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  ABSTRACTS OF ARTICLES The Cosmogonic Word in al-Shahrast  ā  n ī ’ s Exegesis of   S  ū rat al-Baqara Toby Mayer I NSTITUTE OF  I SMAILI  S TUDIES The higher thought of al-Shahrast  ā  n ī  (d. 548/1153) is revealed in all its idiosyncrasy and richness in hislast work, the incomplete Qur  ’ an commentary,  Maf  ā t  ī  ḥ  al-asr  ā r  . Despite his fame as a neo-Ash ʿ ar  ī  thinker,his commentary ’ s interpretive system strongly incorporates Ism  ā  ʿ ī l ī  features, along with vital Ash ʿ ar  ī  andAvicennan in 󿬂 uences. This article focuses on discussions within his commentary on  S  ū rat al-Baqara ,which are related to the theme of God ’ s Command ( al-amr  )  –  simultaneously the author  ’ s cosmologicaland epistemological linchpin. Initially, his response to the key questions in the  ‘ theology of the Qur  ’ an ’  ispresented, namely, (1) how might the scripture ’ s inimitability for human beings be established, thus itstranscendental srcin, and (2) what is the scripture ’ s precise relation with that transcendental srcin, i.e., theproblem of   ‘ inlibration ’ , and whether the Qur  ’ anic text is to be viewed as a historical entity or as abovetime? It emerges that, notwithstanding his keen interest in historical inquiries into the text  ’ s canonisationand language, he takes it to be a substantial portal to the entire Realm of the Command ( ʿ ā lam al-amr  ),which is a kind of   ‘ pre-geometry ’  for the cosmos ( ʿ ā lam al-khalq ). With this premise, al-Shahrast  ā  n ī invokes a highly systematic  ‘ lettric ’  cosmogonic theory. In this theory, the instrument by which the universeenters existence is taken to be a kind of hyper-language, thought of on the model of the 28 Arabicletters. The details of this system are demonstrably Ism  ā  ʿ ī l ī , such as its allusion to a heptadic paradigm of hiero-history. Lastly, the vital cosmological function of translating the graphemic and verbal realities of theRealm of the Command into creational entities and events is attributed to the angelic hierarchies.    §     All Animals Are Equal, or Are They? The Ikhw ā  n al- Ṣ af  ā  ʾ ’ s Animal Epistleand its Unhappy End Sarra TliliU NIVERSITY OF  F LORIDA The Ikhw ā  n al- Ṣ af  ā  ʾ ’ s animal epistle is an intriguing work. Although in the body of the narrative theauthors challenge anthropocentric preconceptions and present nonhuman animals in a more favourablelight than human beings, inexplicably, the narrative ends by recon 󿬁 rming the privileged status of humans.The aim of this paper is to propose an explanation for this discrepancy. I argue that the egalitarianmessage re 󿬂 ected in the body of the narrative is traceable back to the Qur  ’ an, the main text with  Journal of Qur  ’ anic Studies  16.2 (2014): iii – vEdinburgh University PressDOI: 10.3366/jqs.2014.0146 # Centre of Islamic Studies,  which the authors engage in the fable, whereas the  󿬁 nal outcome is due to the Ikhw ā  n ’ s hierarchicalworldview.    §     Qur  ’ anic Manuscripts from Late Muslim Spain:The Collection of Almonacid de la Sierra  Nuria Martínez-de-Castilla-MuñozC OMPLUTENSE  U NIVERSITY , M ADRID In spite of a widespread ignorance of Arabic among the Moriscos (the last Muslims of the IberianPeninsula, expelled in 1018 – 23/1609 – 14), and the prohibition of the possession of books in Arabic script,the Moriscos continued transcribing and transmitting the Qur  ’ an. These copies exhibit various peculiaritiesrelated either to their physical presentation, or to their cultural signi 󿬁 cance. The materials which are part of the Almonacid de la Sierra collection (today in the Tomás Navarro Tomás library (CCHS-CSIC),Madrid)  –  that means, 37 fragmentary copies of the Qur  ’ an  –  provide us with an idea of the kind of Qur  ’ anic texts the Moriscos were using by the end of the tenth/sixteenth century in spite of the religious andlinguistic restraints which were imposed on them. There are complete  ma ṣ ā hif  , usually divided into four volumes. In addition, we  󿬁 nd Qur  ’ anic extracts, the contents of which are almost always the same; thisprobably implies some ritual use. Finally, there are family prayer books containing some suras and verseswhich can be recited according to the moment. The diversity of these manuscripts gives us an idea of theknowledge of the Qur  ’ an among the Moriscos and the strength of Islam in tenth/sixteenth-century Aragon.    §     Memorisation of the Qur  ’ an: Opening the Research Agenda  Faris KeblawiA L -Q ASEMI  A CADEMY , A L -Q ASEMI  S CHOOL Muslims around the world devote considerable effort to memorising the Qur  ’ an, as this is deemed to bea highly meritorious endeavour that brings them closer to God. Memorisation of the Qur  ’ an was one of the 󿬁 rst, and most important, means by which the Qur  ’ an was preserved by the early Muslim community.Interest in memorisation has continued over the centuries, but it has not evolved into a distinct   󿬁 eld of study as has been the case with various sciences particular to the Qur  ’ an, such as, for example, the sciencesof   qir  ā ʾ ā t   and  tajw ī  d  . This paper seeks to establish a distinct, interdisciplinary, academic sub-disciplinefor the study of issues related to the characteristics and particularities of Qur  ’ an memorisation. Thepotential contribution to this emerging discipline of other academic  󿬁 elds, such as applied linguistics,psycholinguistics, and educational psychology, will also be discussed.    §     iv  Chinese Scholarship and the Interpretation and Translation of the Qur  ’ an Ma Zhan MingN INGXIA  U NIVERSITY The Qur  ’ an has, for obvious reasons, been of the greatest interest to Chinese Muslims from the arrival of Islam on the shores of China to the current day. Over 20 Chinese translations of the Qur  ’ an have beenproduced throughout the history of Chinese Islam, some with simple marginalia to help non-Arabicspeaking Chinese Muslims interpret the meanings of the verses. Furthermore, Chinese translations of someArabic  taf  ā s ī  r   have recently appeared, such as the  Mukhtasar tafs ī  r Ibn Kath ī  r  , and for the  󿬁 rst time in thehistory of China, a   tafs ī  r m ū  jiz li ’ l-Qur  ʾ ā n  in Chinese has been prepared by a group of Muslim scholars.This article aims to present an introduction to the work of Chinese scholars in commentating on the Qur  ’ anin general, and to discuss the aforementioned  tafs ī  r m ū  jiz li ’ l-Qur  ʾ ā n  in some detail, focussing on themethodological aspects that distinguish it from other translations. The introduction presents a brief historyof the translation of the Qur  ’ an in China. Part One discusses the efforts of Chinese scholars to providecommentary on the meanings of the Qur  ’ an, and gives examples of their strengths and weaknesses. Part Two presents the authors of the  tafs ī  r   and discusses the reasons for its production, and its methodology,giving examples which illustrate its strengths. Finally, the conclusion summarises the major pointsdiscussed in the article, and its recommendations.    §     v
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