Nazmina Dhanji chairs ‘Author Evening’ with Prof Seyfeddin Kara

Nazmina Dhanji, lecturer in Arabic language and grammar, Qur’anic Sciences and Hadith Studies, at Al-Mahdi Institute chaired an author evening on 20th June at the Islamic Human Rights Commission Bookshop in London. She discussed the historicity of the Qur’anic text with author and academic, Seyfeddin Kara, exploring his findings in his new book entitled In Search of Ali ibn Abi Talib’s Codex. The discussion began recounting the traditional Muslim view of the textual history of the Qur’an and where Western academia has stood on the issue of the historicity of the Quran. Professor Kara said that during his research he found that there was a lot of complaining about the scarcity of historical data, but that on the contrary, there was massive historical data in the Shia tradition, “which has been ignored completely because the whole debate is based around Sunni traditions, Sunni sources and Sunni understandings of the Qur’an.” Accordingly, his aim was to break this barrier regarding the sidelining of Shia sources. His primary contribution, in his opinion, was to make the Shia view accessible. Professor Kara and Nazmina further discussed the Sunni sources and Shi’i accounts found in Sunni sources used in Professor Kara’s research, the methodology that he used to date the traditions, the congruence between his findings and carbon-dating methods, and the anticipated consequences of his findings on academic scholarship in the field.