Quranic Sciences | Live Interactive Discussions

Archived course ($70 USD) – now open for purchase.

To access videos for this course please email [email protected] for payment methods. Please ensure you have a valid Google e-mail address to get access to the Private YouTube link.

These sessions took place between February 19th, 2022 to April 2nd, 2022. This session is meant for those who already have a basic understanding of the Quranic sciences, as it will explore some of the topics in greater depth.

Join Sayyid Ali Imran for a series of online live interactive discussions on the Quranic Sciences. These sessions will contain an overview of some of the key topics in the Quranic Sciences followed by an opportunity to discuss these topics in greater detail. Two special guest scholars will also be joining us in two of the sessions.

Testimonials

  • Excellent sessions, May Allah bless you! Loved the access to recordings afterward so people who are working on the weekend etc can still tune in later
  • High quality content. The topics were all adequately addressed and all the insights were highly beneficial and useful. 10/10.
  • I felt that I was able to understand the sessions alhamdulillah. However, this is because I read about Islam occasionally. A complete newbie or layman may find it challenging or may not be able to really connect to it if he were to be using the normal shia community centres’ lectures as a benchmark for comparison. So, it was good how you mentioned the difficulty level of this series in the registration form.
  • Loved how you did your best to carefully and justly express the different views for all the different topics. I felt that carefully learning about the different arguments (without having them abruptly presented) and views stimulated critical thinking in myself and other listeners. I felt I was actively engaging with the material (and not passively listening) and sharpening my intellectual stamina and skills learning about the different arguments and critiques.
  • I really enjoyed the “Point followed by counter-point, Point followed by counter-point, etc.” kind of style
  • Subhanallah it was a lot of information; I feel I am walking away with a significantly deeper and more holistic understanding of the Quran and its sciences. I truly appreciated the recordings. I feel without them, I wouldn’t have benefitted half as much as I did, and nor would I have been able to retain the information properly. I honestly feel it should be compulsory for serious students to rewatch the lecture (if they desire to really learn the info that is).
1 - Introduction & Reality of Revelation
February 19th 2022

In this discussion we will begin with an introduction regarding the importance of having a familiarity with the Quranic sciences and how all the disciplines within it are tied to one another. This will be followed by a discussion on Waḥī, what is its reality, what are the key reasons for which Muslim scholars analyzed the phenomenon of revelation, and what were the three major interpretations offered by Muslim scholars (the theologians, philosophers, and mystics).We will also briefly shed light on contemporary interpretations on revelation and their shortcomings.

0:00 Introduction
5:30 What is the meaning of Wahi?
15:30 Why were scholars discussing revelation?
24:40 Interpretation of the theologians
37:00 Interpretation of the Peripatetic philosophers
53:55 Interpretation of the Mystics
1:14:00 Interpretation of some contemporary scientists
1:22:00 Discussion


2 - Reality of Revelation
February 26th 2022

In this discussion we will expand on the topic of revelation. After developing an understanding of the reality of revelation, the next question we will explore is the nature of the words of the Quran. Did Allah only reveal meanings to the Prophet (p) while the words of the Quran are the Prophet’s (p), or are the actual words and letters in the Quran also from Allah, or are they the words of an angel? What is the evidence for or against these views and what are the arguments that support the mainstream position of Muslim scholars that the words in the Quran are the literal words of Allah.

0:00 Introduction
4:00 Four Theories on the nature of the text of the Quran
9:20 Why did this question arise? Is this a new discussion?
17:00 Why was it brought up again in the 20th century?
22:25 Evidence for the First Theory
43:20 Evidence for the Second Theory
51:00 Critique of the Second Theory
56:00 Evidence for the Third Theory
58:00 Implications of the Third Theory
59:00 Conclusion
1:02:30 Discussion


3 – History of Compilation (with guest Shaykh Yahya Seymour)
March 5th 2022

The history of the compilation of the Quran is a subject Muslim scholars have spent considerable time writing about. It is also a subject of interest for Western Orientalists. In this discussion, we will explore a number of questions such as whether the Quran was compiled during the Prophet’s (p) time or after him? What do we know about the different codices of companions, such as Imam ‘Alī (a), Ibn Mas‘ūd, Ubay b. Ka‘b and others?

What was the role of ‘Uthmān is unifying the different codices, what was the motive behind it, and what was the opinion of Imam ‘Alī (a) on it? Did some Muslims continue to recite the Quran from earlier codices of some of the companions even years after the unification? If so, when did those codices go out of circulation?

0:00 Introduction
4:40 Theological argument for compilation of the Quran during the lifetime of the Prophet (p)
10:00 Does Hadith al-Thaqalayn prove the Quran was compiled at the time of the Prophet (p)?
11:55 What is the majority opinion on this issue?
16:40 What happened after the Prophet (p) and did Imam ‘Ali (a) compile a codex?
26:35 Codices of different companions
42:10 The Ahl al-Sunnah on the codex of Imam ‘Ali (a)
44:10 The stance of Imam ‘Ali (a) on the ‘Uthmanic codex
46:00 The Sanaa palimpsest
51:50 The codex of Hafsa
53:50 The number of companions who had the Quran memorized after the Prophet (p)
56:15 Questions & Answers – Discussion


4 – Miracle of Quran
March 12th 2022

That the Quran is a miracle, is a belief not disputed by Muslims. The belief remains a central pillar for them and denying such a belief could possibly render the book irrelevant. What remained contested, however, was the nature of its miracle. What aspect of the Quran was miraculous? What was understanding its miracle dependent on? Was the miracle in the way words were used or in the meanings they implied?

What is the doctrine of Ṣarfah? Did the view on the miraculousness nature of the Quran develop over the centuries? When did discourse on the scientific miracles of the Quran emerge and what observations exist on it?

It was these questions that forced Islamic scholarship to discuss these aspects of the Quran and it is these questions we will attempt to explore in our discussion.

0:00 Introduction
4:35 Two camps on the miracle of the Quran
7:50 Challenge of the Quran
15:45 The first camp: 1) Taste & feeling
34:10 2) Precise use of words
43:50 3) Artistic imagery
46:40 4) Combination of all three views
50:10 The second camp: View of al-Sarfah
56:30 Three possible meanings of al-Sarfah
1:01:10 View of Sayyid Murtada (d. 436 / 1044)
1:09:20 Critical observations on al-Sarfah
1:20:10 ‘Allamah Tabatabai’s response to al-Sarfah


5 – Taḥrīf (Alteration) of Quran
March 19th 2022

In this discussion we will explore the different definitions of taḥrīf – alteration or corruption – and whether all forms of taḥrīf are problematic or not. If not, then which specific definition is theologically problematic? What do classical and contemporary scholars say about the occurrence of taḥrīf in the Quran? What was the view of some of the Akhbārī scholars on taḥrīf and why did they hold an exceptional position? Are the different readings of the Quran a form of taḥrīf, and if so, are they problematic?

0:00 Introduction
2:15 Nature of discussion on Taḥrīf
4:20 Definitions of Taḥrīf
5:20 Definition #1
9:25 Definition #2
16:15 Definition #3
19:45 Definition #4
22:35 Definition #5
24:55 Definition #6
27:20 Arguments of Muhaddith Nuri
35:11 Critiques against Definition #6 of Taḥrīf
48:39 A misunderstanding amongst Muslims


6 – The Principles of Exegesis
March 26th 2022

What is the purpose of exegesis – or tafsīr – and what preliminaries are required to engage in it. Once an exegete has acquired all the preliminaries, what are the exact steps required for engaging in exegesis? What is the difference between thematic exegesis (al-tafsīr al-mawḍū‘ī) and sequential exegesis (al-tafsīr al-tartībī)?

0:00 Introduction
1:45 Definition of Tafsīr
7:30 Definition of a contemporary scholar
10:25 Two phases in understanding speech
13:00 Five steps of doing Tafsīr
18:50 Step One & Two
21:20 Third Step
37:50 Fourth Step
42:25 Fifth Step
44:20 Thematic exegesis (al-tafsīr al-mawḍū‘ī) and Sequential exegesis (al-tafsīr al-tartībī)


7 – The Principles of Exegesis (with guest Sayyid Hadi Rizvi)
April 2nd 2022

In our final discussion, we will outline some of the major exegetical schools of thought that exist amongst Muslim scholars and their salient features. Particular focus will be given to the Akhbārī approach to tafsīr of the Quran, and as well as the method of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭābā’ī in his al-Mīzān. Did the Akhbārīs reject the apparent meaning of the Quran, if so, why? How did they see the relationship between the narrations of the Prophet (p) & his Ahl al-Bayt (a) with the Quran? On the contrary, did ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭābā’ī abandon the narrations of the Prophet (p) & his Ahl al-Bayt (a) by adopting his method to exegesis? If not, then how did he see the relationship between the Quran and the ḥadīth literature?

0:00 Introduction
4:00 Earliest tafsīr methods of companions
10:45 Do these early tafsīr works have any value?
22:35 Inclination of tafsīr literature towards hadith-based interpretation
37:35 Genre of esoteric exegesis
43:25 Scientific interpretations of the Quran
54:15 Akhbari approach to Quranic exegesis
1:03:00 Ayatullah Jawadi’s remarks on the fate of Shi’a hadith literature
1:05:00 ‘Allamah Tabataba’i’s approach in al-Mizan
1:15:50 Question & Answers