IQSA Job Vacancy: Copy Editor

The International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA), a non-profit organization, seeks a copyeditor for freelance contract work on its three scholarly publication projects: JIQSA (annual journal), ISIQ (monograph series), RQR (monthly review of books). This is a deadline-driven position with overlapping seasonal workflows where diverse specialized texts require detailed technical editing in short turnaround times. Work is remote-desk and may be performed from any geographical location in the United States. This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys high-performance work and is looking to join a collaborative team of scholars in a dynamic professional field.

Position will report directly to Head Editor of JIQSA, but will also collaborate with other members of IQSA’s editorial and executive teams as appropriate.

Position open until filled.


  • check texts to ensure they are well written and logically structured
  • correct grammar and spelling
  • check illustrations and captions
  • ensure texts conform to JIQSA Style Guide
  • check facts and raise queries with Head Editor
  • look out for potential legal problems and discuss them with the Head Editor
  • other duties as assigned


  • Education: B.A. in English, journalism, Near Eastern languages, or other relevant field in the liberal arts, humanities or social sciences
  • excellent written English, including proper spelling and grammar
  • working knowledge of classical Arabic and relevant systems of transliteration
  • a meticulous approach to texts and an eye for detail
  • the ability to maintain high-quality work while meeting tight deadlines
  • strong concentration and ability to focus on texts that may be lengthy and highly technical
  • clear judgement in applying house style
  • the ability to retain authors’ voices after editing
  • excellent collaboration skills


  • M.A. or graduate study in relevant field
  • specialist interest in Qur’anic Studies or related disciplines
  • working knowledge of additional foreign languages (esp. Persian, Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, German, or French)


  • Contract may be negotiated as hourly or by project; rate commensurate with qualifications and experience
  • Free access to IQSA member benefits

Interested candidates should submit resume/CV and cover letter to



Advertising with IQSA

The International Qur’anic Studies Association is now extending advertising opportunities for interested publishers! See below for new print and online advertising offerings.

  1. Advertise in the Annual Meeting Program Book – Every year the International Qur’anic Studies Association holds an Annual Meeting in conjunction with the Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion, attracting a wide audience in the scholarly community from across the nation. The accompanying Program Book published by IQSA is read by hundreds at the Annual Meeting and thousands around the world, providing a critical platform for relevant businesses market their publications and services. Email to reserve an advertising space today!
  2. Advertise in Print – IQSA provides advertising space in three of its flagship publications: the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (JIQSA), the monthly Review of Qur’anic Research, and the forthcoming monograph series IQSA Studies in the Qur’an (ISIQ). Email for details.
  3. Advertise Online – While IQSA does not currently hold a a physical headquarters, its website serves as the central meeting point and face of the organization visited by hundreds of members and non-members every day. Email to inquire about advertising with us online via
  4. Send an Email to IQSA Members – IQSA will send emails on behalf of publishers and other advertisers of interest to our members. The publisher/advertiser is responsible for composing the email. Please contact the Executive Office at for more information.

How to Register for the 2017 Annual Meeting: Step by Step Instructions

Registration is NOW OPEN for the IQSA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts from November 17-20, 2017. You can save on the registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member! Go HERE for Step by Step Instructions on Joining IQSA. Scroll down for Step by Strep Instructions on registering for the Annual Meeting.

Step 1: Open a web browser and go to SBL’s Meetings and Events page. Select “Register for the Annual Meeting” under the “Registration and Housing” heading.


Step 2: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “New Registration” under the “Affiliate Members” heading.


Step 3: Click “New Registration.”

New Registration

Step 4: Fill in your Last Name and Email address (there is no identifier code for IQSA members). Click “Continue.”


Step 5: Select “International Qur’anic Studies Organization” from the drop-down menu and fill in the rest of the required fields. Click “Continue.”


Step 6: Select your Child Care, Visa Letter, and Program Book preferences and fill in your disability accommodations and emergency contact information. Click “Continue.”


Step 7: Complete your preferences for events, tours, environmental options, and luncheons (noting the extra charge per item). Click “Continue.”


Step 8: Select your housing and accommodation preferences and click “Continue.”


Step 9: Fill in your arrival and departure dates, occupancy, special requests, and payment information. IQSA events will take place from November 17-20. Click “Continue.”


Step 10: Choose if you will be registering as a guest, noting the additional price. Click “Continue.”


Step 11: Complete method of payment information, noting the Terms and Conditions and Cancellation Policy. Click “Make Payment.”


Step 12: Print or email the confirmation and receipt/invoice for your own records, following the instructions in the dialog boxes.


You are now finished registering for the IQSA Annual Meeting! We look forward to seeing you in Boston!

Please email for any questions or concerns.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

From Medina to Oxford, from Codex to the Cloud: Scenes from the Life of the Qur’an

Venue:            Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Oxford 
Speaker(s):    Nicolai Sinai, University of Oxford; Alasdair Watson & Keith Small, Bodleian Libraries
Date/Time:     30 May 2017, 4:00- 6:00 PM
In a collaborative presentation, three Oxford scholars will present crucial waystations in the life of the Qur’an. Nicolai Sinai will guide the audience through current research seeking to reconstruct the literary genesis of the Qur’anic texts in late antique Arabia; Alasdair Watson will examine how early modern collectors and adventurers first introduced Qur’anic manuscripts to European libraries, including the Bodleian; and Keith Small will show how Qur’anic codices that have been dispersed by the vagaries of early modern manuscript hunting can now be virtually reunited by cutting-edge digital technology.
All are welcome but tickets must be reserved in advance.
For more details, see:


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

‘The Digital Muṣḥaf Project’: A New and Unique Resource for Qur’an Manuscript Studies

The Oriental Manuscripts Division of the Special Collections at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford would like to announce the launch of a new portal for viewing the dispersed fragments of early Qur’ān manuscripts called ‘The Digital Muṣḥaf Project’, which can be accessed at Here you can view 85 folios of high definition colour images of a parchment Qur’ān manuscript in page order as if they were physically reunited in one location.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 2.04.39 PM

We are launching this portal with the modest beginning of reuniting 85 of 334 known folios of one Qur’ān codex, a 3rd/9th or early 4th/10th century Abbasid Kufic manuscript which is dispersed over at least 10 museum and library collections. The 85 folios we have chosen for the initial project are from the collections of the Bodleian Library, the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, the Chester Beatty Library, and the Herzog August Bibliotek at Wolfenbüttal, Germany. We desire to complete the reunification of this manuscript in a continuing project as well as add other early dispersed parchment Qur’āns.
Alasdair Watson, the Bahari Curator of Persian Manuscripts and the Curator of Islamic  Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, and Dr. Keith E. Small, a Qur’ānic Manuscript Consultant and formerly Honorary Fellow to the Bodleian Library’s Centre for the Study of the Book, are co-leading this project and maintaining the site.
This portal represents the first attempt to reunite a dispersed Qur’an manuscript online. It holds out great promise for setting a new standard of both access to manuscripts, and completeness in the presentation of basic bibliographic and codicological information for scholarly research. In making images of manuscripts from varying collections available through a common portal, it presents a cost effective way of gaining access to images, and also provides a very direct advertisement of the treasures held in the various collections involved. It also will assist in the conservation of these important and fragile resources.
We gratefully acknowledge funding from The Islamic Manuscript Association, the assistance of Computer Services at Oxford University, and the cooperation of the four libraries mentioned which have all made this portal possible.
Please feel free to use this site for your research of early Qur’ān manuscripts. Also, if you come across a leaf or folio that might be from this parchment but is unknown to us, please let us know so that we can investigate it and if possible, include it on the site. Please also let us know your suggestions for improving the site. The Digital Muṣḥaf Project email address is:


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

2017 Annual Meeting Early Bird Registration OPEN

It’s that time of year! Early Bird Registration is NOW OPEN for the IQSA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings in Boston, Massachusetts from November 18-21, 2017. Register as an affiliate member HERE. Discounted Early Bird prices end May 19, so don’t wait!

You can save on the registration fee by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member! The membership fees for IQSA are $25, $50, and $75 depending on the level. To become an IQSA member click HERE.

Member benefits not only include discounted conference rates, but also the newly released first issue of IQSA’s flagship journal, the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association by Lockwood Press. JIQSA, vol. 1 (2016) is co-edited by Michael Pregill (Boston University) and Vanessa De Difis (Wayne State University) and features new research on the Qur’an. The editors offer an insightful introductory essay on the scope and subject matter of JIQSA, locating the field of Qur’an Studies today “between the Bible and Tafsir.” Articles include the 2015 presidential address by Reuven Firestone on and a response by Ebrahim Moosa, as well as a number of original contributions by international scholars, including posthumous contributions by Patricia Crone and Ali Mabrouk.

IQSA members have FREE online access to JIQSA 1 via the MEMBER PORTAL on Non-members can gain access by signing up for membership HERE. At this time institutions are strongly encouraged to subscribe for print or online access by filling out this SUBSCRIPTION FORM. Print subscriptions are also available for individual subscribers via THIS FORM.

Questions about JIQSA, IQSA membership, or Annual Meeting Registration? Email us at

We hope you’ll join us as an IQSA member and meet us in Boston!


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.

Unlocking the Medinan Qur’an

Conference Report: International Workshop held at Pembroke College, Oxford   (19–21 March 2017)

The surahs and passages that are commonly associated with the Medinan period of Muhammad’s life occupy a key position in the formative history of Islam. They fundamentally shaped later convictions about the paradigmatic authority of Muhammad and thereby fueled the post-Qur’anic emergence of the hadith canon; they constitute an important basis for Islam’s development into a religion with a strong focus on law; and it is by and large only in Medinan texts that we find injunctions to militancy and an explicit demarcation of Islam from Judaism and Christianity. A proper comprehension of the Medinan Qur’an is thus crucially important to our understanding of Islamic religious history in general. At the same time, the Medinan surahs have proven much more recalcitrant to scholarly analysis than the texts that are customarily assigned to the Qur’an’s Meccan period. The workshop Unlocking the Medinan Qur’an, funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant reference AH/M011305/1), assembled an international group of scholarly experts, from doctoral students to senior professors, to grapple with the Qur’an’s Medinan layer from a variety of methodological vantage points and historical premises. A generous donation by Brian Wilson, a long-standing benefactor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, made it possible to open up the proceedings to a much more extensive audience than had originally been anticipated.

Perhaps the most fundamental question to be posed during the workshop was whether and to what extent the subdivision of the Qur’anic corpus into an earlier Meccan and a later Medinan layer, a division inherited from medieval Islamic scholarship, remains a valid assumption for contemporary literary and historical research. Most speakers seemed comfortable continuing to employ the distinction, if only to designate the fact that the material that medieval Muslim and/or modern scholars have allocated to the Qur’an’s Medinan period is united by a certain number of salient stylistic, terminological, and doctrinal features that set it apart from the remaining portions of the Islamic scripture. Many of the papers accordingly explored specific themes and preoccupations that are prima facie characteristic of the Medinan Qur’an. Andrew O’Connor (University of Notre Dame) investigated the significantly increased status and authority that Medinan surahs ascribe to the Qur’anic Messenger, memorably characterised by David Marshall as Muhammad’s “godward movement”, and examined cases in which the Medinan surahs’ signature demand of obedience to “God and His Messenger” seems to be present in, or foreshadowed by, Meccan surahs. A flip side of the Medinan surahs’ demand for obedience to the Messenger is constituted by their denigration of some of their recipients as “hypocrites” lacking in obedience and commitment, a term whose etymology and meaning was analysed by Devin Stewart (Emory University). Legal and ritual commandments in the Medinan surahs were addressed by Angelika Neuwirth (Free University Berlin) and Holger Zellentin (University of Nottingham). Neuwirth reconstructed the likely pre-history of the change of the direction of prayer (qiblah) mandated in Q 2:142–150, maintaining that it most likely supplanted a qiblah towards Jerusalem that had already been introduced prior to the hijrah, while Zellentin examined the late antique context of a number of legal and law-related passages such as Q 4:15–18, which Zellentin argued contains a prohibition of sex between men and of sex between women.

Perhaps the central problem in the study of the Medinan surahs is the question of their literary organisation as well as their compositional history. The topic was first broached by Marianna Klar (SOAS), who presented an analysis of the opening section of Q 2 (vv. 1–39) in the light of a multitude of lexical and structural parallels from other surahs, both Meccan and Medinan. Klar argued that the introduction of Q 2, which is strikingly reminiscent of two Meccan surah openings, was crafted in order to serve as the prelude to an already extant Medinan sermon beginning at v. 40. Adam Flowers (University of Chicago) proposed that Medinan surahs should generally be seen as secondary compilations of genetically independent prophetic utterances and outlined an analysis of Q 49 into its component pronouncements. Nora K. Schmid (Free University Berlin) contrasted the different ways in which both Meccan and Medinan surahs employ questions and then went on to embed the Qur’anic use of questions in late antique literary culture. Nicolai Sinai (University of Oxford) examined the phenomenon of serially iterated paragraph openers, especially vocatives, showing that these are frequently employed to engender compositionally meaningful patterns of clustering and alternation that serve as the structural backbones of many Medinan texts.

The workshop’s remaining presentations engaged in a study of specific surahs or passages. Walid Saleh (University of Toronto) undertook a detailed analysis of Q 16, which Saleh proposed to read, not as a Meccan surah that was subsequently updated by a number of Medinan insertions, but rather as a “transitional text” documenting the incipient emergence of some key themes and concepts of the Medinan Qur’an. Gabriel Reynolds (University of Notre Dame) analysed Q 61 and 66, two comparatively short surahs that are conventionally classed as Medinan. Responding to Andrew Bannister’s recent contention that the Qur’an’s heavy reliance on formulaic language points to oral composition, Reynolds reminded the audience of Gregor Schoeler’s finding that Abbasid-era poetry that was certainly composed in writing can nonetheless be highly formulaic. An opposing position – namely, that the employment of formulaic systems does indicate oral composition – was espoused by Cecilia Palombo (Princeton University), whose paper focussed on the use of formulaic language in different Qur’anic accounts of the Israelites’ worship of the Golden Calf. Joseph Witztum (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) examined the passages in which the Israelites (Q 2:55–56 and 4:153) and Moses (Q 7:143) demanded or requested to see God. Witztum presented a comprehensive study of the Biblical and Rabbinic antecedents to these passages and analysed the Qur’anic adaptation of pre-existing exegetical and narrative motifs. Karen Bauer (Institute of Ismaili Studies) emphasised the importance of studying Qur’anic constructions of and appeals to emotions, putting forward a detailed case study of what Bauer termed the “emotional plot” of Q 8. The workshop’s concluding presentation by Neal Robinson was dedicated to Q 5. After a critical review of Michel Cuypers’ recent monograph on the text, Robinson proceeded to explore the surah’s complex intertextual resonances, with a particular focus on the concluding section about Jesus (vv. 109–120), and put forward a novel argument in favour of dating the text to the year 631 CE.

-Nicolai Sinai, University of Oxford

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2017. All rights reserved.