The start of 2021 carries with it hopes for a healthier and happier year—and a fresh issue of al-Abhath, (volume 68), hot off the press.
This volume includes articles from different subfields of Arabic and Islamic Studies such as Sufism (including previously unpublished writings), Qur'anic exegesis, literature, linguistics and grammar. The issue also includes a unique translation of a primary Ancient Egyptian text and an intertextual analysis of one of Badīʿ al-Zamān al-Hamadhani's maqama alongside the story of Prophet Joseph in the Qur'ān.
The author of the latter article, Hany Ramadan, was piqued by the topic in a seminar on the maqama genre he took with professor Bilal Orfali of the American University of Beirut in 2017. “Other than being my first academic article to be published, this article is one of the main reasons why I became interested in Arabic prose, one of my main academic interests," said Ramadan, who is currently pursuing his PhD in Arabic literature at Harvard University. “I am really happy and honored to publish in al-Abhath, one of the most renowned peer-reviewed journals in the Middle East, that is published by AUB and Brill.
As for the collaboration with Brill, “it is going strong," said Bilal Orfali, Co-Editor and Sheikh Zayed Chair for Arabic & Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. “We have also tried to strengthen our book review section."
The results are telling. The latest volume contains seven reviews—all written in the Arabic language—on new releases in Mamluk studies, lexicography and across the aforementioned topics, including one review of a book written in German by two scholars on magic in Islam.
Contributors were quick to praise the editorial process of al-Abhath in general and of this volume in particular. Zaki Abdel-Malek, a linguist who wrote an article on the morphophonemics of weak triliteral stems in Standard Arabic, said on his reasons for publishing: “I chose Al-Abhath because of my respect for its impeccable reputation as an academic journal, and because of my deep respect for its co-editors as major scholarly figures in the field of Arabic studies."
Mohamed Moez Jaafoura, professor of literature and classical criticism at the University of Sousse, Tunisia, wrote that he chose the publication for its epistemic significance and earnestness in carefully selecting articles for publication. He added that among his editors, he was met with “collaboration, generosity, understanding and patience when correcting the typographic mistakes and when adding my late edits"—and that he wholeheartedly thanks the editorial staff for their support for his article on structural linguistics.
“I am thrilled to see the Journal thriving despite all the turmoil in Lebanon," said Orfali, reemphasizing the outpouring of love that goes into its labor.
Al-Abhath volume 69 is now open for submissions and encourages prospective authors in the fields of Middle East and Arabic Studies to submit original articles in either English or Arabic.