Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home Islam in Africa Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sura headings and subdivisions in Qur'an manuscripts from Sub-Saharan Africa: variations and historical implications
Author:Hames, ConstantISNI
Periodical:Journal of Quranic studies = Magallat al-dirasat al-Quraniyya (ISSN 1465-3591)
Geographic terms:Mali
External link:https://doi.org/10.3366/jqs.2013.0119
Abstract:Sura headings, and the information they convey, were formulated well after the Qur'anic revelation itself. Furthermore, they were not determined by authoritative, standardising decisions, as was the case for the Qur'anic text, which has come down to us ne varietur. Given the geographical extension attained by the Islamic world in the course of its history, and in the absence of normalisation due to the disappearance of a centralised power, local variations in sura headings are only to be expected. This is, in effect, the case for Africa. The sampling of Qur'an manuscripts considered here is compared to the standard Egyptian edition of 1923, and reveals differences not only in the titles of the suras but also in the other types of information associated with them, such as indications concerning the place of revelation and the number of verses in each sura. In addition, in some areas, headings are not usually committed to writing, whereas in other local traditions, they may be quite long and contain multiple elements of information. Though these variations may appear to be minor, they are of interest in a comparative perspective, taking into account different zones and eras?-?especially so if one seeks to discern local identities in the presentation of Qur'an manuscripts. The ones analysed here all come from the Saharo-Sahelian zone: Mauritania (2), Mali (1), Chad (2) and Somalia (1). They are dated to the nineteenth century, with the exception of one early twentieth-century manuscript.