Qur’anic Studies in Iran Today: An Assessment of Old Manuscripts of Qur’an in Iran
In the conference, which was held on 28 January 2016, KURAMER hosted Dr. Morteza Karimi Nia from Tahran Azad University. As part of the project, which was held between 15-30 June 2014 within the Centre, several contacts were made with some of the most significant centres and institutions of Iran. These contacts enabled liaisons with respect to Qur’an, which is the most significant common ground for Muslims. Thanks to such established liaisons, Morteza Karimi Nia, who is well-known for his on Qur’an both in the West and in Iran, presented his work in the conference, titled “Qur’an Studies in Iran Today: An Assessment of Old Manuscripts of Qur’an in Iran”.
He began his speech with a general assessment of studies conducted on Qur’an and Tafsir in today’s Iran. He stressed the fact that although there were many scholars working on Qur’an during the last century, after the revolution in 1979 these studies grew exponentially as an eventual result of religious government. Also, Dr. Nia mentioned that Shi’ite science basin, which dominantly focused on Islamic Law and its application, has begun to pay attention to the studies in Qur’anic sciences and Tafsir lately. Dr. Nia categorizes the activities conducted in the area of Qur’an into two: societal and academic. He claimed that the first includes any cultural, educational and advisory activities towards the society. According to such categorization, various educational activities and advisory institutions are products of this category. For instance, institutions named “Dar’ul Qur’an”, radio stations and TV Channels which deals merely with Qur’an, masjids, competitions about Qur’an, exhibitions, sermons and conferences, these all belong this category. Dr. Nia mentioned nearly 1800 distinct publication institutions in the area of Qur’an Studies, and said that there are 100 different translations of Qur’an in Persian and that translations into European languages are also paid attention.
Dr. Nia stated that the second category, which represents academic aspect, consists of universities, science basins, and some independent researchers in these areas. He stressed the fact that these two institutions of this category got closer and closer during the last years. Whereas the bureaucratic and official education system of the universities has begun to find a place in the science basin, the graduates of science basins have been authorized to deliver lectures in the areas related to religion and divinity, in the faculties under the social science institutions, as a university lecturer. Including Departments of Qur’anic sciences, Hadith and Tafsir in to the universities has changed the milieu of Qur’anic studies in Iran to a different level. Karimi Nia stated that access to the studies, which are located in the special libraries devoted to this area in the universities and research centres, is quite comfortable for local and international researchers. He also suggested that all scholarly works in the Islamic Studies all around the world are in service of students and researchers (Muslim, non-Muslim, Shi’ite, or Sunni). He mentioned many institutions, special libraries and journals, to give some examples: Tercuman-i Vahiy, Merkez-i Ferheng, Marif-i Qur’a, Merkez-i Tahkikat-i Kur’an-ı Kerim el-Mehdi, Müessese-yi Maârif-i İslamî-yi İmam Rıza.
After this assessment, he summarized briefly the issues around Qur’an Manuscripts in Iran. He presented his analysis on an old Qur’an manuscript, no. 18 of Asitan-i Kutsi Razavi Library in Meshed, to the scholars in the hall. Dr. Nia ended his speech by expressing his wish that the liaison and acquaintance between researchers in Iran and Turkey would improve and lead to joint works.