An Open Letter to Members of SBL

Since its press release in May 29, 2012 the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) has received the support of the academy as well as the public. In the months following, the media took much interest in IQSA, as well as SBL’s instrumental role in supporting this Qur’anic Studies initiative. Thanks to this widespread recognition, university professors, graduate students and academic institutions around the world continue to reach out to us and form valuable partnerships with IQSA. As co-directors of this initiative, we understand that forming meaningful relationships with sister organizations will be key to the success and growth of IQSA in the long term. We would like to take this opportunity to reach out to the members of SBL especially, and inform them about the vision of this initiative and their role within it.

On November 18-19, 2012 IQSA will hold its first organizational meeting in Chicago. Its co-directors and steering committee will discuss several important matters, including governance, publishing, relationship building, fund raising and planning our first meeting in 2013, alongside SBL’s annual meeting. Our provisional plan is for our annual  meetings to alternate between North America (alongside SBL) and a site in the Islamic world. We also plan on establishing a journal, a newsletter, and a monograph series that will publish in English as well as Arabic. We want IQSA to be ‘the place’ where Qur’anic Studies scholars from around the world, especially those in Western and Islamic countries, talk to one another, share cutting edge research, collaborate and publish their work. The collegial environment we will work towards will also make IQSA a center that fosters respect and mutual understanding through scholarship.

One of the program units to be housed at IQSA conferences will explore the Qur’an’s dialogue with Biblical Literature; another will likely study the text in light of Semitic Linguistics. These areas of scholarship will prove to be a ‘bridge’ between members of IQSA and those of SBL. Scholars of Biblical Studies will have the opportunity to learn how Biblical traditions were adapted within the Qur’anic milieu. And scholars of Qur’anic Studies can learn how the text belongs to ‘the world of the Bible.’ You are invited to visit the initiative’s blog (, subscribe to IQSA’s e-mail list and keep up to date with our news and posts. We thank SBL for its support and look forward to working with its members.


Emran El-Badawi, codirector

Gabriel Said Reynolds, codirector

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2012. All rights reserved.