Les trois piliers de l’Islam: Une lecture anthropologique du Coran

chabbi-coverIn the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research, Gabriel Said Reynolds reviews Jacqueline Chabbi’s Les trois piliers de l’Islam: Une lecture anthropologique du Coran. In this volume, Chabbi makes the case that Islam as we know it from medieval sources is not the same as Islam as it was in its original Arabian context. According to Chabbi, academic scholars and pious Muslims alike too often fail to recognize elements of Islam which were introduced in later centuries, and too often assume that medieval ideas about the Qurʾan reflect what the Qurʾan meant to its original, Arabian audience. Les trois piliers de l’Islam is her effort to set things straight, to recover Islam’s original message.

Full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR) is available in the members-only area of our IQSA website. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!

Call for Nominations

The IQSA Nominations Committee welcomes nominations for several positions. The IQSA Board of Directors needs to appoint a President Elect for 2018. Furthermore, the term of two members of the nominations committee, as well as the first term of two members of the board will expire by the end of 2017. Please see the IQSA bylaws for the description of the roles.

It is crucial that we receive nominations especially for the presidency and the nominations committee. As for the board, we expect the two members who are eligible for a second term to be willing to continue with their stellar work, yet it is crucial that we also receive nominations for these positions in case any new appointments should become necessary.

The Nominations Committee would like to ask all IQSA members to nominate possible candidates for these roles. Please note that the Nominations Committee strives for diversity in professional and academic participation. The consultation and discussion of nominations and submissions is done with great care and will ensure confidentiality.

You must be a paid member to nominate. If you are not a member join today. Please send your nominations to holger.zellentin@nottingham.ac.uk by November 10, 2016.

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


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


The Spirit and the Letter: Approaches to the Esoteric Interpretation of the Qur’an

9780198783336Edited by Annabel Keeler and Sajjad H. Rizvi, this volume is the first to focus specifically on esoteric interpretation as a phenomenon in the field of Qur’anic exegesis and to show the plurality of ways it has been manifested in different Muslim traditions. Concern with the inner, spiritual implications of the Qur’an has usually been associated with mystical and Sufi trends in Islam. However, there have also been exegetes among the Shi’a, as well as among philosophers, who sought to supplement their understanding of the Qur’an’s apparent meaning by eliciting deeper significations through contemplation of the verses.

The Spirit and the Letter examines the multiplicity of these esoteric approaches, covering a period that extends from the third/ninth century to the present. It includes chapters on philosophical and Shi’i exegetes, such as Ibn Sīnā (d. 428/1037) and Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1045/1635-6), in addition to studies of a range of Sufi perspectives, from al-Sulamī (d. 412/1021) and al-Qushayrī (d. 465/1072) to Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 606/1209), as well as representatives of the Ibn ‘Arabī and Kubrāwī schools. Considered together, the range of studies in this volume enable us to see what these approaches have in common and how they differ, and how the hermeneutics and content of exegesis are affected by doctrinal and ideological perspectives of various traditions and periods. Furthermore, they deepen our understanding of what actually constitutes esoteric interpretation and the need to look beyond the letter to the spirit of the Qur’anic word.

Table of contents

Notes on Contributors
Introduction Annabel Keeler and Sajjad Rizvi
Part I: Comparative Hermeneutics
1: The Countless Faces of Understanding: On Istinbā, Mystical Listening and Sufi Exegesis, Sara Sviri
2: The Interpretation of the Arabic Letters in Early Sufism: Sulamī’s Shar ma‘ānī al-urūf, Gerhard Böwering
3: Towards a Prophetology of Love: The Figure of Jacob in Sufi Commentaries on Sūrat YūsufAnnabel Keeler
4: Making it Plain: Sufi Commentaries in English in the Twentieth Century, Kristin Zahra Sands
Part II: Commentators and Texts in Focus
5: Outlines of Early Ismaili-Fatimid Qur’an Exegesis, Meir M. Bar-Asher
6: Ibn Sīnā’s Qur’anic Hermeneutics, Peter Heath
7: Qushayrī’s Exegetical Encounter with the Mi‘rājMartin Nguyen
8: Shahrastānī’s Mafātī al-Asrār: A Medieval Ismaili System of Hermeneutics?, Toby Mayer
9: Qūnawī’s Scriptural Hermeneutics, Richard Todd
10: Eschatology and Hermeneutics in Kāshānī’s Ta’wīlāt al-Qur’ānPierre Lory
11: Simnānī and Hermeneutics, Paul Ballanfat
12: Speech, Book, and Healing Knowledge: The Qur’anic Hermeneutics of Mullā Ṣadrā, Janis Esots
13: Aspects of Mystical Hermeneutics and the Theory of the Oneness of Being (wadat al-wujūd) in the work of ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī (d. 1143/1731), Bakri Aladdin
14: The Sufi Hermeneutics of Ibn ‘Ajība (d. 1224/1809): A Study of Some Eschatological Verses of the Qur’an, Mahmut Ay
15: Beyond the Letter: Explanation (tafsīr) versus Adaptation (tabīq) in Ṭabāṭabā’ī s al-MīzānAmin Ehteshami and Sajjad Rizvi

Important Reminders & Requests

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are still over one month away from the 2016 Annual Meeting of the International Qur’anic Studies Association taking place in San Antonio, Texas, USA, November 18-21. We are looking forward to another exciting meeting of scholars and friends. The preliminary conference program has been posted HERE; the official Program Book PDF will be published next month.

Please do not forget our first Panel, Presidential/Keynote Address and General Reception all taking place on Friday, Nov 18 (one day before the official start of AAR or SBL). Our Presidential/Keynote Address will be delivered by IQSA president prof. Farid Esack, with a Response by IQSA member prof. Shari Lowin. All Friday events are FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Furthermore, I invite all IQSA members to fulfill their duty as members by attending our Business MeetingSunday, Nov 20 at 11:30 am. The program this year also celebrates the launch of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA & Lockwood Press), the launch of The Quran Seminar / Le Qur’an Seminar Book (DeGruyter Press), and it features Doctoral Dissertation “Lightning Talks” as the theme of our Graduate Student Reception, a film screening of Jesus and Islam / Jésus et l’Islam and over six dozen cutting edge presentations and contributions.

IQSA was founded in 2012 as an independent learned society whose mission is to foster Qur’an scholarship, as well as peace and mutual understanding through scholarship. We are able to hold conferences and publish research thanks to your membership and donations. Running IQSA costs money. So I call upon your loyalty and generosity once again. If you have not already, please join IQSA and enjoy our member benefits (most members pay just $25 annually). If you are already a member–thank you–and please consider making a tax deductible donation. Finally, an organization is only as effective as the sum of its parts. Therefore, I request all members and friends of IQSA to subscribe to our Blog, the IQSA Discussion Groups and spread the world over social media (especially Facebook and Twitter).

Please check our website IQSAWEB.ORG regularly, and stay tuned for news on San Antonio AM 2016 as well as Tunisia International Meeting 2017. For those new to IQSA and wondering what we are all about please watch/share this video!

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Standing Committees and our partners we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all friends of IQSA, and we look forward to seeing you next month in San Antonio.


Emran El-Badawi, Executive Director

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


Book Launch: The Qur’an Seminar Commentary

quran-seminar-book-coverMehdi Azaiez and Gabriel Said Reynolds (editors) along with De Gruyter Press are pleased to announce a book launch in celebration of: The Qur’an Seminar Commentary: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qur’anic Passages / Le Qur’an Seminar: Commentaire collaboratif de 50 passages coraniques, to take place during the 2016 annual meeting of the International Quranic Studies Association in San Antonio (Sunday November 20, 1:00-2:30 p.m. Room: Texas C, 4th Level, Grand Hyatt). The Qurʾān seminar volume is a bilingual (French/English) commentary presented in an unprecedented collaborative format with the rich analysis of 25 different scholars of diverse specializations including Patricia Crone, Michel Cuypers Gerald Hawting, Andrew Rippin, Devin Stewart, and Shawkat Toorawa (see below for a full list of contributors).  The work includes commentary on fifty Qurʾānic passages including:

– Q 1, al-Fatiha
– Q 2:30-39, the angelic prostration before Adam
– Q 2:255, the “Throne Verse”
– Q 3:7, the muhkamat and mutashabihat
– Q 4:3, polygamy and monogamy
– Q 5:112-15, the table (al-ma’ida) from heaven
– Q 9:29, fighting the People of the Book and the jizya
– Q 12, the story of Joseph
– Q 24:45, the “Light Verse”
– Q 33:40, the “seal of the prophets”
– Q 53, the “satanic verses”
– Q 96, including the passage often described as the “first revelation”
– Q 97, the “night of qadr
– Q 105, the “Companions of the Elephant”
– Q 112, on God and the denial of a divine son

Each section of commentary includes the Arabic text of the Qurʾān along with the English Qurʾān translation of Tarif Khalidi and the French Qurʾān translation of Muhammad Hamidullah. At the Book Launch a number of contributors, among them Mehdi Azaiez, Emran El-Badawi, Sidney Griffith, Daniel Madigan, Michael Pregill, and Gabriel Said Reynolds will offer their reflections on the importance of this book to the field of Qurʾānic Studies. Tokens will also be distributed which will give attendees free access to sections of the digital version of the The Qur’an Seminar Commentary.

Contributors to the Qurʾān Seminar Commentary

Azaiez, Mehdi
Crone, Patricia
Cuypers, Michel
Dye, Guillaume
El-Badawi, Emran
Firestone, Reuven
Grodzki: Marcin
Hawting, Gerald
Hilali, Asma
Imbert, Frédéric
Khalfallah, Nejmeddine
Kropp, Manfred
Madigan, Daniel
Pregill, Michael
Reynolds, Gabriel Said
Rippin, Andrew
Sirry, Mun’im
Stefanidis, Emmanuelle
Stewart, Devin
Tengour, Esma
Tesei, Tommaso
Toorawa, Shawkat
Winitzer, Abraham
Younes, Munther
Zellentin, Holger