Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 8 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.8), Sami Helewa, S.J. (Campion College, University of Regina) reviews Khaleel Mohammed’s David in the Muslim Tradition: The Bathsheba Affair (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015).

davidIn his review, Helewa writes… “The biblical story of the Israelite king David son of Jesse contains multi-dimensional elements regarding his achievements as a leader, a military strategist, a conqueror, a pious man of considerable intensity, a lover, and a monarchist. Occurring at the apex of David’s religio-political leadership, the Bathsheba storyline is perhaps the most controversial narrative element in David’s story. It stands out as an oddity in the overall narrative of David’s excellence, of his otherwise outstanding achievements in securing his people among other, rather hostile, neighbouring tribes or nations. The Qurʾān (Ṣād 38:20–26) makes strong reference to the biblical account of the episode with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12. More so, the qurʾānic commentaries through the centuries that followed the advent of Islam enriched the Islamic tradition with a variety of interpretations of David’s story. The mention of David in the Qurʾān and in the Islamic tradition had the prophetic purpose of setting the Muslim prophet Muḥammad in the same line as the biblical prophets. It is within the genre of tafsīr (qurʾānic commentary) that Khaleel Mohammed’s David in the Muslim Tradition: The Bathsheba Affair makes its mark in the important study of the Bathsheba narrative detail of David’s story. With the introduction and the conclusion chapters, the monograph is segmented into a total of seven chapters…”

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© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

A. Jamme’s Miscellanées d’ancient arabe

jammeFor those interested in Arabic philology and pre-Islamic Arabia, a new online resource is now available.

The Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR), in conjunction with the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, at The Catholic University of America is pleased to announce that digital copies of A. Jamme’s twenty-one volume Miscellanées d’ancient arabe have been made available here.

Thanks are due to Katie DeFonzo for overseeing the digitization.

ICOR is currently in the process of digitizing other items from The Père Albert Jamme, M.Afr. Collection. In addition, they aim to create a series of digital tools to facilitate access to this collection, beginning with an index of inscriptions cited in the Miscellanées d’ancient arabe.

The Père Albert Jamme, M.Afr. Collection in CUA’s Semitics/ICOR Library brings together in one place 55 years of work (ca. 1946-1999) by an eminent scholar of the languages and scripts of pre-Islamic Arabia.

Fr. Jamme (1916-2004) was a faculty member of CUA’s Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures between 1953 and 1997. He served as research epigrapher for important archeological expeditions to the Arabian peninsula.

The Jamme Collection is a large ‘integrated’ epigraphic library in which the evidence of inscribed stones, latex and paper squeezes or impressions, photographs, slides, rubbings, and line drawings of the inscriptions can be studied side by side with Fr. Jamme’s site maps, work notes and published studies, with the comparative lexical data of his Old South Arabian and Old North Arabian card indexes, and with his professional correspondence and research archives. Additional support is provided by his reference library of books and serials.

Content reproduced with the kind permission of the ICOR library.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

New Publication: Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Oxford University Press, in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, has recently published a new volume in its Qur’anic Studies Series, Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran, edited by Alessandro Cancian (Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies).approaches

The volume is composed of seventeen chapters that touch upon different aspects of the impact, understanding and use of the Qur’an in contemporary Iran. It covers the last two centuries of reflection on revelation and scripture in the Persian-speaking world. The collection is meant to provide academics working in the fields of the intellectual and religious history of early modern and modern Iran, as well as in Qur’anic Studies, with a comprehensive overview of the richness and plurality of Iran’s engagement with the Qur’an. It achieves this by bringing together different approaches from theology, mysticism, exegesis, reformism, cinema, music, and visual and popular culture.

Lloyd Ridgeon, Reader in Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow, gave the following review of the volume:

This essential work, composed of chapters authored by some of the world’s leading academics in Islamic and Iranian studies, provides a comprehensive analysis of how the Qur’an is received in modern Iran. The collection’s range of topics has been carefully considered, shedding light on modern hermeneutical problems, mystical ways of perceiving the sacred text, and its significance in modern cultural forms including cinema and music, among others. The chapters have been researched with meticulous care to detail. Approaches to the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran looks set to become a classic work.

 

For more information on the contributions to this volume, see the table of contents below:

Introduction: Alessandro Cancian

Section I: Power, Authority and Exegesis

1 Rational-analytical Tafsīr in Modern Iran: The Influence of the Uṣūlī School of Jurisprudence on the Interpretation of the Qur’an 19
Seyfeddin Kara

2 Striving Beyond the Balance (al-Mīzān): Spiritual Practice and the Qur’an in the Ṭabāṭabāʾī Ṭarīqa 41
Sajjad Rizvi

3 Privileging the Qur’an: Divorce and the Hermeneutics of Yūsuf Ṣāniʿī 77
Liyakat Takim

4 Al-Amr bi’l-maʿrūf and the Semiotics of Sovereignty in Contemporary Iran 101
Neguin Yavari

5 The Limits of a ‘Fixed’ Qur’an: The Iranian Religious Intellectual Movement beyond the Historical Methods 123
Banafsheh Madaninejad

6 Soroush’s Theory of Qur’anic Revelation: A Historical-Philosophical Appraisal 149
Yaser Mirdamadi

 

Section II: Alternative Approaches: Between Marginality and Legitimacy

7 A Sufi Defence of the Qur’an: Ḥusayn ʿAlī Shāh’s Rebuttal of Henry Martyn 185
Reza Tabandeh

8 Abrogation and Falsification of Scripture according to Shi‘i Authors in Iraq and Iran (19th–20th Centuries) 225
Rainer Brunner

9 Speaking the Secrets of Sanctity in the Tafsīr of Ṣafī ʿAlī Shāh 243
Nicholas Boylston

10 Exegesis and the Place of Sufism in Nineteenth-Century Twelver Shi‘ism: Sulṭān ʿAlī Shāh Gunābādīand his Bayān al-saʿāda 271
Alessandro Cancian

11 In the Company of the Qur’an by Muḥyī al-Dīn Ilāhī Ghomshei 291
Leonard Lewisohn

 

Section III: The Arts, Material Culture and Everyday Life

12 A Contemporary Illustrated Qur’an: Zenderoudi’s Illustrations of Grosjean’s Translation (1972) 325
Alice Bombardier

13 Women, the Qur’an and the Power of Calligraphy in Contemporary Iran 353
Anna Vanzan

14 The Divine Word on the Screen: Imaging the Qur’an in Iranian Cinema 375
Nacim Pak-Shiraz

15 Notes on Ritual Prayer in Iran: Qunūt Choices among a Group of Shi‘i Women 409
Niloofar Haeri

16 Twelver Shi‘i Women’s Appropriation of the Qur’an in Contemporary Iran 421
Ingvild Flaskerud

17 The Qur’an as an Aesthetical Model in Music? The Case of Muḥammad Riḍā Shajariyān between the Qur’an and radīf 445
Giovanni De Zorzi

Want to read more? Buy this book online.

 

Text accessed and reproduced with the kind permission of Alessandro Cancian.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 7 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.7), Maria De Cillis (The Institute of Ismaili Studies) reviews Seyfeddin Kara’s In Search of ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qurʾān (Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2018).

Insearch

In her review, Cillis writes “In his new volume, In Search of ʿAlī Ibn Abī Ṭālib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qurʾān, Seyfeddin Kara takes into account how the Shiʿi claim—that the fourth caliph and first Shiʿi Imam carried out the compilation of the Qurʾān before anyone else—has frequently been perceived as politicised bias. This, our author observes, as many scholars have done before him, has contributed to the crystallization of a negative attitude in Western academia towards the study of Shiʿi ḥadīth compilations. What is admirable and innovative in this new work is Kara’s goal of refusing to espouse any distorted, standardized preconception, and his yearning to shatter any sectarianized perspective…”

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© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

Recent Publication: The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration (The Islamic Texts Society)

The Islamic Texts Society has recently published a translation of Book XXIX of al-Ghazālĩ’s Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din), The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration, by Dr. Mohammed Rustom (Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University).

bookThe Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration is the twenty-ninth chapter of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, a monumental work of classical Islam written by the theologian-mystic Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali. Perhaps the most important chapter in the whole of RevivalThe Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration delves into the fundamental spiritual ailments and major impediments of the soul, namely pride and self-admiration. In Part One, Ghazali focuses on pride, firstly by showing how the Qur’an condemns it, then by demonstrating what pride is and what its symptoms are, how pride manifests outwardly, as well as the seven causes of pride, the root cause being self-admiration. In seeking ways to cure the soul of pride, Ghazali presents the virtue of humility as the spiritual virtue par excellence; he offers examples of true humility, of false humility, and the manner by which the seven causes of pride can be uprooted.

In Part Two, Ghazali hones in on the root cause of pride: self-admiration. As with pride, Ghazali defines self-admiration, shows the various ways it manifests inwardly, how it causes negligence, delusion and complacency, and how each of these can be remedied. The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration is therefore a genuine contribution to the field of virtue ethics. It will also be of interest to scholars and students of Qur’anic studies, given the thoroughly Qur’anic nature of Ghazali’s assessment of and proposed remedies for pride and self-admiration.

Mohammed Rustom is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University and Library of Arabic Literature Senior Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi. He is the author of the award-winning book The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla Sadra (2012) and co-editor of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (2015).

 

Praise for The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration:

“Al-Ghazali’s moral psychology forms the most lasting part of his legacy: his piercing yet thoroughly humane observations on our many foibles, in particular, have lost none of their currency. Anybody willing to examine how the vice of pride can sour the human heart and warp not only our relations with one another, but our very perception of reality, will stand to benefit from Mohammed Rustom’s excellent English translation.”

-Taneli Kukkonen, NYU Abu Dhabi

“Mohammed Rustom’s annotated translation of one of the most important parts of al-Ghazali’s hugely influential Revival admirably combines lucidity with scholarly accuracy, and is a pleasure to read. I recommend it without hesitation to anyone interested in al-Ghazali, Sufism, or virtue ethics in Islam.”

– Ayman Shihadeh, SOAS University of London

“In his vivid and lively English translation of the twenty-ninth book of the Revival, Mohammed Rustom has gone to great pains to accurately convey the highly nuanced nature of the original Arabic, thereby bringing al-Ghazali’s thought to life for the contemporary reader.”

– Steven Styer, University of Oxford

 

Want to read more? Purchase this book online, or find it in your local library.

 

Text and image accessed and reproduced with the kind permission of Mohammed Rustom.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 5 no. 6 (2019)

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In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 5, no.6), Stephen R. Burge (Institute of Ismaili Studies) reviews Harald Motzki’s Reconstruction of a Source of Ibn Isḥāq’s Life of the Prophet and Early Qurʾān Exegesis: A Study of Early Ibn ʿAbbās Traditions (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2017).

Motzaki

In his review, Burge writes “Harald Motzki, famous for his isnād-cum-matn method of analysing ḥadīth, provides a thorough examination of the way in which Ibn Isḥāq, the author of one of the more famous of the sīrahs (biographies) of Muḥammad, gathered his sources, particularly his use of one source named Muḥammad b. Abī Muḥammad, about whom little is known. In so doing, Motzki’s Reconstruction of a Source of Ibn Isḥāq’s Life of the Prophet and Early Qurʾān Exegesis takes the reader on a journey through a number of sources, along which the reader can learn much about how Ibn Isḥāq used his sources, about the final product subsequently produced by his student Ibn Hishām, and about this little-known transmitter Muḥammad b. Abī Muḥammad…”

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, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

New Publication: Communities of the Qur’an (Oneworld, 2019)

Oneworld Publications has just released a new book, Communities of the Qur’an: Dialogue, Debate and Diversity in the 21st Century, edited by IQSA’s own Executive Director, Emran al-Badawi (Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston), and Paula Sanders (Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University).

On numerous occasions throughout history, believers from different schools and denominations, and at different times and places, have agreed to disagree. The Qur’anic interpreters, jurists and theologians of medieval Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba coexisted peacefully in spite of their diverging beliefs. Seeking to revive this ‘ethics of disagreement’ of Classical Islam, this volume explores the different relationships societies around the world have with the Qur’an and how our understanding of the text can be shaped by studying the interpretations of others. From LGBT groups to urban African American communities, this book aims to represent the true diversity of communities of the Qur’an in the twenty-first century, and the dialogue and debate that can flow among them.

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From the Foreword by Reza Aslan:

“From the very beginning there were deep disagreements among Muslims over how to read and interpret the sacred text, to what degree it has been affected by the cultural norms of the society in which it was revealed, and whether historical context and independent reasoning should have a role in its interpretation. It’s just that the unique properties of the Qur’an, and the unique role it has had in the Muslim community, has, for the most part, excluded a large swath of Muslim voices from this fifteen-century debate.

This collection aims to remedy that situation by bringing together a diverse array of textual scholars who are engaging the Qur’an from perspectives that have been sorely lacking in Islamic scholarship for far too long. The inclusion of, for example, African-American, female, LGBTQ, Ahmadi, and even Baha’i voices to the centuries-long conversation about the meaning of the Qur’an is vital to ensuring the viability of this extraordinary text in the twenty-first century. Most importantly, by prioritizing engagement and disagreement, rather than the pretense of forced unity, this book is symbolic of the increasingly diverse Muslim community itself.”

Want to read more? Purchase this book online or find it in your local library!

Emran El-Badawi is Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston.

Paula Sanders is Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Text and image accessed and reproduced with kind permission of Emran El-Badawi.

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.