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Modern scholarship has long been making magic as much as observing it, by carving out and labeling particular domains and activities as rational, authentic, and normative, while marginalizing others as primitive, folkloric, and deviant. Magic-talk is never impartial or disinterested. The categories we use to analyze Islamic history are predicated on a set of unstated values and assumptions that can often obscure our understanding of the past. The ability to name, codify, and classify is precisely what generates scholarly authority through specialized knowledge. Yet, categories and the meanings behind them are also in a constant state of flux. This holds true both for the conceptual frameworks that govern western scholarship, as well as for our objects of historical inquiry. Critique does not end by merely abandoning outdated terms and the ideas that animate them or by simply fashioning new ones. Rather, the task at hand demands recognizing that second-order forms of conceptualization invariably foreclose certain possibilities of thinking in other terms. The challenge posed by our taxonomies extends beyond a matter of accounting for the surplus and deficit inherent in all translation; we must also mind how knowledge is generated and how power is exercised. Attention to the conceptual frameworks we have inherited is powerful, as it offers possibilities for thinking otherwise. This chapter reflects on the range of material covered in the present volume, while further exploring the categories we deploy to understand Islamic history, with examples drawn from the circulation and transformation of various practices and beliefs over time and place.

In: Islamicate Occult Sciences in Theory and Practice
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The account of the 'Uthmānic mushaf of Córdoba, which passed from generation to generation across the western shores of Islam, has played a prominent role in the history of al-Andalus and the Maghrib. The prized codex appears throughout historiographical and literary discourses, stretching from the Hispano-Umayyad caliphate to the dynasty of the Banū Marīn in North Africa. Brought into battle against Christians and fellow Muslims, decorated with ornate coverings, and made into the object of countless panegyrics, the 'Uthmānic codex of al-Andalus offers a glimpse into a sustained network of meaning and power. The codex came symbolically to align successive Muslim dynasties to the early history of Islam. Drawing attention to the parallel phenomena of the furta sacra and the translatio of relics in medieval Christian tradition, this article explores the broader political, religious, and literary dimensions which silhouette the veneration toward the 'Uthmānic codex.

In: Journal of Arabic Literature
In: Journal of Arabic Literature
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This article presents a description and analysis of a Persian translation and commentary of the Qurʾān, entitled Tafsīr-i munīr, by Abū Naṣr al-Ḥaddādī (d. after 400/1009), the earliest exegetical work in Persian whose author can be identified. A manuscript of this multivolume work housed in the Topkapı Palace Museum of Istanbul offers an important historical testament to the calligraphic development of Persian exegetical writing and the manners in which scholars and authorities sought creative ways to visually balance the sacred Arabic text of the Qurʾān with vernacular exegetic material. The manuscript also reveals a good deal about Qurʾānic book art, as well as the development of Persian commentaries and translations, thus offering further insight into the history of the Qurʾān across the frontiers of Central Asia and Khurasan.

In: Journal of Abbasid Studies
The Journal of Abbasid Studies (JAS), published by Brill, the Netherlands, is a platform to discuss the political, cultural, social, economic, religious and intellectual life of the Abbasid Caliphate. The journal’s time span, from c. 700 – c. 1250 A.D., is demarcated by the formative period of early Islam on the one end and the invasion of the Mongols on the other. Coverage of the Fatimid Caliphate and al-Andalus, for instance, is restricted to their relations with the Abbasids.

JAS brings scholars together who work on the classical Islamic world and who are active in different disciplines which only rarely “talk” to one another — in this way the Journal hopes to achieve a holistic contemplation of the Abbasid era.

JAS is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research and review articles in English as well as Arabic editions with English translations of short texts. Alongside two issues per year, monographs and/or collected volumes will occasionally be published as supplements to the journal.

The editors of JAS invite submissions from established and early career scholars. For more information, please email Dr. Monique Bernards at JAS@abbasidstudies.org.
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