Sharia Source

SHARIAsource is a flagship research venture of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School.

The mission of this programme is organizing information available from all over the world about Islamic law in an accessible and useful manner. SHARIAsource is not a religious organization nor does it advocate any particular group or institution. It concentrates on academic principles and involvement by including diversity of various perspectives, peer-reviewed analysis and free and open exchange of ideas.

SHARIAsource creates a platform of storing Islamic law’s primary sources and it cooperates with various team of editors from all over the globe; moreover it provides the opportunity for people to analyze critically the mentioned sources and it also promotes research in order to shed light on academic as well as public discourse about Islamic law.

Their well-organized and classified portal provides access to cutting-edge content and context regarding Islamic law. Through this portal numerous resources can be browsed by Topics & Themes; Geographic Regions, Empires & Eras; Editors and Contributors and Document Types (ex.: Historical/Contemporary primary sources, Expert Analysis, legal documents, etc.). In addition to providing access to full text documents, the number of available resources associated to each category is presented as well which can be very useful to academics, journalist and policy makers.

Additionally readers who are interested to know about special events and news, their blog provides them with useful information in that regards.

“SHARIAsource was developed with support from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and from the Luce and MacArthur Foundations.”

 

Memories of the Suez Canal / ذاكرة قناة السويس

Memories of the Suez Canal is an open archive co-curated by Bibliotheca Alexandrina and its International School of Information, the French “Archives Nationales du monde , and the “Association du Souvenir de Ferdinand de Lesseps et du Canal de Suez“.This digital collection makes available archival materials, published books, photographs ,maps, and videos documenting the architectural and technical challenges, as the political implications, and the social and human impact of building the canal between 1869 and 1956.

Documents in French and Arabic can be browsed using the top menu or searched via the search box available on each page. The definition of images is not exceptional but good enough to read.

The website in only in Arabic.

New Arrivals at the Islamic Studies Library – March 2018

Throughout the year the Islamic Studies Library acquires numerous resources, books and journals (print and electronic formats),  all of which contribute to the depth of the collection.

Here we highlight just two works recently received.


Nicolai Sinai. The Qur’an: a historical-critical introduction
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

Originally published in German (Der Koran: Eine Einführung Stuttgart: Reclam, 2017), Nicolai Sinai’s 2017 English translation now grants access to a wider audience interested in a critical academic introduction to the Qur’an. At 242 pages, the work offers a concise introduction to the “basic methods and current state of historical-critical Qur’anic scholarship”. The author surveys the historical background by briefly introducing basic features of the Qur’an along with Muhammad and the milieu of the time, before moving to Part Two to discuss critical methodology. While Part Two deals with literary coherence, inner Qur’anic chronology and the broader intertextuality of Jewish and Christian contributions, Sinai completes his analysis in application to selected themes found in the Meccan and Medina Surahs. The absence of a concluding chapter to summarise his work does not negate the value of his contributions. If you are interested in academic Qur’anic studies, then Sinai’s book is a must read.

The Islamic Studies Library holds a wide range of works related to Qur’anic studies in a number of languages. The collection is accessible to the public.

 


Francisco del Río Sánchez. Arabic manuscripts in the Maronite Library of Aleppo (Syria) Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona Edicions, 2017

 

Offered as the third of three volumes, all of which detail the manuscript holdings in the Maronite Library of Aleppo, this last volume completes the catalogue inventory (more than 1640 items). The first two volumes respectively catalogued manuscripts in Syriac and Karshuni (Arabic using the Syriac alphabet) with the final volume devoted to Arabic manuscripts. This latest volumes covers 1596 Arabic manuscripts, along with 50 images and includes an index for all three volumes (manuscripts in Arabic, Latin Script, Greek, Syriac and Karshuni). Aside from ecclesiastical works such as Biblical texts, theology, history and philosophy, the collection also contains works from Muslim authors which reflect the needs and interests of the local community between the 16th and 18th centuries and beyond.

The Islamic Studies Library houses numerous catalogues of manuscripts in a variety of Islamic languages. Manuscripts that are held at McGill can be found at Rare Books and Special Collections on the fourth floor of the Humanities and Social Sciences library.

 

New Publication: The Dialectical Forge, by Dr. Walter Edward Young

The Dialectical Forge: Juridical disputation and the evolution of Islamic law, published in 2017, is the first monograph of Dr. Walter Young (although he has a number of other works in preparation, see below), graduate of the Institute of Islamic Studies. This book is a revised version of Dr. Young’s 2012 Ph.D. thesis, supervised by Prof. Robert Wisnovsky and Prof. Wael Hallaq, and is the 9th volume in Springer’s “Logic, argumentation & reasoning” series.

We had the occasion to ask the author a few questions regarding his monograph in a short email interview:

JM: This is a revised version of your Ph.D. thesis? What aspects have changed between the two versions?


WY
: Yes, significantly revised. Among other revisions: 

  1. It is a single volume—the dissertation’s second volume (the translation of the Ikhtilāf al-ʿIrāqiyyīn /al-ʿIrāqiyyayn) has been mostly excised;
  2. The focus throughout is maintained almost solely on juridical dialectic (no treatment of theological or philosophical dialectic, apart from Aristotle);
  3. The case studies have been expanded and all now appear with full prose analyses;
  4. A new section detailing Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī’s theory of qiyās has been appended.

JM: What can you tell us about this book?

WY: The real aim of the book is to bring juridical dialectic into the limelight as a key dynamic in the shaping not only of substantive rulings (fiqh, furūʿ), but of legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and dialectical theory (jadal/munāẓara) itself.

In fact, in my view, and I believe it is supported by mountains of evidence and obvious to most who consider it, the exigencies of dialectical disputation left their marks on all Islamicate intellectual projects whose scholars engaged in it. The study of the theory and practice of Islamicate dialectics should, in my view, provide essential concepts and tools for exploring, analyzing, and comprehending all such Islamic sciences which may in any way be qualified as “argumentative” (i.e., pretty much everything). It should therefore be a thriving discipline, but remains understudied—in fact practically unknown in the larger field of Islamic Studies (despite some excellent contributions in the last four decades). So a key aim of the Dialectical Forge (and pretty much all of my work) is to promote the study of Islamic dialectics, and to try to get scholars excited about it and involved in it. One way to do this, I think, is by showcasing the high level of sophistication attained by dialecticians (practitioners and theoreticians), by publishing and analyzing both the theory literature and example/historical disputations.

In this spirit of inspiring scholars to be excited about and involved in the study of Islamicate dialectics, Dr. Young has created an impressive website: the Society for the Study of Islamicate Dialectical Disputation (SSIDD). This site hosts information and resources on the study of Islamicate dialectical theories, practices and contexts, as well as a discussion forum for scholars to share ideas and sources.

JM: What drew you to this area of research?

WY: Two key factors—via the work of two esteemed advisors, mentors, and friends—drew me to the study of Islamicate dialectical disputation in general, and juristic dialectics in particular:

  1. A brilliant (and for me, career-changing) class on Islamic dialectical theory (especially the ādāb al-baḥth) conducted by Rob Wisnovsky;
  2. The teachings and publications of Wael Hallaq in the areas of legal and dialectical theory.

And I was very privileged to have both Prof. Wisnovsky and Prof. Hallaq as advisors to my dissertation.

We wish to congratulate Dr. Young on his monograph, and thank him kindly for his comments!

Other publications by Dr. Walter Edward Young

Articles:

  • “Mulāzama in Action in the Early Ādāb al-Baḥth;” Oriens 44.3-4 (2016) [special issue: Major Issues and Controversies of Arabic Logic], pp. 332-385.

Forthcoming or in preparation:

  • (critical edition and translation) On the Protocol for Dialectical Inquiry (Ādāb al-Baḥth): A Critical Edition and Parallel Translation of the Sharḥ al-Risāla al-Samarqandiyya by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Kīlānī (fl. ca. 830/1427), Prefaced by a Critical Edition and Parallel Translation of its Grundtext: the Risāla fī Ādāb al-Baḥth by Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (d.722/1322); Brill (Islamicate Intellectual History) [planned submission Winter 2018]
  • (critical edition and study) Scholarly Contexts of the Early Ādāb al-Baḥth: An Intellectual Prosopography Drawn from the Margins of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Kīlānī’s Sharḥ al-Risāla al-Samarqandiyya, with Critical Editions of its Common Glosses; Brill (Islamicate Intellectual History) [planned submission Summer 2018]
  • (monograph) The Jadal Primer: An Introduction to Classical Sunnī Juridical Dialectic [in preparation, pending funding]
  • (article) “Al-Samarqandī’s Third Mas’ala: Juridical Dialectic Governed by the Ādāb al-Baḥth;” Oriens (Spring 2018; special issue: Uṣūl and Falsafa in Post-Classical Islamic Scholarship)
  • (article) “Have You Considered (A-ra’ayta)? Don’t You See/Opine (A-lā Tarā)? A Working Typology of Ra’ā Formulae in Early Islamic Juridical Disputation;” in Y. Papadogiannakis and B. Roggema, eds., Patterns of Argumentation and Exchange of Ideas in Late Antiquity and Early Islam; Routledge (Centre for Hellenic Studies)

The Dialectal Forge is available through McGill Libraries, as well as through Amazon.ca and Springer.

Visualizing Palestine

Launched in 2012, Visualizing Palestine is the first project of Visualizing Impact (VI), an independent, non-profit “laboratory for innovation” (…) aiming at: “breaking new grounds in socially aware data science, technology, and design” and “mainstreaming marginalized perspectives on critical social issues.”

Visualizing Palestine publishes data-driven visual tools, in Arabic and English, providing context and analysis to mainstream coverage of news related to Palestine. The multidisciplinary team (scholars, designers, technologists, and communications specialists) collaborates with both individuals (civil society actors, advisors) and organizations to support their impact in advocating for justice and equality. In addition, their by-weekly infographics are heavily used for teaching in higher education, and exhibitions. Last, Visualizing Palestine regularly facilitates storytelling workshops (in Beirut, Lebanon), and can provide student groups with a VP Toolkit to help raise awareness on campus.

Visualizing Palestine is co-funded by individual benefactors, grants and sponsors, as well as by crowdfunding efforts.

A Bali-inspired Musical Suggestion

On this sunny Friday afternoon, we would like to offer you a musical suggestion for your listening pleasure: Colin McPhee’s Balinese Ceremonial Music for Two Pianos

Colin McPhee was a Canadian composer, pianist, writer and ethnomusicologist born in Montreal in 1900. He spent several years, from 1931-1938, in Indonesia, mostly Bali and Java studying the art and music from these regions; the tones and rhythms of gamelan ensembles inevitably influenced many of his compositions. McPhee wrote a number of books on his experience in Indonesia, including the hefty Music in Bali: A study in form and instrumental organization in Balinese orchestral music.

In this YouTube recording, Colin McPhee performs his piece on piano accompanied by the renowned British composer, Benjamin Britten. Another recording of this piece, as well as other compositions by McPhee, is available through McGill Libraries on CD, and by online streaming: Tabuh-Tabuhun and Symphony No.2, Balinese Ceremonial Music.

Image result for balinese gamelan

Balinese gamelan instruments, from http://www.soniccouture.com

You can read more on the music of Southeast Asia in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, v.4, and on Colin McPhee here, or on these sites:

And for books on gamelan, music and ensembles, see here. For information on l’Université de Montréal’s Gamelan ensemble, Giri Kedaton:

Majallat al-Adab Archives

The literary and cultural journal al-Adab was founded in 1953 by the famous Lebanese novelist, short-stories writer, journalist and translator Suhayl Idris (1925-2008). A monthly periodical, Majallat al-Adab is still considered one of the leading literary journals.Since 2015, al-Adab has been published electronically. But back issues (1953-2012) are now also available online, on the al-Adab Archives website. Issues can be browsed by date of publication, and articles can be individually downloaded and saved as PDF, or printed.

Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI), a strategic multi-year program, launched in 2009 aiming to raise awareness about the value and importance of preservation of the region’s photographic heritage. Since then, it developed into a multi-faceted initiative expanding over research and capacity building objectives.

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative consist of 3 parts:

  • MEPPI courses
    Since the beginning of this program, three introductory photograph preservation courses have been held to train collection personnel in the region. Up until now, more than 60 professionals from institutional and private collections in the Middle East benefited from the training. Topics covered are as follow: an overview of the technical history of photography and photographic processes; an introduction to the history of photography; digitization fundamentals; emergency preparedness and response; preservation planning and the care, handling and storage of photographic materials
  • MEPPI survey
    The MEPPI survey focus is on identifying signification photograph collection in the Middle East and North Africa in order to develop an online directory of collections
  • MEPPI Symposium
    Between 2015 and 2017, MEPPI focused on the long-term preservation of photographs in the Middle East. Intensive workshops, and a symposium were held in 2017 on the photographic legacy of the Middle East and North Africa.

Digital South Asia Library

The Digital South Asia Library makes openly accessible digital materials for reference and research on South Asia. DSAL is a collaborative program of the University of Chicago and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), built upon a two-year pilot project funded by the Association of Research Libraries’ Global Resources Program and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participants in DSAL include leading American Universities, CRL, the South Asia Microform Project (SAMP), the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, the Association for Asian Studies, the Library of Congress, the Asia Society, the British Library, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, MOZHI in India, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in India, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Nepal, and other institutions in South Asia. More details on the program are outlined in the grant proposal available in PDF or HTML.
The Digital South Asia Library can be searched and/or browsed according to the following categories:

  • Scholarly reference books with a link to full text dictionaries at Digital Dictionaries of South Asia (DDSA)
  • Images organized by the original collections
  • Maps ranging from historical to topographic
  • Statistical data from the colonial period through the present, available in a variety of formats
  • Electronic catalogs and finding aids for dispersed resources and collections
  • Periodical indexes and document delivery mechanisms
  • Pedagogical books, general scholarly titles, journals and newspapers
  • Other Internet resources.

Jerusalem Maps

When complete, Jerusalem Maps should include not only original maps of the city but also links to existing collections of both historical and contemporary maps of Jerusalem. Currently, the website “contains five maps based on a ten-year survey of the old city undertaken by Riwaq: The Centre for Architectural Conservation” which can be downloaded and used by researchers as long as properly referenced.Jerusalem Maps is another of the numerous resources accessible on Columbia University’s Center for Palestine Studies website, along with Families Interrupted, Al-Quds Archive, or Dreams of a Nations.