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The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān (324/936)

Ibn Mujāhid and the Founding of the Seven Readings

Shady Nasser

In The Second Canonization of the Qurʾān, Nasser studies the transmission and reception of the Qurʾānic text and its variant readings through the work of Ibn Mujāhid (d. 324/936), the founder of the system of the Seven Eponymous Readings of the Qurʾān. The overarching project aims to track and study the scrupulous revisions the Qurʾān underwent, in its recited, oral form, through the 1,400-year journey towards a final, static, and systematized text.
For the very first time, the book offers a complete and detailed documentation of all the variant readings of the Qurʾān as recorded by Ibn Mujāhid. A comprehensive audio recording accompanies the book, with more than 5,000 audio files of Qurʾānic recitations of variant readings.

Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity

Politico-Cultural, Philosophical, and Religious Forms of Critical Conversation

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Edited by George H. van Kooten and Jacques van Ruiten

In Intolerance, Polemics, and Debate in Antiquity scholars reflect on politico-cultural, philosophical, and religious forms of critical conversation in the ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, and early-Islamic world. They enquire into the boundaries between debate, polemics, and intolerance, and address their manifestations in both philosophy and religion. This cross-cultural and inclusive approach shows that debate and polemics are not so different as often assumed, since polemics may also indicate that ultimate values are at stake. Polemics can also have a positive effect, stimulating further cultural development. Intolerance is more straightforwardly negative. Religious intolerance is often a justification for politics, but also elite rationalism can become totalitarian. The volume also highlights the importance of the fluency of minorities in the dominant discourses and of their ability to develop contrapuntal lines of thought within a common cultural discourse.

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Edited by Jamal J. Elias and Bilal Orfali

Light upon Light: Essays in Honor of Gerhard Bowering brings together studies that explore the richness of Islamic intellectual life in the pre-modern period. Leading scholars around the world present nineteen studies that explore diverse areas of Islamic Studies, in honor of a renowned scholar and teacher: Professor Dr. Gerhard Bowering (Yale University). The volume includes contributions in four main areas: (1) Quran and Early Islam; (2) Sufism, Shiʾism, and Esotericism; (3) Philosophy; (4) Literature and Culture. These areas reflect the enormous breadth of Professor Bowering’s contributions to the field over a lifetime of scholarship, teaching, and mentoring. Contributors: Mushegh Asatryan, Shahzad Bashir, Jonathan Brockopp, Yousef Casewit, Janis Esots, Li Guo,Tariq Jaffer, Jamal Elias, Matthew Ingalls, Mareike Koertner, Joseph Lumbard, Matthew Melvin-Koushki, Mahan Mirza, Bilal Orfali, Gabriel Reynolds, Nada Saab, Amina Steinfels & Alexander Treiger.

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Tahera Qutbuddin

In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.

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Edited by Eric F. Mason and Edmondo F. Lupieri

The seventeen studies in Golden Calf Traditions in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam explore the biblical origins of the golden calf story in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and 1 Kings, as well as its reception in a variety of sources: Hebrew Scriptures (Hosea, Jeremiah, Psalms, Nehemiah), Second Temple Judaism (Animal Apocalypse, Pseudo-Philo, Philo, Josephus), rabbinic Judaism, the New Testament (Acts, Paul, Hebrews, Revelation) and early Christianity (among Greek, Latin, and Syriac writers), as well as the Qur’an and Islamic literature. Expert contributors explore how each ancient author engaged with the calf traditions—whether explicitly, implicitly, or by clearly and consciously avoiding them—and elucidate how the story was used both negatively and positively for didactic, allegorical, polemical, and even apologetic purposes.

Locating the Sharīʿa

Legal Fluidity in Theory, History and Practice

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Edited by Sohaira Siddiqui

The study of the sharīʿa has enjoyed a renaissance in the last two decades and it will continue to attract interdisciplinary attention given the ongoing social, political and religious developments throughout the Muslim world. With such a variety of debates, and a corresponding multitude of theoretical methods, students and non-scholars are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the field. Even experts will often need to consult multiple sources to understand these new voices and provide accessible answers to specialist and non-specialist audiences alike. This volume is intended for both the novice and expert as a companion to understanding the evolution of the field of Islamic law, the current work that is shaping this field, and the new directions the sharīʿa will take in the twenty-first/fifteenth century.

Contributors are Khaled Abou El Fadl, Asma Afsaruddin Ahmad Ahmad, Sarah Albrecht, Ovamir Anjum, Dale Correa, Robert Gleave, Sohail Hanif, Rami Koujah, Marion Katz, Asifa Quraishi-Landes, David Warren and Salman Younas.

Tafsir as Mystical Experience: Intimacy and Ecstasy in Quran Commentary

Tafsīr sūrat al-baqara by Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad Shīrāzī, The Báb (1819-1850)

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Todd Lawson

In Tafsir as Mystical Experience, Todd Lawson shows how the Quran may be engaged with for meaning and understanding, the usual goal of mystical exegesis, and also how it may be engaged with through tafsīr in a quest for spiritual or mystical experience. In this earliest of the Báb’s extended works, written before his public claim to be the return of the hidden Imam, the act of reading is shown to be something akin to holy communion in which the sacred text is both entrance upon and destination of the mystic quest. The Quran here is a door to an “abode of glory” and an abiding spiritual encounter with the divine through the prophet, his daughter Fāṭima and the twelve Imams of Ithna-ʿasharī Shiʿism who inhabit the letters, words, verses and suras of the Book.

Cover calligraphy by Burhan Zahrai of Quran 53:11

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Edited by Florian Wilk

Scriptural Interpretation at the Interface between Education and Religion examines prominent texts from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic communities with a view to determining to what extent education ( Bildung) represents the precondition, the central feature and/or the aim of the interpretation of 'Holy Scripture' in antiquity. In particular, consideration is given to the exegetical techniques, the hermeneutical convictions and the contexts of intercultural exchange which determine the process of interpretation. The volume contains a methodological reflection as well as investigations of scriptural interpretation in Jewish texts from the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.E., in New Testament writings, and in witnesses from late ancient Christianity and in the Qur’an. Finally, it contains a critical appraisal of the scholarly oeuvre of Hans Conzelmann. This work thus fosters scholarly understanding of the function of scriptural interpretation at the interface between education and religion.

Rethinking Islamic Legal Modernism

The Teaching of Yusuf al-Qaradawi

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Ron Shaham

In Rethinking Islamic Legal Modernism Ron Shaham challenges the common opinion that Islamic legal modernism, as represented by Rashid Rida (d. 1935), is of poor intellectual quality and should not be considered an authentic development within Islamic law. The book focuses on the celebrated Sunni jurist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926), whom Shaham perceives as a close follower of Rida.

By studying the coherence of Qaradawi's Wasati theory of ijtihad and the consistency of its application in his legal opinions (fatwas), Shaham argues that Qaradawi, by means of eclecticism and synthesis, conducts a bold dialogue with the Islamic juristic heritage and brings it to bear on modern developments, in particular the institutional framework of the nation-state.

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Edited by Mark Beaumont

Arab Christians and the Qurʾan from the Origins of Islam to the Medieval Period is a collection of essays on the use and interpretation of the Qur’an by Christians writing in Arabic in the period of Islamic rule in the Middle East up to the end of the thirteenth century. These essays originated in the seventh Woodbrooke-Mingana Symposium on Arab Christianity held in Birmingham, UK, in 2013, and are edited by Mark Beaumont.

Contributors are: David Bertaina, Sidney Griffith, Sandra Keating, Michael Kuhn, Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala, Gordon Nickel, Emilio Platti and David Thomas