E-Lecture: “Who is Allah Revisited”

Duke University will host a Virtual Book Talk titled “Who is Allah Revisited” with Prof. Bruce Lawrence Tuesday on September 29 at 3:00 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Duke Middle East Studies Center, Duke Islamic Studies Center, and the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies.

dukemesasDescription: Over the course of his career, Bruce B. Lawrence has explored the central elements of Islamicate civilization and Muslim networks. The Bruce B. Lawrence Reader: Islam beyond Borders assembles over two dozen selections of Lawrence’s key writings, which range from analyses of premodern and modern Islamic discourses, practices, and institutions to methodological reflections on the contextual study of religion. Modeling what it means to study Islam beyond political and disciplinary borders, as well as a commitment to linking empathetic imagination with critical reflection, this Reader presents Lawrence’s prescient contributions to the study of Islam in its broadest arc.

This lecture will be moderated by Prof. Ali Mian (UF). Dr. Ali Altaf Mian is Assistant Professor of Religion and Izzat Hasan Sheikh Fellow in Islamic Studies at the University of Florida.

Interested readers can register for the talk here.

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

New Publication from Gorgias Press: ASH’ARISM ENCOUNTERS AVICENNISM: Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī on Creation

IIQSA is delighted to announce a new publication from its institutional partner, Gorgias Press titled Ash‘arism Encounters Avicennism: Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī on Creation by Laura Hassan. Readers can find details on the publication below and purchase a copy at this link!

Publication Date: Jul 28,2020
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 329
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0719-9

Summary: This study of Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī’s (d. 631/1233) teachings on creation offers close analysis of all of his extant works of falsafa and kalām. Some of these were not known to previous scholars, yet they bear witness to key facets of the interaction between the historically inimical traditions of Hellenic philosophy and rational theology at this important intellectual moment. Al-Āmidī is seen to grapple with the encounter of two paradigms for the discussion of creation. On the one hand, Ibn Sīnā’s metaphysical concept of necessity of existence is the basis of his doctrine of the world’s pre-eternal emanation. On the other, for the mutakallimūn, the physical theory of atomism bolsters the view that God created the world from nothing.

Though he begins with a posture of acceptance towards both the doctrines and methods of Ibn Sīnā, al-Āmidī gradually evolves to a position of hostility towards the entire philosophical tradition. Nevertheless, deep tensions are present in his thought; on the one hand, Ibn Sīnā’s notion of the sheer necessity of God’s existence is so compelling theologically that it becomes the mainstay of al-Āmidī’s understanding of the God-world relationship. Yet some of its more problematic implications are targets for al-Āmidī’s fierce opposition by the time of his mature works of kalām. Underlying all this is the often unstated, but all pervasive, influence of al-Āmidī’s highly successful peer, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210).

This study is of interest to scholars of Ibn Sīnā and Ash‘arism alike, as it advances our understanding of the ongoing tradition of rational theology in the Islamic world, long past Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī’s (d. 505/1111) famous attack on the philosophers.

Praise for this Book:

“In a superb work of intellectual biography, Laura Hassan takes us on a fascinating journey through al-Āmidī’s unique and ever evolving appropriation of Avicennan ideas into an Ash‘ari theology of creation. This is an immensely important contribution to our understanding of how Ash‘ari theology in the 12th and 13th centuries navigated the treacherous path from its classical expression through the challenges posed by the philosophy of Ibn Sīnā.”
Jon Hoover, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Nottingham

”Laura Hassan’s Ashʿarism Encounters Avicenna: Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī on Creation is the first extended study of the post-Avicennan philosopher and theologian Sayf al-Dīn al-Āmidī. The work truly fills a lacuna in the literature, and does so in a clear and philosophically engaging way. The issue of the world’s age, which is at the core of Hassan’s work, was unquestionably one of the most hotly debated topic in the medieval Islamic intellectual world. Hassan not only contextualizes that debate in order to explain al-Āmidī’s own evolving position and then complete turn-around, but also integrates discussions of possibility, necessity, atomism and even the nature of post-Avicennan physics into her narrative. This is a wonderful book, which I strongly recommend for anyone interested in Islamic philosophy and theology at the end of the classical period.”
– Jon McGinnis, Professor of Classical and Medieval Philosophy, University of Missouri, St Louis

laura_hassanAbout the Author: Laura Hassan is Faculty Associate of the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, where she teaches Islamic philosophy and theology. Her research to date has focused on post-classical developments in Ash’arī kalām in the aftermath of Ibn Sīnā’s groundbreaking philosophy. More broadly, she is interested in theological issues that arise where competing world-views meet, whether at the intersection of theology and philosophy, at the boundaries of religions, or where the supposedly distinct realms of science and religion come face-to-face, both in our times and historically. She has studied Arabic in Oxford, Fes and Alexandria, and received her PhD from SOAS, University of London.

[Content courtesy of Gorgias Press]

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

IQSA Email Inquiries Update

IQSA members and affiliates—it has come to the attention of the Executive Office that the address listed for email inquiries, contact@iqsaweb.org, is currently undergoing technical difficulties and bouncing messages.

The IQSA team is currently working to get this error resolved and will update members and affiliates on its progress. In the meantime, please send all inquiries regarding membership, advertising, the Annual Meeting, etc directly to the IQSA Executive Assistant.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience!

Review of Qur’anic Research, Vol. 6 no. 7 (2020)

pageHeaderLogoImage_en_US In the latest installment of the Review of Qur’anic Research (Vol. 6, no.7), Michael E. Pregill (University of California, Los Angeles) reviews Stephen Shoemaker’s The Apocalypse of Empire: Imperial Eschatology in Late Antiquity and Early Islam (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).

rqrV6n7In his review, Pregill writes “Stephen Shoemaker’s The Apocalypse of Empire builds upon the methodology, and some of the most provocative conclusions, of the author’s earlier monograph The Death of a Prophet.[1] In that book, Shoemaker subjects the extant evidence concerning Muḥammad’s death to close scrutiny, concluding that the Prophet died after the invasion of Palestine commenced in 634 CE and not before, as most accounts hold. Even more shockingly, Shoemaker asserts that Muḥammad preached a fervently eschatological message and led his followers in a campaign to conquer Jerusalem as the focal point of an imminent apocalyptic culmination of history. One of the most compelling features of The Death of a Prophet is Shoemaker’s deployment of a methodology and framework drawn from the study of early Christianity in order to show how the overtly eschatological message of the original movement that followed Muḥammad was radically rewritten in the course of just a few decades, forever altering the meaning and thrust of Islam in its formative period…”

Want to read more? For full access to the Review of Qur’anic Research (RQR), members can log in HERE. Not an IQSA member? Join today to enjoy RQR and additional member benefits!

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

Call for Articles for Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Quran Online

Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Quran Online (https://brill.com/view/db/eqo), edited by Johanna Pink (Universität Freiburg), is the world’s foremost digital historical-critical reference work on the Quran. We are seeking professional scholars with demonstrable expertise in a variety of disciplines for the expansion and updating of the Encyclopaedia.

Since the printed volumes of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Quran appeared in 2001-2006, the larger field of Quranic Studies has expanded considerably. To account for the explosion of new research related to the Quran, the Encyclopaedia of the Quran Online (EQO) will be adding new articles and updating older entries. If your field of study and expertise appears below, or you feel your research should be addressed by the EQO, please reach out to the relevant members of the editorial board.

For articles or updates on Quranic exegetes, exegetical works, the broader Quranic sciences as well as social and liturgical practices related to the Quran (for example, recitation) please contact Associate Editor Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University, shuruqnaguib@lancaster.ac.uk).

For articles or updates on modern Quranic Studies scholars, the Quran’s early history, and individual verses/ayat or suras, please contact Associate Editor Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau (Université de Strasbourg, asboisliveau@gmail.com).

For articles or updates on notable Quranic manuscripts, printed editions, Quranic and other significant epigraphy, or Quranic linguistics, please contact Associate Editor Süleyman Dost (Brandeis University, dost@brandeis.edu).

For articles or updates on biblical, para-biblical, or other pre-Islamic texts with noteworthy relationships to the Quran, please contact Associate Editor George Archer (Iowa State University, garcher@iastate.edu).

For general inquiries about the project, or to propose articles or updates not suggested above, please contact  General Editor, Johanna Pink (Universität Freiburg, johanna.pink@orient.uni-freiburg.de).

Authors are asked to send their CV, affiliation (if applicable), and the titles of the entry/entries they are proposing to update or create, along with a short statement clarifying why this is significant to the study of the Quran.

Recent Publication: A History of the Islamic World, 600-1800

Routledge has recently published a new survey of Islamic history by Jo Van Steenbergen, A History of the Islamic World, 600-1800: Empire, Dynastic Formation, and Heterogeneities in Pre-Modern Islamic West-Asia.

Publisher’s Overview: A History of the Islamic World, 600–1800 supplies a fresh and unique survey of the formation of the Islamic world and the key developments that characterize this broad region’s history from late antiquity up to the beginning of the modern era.

Containing two chronological parts and fourteen chapters, this impressive overview explains how different tides in Islamic history washed ashore diverse sets of leadership groups, multiple practices of power and authority, and dynamic imperial and dynastic discourses in a theocratic age. A text that transcends many of today’s popular stereotypes of the premodern Islamic past, the volume takes a holistically and theoretically informed approach for understanding, interpreting, and teaching premodern history of Islamic West-Asia. Jo Van Steenbergen identifies the Asian connectedness of the sociocultural landscapes between the Nile in the southwest to the Bosporus in the northwest, and the Oxus (Amu Darya) and Jaxartes (Syr Darya) in the northeast to the Indus in the southeast. This abundantly illustrated book also offers maps and dynastic tables, enabling students to gain an informed understanding of this broad region of the world. 

This book is an essential text for undergraduate classes on Islamic History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Middle East Studies, and Religious History.

Praise for the Book:

‘This engaging and lucid history of the Islamic world from its beginnings down to the advent of the modern age combines a clear theoretical framework with an up-to-date understanding of recent scholarship. The result is a readable history of pre-modern Islamic societies which avoids both excesses of names and dates and the conventional “golden age” and “decline” narratives in favour of more sophisticated explanations of historical change. It will be a very welcome addition to many university courses on Islam and Islamic History, and will also be genuinely useful to a wider general readership.’

Andrew Marsham, University of Cambridge, UK

Want to read more? Purchase the book at Routledge.

About the Author: Jo Van Steenbergen teaches Islamic history at Ghent University, Belgium. He has published extensively on medieval Islamic history, including Order Out of Chaos (2006), Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History (2016), and Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Islamic West-Asia (2020).

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