ইক্বরার লক্ষ্য হলো বর্তমান ও ভবিষ্যত প্রজন্মের জন্য স্রষ্টার ঐশী বাণীর সমন্বিত অধ্যয়ন ও সার্বজনীন প্রয়োগের জন্য জ্ঞানদীপ্ত অনুশীলন।
ইক্বরার উদ্দেশ্য হলো কুরআনের বাণীর উত্তরোত্তর সমৃদ্ধ অনুধাবনের জন্য টেকসই ভিত্তি প্রস্তুত করা এবং জীবন ও সমাজের প্রায়োগিকতার জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় জ্ঞানভিত্তিক ফ্রেমওয়ার্ক বা কাঠামো নির্মাণ।
Did the Quran exist early as a book? Dr. Daniel Brubaker's discussion with Dr. Asma Hilali
In their discussion, Dr. Brubaker and Dr. Hilali delve into the intricate world of Quranic studies, shedding light on the complexities surrounding the Quran's early existence as a book. Here's a more detailed exploration of their conversation:
Introduction of Dr. Asma Hilali: The discussion begins with Dr. Brubaker introducing Dr. Asma Hilali, emphasizing her credentials and background in Islamic Studies, particularly her work on the transmission of religious texts. This introduction sets the stage for a thoughtful conversation.
Major Questions in Quranic Studies: Dr. Hilali then highlights the major questions in Quranic studies, tracing their origins back to 19th-century Orientalism, particularly the German orientation. She mentions three interconnected themes: the original text of the Quran, the existence of Quranic variants, and the chronology of the Quran. These questions have deep implications for understanding the Quran's history.
Renewed Conceptual Framework: Dr. Hilali argues that the field of Quranic studies is in need of a renewed conceptual framework for studying the Quran. She suggests that scholars need to critically examine concepts such as Quranic variants and the historicity of these variants. She implies that some of these concepts might have been taken for granted and need reevaluation.
Quranic Manuscripts: The discussion then shifts to the importance of Quranic manuscripts, with a particular focus on the Sanaa Palimpsest. Dr. Hilali explains that despite the accumulation of manuscript discoveries like the Sanaa leaves, Tübingen Quran, and Birmingham Quran, there is still no definitive evidence of the material "muṣḥaf," the Uthmanic or Ali muṣḥaf.
Variations and Interpretations: Dr. Hilali discusses the existence of canonical variants in the lower text of the Sanaa Palimpsest. She points out that these variants are identified based on what is known about canonical variants from other sources. However, she notes that the interpretation of the script can be subjective, and she has not reconstructed passages in a way that fits within canonical texts.
School Text Hypothesis: The conversation delves into the hypothesis that the Sanaa Palimpsest was used as a school text. Dr. Hilali suggests that the presence of variations might be due to dictation or copying exercises. Dr. Brubaker also highlights the importance of understanding why these variations exist and what influenced their creation.
Remaining Manuscripts: Dr. Hilali emphasizes that there are many more manuscripts remaining to be studied, and the majority of these have not been explored. This suggests that there is still much to uncover in the field of Quranic studies.
The Need for Clarity: The discussion ends with Dr. Brubaker and Dr. Hilali expressing the need for more clarity regarding the discovery and storage of Quranic manuscripts. They discuss the differences in publication traditions and the importance of scholarly collaboration to further unravel the mysteries surrounding these manuscripts.
Significance of Quranic Manuscripts: Throughout the conversation, the significance of Quranic manuscripts as invaluable historical and textual artifacts becomes apparent. These manuscripts provide unique insights into the early transmission of the Quran and its context, raising important questions about its history and evolution.
In conclusion, the dialogue between Dr. Brubaker and Dr. Hilali offers a glimpse into the intricacies of Quranic studies, highlighting the ongoing research, challenges, and the quest for a deeper understanding of the Quran's early existence as a book.
Anchors of the Discussions:
1:15 Q: "What are the big questions?”
1:22 A: 1) The original text, 2) The quranic variants, 3) The chronology of the Qurʾan. Searching for the oldest mushaf is based upon assumptions given to us by the secondary sources. We now have greatly improved source material, but we are still operating on the mindset of past generations. The field of quranic studies is in need of renewal of the conceptual framework for studying the Qurʾan
4:55 Q: "What are some of the surprising features that you have found in early Quran manuscripts?"
5:10 A: Dr. Hilali clarifies that she is not primarily a manuscript scholar; manuscripts for her are a tool, rather than an objective. Her study of the Quran manuscripts has spanned the past ten years and stemmed from a concern that the transmission of religious material should be considered as a whole. Somehow in this process she found herself in front of the Sanaa Palimpsest and editing quranic material. What surprises her most (7:30) is that, despite this deep interest and activity related to the manuscripts, we still do not have the Uthmanic muṣḥaf. The muṣḥafs do not exist, or at least we don't have them, nor do we have the Companion codices. This is true for both Sunni and Shia Qurans. So, we have to think about the meaning of this absence. We are referring to concepts, but we still do not have the material Quran. But there also there remain many non-edited manuscripts.
9:30 Q: “What can we make of the absence of the exemplary codices/muṣḥafs?"
11:07 A: Hilali mentions Michael Cook’s article which establishes the probable existence of the regional muṣḥafs. So, the issue is that we don’t have the material Qurʾan.
11:50 Q: What questions are prominent in Hilali’s research now?
12:06 A: Most interested in the relationship between the different religious genres. We are talking about the pre-canonical period, during which the transmission of the material all took place in the same context and was carried by the same actors. Knowing about this might also inform us about the tools of canonization. The Quran has never been isolated (14:50) from other texts. We debate about the relationship of the Quran to the biblical material, etc., but there is a larger pool of material too.
15:20 Q: Is there anything beyond that general pool of biblical material (e.g. Christian and Jewish, and its various sects, literatures, and variations), that you believe is relevant when we come to the Qurʾan?
16:42 A: I am very curious to learn how the various materials interact beyond the levels of composition and textual analysis, but rather at the level of the people and the actors, and how the learned milieu grew, and where, and in relation to which kinds of political decisions or institutions. Among other things (18:30) we may want to know who were the translators [i.e. of the biblical materials into Arabic (19:20)].
19:50 Transition to discussion of the Sanaa Palimpsest
20:50 What is a palimpsest?
22:00 Nature of the variance in the upper and lower texts of the Sanaa Palimpsest, and nature of the variance between these and later manuscripts. Hilali’s book an edition, not full development of a new theory. Others (including Elisabeth Puin and also Behnam Sadeghi) have also made editions of the Sanaa Palimpsest.
26:20 Hilali talks about her opinion of the Sanaa Palimpsest as not intended to be part of a codex in the first place. She did not succeed (27:15) in reconstructing various passages in ways that aligned with (for example) the codex of Ibn Mas’ud, as did some colleagues.
28:55 Discussion of the term “variations” versus the term “variants.” The term “variant” implies a standard, a reference point.
29:25 Hilali’s opinion that the Sanaa Palimpsest page was not intended to be conserved. In addition to the quality of the page, there were orthographic errors made on fols 6a and 9b (30:5).
30:20 Discussion of the “reading instruction” la-taqul bismilla (Don’t say bismillah) on 5a, at the beginning of Sura 9. She believes context was dictation, and that this page was not intended to be conserved in a codex.
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