Workshop/Webinar: Princeton-UCLA Arabic Manuscript Workshop

manworkThe Princeton-UCLA Arabic Manuscript Workshop will be held on August 23-27, 2021. Full details for the workshop can be found here, including signup details and a complete list of presenters. While the application process is now closed for full participation, interested readers can still sign up for the webinars online at the official website.

Description: This week-long workshop will be led by leading authorities in the historical, philological and material study of Arabic manuscripts. Co-organized by Princeton and UCLA, which house the two largest repositories of Islamicate manuscripts in North America, the workshop will equip emerging scholars with the basic tools to conduct research using original handwritten texts in Arabic script. Over the course of four days, participants will learn the basics of codicology, palaeography, and manuscript production and circulation, and receive exposure to an expansive vision of current debates in Arabic manuscript research. Topics include:

  • anatomy of the codex 
  • text blocks, colophons, audition notes, owners’ notes, readers’ notes
  • supports, inks, bindings
  • scribes and other craftspeople
  • scripts, canonical and informal; strategies for decipherment
  • technical terminology
  • transmission practices and patterns
  • digital collections; contemporary ethics and best practices

Organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA)

For questions about the application process, contact

For questions about content, contact the organizers: Marina Rustow (Princeton) and Luke Yarbrough (UCLA).

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

New Online Resource: The Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East

logoThe Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East (HIMME) is a new research tool for exploring the people, places, and practices of the most diverse part of the premodern world, through primary sources chosen from a wide range of literary languages and cultures. A series of webinars will introduce HIMME to scholars by exploring some of the resources now available to scholars through this tool.

Project Description: The Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East will provide a synthetic reference work identifying sources referring to particular people, places, and practices (such as jizya, the poll-tax paid by non-Muslims under Islamic rule). Its temporal scope is from 600 to 1550, and its geographical scope from al-Andalus in the west to Samarqand in the east, from Yemen in the south to the Caucasus in the north. Each entry will correspond to an individual person, place, or social practice, and will list the references to that entity which have been gathered so far. Rather than restricting its attention to sources in Arabic or any other single language, it will deliberately incorporate sources from as many languages as possible. This will help the scholarly community quickly locate primary sources relevant for medieval Middle Eastern topics, and scholars may consider HIMME’s citations when deciding which languages to learn. The broader public will find brief identifications of the people, places, and practices, and references to translations of primary sources where available. The digital humanities community will find the canonical data records encoded in TEI, published on GitHub as they become available. The project is a work in progress, publishing its citations as they are collected, rather than waiting to publish an authoritative “final” reference work. Instead, HIMME will grow over time, becoming steadily more useful as it incorporates the references from additional sources.

For more information on this project, visit the website here. Interested readers can also find information on Zoom webinars here.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.

JIQSA Volume 5 (2020) Now Available!

IQSA is proud to announce the official release of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association V.5 2020 (Lockwood Press) edited by Nicolai Sinai (Oxford University). Read the announcement below!


Dear colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that the fifth volume of the Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (founding editors: Michael Pregill and Vanessa De Gifis) has now been published online, with print copies due to ship soon (see also The issue’s contents include:

  • an obituary of the historian F. E. Peters by Reuven Firestone;
  • an exploration of Qur’anic doublets, drawing on studies of doublets in the New Testament, and the implication of such doublets for the history of the Qur’an’s origin and composition, by Gabriel Said Reynolds;
  • a close examination of a Copto-Qur’anic palimpsest by Éléonore Cellard and Catherine Louis, inspecting both the Qur’anic upper text and the biblical Coptic lower text, and considering the implications of the palimpsest for early Qur’anic scribal practices;
  • a study of the opening oath and the Prophet’s visions in Sūrat al-Najm by Saqib Hussain, in light of pre-Islamic astral concerns in the Qur’anic milieu as recoverable from early Islamic literature and Safaitic inscriptions;
  • an analysis of the regionality of early Qur’an manuscripts by Hythem Sidky, based on a comparison between variants in regional codices as recorded by Muslim scholars and regionality data recoverable from surviving Qur’an manuscripts;
  • and an Arabic article by Nadeen Alsulaimi on the structure of Sūrat al-Insān and on whether it should be classified as Meccan or Medinan.

As in previous years, I owe thanks to many people for getting this issue out: to all authors for contributing such a rich selection of pioneering research; to our anonymous peer reviewers for making available their expertise and for offering many constructive and learned comments on those submissions that did make it into the issue; to the journal’s associate editor Saqib Hussain (who is still blissfully ignorant of the reviewers of his own submission); and to Billie Jean Collins of Lockwood Press for unfailing professional standards. It is especially gratifying that the issue includes revised and extended versions of two past winners of IQSA’s Andrew Rippin Best Paper Prize (namely, the contributions by Cellard/Louis and Hussain).

Since access to the journal is a membership benefit, JIQSA 5 is also available through the IQSA membership portal. However, please do consider recommending a subscription to the journal to your libraries, in the interest of making JIQSA available to students and colleagues who are not yet IQSA members.

Best wishes,

Dr Nicolai Sinai
Editor, Journal of the International Qur’anic Studies Association
Professor of Islamic Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford
Fellow of Pembroke College
© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2021. All rights reserved.