2018 IQSA Lifetime/Institutional Members

Dear friends across the globe,

Today is another proud and historic day for the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA). It is with great honor that I acknowledge two new lifetime members and one new institutional IQSA member as of November 2018.

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IQSA welcomes the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (CMJE) as its inaugural institutional member. CMJE is a tripartite partnership of the Hebrew Union College, the Umar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation, and the University of Southern California.

IQSA also received two new lifetime members: Dr. Daniel Brubaker and Sharif Randhawa. Daniel Brubaker (pictured on the right) is primarily a scholar of Qur’an manuscripts of the 7th to 10th centuries. He defended his doctoral dissertation titled “Intentional Changes in the Quran Manuscripts” and was awarded his PhD at Rice University in Houston in 2014. Since then he’s continued his work researching corrections in early Qurans and to date Dr. Brubaker has analyzed approximately 10,000 early Quranic manuscripts or manuscript folios in institutions and libraries throughout Europe and the Middle East and elsewhere, Doha, Kuwait, Tashkent. 

 

Sharif Randhawa (pictured on the left) completed his Bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Washington in 2018 and is currently applying for graduate school. His interests include the composition of the Qurʾan as well as its relationship with Late Antique biblical tradition. He has served as a researcher on these aspects of the Qurʾan for Bayyinah Institute, and is the author, with Nouman Ali Khan, of Divine Speech: Exploring the Qurʾan as Literature. He is also affiliated with the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Qurʾan and its Interpretation (CASQI).

IQSA’s inaugural Lifetime Members are Professor Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Director of National and International Outreach, Library of Congress, and President Emeritus, Bryn Mawr College; as well as Professor Reza Aslan, University of California in Riverside, and contributor at CNN, HBO, ABC and other media outlets. Among her many impressive achievements Professor McAuliffe is the editor of the monumental research reference work known to every student and scholar of the Qur’an today, namely the Encyclopedia of the Qur’an (2001-). Likewise, Professor Aslan is known across the world for his television appearances and best-selling books, including No God but God (2005) and Zealot (2013).

 

As a reward for their investment, lifetime members enjoy benefits in perpetuity. To accommodate the different levels of our members, IQSA offers five membership tiers starting 2018. We encourage all scholars and students in the field to consider renewing their membership or to become IQSA MEMBERS NOW.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Standing Committees, I offer a warm welcome to CMJE, Brubaker, Randhawa, and all incoming 2019 IQSA members.

Sincerely,

Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 3 no.6 (2017)

In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research, Daniel Brubaker reviews François Déroche’s Qurʾans of the Umayyads: A First Overview (Leiden: Brill, 2014), “a book that brings the full and mature range of Déroche’s multifaceted work in this field to bear upon the question of the state(s) and stages of development of the Qur’an as an object during the Umayyad period (41–132/661–750). The book’s subtitle appropriately reflects the size and complexity of the task; the closer one works with the manuscripts, the more one realizes that for each question answered others yet remain. Still, Déroche’s work has been substantially based upon the belief that the task is doable since these extant objects have something to tell us and serve as windows to the times of their production (and thereafter) and to the practices, values, and views of those who commissioned them, as well as those who produced them…”

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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, 2017. All rights reserved.

How do you distinguish fā’ from qāf in early Qur’ān manuscripts?

By Keith Small

IQSA is providing a significant platform for the exploration of paleographic and orthographic features in early Qur’ān manuscripts. Recent blogs by Alba Fedeli and Daniel Brubaker have provided windows into some of the cutting edge research in Qur’ān manuscript studies. At the recent joint SBL/IQSA track at the SBL International meeting in St. Andrews, Scotland we had a fascinating lecture by Prof. Alain George on the Mingana Palimpsest at Cambridge. I’d like to give my own brief contribution with this blog using a recent discovery made while engaged in some routine library work.

Recently, while down in the bowels of the Bodleian, avoiding Oxford’s recent heatwave and working on the catalogue of the Qur’ān manuscripts for Oxford University, curator Alasdair Watson and I observed the following spelling of the word Qur’ān in Surah Tā Hā, 20:2, in Bodleian Ms. Arab.e.179, f. 65r, l. 7:

Used with permission of the Bodleian Library, Oxford University

Used with permission of the Bodleian Library, Oxford University

There is a well known convention that in Maghribi Qur’ān manuscripts and in modern printed Warsh Qur’ans where qāf is designated with one dot above the letter, but where can one find examples of one dot below?

Frederick Leemhuis observes that in the first Islamic century this was a convention used in a few manuscripts from the Hijaz and Yemen and even in the Dome of the Rock Inscriptions.[1] Leemhuis noted four manuscripts in which he had observed this rare system: Saray, Medina 1a, in Istanbul; 01-29.2 in Ṣanʽā’; E-20 in St. Petersburg, and Cod. Mixt. 917 in Vienna. I also observed this system in the manuscript from Ṣanʽā’, 01-29.1.[2] Now, here it is appearing in manuscript in the Bodleian collection, and quite an unexpected place to find it at that.

Bodleian Ms.Arab.e.179 is an early paper Qur’ān, probably early 10th century, written in a large Eastern Kufic hand, or by its technical name, Déroche’s New Style script, most similar to his NS III classification, and similar in appearance to the 10th century parchment page, KFQ 40, pictured in his The Abbasid Tradition.[3] As a paper Qur’ān, it is a significant find in itself predating most early paper Qur’ans by a century and written in a large older Kufic hand that is a transitional script style into the New Style. Leemhuis states that to his knowledge, the rare system for dotting the qāf below the line was isolated to the Arabian Peninsula. Because of its script style, and because of the use of paper, this manuscript was probably produced much farther north and east in a more Persian sphere of influence. The manuscripts Leemhuis refers to are Hijazi and Kufi manuscripts, all written before the late 8th century CE (01-29.1 is also very early Hijazi). So here we have a bit of a mystery. How did an early orthographic convention which had apparently gone out of use reappear at least a century later and 1000 miles away? Then there is the related question, how and when did the two systems in use in Qur’āns today come to be the accepted conventions for their regions? Also, this one issue of distinguishing fā’s and qāfs is only one of many orthographic decisions that were made in Islam’s first few centuries as Arabic orthography was improved to make it a vehicle able to contain and transmit precise vocalization systems of the Qur’ān. How exactly did these larger orthographic and vocalization systems come to be invented, improved, adopted, transmitted, and ‘canonized’? In 1998, Russian Qur’ān scholar Efim Rezvan observed, [4]

Thus, it is today evident that the real history of the fixation of the Qur’ānic text attested in the early manuscripts differs in extremely serious fashion from the history preserved in the Muslim tradition. Only an analysis of manuscripts will allow us to reconstruct the true history of the canon’s establishment.

In one way, this feature Alasdair and I stumbled upon raises more questions than it answers. In another, it points to the validity of the endeavour of these careful studies on the manuscript tradition. These kinds of features show that scribes worked according to careful rules of orthography and notation, rules and conventions that would extend past barriers of time and geography, conventions that can be traced and examined in retrospect. By examining such details from the manuscripts, we can build up a better and more precise narrative of the textual development of the Qur’an.

When we meet in Baltimore in November, Alasdair and I look forward to sharing more treasures with you from the collection at the Bodleian Library.


[1] Frederick Leemhuis, ‘From Palm Leaves to the Internet’ in Jane Dammen McCauliffe, ed., Cambridge Companion to the Qur’ān, Cambridge, CUP, 2006, 147, 148.

[2] Keith Small, Mapping A New Country: Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts. PhD thesis, London: Brunel University, 2008, 139; Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011, 18-19.

[3] François Déroche, The Abbasid Tradition, London: Nour Foundation, 1992, 136, 137, 140.

[4] Efim A. Rezvan, ‘The Qur’an and Its World: VI, The Emergence of the Canon: the Struggle for Uniformity’, Manuscripta Orientalia 4 (1998), 13-54, here 23.