Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies

A muraqqa' by the Istanbul-born calligrapher Yedikuleli Seyid Abdullah (d. 1144/1731)

ISSN: 0806-198X

Editors: Lutz E. Edzard and Stephan Guth, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo, Norway
Home > Archive: vol.15 (2015)

Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies

Volume 16 (2016)

Edited by Lutz Edzard and Stephan Guth


Special dossier: Living 2016: Cultural Codes and Arrays in Arab Everyday Worlds Five Years After the 'Arab Spring' [Proceedings of a workshop held at the Department for Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo, Norway, 29–30 May, 2016], eds. Stephan Guth and Elena Chiti (.pdf 6.6mb, pp. 221–388)

Abstract: This introduction presents the idea as well as the theoretical, methodological and ethical background of the In 2016 project, a research project that looks into the realities of everyday life and other post-revolutionary lifeworlds (Lebenswelten) in Egypt and Tunisia. Its aim is to provide a kind of 'encyclopedia of 2016' that enables users, in a snapshot portrait of one year, to 'jump right into' and move around (via cross-references) in post-revolutionary Arab realities; a tool that allows readers to approximate the experience of 'how it feels/felt' to live in these countries in this period of transition and historic change that the Arab World is currently going through. Taking its inspiration from Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht's In 1926, an 'essay on historical simultaneity,' the project focuses on two key fields of cultural production where salient issues and 'the meaning of life' are regularly discussed and from where reflections of bodily experiences, emotions and affects can be collected: fiction and social media. The present dossier spécial emerged from a first, exploratory workshop connected to the In 2016 project. The dossier’s objective is twofold: while the introduction will give the reader an idea of background of the project in general, the contributions will mirror a first stage in the project group’s experience: the col-lection of an overwhelmingly huge amount of fresh relevant material, its 'close reading' or 'thick description', and the individual researchers’ first, preliminary attempts

Vol.16/9k (2016) Ragnhild J. Zorgati, Impressions from Tunisia, Spring 2016 (pdf, 59 kB, pp. 385-388)

Vol.16/9j (2016) Delphine Pagès-El Karoui, Deciphering the Binary Code “Egyptian vs. Foreigner” in Egyptian Cinema (pdf, 846 kB, pp. 368-384)

Vol.16/9i (2016) Richard Jacquemond, Satiric Literature and Other “Popular” Literary Genres in Egypt Today (pdf, 749 kB, pp. 349-367)

Vol.16/9h (2016) Albrecht Hofheinz, #Sisi_vs_Youth, or: Who Has a Voice in Egypt? (pdf, 1015 kB, pp. 327-348)

Vol.16/9g (2016) Stephan Guth, Twenty-Three Recent Arabic Films: Impressions From Two Film Festivals (Oslo and Tübingen, 2016) (pdf, 908kB, pp. 299-326)

Vol.16/9f (2016) Mariem Guellouz, The Construction of “Tunisianity” Through Sociolinguistic Practices: From the Tunisian Independence to 2016 (pdf, 235 kB, pp. 290-298)

Vol.16/9e (2016) Elena Chiti, ''A Dark Comedy'': Perceptions of the Egyptian Present Between Reality and Fiction (pdf, 593 kB, pp. 273-289)

Vol.16/9d (2016) Myriam Achour-Kallel, “La Rolls et la Volkswagen”: Écrire en tunisien sur Facebook en 2016 (pdf, 1169 kB, pp. 253-272)

Vol.16/9c (2016) Mona Abaza, Cairo: Personal Reflections on Enduring Daily Life (pdf, 1235 kB, pp. 234-252)

Vol.16/9b (2016) Stephan Guth, Introduction: Living 2016 and the In 2016 Project (pdf, 417 kB, pp. 224-233)


Zaid Alamiri and Peter Mickan, What Makes the Qurʾānic Narratives Cohesive? Systemic Functional Linguistics-Based Analysis of Reference Role: Some Reflections (.pdf 759 kB, pp. 199–219).

Abstract: The present study aims to analyse reference, as a cohesive device, in some of the Qur'ānic narratives of Abraham and Moses in ten suras. The study is based on, and limited to, Halliday and Hasan's concept of cohesion as a semantic relationship realized through grammatical and lexical devices. Such cohesive role of reference is implicitly treated and discussed within the topic of pronouns antecedents in the Arabic linguistic tradition. Reference resources in the Qur'ān are diverse but the scope of this study was confined to only the personal and demonstrative components of reference. The analysis showed that personal reference (of the third person forms) was the most frequently used in these narratives. Its salient features, of multiple referents and cumulative effect, contributed to the economy of language use and finally enabled the cohesion of the text. The demonstrative reference was less frequent, yet it provided, through its function of connecting various text parts, an additional contribution to the narratives’ cohesion. In general, reference, as one element of the textual metafunction, has played a major role in the text creation in terms of cohesion and coherence.


Liana Saif, The Universe and the Womb: Generation, Conception, and the Stars in Islamic Medieval Astrological and Medical Texts (.pdf 620 kB, pp. 181–198).

Abstract: This article looks at the assimilation of Aristotle’s account of 'coming-to-be' into conception theories found in Islamic medieval medical and astrological texts. It analyzes the way the four causes work on the level of the universe and that of the womb, and examines the reconciliation of ideas on planetary influence with the Galenic and Aristotelian theories of conception. The Arabic astrological theories that explain the re-ceptiveness of human beings to astral influences provide the conceptual link between the macrocosmic and microcosmic processes. Conception becomes an individualization of the coming-to-be of species, and the stars act as agents of actuality in both processes.


Salih Natij, La conception ğāhizienne de l’adab d’après son épître Sinā'āt al-quwwād (.pdf 790 kB, pp. 163–179).

Abstract: Cet article est consacré à l’étude de la conception ğāhizienne de l’adab. Notre objectif y est double : d’une part, tenter d’examiner la manière dont al-Ğāhiz conçoit, définit et entend exercer la pensée de l’adab, et, d’autre part, mettre à contribution cette conception ğāhizienne de l’adab pour enrichir notre compréhension du régime épistémique propre à la pensée de d’adab. Car, en effet, si al-Ğāhiz fut et est encore considéré comme le plus grand représentant de l’adab, c’est parce qu’à travers le travail de son oeuvre, l’adab est venu à prendre conscience de lui-même à la fois comme concept et comme un champ de pensée constitué et possédant sa vision épistémique propre. Pour étayer cette hypothèse, nous tentons une reconstruction de la conception ğāhizienne de l’adab en nous appuyant sur la présentation et l’analyse des vues et idées déve-loppées par al-Ğāhiz dans son épître intitulée Risāla fī Sinā'āt al-quwwād.


William M. Cotter, One Piece of the Puzzle: Notes on the Historic Interdental Fricatives /θ, ð, ðˁ/ in the Arabic Dialect of Gaza City (.pdf 856 kB, pp. 149–162).

Abstract: Although a great deal has been written about the Gaza Strip within the fields of political science, history, and international relations, very little linguistic research has been conducted in the coastal territory. This study aims at filling one gap in the linguistic record of Gaza through an examination of one set of phonemes, the Arabic interdentals /θ, ð, ðˁ/, in the dialect of Gaza City. The results of this study suggest that the present day dialect of Gaza City is largely in line with the earliest report on the realization of the interdentals as reported by Bergsträsse (1915), contrasting data presented in later published work by Salonen (1979, 1980).


William Costel Tamplin, Who Was 'Umar ibn Sayyid? A Critical Reevaluation of the Translations and Interpretations of the Life (.pdf 781 kB, pp. 125–147).

Abstract: Recent criticism of the Life (1831) of ‛Umar ibn Sayyid has sought to overturn prior assumptions that ‛Umar was a Christian convert and a content slave to prove that ‛Umar was a crypto-Muslim and an abolitionist. This criticism posits the existence of esoteric "concealed utterances" available to the initiated reader throughout ‛Umar’s autobiography as evidence of his abiding Islam and opposition to slavery in general and his enslavement in particular. This paper reexamines the translations and interpretations of ‛Umar ibn Sayyid’s Life to demonstrate how little about him we can know given his poor command of classical Arabic, the second language in which he wrote his autobiography. Through a reexamination of ‛Umar’s auto-biography in light of 1) the political history of West Africa, 2) his relationship to classical Arabic and to language in general, and 3) a survey of the scholarship that verifiable mistranslations of his Life have generated, I will demonstrate that ‛Umar’s poor command of Arabic makes drawing conclusions about his ideas about enslavement and Islam nearly impossible.


Rachel Anne Friedman, Significant Intersections between Legal and Rhetorical Theories: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Reading of al-Bāqillānī’s Theory of Language (pdf 873 kB, pp. 99-123)

Abstract: Abū Bakr al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013) was a preeminent scholar and an influential participant in a diverse range of Islamic discourses including the Ashʿarī school of theology and the Mālikī school of law. Al-Bāqillānī’s texts are often studied within the context of individual disciplines, but this article demonstrates that an interdisciplinary reading of his scholarly production uncovers significant areas of overlap. These intersections bring to light topics of sustained concern for al-Bāqillānī that crosscut his work and allow him to draw together various Islamic intellectual discourses. Through looking at three such intersections, on the topics of bayān, muhkamāt and mutashābihāt, and the so-called Mysterious Letters, this article shows that al-Bāqillānī’s argument in favor of the clarity and eminent understandability of language, including all of the Qur'ān, is best understood through a cross-disciplinary reading of al-Bāqillānī’s oeuvre. Bringing together al-Bāqillānī’s thought in the two seemingly disparate genres of usūl al-fiqh (legal theory) and ijāz al-Qur'ān (the inimitability of the Qur'ān) serves the dual purpose of examining the relationship between these fields and shedding light on al-Bāqillānī’s work across disciplines. It thus contributes to a more complete picture of the identity of a scholar who was concerned with providing a consistent and multifaceted theory of language within a broader synthesis of Islamic thought.


Hani ElayyanThree Arabic Novels of Expatriation in the Arabian Gulf Region: Ibrāhīm Naṣrallāh’s Prairies of Fever, Ibrāhīm ʿAbdalmagīd’s The Other Place, and Saʿūd al-Sanʿūsī’s Bamboo Stalk  (pdf 679 kB, pp. 85-98)

Abstract: Once oil revenues started pouring in the Gulf region by the 1950s, many Arab citizens from Egypt and the Levant moved there for work. A number of Arab novels have delineated the expatriation experience and highlighted the discrepancy between the expats’ expectations of brotherhood, which emanated from their belief in the dominant pan-Arab ideology, and the reality of existence in societies that had social configurations that did not necessarily privilege Arab expats. This paper explores the perceived gap in the socio-political projects of the Gulf countries on the one hand, and the Levant and Egypt on the other. By comparing two novels by two Arab expat writers, Ibrāhīm Nasrallāh’s Prairies of Fever and Ibrāhīm 'Abdal­magīd’s The Other Place with a novel by a Gulf writer, Sa'ūd al-San'ūsī’s Bamboo Stalk, this article argues that despite the pre‑ and postcolonial forces that have shaped Gulf Societies into a different cultural region, the project that Gulf novels engage in is similar to the rest of the Arab World, namely, nation state building, with increasing awareness of hyphenated identities and subaltern people.


Vera von Falkenhausen, Nadia Jamil, and Jeremy Johns, The twelfth-century documents of St. George’s of Tròccoli (Sicily) (pdf 12.6 mB, pp. 1-84)

Abstract: This study publishes for the first time six authentic and original documents from mid-twelfth-century Norman Sicily. Three are bilingual, written in Greek and Arabic, and three are Arabic. All were issued by the multilingual dīwān of King Roger de Hauteville and relate to the lands and Muslim peasants held of the crown by the Greek monastery of St. George’s of Tròccoli, near Caltabellotta. These documents are of particular interest in four principal ways. First, they permit the reconstruction in unusual detail of the internal administrative processes of the royal dīwān. Second, they preserve the toponymy and describe the topography of the lands of St. George’s that lay in a district of Norman Sicily until now poorly documented. Third, they record the remarkable phenomenon of the immigration to Norman Sicily of Muslims, who apparently commended themselves into the service of a Christian monastery as villeins, in order to escape deprivation and famine in Ifrīqiya. And fourth, they add to the small corpus of Arabic documents from Norman Sicily, contributing much new evidence for their diplomatic form, language and palaeography.


Archive by volume:

Vol.17 (2017) eds. L.E.Edzard, S.Guth, M. Cassarino & A. Ghersetti

Vol.16 (2016) eds. L.E. Edzard & S. Guth

Vol.15 (2015) eds. L.E. Edzard & S. Guth

Vol.14 (2014) eds. L.E. Edzard & S. Guth

Vol.13 (2013) eds. Lutz Edzard & Stephan Guth

Vol.12 (2012) eds. Antonella Ghersetti & Alex Metcalfe

Vol.11 (2011) ed. Alex Metcalfe

Vol.10 (2010) ed. Alex Metcalfe

Vol.9 (2009) ed. Alex Metcalfe

Vol.8 (2008) ed. Alex Metcalfe with Joseph Norment Bell & Lutz Edzard

Vol.7 (2007) ed. Alex Metcalfe with Joseph Norment Bell

Vol.6 (2005-6) eds. Joseph Norment Bell, Walter Herman Bell & Lutz E. Edzard

Vol.5 (2003-4) ed. Joseph Norment Bell

Vol.4 (2001-2) ed. Joseph Norment Bell with Agostino Cilardo & Stefan Leder

Vol.3 (2000) ed. Joseph Norment Bell

Vol.2 (1998-9) ed. Joseph Norment Bell

Vol.1 (1996-7) ed. Joseph Norment Bell with Petr Zemánek

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