The Qur'an and Adab: The Shaping of Literary Traditions in Classical Islam

ISBN : 9780198787181

Nuha Alshaar
600 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jan 2017
Qur'anic Studies Series
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Though there have been many studies on the Qur'an's importance in tafs=Ir (Qur'anic commentary), there are comparatively few which look at the impact of the Qur'an on other forms of literature. The Qur'an and Adab: The Shaping of Literary Traditions in Classical Islam bridges the gap in the scholarship by placing the Qur'an in its broader cultural and literary contexts. It explores the Qur'an's relation to classical literary traditions (adab) from pre-Islamic times until the fifteenth century CE, focusing on the various ways in which the classical literati (udaba") engaged with the Qur'anic text, linguistically, conceptually, structurally, and aesthetically, to create works that combined the sacred with the profane, thereby blurring the boundaries between formal tafs=Ir and adab. Through a detailed introduction and a series of case studies, the volume rethinks the concept of adab and the relation of scripture to humanistic traditions in classical Islam and questions the general classification of adab as belles-lettres. It examines the religious aesthetic found in different types of adab works-poetry, literary criticism, epistles, oratory traditions, anthologies, 'mirrors for princes', folklore, and mystical/Sufi literature. Featuring contributions by leading scholars, the collection investigate the intertextuality between pre-lslamic poetry and the Qur'an, and the innumerable approaches to the Qur'an by classical authors. It discusses the various citation techniques employed in the udaba"'s borrowing of Qur'anic language, concepts, and stories. The chapters explain how the choice of these techniques was determined by the literary conventions of the particular genres and contexts within which the udaba" were working, as well as by their authorial intention, theological, and ideological outlooks. They also highlight the link between the functions ascribed to Qur'anic quotations in a specific text and the need to convey a particular message to specific audiences.


Notes on Contributors
Note on Transliteration, Conventions and Abbreviations
1 Nuha Alshaar: Introduction: The Relation of Adab to the Qur'an: Conceptual and Historical Framework
Section I: The Qur'an and Classical Arabic Poetry: Intertextuality and Sensibilities
2 Angelika Neuwirth: The 'Discovery of Writing' in the Qur'an: Tracing a Cultural Shift in Arab Late Antiquity
3 Ghassan El-Massri: The Qur'an and the Character of Pre-Islamic Poetry: The Dāliyya of al-Aswad b. Ya'fur al-Nahshalī
(d. 600 CE)
4 Beatrice Gruendler: Abbasid Poets and the Qur'an
Section II: The Qur'an in Literary Criticism
5 Geert Jan van Gelder: The Qur'an in Kitāb al-Badī' by Ibn al-Mu'tazz (d. 296/908)
6 Bilal Orfali and Maurice Pomerantz: 'I See a Distant Fire': Tha'ālibī
(d. 429/1030) Kitāb al-Iqtibās min al-Qur'ān al-Karīm
Section III: The Qur'an as a Moral, Literary, and Aesthetic Model
7 Andrew Rippin: The Place of the Qur'an in 'The Sermons and Exhortations' of Abū
'Ubayd (d. 224/838)
8 Devin Stewart: Rhythmical Anxiety: Notes on Abū'l-'Alā' al-Ma'arrī's (d. 449/1058) al-Fuṣūl wa'l-Ghāyāt and Its Reception
9 Sarah R. bin Tyeer: The Qur'an and the Aesthetics of Adab: Ḥikāyat Abī'l-Qāsim al-Baghdādī
by Abū'l-Muṭahhar al-Azdī
(fl. Fifth/Eleventh Century)
Part IV: Approaches to the Qur'an in Adab : Five Case Studies
10 Tahera Qutbuddin: Qur'an Citation in Early Arabic Oration (Khutba): Mnemonic, Liturgical, and Testimonial Functions
11 Wadad al-Qadi: The Impact of the Qur'an on the Epistolography of 'Abd al-Hamid b. Yahya al-Katib (d. 132/750)
12 Nuha Alshaar: The Qur'an in Literary Anthologies: A Case Study of al-'Iqd al-Farid by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih al-Andalusi (d. 328/940)
13 Louise Marlow: Wisdom and Justice: The Reception of the Qur'an in Some Arabic and Persian Mirrors for Princes
14 Wen-chin Ouyang: Solomon's Ring in the Arabic Literary Imaginary
Part V: The Qur'an in Sufi Literature
15 Nada Saab: Sufi Negotiation of the Qur'anic Text and its Prophetic Stories in the Literature of Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz (d. 286/899)
16 Denis McAuley: Ibn 'Arabi (d. 637/1240) and the Qur'an: A Series of Poems
17 Steffen Stelzer: 'Serving from Afar': Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 672/1273) on the Adab of Interpreting the Qur'an
Index of Qur'anic Citations
General Index

About the author: 

Nuha Alshaar joined the Institute of Ismaili Studies in 2009 as a Research Associate, where she focuses on ethical concepts in early Qur'an interpretation, and on the relationship between the Qur'an, tafsIr, and classical literary traditions (adab). She also teaches Islamic Intellectual History and Thought, as well as Arabic Literature at the American University of Sharjah. Dr Alshaar has taught at various academic institutions, including the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and Queens University Canada in the UK. She is also a member of the Arabic-German Young Academy for Science and Humanities (AGYA). Her publications include Ethics in Islam: Friendship in the Political Thought of al-TawhIdI and his Contemporaries (Routledge, 2015) and the co-edited volume Sources and Approaches across Near Eastern Disciplines (Peeters, 2013).

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