Reconstruction of a Source of Ibn Isḥāq’s Life of the Prophet and Early Qur’ān Exegesis: A Study of Early Ibn ‘Abbās Traditions

This important work is a source-critical study of a group of traditions (aḥādīth) found in Ibn Isḥāq’s Biography (Sīra) of the prophet Muḥammad, widely considered one of the most important early historical texts on the Prophet’s life. Through a meticulous isnād-cum-matn analysis, the author reveals that Ibn Isḥāq relied on Muḥammad b. Abī Muḥammad, a hitherto undocumented source of his. Important new light is also shed on problems with Ibn Hishām’s recension of Ibn Isḥāq’s Sīra.*

recon

Author: Harold Motzki (retired), is one of the world’s foremost specialists in the field of early and medieval Islamic history and law, on which he has authored multiple groundbreaking books and articles. Together with Professor Gregor Schoeler, Motzki is credited with establishing the isnād-cum-matn methodology, which seeks to reconstruct and date historical texts from the early Islamic period.

Series: Islamic History and Thought 3
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0659-8
Publication Date: May, 2017

*Content courtesy of Gorgias Press

 

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

Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage

Edited by Elisabeth Kendall, Ahmad Khan

Recent events in the Islamic world have demonstrated the endurance, neglect and careful 9781474403115_1reshaping of the classical Islamic heritage. A range of modern Islamic movements and intellectuals has sought to reclaim certain concepts, ideas, persons and trends from the Islamic tradition. Reclaiming Islamic Tradition: Modern Interpretations of the Classical Heritage profiles some of the fundamental debates that have defined the conversation between the past and the present in the Islamic world. Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic law, gender, violence and eschatology are just some of the key themes in this study of the Islamic tradition’s vitality in the modern Islamic world. This book will allow readers to situate modern developments in the Islamic world within the longue durée of Islamic history and thought.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements

Notes on Contributors

Introduction, Elisabeth Kendall & Ahmad Khan

1. Modern Shiʿite Legal Theory and the Classical Tradition, Robert Gleave

2. Muḥammad Nāṣīr al-Dīn al-Albānī and Traditional Hadith Criticism, Christopher Melchert

3. Islamic Tradition in an Age of Print: Editing, Printing, and Publishing the Classical Tradition, Ahmad Khan

4. Reaching into the Obscure Past: The Islamic Legal Heritage and Reform in the Modern Period, Jonathan A. C. Brown

5. Reading Sūrat al-Anʿām with Muḥammad Rashīd Riḍā and Sayyid Quṭb, Nicolai Sinai

6. Contemporary Iranian Interpretations of the Qur’an and Tradition on Women’s Testimony, Karen Bauer

7. Ibn Taymiyya between Moderation and Radicalism, Jon Hoover

8. The Impact of a Sixteenth-Century Jihad Treatise on Colonial and Modern India, Carole Hillenbrand

9. Jihadist Propaganda and Its Exploitation of the Arab Poetic Tradition, Elisabeth Kendall

10. Contemporary Salafi Literature on Paradise and Hell: The Case of ʿUmar Sulaymān al-Ashqar, Christian Lange

Index

Communities of the Qur’an–A Conference & Future Publication

By Emran El-Badawi

Contrary to popular belief there is not merely one reception of the Qur’an. In other words, there is no single method of reading, understanding and interpreting Islamic scripture, but rather many. Islamic civilization today has over 1 billion adherents, a rich medieval scholarly-cultural tradition spanning over 1 millennium, and a growing number of new (Muslim and non-Muslim) confessional as well as reformist movements reading the text for a modern world. Demonstrating the complex layers of this diversity was the subject of an conference I convened on Communities of the Qur’an: Modern and Classical Interpretations of Islamic Scripture.

Communities of the Qur’an was dedicated to intellectual inquiry as well as religious dialogue. At its heart this project asks the question, what is the dialectical relationship between the Qur’an and its “communities of interpretation?” How is the relationship between community and scripture mediated? Can a better understanding of each community’s reception, hermeneutics and cultural assumptions bring about a better understanding of the Qur’an for the 21st century? This project also seeks to revive the “ethics of disagreement” found in Classical Islam. The Qur’an interpreters, jurists and theologians of medieval Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba serve as examples of peaceful coexistence and tolerance in the face of vehement disagreement. On numerous occasions the historical record shows that Muslims from different legal schools or denominations, as well as Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and others, agreed to disagree.

AW

There is little disagreement about the authenticity of the Qur’an text we possess today.
However, given Islam’s long history, several confessional, scholastic and reformist
communities developed in the shadow of scripture, and arrived at sometimes diverging interpretations of its key passages. These communities include Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Feminist and other interpretive traditions. When the text commands, “ask the people of remembrance if you know not” (Q 16:43; 21:7), is it referring to the guided Imams of the prophet Muhammad’s house, to Jews and Christians or another group? Similarly, are there modern re-interpretations of Q 4:34 which states, “men are greater than women” on account of their wealth? Does the text’s identification of its own narratives as the “Sunnah of God” (Q 33:38, 62; 40:23) and His “Hadith” (Q 45:6; 56:81; 77:50) facilitate or forbid the development of a new prophetic Hadith and Sunnah? These are some of the questions and key passages around which have gathered the Communities of the Qur’an.

The challenges of today’s political climate seem greater than that of our predecessors. The religious, social and cultural diversity of the global Muslim community and the richness of its people’s traditions are under threat by extremist fundamentalism. It is Muslims themselves who have paid the greatest price for the intolerance, violence and ‘sectarianism’ undertaken in the name of religion. Furthermore, the discourse surrounding global terrorism and Islamophobia, which has spread in the wake of the September 11th attacks, 2001 and the Arab uprisings of 2011, has only polarized members on both sides of the debate. As a result, the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred scripture and an integral part of world literature, has become the subject of misuse and misunderstanding. More than ever before, leaders from within and without the global Muslim ummah have the opportunity to protect the diversity of Islamic civilization and promote religious tolerance as well as peaceful coexistence broadly speaking.

The conference was hosted by The Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance. It hosted presentations by eight  international speakers (in order of presentations: Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Dr. Sajjad Rizvi, Dr. Ali Asani, Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Dr. Amina Wadud, Councelor Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dr. Todd Lawson, Dr. Aminah Beverly McCloud), three panel chairs (Dr. Hina Azam, Dr. David Cook and Dr. Emran El-Badawi), welcoming remarks by Boniuk director and Rice University Professor, Dr. Paula Sanders, and parting words by philanthropist, Dr. Milton Boniuk. The conference took place March 10-11, 2016, and will eventually turn into a book. Visitors can access VIDEO to all eight presentations at the official conference website HERE.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2016. All rights reserved.

Claiming Tradition Colloquium at Pembroke College, Oxford

By Nicolai Sinai

OXFORD—In doing modern Islamic intellectual history, it is easy to succumb to the temptation to concentrate one’s analytic efforts mainly on the specifically “modern” aspects of the thinkers and texts in question. In part, this may simply result from identifying one’s subject as “modern Islamic and/or Arabic thought,” extending, as it does, an implicit invitation to think primarily about the novel themes, ideas, and modes of communication that distinguish the intellectual production of the 19th and 20th centuries from earlier ages. In addition, apologetic presentations of modern values and ideas as already enshrined in the canonical sources of Islam often trigger predictable interventions by Western scholars—insisting, for example, that the Qur’anic reference to shūrā cannot really be equated with a call for democracy. However, to primarily position writers of the colonial and post-colonial periods against the background of contemporary events and modern Western thought entails the risk of viewing their moorings in the pre-modern tradition as superficial and rhetorical, or as precluding the exercise of any agency over it. Thus modern writers emerge either as strategically employing traditional concepts and ideas in order to serve as transparent guises for what are “really” imported Western notions, or as compulsively (and sometimes aggressively) parroting ancient traditions in an act of intellectual resistance.

Studying the intellectual history of the modern Islamic world, then, requires a difficult hermeneutical balancing act: without overlooking contemporary references, it is imperative to accord appropriate weight to the manifold and often complex ways in which Islam’s canonical texts and the pre-modern interpretive tradition are invoked, redirected and reconfigured—even where this does not directly contribute to locating an author on an ideal spectrum running from “modernism” to “Islamism.”

That such an approach can potentially facilitate a perception of modern Islamic texts and thinkers as more sophisticated and intellectually serious than they are often presented to be—this was the underlying conjecture throughout the colloquium “Claiming Tradition: Modern Re-Readings of the Classical Islamic Heritage,” which was held at Pembroke College, Oxford, on 27–28 September 2013.

After a keynote lecture delivered by Prof. Carole Hillenbrand dealing with classical and modern understandings of the term jihād, ten scholars based in the UK and Europe examined modern re-appropriations of pre-modern texts, genres, and figures. The topics discussed included modern Shi’ite legal theory (Robert Gleave) and Sunni hadith criticism (Christopher Melchert), modern contestations over the status of Abū Ḥanīfa (Ahmad Khan) and over the significance of Ibn Taymiyya’s anti-Mongol fatwas (John Hoover), 20th-century Qur’anic exegesis (Islam Dayeh, Nicolai Sinai, Karen Bauer), the use of classical Arabic poetry by Yemeni Jihadists (Elisabeth Kendall) and of the Islamic biographical and historiographical tradition in Zaynab Fawwāz’s (d. 1914) dictionary of famous women (Marilyn Booth), and finally the selection and arrangement of  ʿUmar Sulaymān al-Ashqar’s (d. 2012) popular compilation of eschatological traditions (Christian Lange).

From different angles, all the papers illustrated the need for an in-depth mastery of pre-modern sources by students of the intellectual history of the modern Islamic world, as well as the intrinsic interest of modern debates even for scholars of classical Islam.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2013. All rights reserved.

Coming soon: The 110th volume of Études Arabes

Thanks to PISAI

Études Arabes is one of the publications of Rome’s Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI), along with Islamochristiana and EncounterThe latter two periodicals deal with different aspects of Muslim-Christian discourseIslamochristiana  printing research articles and Encounter having a more pastoral scope. Études Arabes, on the other hand, focuses on a single topic, which is treated as a monograph. As such, it aims to be a resource for students and scholars of Arabic and Islamic sciences, by providing a wide introduction to the chosen topic, enriched by an updated bibliography and a series of texts in Arabic (with  translations provided in either English, French, or Italian).

Études Arabes’ upcoming issue is devoted to the concept of “Šahīd.” It explores if and how the meaning of the term evolved from the initial Qur’anic occurrence to the current use—both in common and journalistic language as well as in the juridical debate, where the legal status of the “Šahīd” does not seem to reach a consensus among the ‘ulamā and Muslim religious authorities.

Special attention is devoted to the “legal” status of the “Šahīd.” On one hand, such a status is analyzed with reference to its mention in several different places in the Qur’an as well as in the hadith, where the principal meaning is that of witnessing/giving evidence (both in the juridical sense of giving witness in trial, as well as in the eschatological sense belonging to prophets). On the other, the term seems to recur mainly in association with reasons for death, certainly on the path of God (fīsabīl Allāh) and possibly in battle (šahīd al-ma‘raka), but also for many other causes  (šahīd al-dunyā wa-l-āẖira): certain illnesses, fires, etc.  We recall, for example, that according to a very famous tradition, death while giving birth entitles a women to be “Šahīd” (not “Šahīda,” and this is something to think about). Consequences of being acknowledged as “Šahīd” were mostly related to mourning and burial rituals.

On the other hand, whether or not one is legally “Šahīd” seems to have assumed a much greater importance in these troublesome times, when suicidal attacks have greatly increased and the consequences of a death being considered martyrdom (‘amaliyyāt istišhādiyya) or suicide (‘amaliyyāt intiḥāriyya) can be very crucial for political choices and popular support, as well as for the families of the supposed “Šahīd.”

Keeping in mind its mainly didactic character, Etudes Arabes 110 includes a basic but comprehensive overview of its specific theme. To this end, both the introductory essay and the texts offered in translation[1] are organized in the following way:

  • Definition of the term “Šahīd” (classical grammar, ancient common use)
  • The meaning of the term “Šahīd” from the classic Muslim tradition to the contemporary common use
  • Šahīd” as a legal status
  • Contemporary debate: “Šahīd”—martyrdom or suicide (and, as such, condemned)
  • All themes are treated with ample reference to the Qur’an, classical and “modern” Tafsīrfiqh, and contemporary jurisprudence.

For more info on PISAI, its activities and how to subscribe to its publications, see
www.pisai.it, which features pages in Arabic, English, French, and Italian.

[1] Taken from ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. Ġurmān b. ‘Abd Allāh al-Karīmī al-‘Umarī,  Aḥkām al-šahīd fī l-fiqh al-islāmī, Dār al-bayān al-ḥadīṯ, al-Ṭā’if  (al-Mamlaka al-‘arabiyya al-sa‘ūdiyya), 1422/2001, pp. 379. 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2013. All rights reserved.

A Course on the Qur’an as Literature

By Emran El-Badawi

I offered an undergraduate course last spring for the first time on the Qur’an as Literature. My goal was simple, I wanted my students to read the text closely and interpret its verses themselves. Their apprehension, at first, to commit to this bold exercise soon gave way to an ease and skill with handling the text.

Framing this course on the Qur’an as “literature” emphasized the literary qualities of the text and de-emphasized a theological approach. It meant going deep into the rhyme, rhetoric and homiletic nature of the text. It also entailed divorcing the text, to some extent, from Tafsir. I took some cautionary notes from Andrew Rippin’s article on the pitfalls of “The Qur’an as Literature,”[1], but some of this was new territory for me.

(greenzblog.com)

(greenzblog.com)

Part of the course description reads:

This course examines the content and literary style of the Qur’an and in the context of the late antique Near East, ca. 2nd-7th centuries CE. We will read the text alongside the texts belonging to the “People of the Scripture” (ahl al-kitab), i.e. Christians and Jews, and other religious groups explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an. Their scriptures include the Hebrew Bible (al-Tawrah), the New Testament (al-Injil), Zoroastrian texts (cf. al-majus) and Arabian prophetic speech (shi‘r kahin). This comparative approach will provide students with a rich understanding of the Qur’an as an integral part of world literature, and challenge contemporary and traditional assumptions about the text. This approach will also allow the Qur’an to speak for itself, rather than reading it through the eyes of medieval interpretation (Tafsir) or prophetic tradition (Hadith) which began in the 9th century CE. This course also exposes students to some of the scholarly challenges of studying the different layers of a text (Meccan vs. Medinan), identifying its audience, trying to construct the history of its transmission (oral vs. written) without much evidence, and to the limits of translation.

Fortunately, the class size was fairly small, 15 or so, and students came from different religious as well as cultural backgrounds, which made for much lively discussion and debate. Students were pushed to think critically and in a systematic function about the Qur’an, as well as challenge their own assumptions about the text. For students I find two principle barriers that stand between them and the Qur’an. These are the ‘politicization of the text’ on the one hand, and the ‘confusion of the text with traditional interpretation’ on theother. More broadly speaking, I wanted them to appreciate scripture not just as a religious text, but as an integral part of world literature that holds value in the academy.

For an undergraduate course like this, all instruction and materials were in English. Reading materials included  How to Read the Qur’an by Carl Ernst (who incidentally has a terrific course on this subject!) [2] and several supplementary articles including: a rhyming translation of Q 93-114 by Shawkat Toorawa, a qur’anic reading of the Psalms by Angelika Neuwirth, and a humanistic reception of the text by me.[3] Students were encouraged but not required to buy a translation of the Qur’an, given the plethora of translations online. (Although for practical purposes we used Yusuf Ali’s translation during class time). Finally, included in the course materials were sections of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, post-biblical exhortations (e.g. Ephrem the Syrian), Zoroastrian texts and Pre-Islamic poetry. For some students it was the first time they had read the Qur’an; for others the first time they read the Bible. In both cases, students expressed how pleased they were at this eye-opening experience and fruitful exchange.

The course benefited a great deal from following stories posted on the IQSA blog (that’s right, this blog!) and the Qur’an Seminar at the University of Notre Dame, which was still running at the time. To my surprise, students were both curious and welcoming of the technical dimensions of Qur’an study. Some of our best discussions, for example, involved scrutinizing the rhyme of Arabic poetry or considering a particular Syriac word. The course naturally explored a number of qur’anic themes like apocalypticism, prophecy, law, etc, as well as introduced students to debates concerning the text’s chronology, speaker and structure. My happiest moment was when a student expressed to me how the course “made the Qur’an part of a much more intellectual conversation.”

Teaching this course was a tremendous learning experience for both the students and myself. The students learned how to navigate a sometimes unwieldy text and appreciate its tremendous contribution to the world in which they live. Collectively, we learned that as long as one approaches any scripture respectfully as well as critically, the task of understanding it becomes that much easier.


[1] Andrew Rippin, “The Qur’an as literature: perils, pitfalls and prospects,” Bulletin of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 10.1, 1983.

[2] Carl Ernst, How to Read the Qur’an: A New Guide with Select Translations, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

[3] Shawkat Toorawa, “’The Inimitable Rose’, being Qur’anic saj‘ from Surat al-Duhâ to Surat al-Nâs (Q. 93–114) in English rhyming prose,” Journal of Qur’anic Studies, 8.2, 2006; Angelika Neuwirth, “Qur’anic readings of the Psalms” in Ed. Angelika Neuwirth et al. (eds.), The Qur’an in Context, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2009; Emran El-Badawi, “A humanistic reception of the Qur’an,” Scriptural Margins: On the Boundaries of Sacred Texts, English Language Notes, 50.2, 2012.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2013. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Colloquia in the UK

Thanks to Nicolai Sinai and Mehdi Azaiez

Islamic Studies Colloquium

CLAIMING TRADITION: MODERN REREADINGS OF THE CLASSICAL ISLAMIC HERITAGE


Organisers: Elisabeth Kendall, Ahmad Khan, Christopher Melchert, Nicolai Sinai
Venue: Pembroke College, Oxford. OX1 1DW
Date: 27-28 September 2013

Both the resurgence of Islamist politics and the political, social, and intellectual upheaval accompanying the Arab Spring challenge us to reconsider the interplay between the pre-modern Islamic tradition and modern proponents of continuity, reform, and change in the Muslim world. The colloquium therefore invites scholars with an in-depth knowledge of the classical Islamicate heritage to explore modern texts that stake out some sort of claim to pre-modern traditions in disciplines as diverse as Islamic law, hadith, Qur’anic exegesis, politics, and literature. The colloquium will encourage specialists to embark on a hermeneutically sophisticated exercise that avoids some of the extremes to which an examination of how the classical heritage functions in the modern Islamic world has often been subjected. The colloquium aims to move beyond works that contain the tacit assumption that modern Muslims are subconsciously steered by the Islamic tradition, without exerting any sort of agency or control over it, and studies that suggest that modern Muslim thinkers arbitrarily distort elements of the tradition to which they lay claim. Instead, we invite scholars to consider modern re-appropriations of pre-modern concepts, texts, persons, and events, and thereby to transcend an increasing bifurcation between classical and contemporary Islamic studies.

Participants:

Carole Hillenbrand (University of Edinburgh), Robert Gleave (University of Exeter), Christopher Melchert (University of Oxford), Ahmad Khan (University of Oxford), Nicolai Sinai (University of Oxford), Islam Dayeh (Freie Universitat Berlin), Karen Bauer (Institute of Ismaili Studies), Elisabeth Kendall (University of Oxford), Marilyn Booth (University of Edinburgh), Jon Hoover (University of Nottingham), Christian Lange (Utrecht University)

Acknowledgement:

This colloquium has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Brian Wilson, a long-standing benefactor of Arabic studies at Pembroke.

Registration:

Attendance is free, but attendees must register by 16 September at ahmad.khan@pmb.ox.ac.uk

For more information, please visit here.

Ms. mehdi-azaiez.org

Ms. mehdi-azaiez.org

Fragmentation and Compilation : The Making of Religious Texts in Islam A Comparative Perspective II (30 septembre – 1er octobre)

Workshop
30 September–1 October 2013
The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
2nd Floor, Room 2.3

Convenor : Asma Hilali

Abstracts

Fragmentation and Variation in the First Islamic Graffiti (1st–2nd century AH)
Frédéric Imbert, Aix-Marseille University, France

The latest research in the field of Islamic graffiti in the first two centuries AH in the Middle East is uncovering new information about Muslim society at the dawn of Islam. Most of this information concerns the Islamic faith, the place of the Qur’an and the figure of the Prophet Muhammad, but the oldest graffiti also allow us to reflect on the status of writing during the same period. Thousands of Arabic Kufic graffiti recently discovered in Saudi Arabia and in the wider Middle East reflect an extreme fragmentation due to the quantity of inscriptions scattered all over the area. These Arabic graffiti, which were not subjected to any kind of censorship, are the expression of variation and repetition at the same time : variation of the Qur’anic text and of the attitude of people towards the new religion and the Prophet, and repetition of the religious prayers and invocations. The picture of early Islam emanating from the first Islamic graffiti is one of fragmentation.

Repetitions and Variations, and the Problem of ‘Qur’anic Variants’
Asma Hilali, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, UK

The field of Qur’anic Studies has been greatly influenced by the medieval reception of the Qur’an text manifested in the exegetical literature and by the theories related to the ‘Qur’anic variants’. The concept of ‘Qur’anic variants’ is deeply rooted in the history of the canonisation of the Qur’an and in the various assumptions made about scribal errors and falsification. My paper will provide a critique of the conceptual tools used in Qur’anic Studies in the last two decades and will propose a new perspective in the study of the textual features interpreted by the medieval and modern scholars as ‘Qur’anic variants’. The new perspective takes the fragmented aspect of the text to be inseparable from the history of its transmission.

Fragmentation, Compilation and Discourse : A Comparison of Three Arbaʿūn Collections on Jihād and Martyrdom Compiled in the Late Mamluk Period
Stephen Burge, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, UK

This paper examines the ways in which hadith scholars went about compiling hadith collections by undertaking a comparative analysis of three similar works written in the same period. The three collections are all arbaʿūn collections – short collections of around forty hadith – which focus on the themes of jihād and martyrdom. The three studied are Suyuti’s Abwāb al-suʿadāʾ fī asbāb al-shuhadāʾ (‘The Gates of the Lucky in the Occasions of Martyrdom’) and his Arbaʿūn ḥadīthan fī faḍl al-jihād (‘Forty Hadith on the Merits of Jihad’) and al-Biqāʿī’s Dhayl al-istishhād bi-āyāt al-jihād (‘The Appendix to Martyrdom in the Verses on Jihād’). I will argue that by closely analysing the material included and excluded from a hadith collection, as well as the ways in which the hadith have been arranged, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of particular nuances within a text in which a compiler does not give his views openly to his reader. This paper will argue that the ‘hadith literature’ contains a vast, almost infinite, body of texts and the job of the hadith compiler is to fragment this wider body of texts, to reconstitute them, and then to arrange them in order to provide a specific discourse on a subject. This process can be seen in the different ways the three works under consideration in this paper respond to the subjects of jihād and martyrdom.

The Qur’an’s Fragmentation and Realignment of Gospel and Talmud
Holger Zellentin, The University of Nottingham, UK

The unique ways in which the Qur’an ‘heard’ select stories from the Aramaic Gospel tradition has been considered by generations of scholars. Yet, only the most rudimentary consensus has been established about the nature of the texts with which the Qur’an’s audience was familiar, let alone the ways in which the Qur’an used these texts. The Qur’an’s utilisation of Talmudic material has received even less attention, and a consensus is even more remote. The present paper seeks to advance, one small step, our understanding of the deployment of both corpora in the Qur’an by considering them jointly. More than occasionally, the Qur’an fragments and realigns demonstrable elements of the (likely oral) Gospel and the Talmudic traditions together in order to solidify its claim of being a correction to the shortcomings of both.

Unity and Fragmentation in the Standard Text of the Qur’an : The Prophet as First Addressee and Dialogic Argumentation. Mehdi Azaiez, CNRS/IREMAM, FRANCE

As defined in discourse analysis, first addressee (or interlocutor) is the person involved in a conversation or dialogue. The figure of the Qur’an’s first addressee is a textual phenomenon linked to the structure of the text and its argumentative dimension. In my contribution, I will define the notion of the first addressee in the Qur’an, its linguistic forms and functions within the entire Qur’an. I will explore the following questions : The variety of the notions of ‘the first addressee’ ; the double aspect of fragmentation/unity of text after its collection and the role of the first addressee in the argumentative shape of the text. My contribution aims to show (i) how the dialogic relation between a Qur’anic enunciator and its first addressee reveals one of the main aspects of Qur’anic argumentation ; (ii) how the Qur’an legitimates the status of its first addressee as a prophet.

Programme

Day 1 : Monday, 30 September 2013

12:00 Arrival of speakers at hotel and lunch

14:00 Welcome
Asma Hilali, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London

14:00–16:00 Session 1 : Qur’anic Studies : From a Fragmentary Approach to an Approach about Fragmentation

Speakers : Stephen Burge, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
Asma Hilali, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
Holger Zellentine, The University of Nottingham

Discussant : Prof. Aziz al-Azmeh

This session will examine the state of the field of Qur’anic Studies. It will cover the following topics :
(i) Qur’anic manuscripts : A tool or an aim ?
(ii) Intertextuality : Methodological remarks
(iii) Fragmentation/Compilation perspectives on the Qur’an text in the context of the history of its transmission.

16:00 Break

16:20–17:50 Session 2 : Variation and Repetition in Qur’anic Texts

Chair : Holger Zellentin

Fragmentation and Variation in the First Islamic Graffiti (1st–2nd century AH)
Frédéric Imbert, Aix-Marseille University

Repetitions and Variations, and the Problem of ‘Qur’anic Variants’
Asma Hilali, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

19:00 : Speakers’ Dinner

Day 2 : Tuesday, 1st October 2013

9:00–11:00 Session 3 : Comparative Perspectives

Chair : Mehdi Azaiez, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Fragmentation, Compilation and Discourse : A Comparison of Three Arba’un Collections on Jihad and Martyrdom Compiled in the Late Mamluk Period
Stephen Burge, The Institute of Ismaili Studies

The Qur’an’s Fragmentation and Realignment of Gospel and Talmud
Holger Zellentine, The University of Nottingham

Unity and Fragmentation in the Standard Text of the Qur’an : The Prophet as First Addressee and the Dialogic Argumentation
Mehdi Azaiez, LabexResmed, Paris

11:00 General Discussion

12:00 Speakers’ Lunch

For more information, please visit here.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2013. All rights reserved.