from the citations, marginal notes, and detailed analysis provided in other branches of the Islamic sciences, for example Qur’an commentaries and the qira’at literature. It is hoped that bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines will serve to enrich and strengthen each of these fields. The Manuscripts and Textual Criticism unit seeks to create a forum for the application of textual criticism to the Qur’anic text attested both in physical manuscripts and within the wider Islamic tradition. It also aims to investigate palaeographic, codicological, and art historical features in the Qur’an’s manuscript tradition.

The unit welcomes papers on any topic within the range of the interests of the Manuscripts and Textual Criticism program unit. In addition, the unit proposes a special thematic session for 2019: “Life of Qur’an manuscripts.” We invite proposals that touch upon issues related to the modification of manuscripts after they have been produced. Papers dealing with all eras and regions of the manuscript tradition are welcome. Submissions might focus on the insertion of marginalia notes, colophons, waqf statements, annotations, additions, amendments, the recycling of writing surfaces, etc., or on references to such practices in the traditional literature.

The Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition

Program Unit Chairs
Nora K. Schmid
Holger Zellentin

The focus of this unit is the Qur’an’s relationship to the Biblical tradition in the broadest sense: the books of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament in the various languages of their original composition and later translations (regardless of a particular book’s status of canonization within specific Jewish or Christian groups), as well as the exegetical, homiletic, and narrative traditions of the Bible in written or oral form. For the 2021 meeting in San Antonio, the Qur’an and the Biblical Tradition unit welcomes proposals that engage any aspect of the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an.

The Qur’an and Late Antiquity

Program Unit Chairs
Johanne Christiansen
Michael Pregill

For the 2021 IQSA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, the Qur’an and Late Antiquity program unit invites proposals that utilize various types of material or evidence—be that literary, documentary, or epigraphic—to illuminate the historical context in which the Qur’an was revealed and the early Islamic polity emerged. This year, we are especially interested in papers that present and discuss the historical Muhammad, including new and comparative methodologies to approach this figure, the relationship between Muhammad and the Qur’an, and Muhammad’s role and function in the cultural, political, social, and religious environment of Late Antiquity.

The Societal Qur’an

Panel Chairs:
Johanna Pink
Lauren Osborne

The Societal Qur’an unit invites proposals for papers that investigate the Qur’an in its lived and societal contexts throughout history, from Late Antiquity to contemporary Late Modernity. Proposals are encouraged that engage with sociological, anthropological, and political science theories and methods in their pursuit of the societal and lived Qur’an. Papers might, for instance, discuss topics such as ritual and artistic uses of the Qur’an, practices of teaching the Qur’an, talismanic and medical uses of the Qur’an, the production of manuscript, print, and new media versions of the Qur’an, or the deployment of the Qur’an in terms of social identity and political organization.

Questions? Email IQSA at!

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

Statement regarding allegations of sexual abuse

It has come to our attention that allegations of sexual abuse have been made against one of our members. The International Qurʾanic Studies Association has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of discrimination, harassment, and abuse. We are committed to providing a safe environment for our members and strictly enforce our Professional Conduct Policy. Any reported violation of our Professional Conduct Policy is treated seriously and promptly investigated. The Association reserves the right to suspend or terminate an individual’s membership whose conduct is determined to be unethical or in violation of our policies. This includes the termination of participation in IQSA sponsored platforms and events. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in the process of taking appropriate disciplinary actions.

Any information concerning violations of the IQSA Professional Conduct Policy should promptly be reported to the IQSA Executive Director at All reports are strictly confidential and treated with the utmost respect.


The IQSA Board of Directors

  • Dr. Asma Hilali, President
  • Dr. Mehdi Azaiez
  • Dr. Karen Bauer
  • Dr. Shari Lowin
  • Dr. Johanna Pink
  • Dr. Devin Stewart
  • Dr. Sarra Tlili
  • Dr. Holger Zellentin, Chair
  • Dr. Suleyman Dost, Secretary
  • Dr. Hythem Sidky, Executive Director, Treasurer

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

IQSA 2020 Annual Meeting Survey

Dear friends of IQSA,

As a learned society, IQSA is committed to understanding its members’ opinions and shaping our academic activities in a way that responds appropriately to them and advances our mission. To that end, we are turning to you for input on our meetings. This *short* (15 question) survey asks you to offer insights on our regular annual meetings.

Please complete the survey as soon as possible and in any case before February 1, 2021. The survey is to be filled out by active IQSA members only. If your membership is not active, please renew it ASAP at


If any of the questions are not applicable to you, please leave them blank. Need help? Email for support.

Thank you for helping to further our organization and its mission by being part of the IQSA community!

IQSA Executive Office

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

Happy New Year from IQSA!

logo graphics 3

For over seven years the International Qur’anic Studies Association has made fostering Qur’anic scholarship its mission. The Qur’an is an integral part of world literature, and it has shaped and continues to shape the world in which we live.

Despite significant interruptions and changes due to the Covid-19 health crisis, it has still been a fruitful year for the International Qur’anic Studies Association. IQSA has now published four issues of the bilingual, flagship Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA 2016-2019), with volume five to be released in spring 2021. The ISIQ Monograph Series is edited by David S. Powers. ISIQ has released the English translation and updated edition of Michael Cuypers’ A Qurʾānic Apocalypse: A Reading of the Thirty-Three Last Sūrahs of the Qurʾān (2018), and Mun`im Sirry (ed.), New Trends in Qur’anic Studies: Text, Context and Interpretation (2019). Our publishing activity also includes the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), the world’s only exclusive review source on critical Qur’anic Studies. Finally, our multilingual blog and discussion group links a community of scholars and students across the globe.


Finally, IQSA maintains an impressive conference portfolio. These include eleven major international congresses, across the US and internationally, as well as IQSA’s first virtual Annual Meeting. Given ongoing uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, IQSA’s 2021 conference schedule is still being deliberated. The IQSA board is currently coordinating both with SBL and with the Fondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII / Giorgio La Pira library, Palermo, Italy.

IQSA continues to offer six membership tiers:

(1) Student, Contingent Faculty, Global South or Income Below $30,000 $35
(2) Assistant Professor, Junior or Retired Faculty $75
(3) Associate Professor or Midrange Faculty $100
(4) Full Professor, Senior Faculty or Professional Income $100,000+ $125
(5) Lifetime Member $2,000 (one time installment)
(6) Institutional Membership $400

Exceptions: Scholars from the global south and lower income countries unable to pay membership dues for that year have the option of contacting the executive director for a courtesy waiver.

We also warmly welcomes new Lifetime Member, Abdulla Galadari (Khalifa University), and one new institutional member, the University of Tuebingen. IQSA encourages all to renew their membership for 2021 to receive benefits including:

Finally, we offer a warm welcome to our new Executive Director starting 2021, Hythem Sidky. Hythem brings a wealth of energy and expertise to IQSA, which will prove vital as conferences are increasingly convened both virtually and in-person. We are both excited and fortunate to have Hythem’s leadership in the days ahead.

We appreciate your membership!

U.S. taxpayers! Are you still looking to make an end-of-year tax deductible charitable donation? Consider supporting Qur’anic scholarship with a donation to IQSA. We are a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. You can donate to IQSA online by clicking HERE.

You have all made IQSA what it is today—a community of scholars and friends. Please help our community during its time of need. If each of you makes a humble donation it will go a long way to supporting our publishing and programming activity for the coming year(s).

Finally, please do not forget to follow our BlogTwitter and Facebook accounts, and to join the new private IQSA Discussion Group. As the global health crisis continues to challenge the status quo for the academic community, IQSA is committed to continue building bridges through scholarship to get through the coming year together. We wish you a very Happy Holidays! كل عام وأنتم بخير

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

Looking Back on IQSA 2020

screen-shot-2020-11-28-at-10.37.57-amThe International Qur’anic Studies Association’s Annual Meeting, usually an occasion for scholars to come together for a weekend of research and reunion, took a slightly different form this year, though still offering an opportunity to hear the latest scholarship and see (at least some) familiar faces. Rather than an in-person meeting, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted IQSA (along with the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature) to shift to a virtual format with talks and special events spread out over two weeks.

Despite the changes, the association was still able to hold twelve panels on topics ranging from the Qurʾān’s relationship with the Bible or the Late Antique milieu to manuscript studies and exegetical reflections. Talks were broadcast live around the globe, giving speakers the ability to answer questions from the audience and facilitate communication between participants via the chat and Q&A features. Events that typically take place over light refreshments like the General Reception, Business Meeting, and Graduate Student Luncheon also transitioned to the Zoom platform. Rounding out the program was a Presidential Address from Asma Hilali (which opened the conference on November 30) and a Closing Session on December 10 looking back at the panoply of topics probed, debated, and defended by the forty-one panelists.

IQSAZOOMWhile of course members would prefer to be able to meet together face to face—and despite the undeniable reality of Zoom fatigue—the benefit of the virtual format was in opening up the conference to scholars for whom travel to the traditional forum would be prohibitively expensive. This was reflected in the strong attendance across the board for this year’s talks; despite the travails of scheduling, technology, and different time zones, most panels drew a comparably sized audience as they would have in a more traditional year.

Turning to the future, the IQSA community is hoping for a faraj after the shidda of 2020 and looking forward to future conferences that build off the lessons of this year’s unusual circumstances (not to mention actually seeing each other in the flesh!). The ninth century scribe and poet Abū al-ʿAbbās Ibn Thawābah, anticipating to his freedom from prison, offers us some solace—and hopefully augurs a better 2021 for our modern world as well:

عواقبُ مكروهِ الأمور خيارُ … وأيّامُ سوءٍ لا تدومُ قصارُ
وليس بباقٍ بؤسُها ونعيمُها   … إذا كَرَّ ليلٌ ثمّ كَرَّ نها

Dire events lead to good things.
Hard times are short: they pass.
Pain does not endure, but time
brings joy, and joy will last.

(al-Tanūkhī, al-Faraj baʿd al-shidda, trans. Julia Bray: Stories of Piety and Prayer: Deliverance After Adversity, 217; the lines have also been attributed to al-Shāfiʿī)

On behalf of IQSA, we thank all of our program unit chairs, board and committee members, and participants for their unwavering support that made this unprecedented event possible. Follow us IQSA Blog, Facebook, and Twitter for updates as we transition into the New Year!

By Conor Dube (Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University)

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

Welcoming New IQSA Lifetime Member: Abdulla Galadari


It is with great honor that the International Qur’anic Studies Association welcomes a new lifetime member: Abdulla Galadari (Khalifa University of Science & Technology). Abdulla has had different incarnations in the past, before settling in his present one. His previous academic and professional training was fully emerged in engineering, sciences, and mathematics earning Civil Engineering PhD from the University of Colorado. He worked simultaneously in the industry and in academia. Yet, he still delved into the humanities, as well, earning a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Aberdeen.

Abdulla-Galadari_Abdulla publishes academic books and articles in various venues. He is also the convener of the Qur’an and Islamic Tradition in Comparative Perspective Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature. He is invited to give lectures at various universities around the world, such as Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of Notre Dame, and others.

What drives humanity is curiosity, and Abdulla takes that to heart. He is always fascinated by the big questions of life. His main field of inquiry is Qur’anic Studies, especially in relation to its Late Antiquity context with its Biblical, extra-biblical rabbinic engagements, as well as comparative theology and Christology. Because he is well-versed in both science and religion, they allow him to have a unique perspective in understanding religion not only from the historical perspective, but also from the scientific perspective.

Abdulla is also highly engaged with interfaith dialogue continuously participating in the Parliament of the World’s Religions. He is a licensed mediator and always uses his skills to mediate between various religions, as well as between science and religion. Reflecting on IQSA in particular, he comments “I was introduced to IQSA in 2012 by its founding co-directors (Gabriel Reynolds and Emran El-Badawi) when it was first formed. IQSA is more than just a learned society. It is family and like any family, its strength stems from its diverse voices. Different approaches to scholarship from a wide spectrum are welcomed and encouraged. This openness is highly commended as it unites many scholars of different backgrounds making one thrilled to be part of this inclusive family.”

Please join us in welcoming IQSA’s seventh lifetime member! Read about membership tiers and benefits at this link.

Content adapted from Khalifa University’s Faculty Bio.

IQSA Closing Session: Annual Meeting 2020

The first ever Virtual Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association will come to a close tomorrow, Thursday December 10, after a successful program of special events, addresses, and panels with scholars from around the globe. IQSA thanks its affiliates at the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion, in addition to its programming coordinators and officers, for making this unprecedented event possible during the current global health crisis.

A friendly reminder that IQSA will hold its Closing Session (open to all registered meeting attendees) tomorrow, December 10 from 1-1:30pm EST. The code for this session is P10-206b and login link is available in the desktop and mobile app virtual planner.

This short gathering will provide an opportunity for members to finish the IQSA Annual Meeting with closing remarks and a farewell from the current Executive Director, Emran El-Badawi, and an introduction to the new Executive Director for the coming calendar year. In addition, election results for the 2020 Officer and Director polls will be announced by Chair of the IQSA Board, Holger Zellentin. This session can be accessed via the virtual planner by navigating to Thursday, December 10 on the calendar after logging in using your registration reference number as your user name and your last name as your password.

Please note that in line with IQSA privacy laws, this session will not be recorded. Recordings of select sessions are available online through the Virtual App/Desktop Planner just like a live session through January 31, 2021. Simply navigate to the event in the planner and click “View Recording” after the session has concluded. Please note that the only sessions recorded are those in which the listed participants have granted permission. If the participants have not granted permission, a recording will not be available due to licensing restrictions.

On behalf of IQSA, we thank you for your continued support for the entirety of this unprecedented event and look forward to seeing you virtually tomorrow!

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

Reminder: IQSA Elections 2020

Attention IQSA members,

A friendly reminder that given the unprecedented circumstances, this year’s IQSA elections are being conducted online. Each active member will be polled for their vote exclusively through the IQSA members portal via your unique login. The election will close on December 9, 2020 at 12pm EST. Election results will be announced at the Annual Meeting Closing Session on December 10, 2020.

IQSA 2020 Officer Elections

IQSA 2020 Director Elections

Questions? Email We are delighted to have you as part of the IQSA community!

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

Bring your questions for IQSA to the General & Business Meetings!

Dear Friends of IQSA,

Today IQSA members and the general public will have the opportunity to gather virtually as a group for the IQSA Annual Business and General Meetings. As we are not able to convene in person this year, this will be a valuable opportunity for members and the wider community to converse in a group setting for discussion of important agenda items, including but not limited to elections, plans for future meetings, and IQSA’s annual operations. 

We invite you to use this opportunity to bring any questions or concerns you might have for IQSA Leaders and Officers to either or both of the below sessions. IQSA representatives will do their best to answer and address all inquiries, especially in light of the challenging times we are facing as a global community of scholars today.

  • Business Meeting Wednesday DEC 2, 10-11AM EST
    • Members Only
  • General Meeting Wednesday DEC 2, 11:30AM-12:30PM EST
    • Open to Public

Attendees can find links and instructions on accessing sessions through the Virtual Planner at this link. Because of this year’s virtual meeting format on Zoom, meeting registration is required for participation.

Need Technical Support? Visit the SBL Help Desk online!

We look forward to gathering with you and the IQSA community!


IQSA Executive Office

Giving Tuesday: Promoting Scholarship and Building Bridges in a Virtual World


Dear Friends of IQSA,

For over seven years the International Qur’anic Studies Association has made fostering Qur’anic scholarship its mission. The Qur’an is an integral part of world literature, and it has shaped and continues to shape the world in which we live. IQSA is mindful of its members, partners, and friends during this difficult time, and we want to reach out to those among you who can afford to support IQSA when the organization needs it most at a time when our operational costs remain high despite cutting back on operations themselves. By giving to IQSA as you are able, you are promoting high quality scholarship and building bridges across the globe, which in turn has positive ripple effects on high quality education, journalism, publishing and public engagement.

IQSA is the only non-profit learned society exclusively dedicated to convening regular Qur’an conferences in North America and in Muslim majority countries around the world, as well as to publishing rigorous cutting edge scholarship on the Qur’an. Within seven short years IQSA has convened eleven major conferences. These have included large scale conferences in throughout major US cities, Carthage, Palermo, Tunisia and Jogjakarta, Indonesia, as well as co-sponsored panels in Berlin, Germany and St. Andrews, Scotland. IQSA conferences showcase cutting edge research on manuscripts, historical documents, and high tech digital resources, as well as debate critical issues including methodology, hermeneutics and gender. This is possible because IQSA members include the very best scholars in the field.

The fourth issue of the bilingual Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA) was released this year, and IQSA’s publications in the Studies in the Qur’ān series are now available from ISD. In addition, IQSA now sponsors free weekly online seminars through Zoom to bring scholars and students of the Qur’an together at a time when many are in social isolation in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame. IQSA members receive free access to JIQSA, the Review of Qur’an Research (RQR), the exclusive member directory (including world renowned Qur’an specialists), and PhD students and recent graduates gain valuable professional development experience. Lifetime and Institutional members carry additional member benefits. IQSA also rewards junior scholars and international academics with the opportunity to learn from colleagues around the world and publish their research. By giving, you help IQSA keep membership dues low and you reward those members of our community who need it most.

It goes without saying that the current political climate has made our task — especially critical scholarship and building bridges — more important than ever. As academics, professionals and philanthropists we have a duty to support the Humanities and Social Sciences at a time when they are under threat. This also means we have the opportunity to bring about a much more intellectual discussion of the Qur’an when the public needs it most.

IQSA was founded by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and is now funded through the generous support of its members, partners and friends. Please take time this #GivingTuesday to DONATE NOW to further IQSA’s mission across the globe.

Most gratefully,

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director
International Qur’anic Studies Association |