Alhamdulillah, I have started a lectureship at Ebrahim College, London. My work at the college involves teaching, research and academic development work. See the updated About section for more on that.
I have received a very useful anonymous review on my book manuscript courtesy of my wonderful editor at Edinburgh University Press and am taking the time to try to bring the work to completion in the best way. Every writer can only dream of a higher word count and I am spending a 10,000 word bonus mainly on deepening the theological and ethical aspects of the book. I also have had time to reflect on some of the exegetical moves that I have made and decide if I need to do any ruju’ (ie, u-turns!)
Anyway, here is the cover (and spine) design for the book to whet your appetite:
I am pleased to announce my article, entitled ‘The Preferences of al-Kisāʾī (d. 189/805): Grammar and Meaning in a Canonical Reading of the Qur’an’, has been accepted for publication in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. It will be printed in a Special Issue on Islamic Law. For now, the Online First version is available [here].
My current institution, Cambridge Muslim College, recently asked me to contribute a short and lightly edited extract from my forthcoming book. I have reblogged it from here.
Q. 38:34, ‘Indeed We tested Sulaymān and threw upon his throne a body, then he turned in repentance (thumma anāba)’, has been explained within the exegetical literature through a number of stories, often involving an impostor jinn stealing his signet ring and taking his position as ruler for a period of time. Another opinion is that the phrase ‘threw upon his throne a body’ refers to Sulaymān as gravely ill, such that he became, according to classical Arabic usage, as if ‘a body without a spirit’, or ‘a mere skeleton’.
Interestingly, both of these explanations are based on the idea of role reversal: Sulaymān, born to great wealth and power, is tested by being reduced to a state of powerlessness, a reminder for him that real authority is in the hands of God, and that he is only a delegated representative. The verb anāba is used in this verse for the meaning of turning back to God in repentance, yet the word can also connote the delegation of authority. The root meaning of nawb is that of returning to something again and again. In the context of the Qur’anic concept of khilāfa, it is the responsibility of stewardship that God entrusts time after time, as nations rise and fall, and people live and die.
Here is how I am thinking of starting Chapter 1 – The Moral Narrative of my forthcoming book The Qur’an and the Just Society,
In God’s wisdom all things begin and so shall they end. This is the idea that animates this chapter, a reflection upon the story that the Qur’an tells from the primordial beginning of human existence to its infinite future. Unlike the Torah, or Bible, in which the historical unfolding of God’s covenant with humanity is traced through the linear order of the text, the Qur’an’s moral narrative must be reconstructed from passages dispersed throughout its pages. In one sense this reflects more general principles of Qur’anic structure, in another it accords with the attention it pays to the metaphysical patterns of the human condition, rather than the history of particular peoples. It is God’s wisdom that informs His creation of the world just as it underlies both His strict justice and mercy in the Hereafter.
Alhamdulillah, I will remain at CMC for 2015-16 academic year as a Research Fellow. As well as working to submit my book manuscript to Edinburgh University Press, I am working with my colleague Dr Harith Bin Ramli on a project called ‘Revelation and Language in Early Islam’. This connects our recent symposium with personal projects and a shared piece of research. Some of my publishing outcomes from this are:
- A study of early Kufan approaches to juristic language and its link to the beginnings of usul al-fiqh (more on this when I confirm a couple of things).
- An article revisiting Q. 24:33, the mukatab verse.
- An article intepreting Q. 9:60, the zakat recipient verse, according to the Kufan/early Hanafi tradition. I have recently finished a first draft of this.
Shared publishing outcomes:
- The possibility of a collected volume of papers from our recent ‘From Revelation to Scripture’ symposium.
- A shared interdisciplinary piece of research (still in its early genesis).
A lot to be getting on with, but very exciting times, alhamdulillah.
We have been able to publish a draft programme for the symposium I am co-convening at the Cambridge Muslim College on 12th September. I am excited, as I feel the programme is diverse, yet coherent. It is also great that we have managed to attract abstracts from internationally based scholars from the USA, Italy, Norway and Germany, as well as those from the UK.
This should be a really good opportunity to bring scholars together working in some way on the theme of revelation and to open up discussions to deepen our understanding.
To download the pdf with full details, including how to register to attend, please follow the link here.