Recent Publication: Impostures, translated by Michael Cooperson (NYU Press)

NYU Press has recently published a “groundbreaking” translation of Al-Ḥarīrī entitled Impostures: Fifty Rogue’s Tales Translated Fifty Ways by Michael Cooperson. 

Publisher’s Overview: An itinerant con man. A gullible eyewitness narrator. Voices spanning continents and centuries. These elements come together in Impostures, a groundbreaking new translation of a celebrated work of Arabic literature.

ImposturesImpostures follows the roguish Abū Zayd al-Sarūjī in his adventures around the medieval Middle East—we encounter him impersonating a preacher, pretending to be blind, and lying to a judge. In every escapade he shows himself to be a brilliant and persuasive wordsmith, composing poetry, palindromes, and riddles on the spot. Award-winning translator Michael Cooperson transforms Arabic wordplay into English wordplay of his own, using fifty different registers of English, from the distinctive literary styles of authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Mark Twain, and Virginia Woolf, to global varieties of English including Cockney rhyming slang, Nigerian English, and Singaporean English.

Featuring picaresque adventures and linguistic acrobatics, Impostures brings the spirit of this masterpiece of Arabic literature into English in a dazzling display of translation.

Praise for Cooperson’s Translation: 

“To translate a work that has been called untranslatable for a thousand years requires more than just expertise in languages—it requires wit, creativity, and an ocean-deep reservoir of knowledge of history and literature and humanity. Michael Cooperson has all of that, plus the most essential, and rarest element: the courage to climb this Everest of world literature. The result isn’t just a translation—it’s a dazzling work of literary creation in its own right, with the linguistic gymnastics of Pale Fire, the genre-switching of Cloud Atlas, and the literary range of 2666.” ~Peter Sagal, Host of NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

“Both engrossing and entertaining to read.” ~Asian Review of Books

“[An] astounding new adaptation of the Maqāmāt of al-Harīrī… The verbal profusion is ludicrous, joyfully so. Speaking to an interviewer, Mr. Cooperson remarked that the Maqāmāt is ‘a book that shows off everything that Arabic can do.’ Impostures shows off English in the same flattering light, demonstrating its dynamism, its endurance, its mutability and its glorious, weedy wildness. In this way, a translation that is so brazen in its liberties is faithful to the spirit of the original.” ~Wall Street Journal

About the Author: Michael Cooperson is Professor of Arabic in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA. His translations include The Life of Ibn Ḥanbal by Ibn al-Jawzī for the Library of Arabic Literature, and The Author and His Doubles by the eminent Moroccan literary critic Abdelfattah Kilito.

Interested readers may purchase the book here, or find it at your institutional library.


Content courtesy of NYU Press.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

Reminder: IQSA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting

AM2020_BANNER_virtualWhile Covid-19 and health restrictions have changed the format of IQSA’s Annual Meeting in conjunction with SBL/AAR, the meeting itself is still scheduled for November in a new and exciting format expanding its reach to scholars worldwide!

Registration is open for the first ever virtual IQSA Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the SBL/AAR Annual Meetings. You can save on the registration fees by joining IQSA and registering for the Annual Meetings as an Affiliate Member HERE. To become an IQSA member click HERE.

For more information about the transition to a virtual program, please see the IQSA Policy Update and SBL Announcement. In addition, find FAQ’s about this year’s meeting below. We hope you’ll join us and meet us in virtually for a new and exciting program!


Q: How do I register for the IQSA Annual Meeting?
To register for this year’s meeting, visit the SBL Annual Meeting Page and choose Register for the Annual Meeting. Then, complete a New Registration under the Affiliate Members category, and choose International Qur’anic Studies Association when prompted.

Q: What are the dates of IQSA’s Annual Meeting?
*The virtual meeting schedule will be extended to avoid potential timing conflicts, time zone limitations, and religious and Thanksgiving holidays. The meeting will take place Monday – Thursday over two weeks. The new dates are November 30 – December 3 and December 7 – 10, from 9AM to 9PM EST / 1PM to 1AM ECT.

Q: Do I have to be an IQSA member to register for the Annual Meeting?
YES – current IQSA membership is required and verified by staff upon registration. However, SBL/AAR membership is not required to attend the IQSA Annual Meeting. You can renew your IQSA membership HERE.

Q: I already registered for the Annual Meeting as an SBL/AAR member. Do I have to register again as an affiliate to attend IQSA events?
No – duplicate registration is not required to attend IQSA events if one has already registered as an SBL/AAR member. However, you must register as an active IQSA member if you are presenting at an IQSA session.

Q: Where can I find a schedule of events for the Annual Meeting?
IQSA  and SBL/AAR’s Program Book will be distributed online as the meeting date draws closer. Members can chose to access the Program Book via mobile app or online  while completing the registration process.

Q: Does IQSA provide funding or reimbursement for its members to attend the meeting?
At this time, IQSA does not have the resources to provide financial assistance for Annual Meeting registration costs. However, IQSA encourages its members to seek financial aid through institutional grants and other funding.


Q: I’ve registered and I can’t attend the Annual Meeting, can I get a refund for my registration fee?
In order to receive 100% registration refund, all registration cancellations must be requested in writing (email) by October 21, 2020. After October 21, only cancellations for medical reasons, accompanied by documentation from a physician or medical facility, will be refunded.

Please send meeting cancellation requests to  Registrations or workshops cannot be switched to another person’s name. Proof of payment may be required.

Q: If I had already registered for the live Annual Meetings, what do I need to do to register for the online Annual Meetings?
In a word, nothing. Your registration will automatically be good for the virtual meeting. If you wish to cancel your registration, you may do so without any cancellation fee through 21 October.

Q: I booked a hotel room when I registered for the Annual Meetings. What do I need to do?
A: If you reserved a hotel room in during your conference registration, your hotel reservation has already been cancelled; there is nothing you need to do at this time. If you booked a hotel independently (i.e., not as a part of your conference registration), you will need to cancel on your own.

Q: What is included in my registration fee?
A: The registration fee for the conference will be the same as the early-bird rate ($225 for affiliates). The registration fee helps to cover the substantial costs that come with producing a conference of this size, even a virtual one.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved

Recent Publication: Qurʾān Quotations Preserved on Papyrus Documents, 7th-10th Centuries

Brill has recently published a collection of essays edited by Andreas Kaplony and Michael Marx, Qurʾān Quotations Preserved on Papyrus Documents, 7th-10th Centuries.

Picture1Publisher’s Overview: Qurʾān Quotations Preserved on Papyrus Documents, 7th-10th Centuries is the first book on the Qurʾān’s Sitz im Leben, i.e. on how the Qurʾān was quoted in Arabic original letters, legal deeds, and amulets. Qurʾān Quotations also serves as an in-depth exploration of the radiocarbon dating of documents and Qurʾānic manuscripts.

Contributors: Ursula Bsees; Tobias J. Jocham; Andreas Kaplony; Michael Josef Marx; Daniel Potthast; Leonora Sonego; Eva Mira Youssef-Grob.

Readers can purchase the book online here.

Content courtesy of Brill.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.













Readers can purchase the book online here.


Content courtesy of Brill.



© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.



New Publication: Structural Dividers in the Qur’an, ed. Marianna Klar

In October, Routledge will publish a new book of interest to IQSA members and affiliates: Structural Dividers in the Qur’an, edited by Marianna Klar. 

klarPublisher’s Overview:
This volume showcases a wide range of contemporary approaches to the identification of literary structures within Qur’anic surahs. Recent academic studies of the Qur’an have taken an increasing interest in the concept of the surah as a unity and, with it, the division of complete surahs into consecutive sections or parts.

Part One presents a series of case studies focussing on individual Qur’anic surahs. Nevin Reda analyzes the structure of Sūrat Āl ʿImrān (Q 3), Holger Zellentin looks at competing structures within Sūrat al-ʿAlaq (Q 96), and A.H. Mathias Zahniser provides an exploration of the ring structures that open Sūrat Maryam (Q 19). Part Two then focuses on three discrete aspects of the text. Nora K. Schmid assesses the changing structural function of oaths, Marianna Klar evaluates how rhythm, rhyme, and morphological parallelisms combine in order to produce texture and cohesion, while Salwa El-Awa considers the structural impact of connectives and other discourse markers with specific reference to Sūrat Ṭāhā (Q 20). The final section of the volume juxtaposes contrasting attitudes to the discernment of diachronic seams Devin Stewart examines surah-medial oracular oaths, Muhammad Abdel Haleem questions a range of instances where suggestions of disjointedness have historically been raised, and Nicolai Sinai. explores the presence of redactional layers within Sūrat al-Nisāʾ (Q 4) and Sūrat al-Māʾidah (Q 5).

Bringing a combination of different approaches to Qur’an structure into a single book, written by well-established and emerging voices in Qur’anic studies, the work will be an invaluable resource to academics researching Islam, religious studies, and languages and literatures in general.

Readers can purchase the book online here

klarphotoAbout the author:
Marianna Klar is currently Post-Doctoral Researcher at Oxford University, Senior Research Associate at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies, SOAS, University of London. Her publications focus on the Qur’an’s structure, its narratives, and its literary context. She has also worked extensively on tales of the prophets within the medieval Islamic historiographical tradition and on Qur’anic exegesis.


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.


Call for Papers: Global Islamic Archaeology Showcase

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Global Islamic Archaeology Showcase
A FREE online postgraduate and early-careers research event

hosted by the

Centre for Islamic Archaeology (CfIA),
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS),
University of Exeter

26 September 2020



GIAS invites early-careers researchers working within the field of Islamic archaeology and material culture to submit papers to our first virtual showcase—an opportunity to present current research to a global audience. We are particularly keen to encourage researchers based in Africa and Asia who may not ordinarily have the means to attend a conference in Europe. We welcome papers from Ph.D. students and early career researchers, as well as those studying a Master’s by Research, whose focus is Islamic archaeology and material culture in the broadest sense: we embrace a wide chronological range and geographical focus, from Brazil to Azerbaijan, Mali to Japan.

Your participation as speaker or audience is welcome.
The summer of 2020 has seen many changes to academia, not least with the impact of COVID-19, growing environmental concerns and recently intensified decolonisation movements. These issues are particularly relevant to the discipline of archaeology and especially its application on the African and Asian continents. Prompting us all to think differently, they present an opportunity to change how we do conferences for the better by using technology to widen participation and increase inclusivity in this growing and dynamic field of archaeological enquiry. 

The format
GIAS is a one-day online conference, divided into sessions, with a keynote event and a relaxed virtual social event to be held afterwards. Whether presented live or pre-recorded, each 15 minute presentation will be followed by a live, five-minute Q&A with the speaker(s). The presentations will be recorded1 and we intend to upload them to the conference website after the event. To improve accessibility, participants are encouraged to submit two recordings of their presentation for upload—one in English and another in a language of their choice—although only the English version can be presented on the day. The chatbox and breakout rooms will be utilised to faciliate discussions.

Apply to present a paper
If you’d like to present your work at the GIAS, please submit a 200–300 word abstract by 22nd  August to Be sure to include the title of the paper, your full name, your contact details, the name of your institution, and your current position/level of study. ​You can also submit your abstract through the conference website at:


Registration is FREE for all at All are welcome!

For further enquiries, please contact the conference organisers:

 Awet Araya –
Hannah Parsons-Morgan –


© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.

New Publication: Recent Trends in Qur’anic Scholarship (Viva Books, 2020)

Viva Books has recently published a new book of interest to IQSA members and affiliates: Recent Trends in Qur’anic Scholarship by Tauseef Ahmad Parray (2020).


Qur’anic Studies’ (alDirasat al-Qur’aniyya) is a remarkable and noteworthy academic sub-genre in the area of Islamic studies to which Muslims and non-Muslims have contributed extensively. Qur’anic scholarship has seen a rapid and broad-ranging development, especially in the present century, as it is seen as a vibrant and multidimensional scholarly pursuit to which scholars have introduced a multiplicity of approaches. Keeping in view the academic study of the Qur’an in its present scenario, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the Qur’anic studies have emerged as a vibrant field of research globally. In this context, the present work (consisting of 11 chapters) attempts to explore some facets of and the recent trends in the 21st century Qur’anic studies by: exploring some Qur’anic concepts and themes of socio-political and moral significance vis-à-vis their contemporary relevance (such as Ihsan, Shura, inter-connection of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm, rise and fall of societies/ nations and social ethics vis-à-vis the institution of family); assessing and evaluating the scholarly contribution of some prominent scholars of the 21st century in the field of Qur’anic studies (including Abdur Raheem Kidwai, Abdullah Saeed, Ziauddin Sardar, Andrew Rippin and Jane D. McAuliffe) and focusing on the teaching, research and recent works in Qur’anic studies by providing a description of the activities of some academies, journals and recent research carried on different aspects in this field. Thus, blending the scholarship of the past and the present, it reflects on some major trends and issues of diverse nature. The present work will prove valuable and appealing to the students, general readers and the specialists alike. It seeks to explore the relevance of the teachings of the noble Qur’an to the readers of the 21st century.


“Parray displays his knowledge to give a detailed and lively picture of Qur’anic Studies and its leading figures in both the Muslim World and the West. A rich, and welcome source of information that will be invaluable to scholars of Islam in general, and of the Qur’an in particular”

Dr. Majid Daneshgar, University of Freiburg, Germany


“A readable and accessible introduction to some of the key debates on the Qur’an and its interpretation today”

Professor Abdullah Saeed, University of Melbourne, Australia



Part I: Qur’anic Concepts and Themes
Chapter 1. Concept of Ihsan (Excellence) as a Virtue: Text, Traditions and Interpretations

Chapter 2. The Qur’anic Concept of Shura: Text, Tradition and Modern (Varied) Interpretations

Chapter 3. Reasoning and Pondering as ‘Sources of Knowledge’: Inter-connecting the Qur’anic Concepts of ‘Aql, Tafakkur and ‘Ilm

Chapter 4. Rise and Fall of Societies in the Qur’anic Perspective: The Views of Some Contemporary Scholars

Chapter 5. Social Ethics vis-à-vis the Institution of Family: The Contemporary Crisis and the Qur’anic Paradigm

 Part II: 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship

Chapter 6. Abdur Raheem Kidwai’s Contribution to the Qur’anic Studies: An Evaluation of His Important Works

Chapter 7. Abdullah Saeed’s Contribution to the 21st Century Qur’anic Scholarship: An Evaluation

Chapter 8. Ziauddin Sardar vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies: A Critical Evaluation of His ‘Reading the Qur’an’ (2015)

Chapter 9. 21st Century Western Scholarship in the Qur’anic Studies: A Comparative Study of the Works of Jane D. McAuliffe and Andrew Rippin

Part III: Recent Works and Research vis-à-vis Qur’anic Studies
Chapter 10. A Critical Assessment of Some Recent Works on the Qur’anic Studies (2010–2019)

Chapter 11. Teaching and Research on the Qur’anic Studies: Introducing Some Exemplary Academies and Journals on the Qur’anic Studies


Tauseef Ahmad Parray is presently working as Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, Govt. Degree College for Women, Pulwama, Higher Education Department, J&K (India). He holds his masters, PhD and postdoctorate in Islamic studies from the University of Kashmir (2008), Aligarh Muslim University (2014), Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue (IRD), International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan (2015) respectively.

He is the author of Towards Understanding Some Qur’anic Terms, Concepts, and Themes (2017), Muslim Intellectual Deficit: Reasons and Remedies (2018), Exploring the Qur’an: Concepts and Themes (2019) and Mediating Islam and Modernity (2019). He has published in numerous reputed academic journals, magazines and newspapers, from over a dozen countries, around the world. He is on the editorial board (and is also a member) of various journals based in Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey and the UK. His major areas of interest are: Islam and Democracy; Modernist/Reformist Thought in South Asia; and Recent Trends and English Scholarship in Qur’anic Studies.

Readers can purchase the book online here.


Content courtesy of Viva Books.



© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2020. All rights reserved.