• Category Category: P
  • View View: 470
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PERIODICAL LITERATURE. It is a prodigious, if not impossible, exercise to circumscribe “Islamic periodical literature.” The tradition of Orientalist scholarship long employed the term “Arabic literature” as a synonym for “Islamic literature,” extending this to a degree to literature in Turkish and Farsi. Urdu and Malay, however, did not receive the attention owed to the two major languages of nearly half the world’s Muslims. For present purposes, we will define Islamic literature as the body of literature by Muslims, in any language, and not confined to theological subject matter.

Beyond Muslim literary production, Islam remains the religion most intensely studied by those outside its fold. Despite its innate ideological prejudices, it would be imprudent to ignore the corpus of Orientalism. Nonetheless simply being about Islam or Muslims does not intuitively make a work part of Islamic literature. In reckoning its ancillary status within that domain, it must be recognized that it lacks the inspiration of faith that characterizes the core works of Islamic letters. The following survey bears in mind the importance of that essential spirit in the vast body of Islamic periodical publication.

Islamic periodical literature made its debut with the publication of Al-`urwah al-wuthqa. Founded by one of the great Muslim reformers, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897), its first issue appeared in Paris on 13 March 1884. As a symbol of Muslim resistance against colonialism, it infuriated the British, who convinced the Ottomans to prohibit its circulation; in India the ruling British imposed a hefty £loo fine and two years’ impris- onment for possession of the newspaper, and Egypt ordered similar punishment. In the face of mounting pressure, the newspaper ceased publication on 17 October 1884, after seven months and eighteen issues. In recent times, a follower of Afghani, Dr. `Abd al-Hakim Tabibi, has kept Afghani’s memory alive by publishing from Geneva a bimonthly magazine of the same name. Afghani’s Pan-Islamic sentiment has further modern reflections in Muslim World (Karachi), published by Mu`tamar al-`Alam al-Islami, and Muslin World League Jour-nal (Makkah al-Mukarramah), published by Rabitat al`Alam al-Islami.

As a prologue to scholarly publishing by Muslims, Islamic Culture is an outstanding example. Appearing in 1927 under the patronage of the nizam of Hyderabad in Deccan, India, its first editor was Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, the famed English Muslim whose translation of the Qur’an would later become a classic in its own right. After Pickthall’s death the journal fell into the able hands of a Polish Muslim of Jewish ancestry, Muhammad Asad, whose translation of the Qur’an and commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari would later earn him a respected position in the Muslim community. For nearly half a century Islamic Culture remained without peer; its publication has recently been suspended.

After the independence of Pakistan a number of journals rose to prominence, including Islamic Literature, Islamic Studies, Igbal Review, and Hamdard Islamicus. Islamic Literature was unique in that it flourished through the enterprising spirit of its founder, Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf, and died with him; he made a pioneering contribution to the diffusion of Muslim scholarly works. Islamic Studies and its sister journal in Urdu. Fikr va nazar continue to fill the gap left by the loss of Islamic Culture and Islamic Literature. Igbal Review has distinguished itself as the single most important source of research on the philosophy of `Allamah Muhammad Iqbal. Hamdard Islamicus and its sister journal Hamdard Medicus reflect the unwavering dedication of Hakim Muhammad Said. Like Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi (Istanbul), they demonstrate that dissemination of knowledge through the time-honored Muslim tradition of publications funded by waqf is not outmoded. Some other prominent Pakistani titles include Universal Message, Qur’anulhuda, Islamic Order, and Mujahidin (Peshawar).

Scholarly publishing in India is highlighted by such titles as Islam and the Modern Age, Journal of Objective Studies, Aligarh Journal of Islamic Philosophy, Islamic

Times, Radiance, `Ulum al-Qur’an, and Al-risalah, Muslim India is a remarkable publication that documents in detail problems of Muslims living in India as a minority. Another publication is Kashmir Diary.

For the past fifty years or so, Glasnik has been the sole voice of Bosnian Muslims and an indispensable source of reference for the history of Islam in the Balkans. The ongoing genocide of the Bosnian Muslims has made the continuation of this journal impossible. The same fate has befallen Islamska Misao (Sarajevo).

Turkey, officially a secular state, has seen an unprecedented growth of Islamic literature in the twentieth century. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Nur continues its long history of publication in the company of such titles as Islami arastirmalar-i, Diyanet, Islam (Istanbul), Gene Akademi and Bilgi ve hikmet. In Indoneisa, too, Islamic titles are flourishing, notably Al-hikmah, `Ulumul Qur’an, Kiblat, Bestari, and Adzan.

A large number of periodicals arose out of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. They are distinguished by the consistency of their appearance in multilingual editions, such as Al-tawhid, Mahjubah, Echo of Islam, and Message of Thaqalayn.

Muslim Central Asia is coming to prominence with an expanding body of literature. Journal of Central Asia is perhaps the oldest in the trade. Other titles include AACAR Bulletin (a very useful biannual reference publication), Central Asia, Central Asia Brief, Central Asia Monitor, and Central Asian Survey.

Journal of Palestine Studies is the single most important source of scholarly articles on Palestine. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs is characterized by an even-handed approach. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s Palestine Refugees Today is the official publication on refugees from Palestine. Other related publications are Al -fajr, Human Rights Update, Israel and Palestine Political Report, New American View, April 17, and Breaking the Siege. The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington, D.C., issues occasional papers and reports.

In recent decades, Muslim minority communities have produced a substantial amount of periodical literature. The most prominent addition to this literature is a journal on Muslim minorities themselves, Journal Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (Jeddah). Founded by the late Dr. Syed Zainul Abedin, it quickly rose to become one of the few Muslim journals of international repute.

In England and America, The Muslim and Islamic Horizons, respectively, were the forerunners of a number of currently appearing periodicals. From Canada, Crescent International is perhaps the oldest publication of its kind. Australian Muslims took the lead by bringing out Insight and later Australasian Muslim Times. Impact International (London) is among the oldest Muslim semiacademic publications that continues to have worldwide impact; Islamic Quarterly (London) has declined to irregular appearance. Muslim Wise, a new vibrant voice of Muslim youth, will be remembered in the history of Muslim journalism as a bold initiative. It was succeeded by another innovative but short-lived publication, Muslim Update: Weekly Facsimile Edition. Fortunately, Q News, a weekly by the same group of dedicated young writers, has shown greater resilience. Muslim News is another impressive new publication. Two now-defunct publications out of London must be mentioned-Inquiry (Afkar) and Arabia; both enjoyed a wide readership in many Muslim countries.

International Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies (Bloomington, Indiana) is the first Muslim journal from America to achieve contemporary standards of scholarly publishing. Later the American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences appeared, with a slant toward the “islamization of knowledge.” Minaret, Inquiry, and Message are now well-established community magazines, while New Trend maintains a loyal readership. American Muslim is a relatively new publication with wide appeal. Muslim Media Watch Newsletter is the first systematic attempt at media monitoring by Muslims. The African-American Muslim community has two important publications, Muslim Journal and Final Call. For the Arab-American community, ADC Times is essential reading.

For years, Muslim communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Mauritius, and Reunion have faithfully published the Hong Kong Muslim Herald, Muslim Reader, Islam in China, As-salam, La Croissant, and Al-Islam, respectively. Al-nahdah (Kuala Lumpur) is famous for its in-depth coverage of the region.

Spanish Muslims are beginning to emerge on the publishing scene with titles such as LamAlif, Bismillah boletin, and Ihsan. South African Muslims have a strong publishing base. Al-qalam, Majlis, Muslim Views, Al`ilm (Dorban), and Al-Islam (Cape Town) are some widely circulated titles.

On Arabic language and literature, standard journals include Al-Lisan al-`Arabi, Journal of Arabic Studies (Brunei Darussalam), Journal of Arabic Literature, Revue de la lexicologie, and Islami Edebivat (Istanbul). Other titles include Al-`Arabiyah, Edebiyat, and Journal of Afro-Asiatic Languages. Muslim Musings is a provocative new title on the literary scene.

There is a definite dearth of titles in the field of Islamic law. Islamic and Comparative Law Quarterly is the only journal of any distinction. Two journals started by the International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, II U Law Journal and Syariah Law Journal, are now defunct. Jurnal perundungan (Kuala Lumpur) suffers from irregular appearance. Jurnal syariah has begun publication under the auspices of Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Other titles are Arab Law Quarterly and Arab Law and Society.

Among specialized titles, foremost is the Journal of Islamic Science. It is the only publication of its kind that looks at modern science and technology from an Islamic perspective. Related titles are Islam Today, Science and Technology in the Islamic World, Kesturi, Ilim ve sanat, Journal of the Islamic Academy of Science, and Islamic Thought and Scientific Creativity.

Only a few periodicals address the problems of Islamic education. Muslim Education Quarterly grew out of the first International Islamic Education Conference in Makkah al-Mukarramah (Mecca) in 1977 and has continued since then. The other is published in Kuala Lumpur under the title ,furnal pendidikan Islam. A new Muslim Teachers College Journal is published in the United States.

Recent interest in Islamic economies has resulted in a proliferation of literature on the subject. Prominent journals are Journal of Islamic Economics, Pakistan Development Review, Humanomics, New Horizon, American Journal of Islamic Finance, Journal of Economic Cooperation among Islamic Countries, Middle East Business and Economic Review, Islamic Economic Studies and Journal of Islamic Banking and Finance.

Islamic medicine is the subject of three leading journals-Hamdard Medicus, the oldest of the three, Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America, and Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa. Islamic World Medical Journal became defunct soon after it started publishing in London. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a commendable addition. Jihad wa Tauheed: A Publication About HIV/AIDS is the only Islamic periodical on the subject.

Women’s studies are not prominent in research and academic publishing in the Muslim world. However, titles such as Mahjubah, Ummi, Al-wardah, Muslimah, Mother’s Sense, Muslim Family, Soembike (Kazan, Russia), Islamic Sisters International, and Kadin ve aile feature an Islamic approach to women and family problems. At least four titles are important for their coverage of Muslim women’s affairs from a feminist perspective-Shirkat Gah Newsletter, Ahfad Journal, Nimeye digar, and Women Living under Muslim Laws.

Regrettably, Islamic arts, crafts, and architecture have remained among the most neglected areas in periodical publishing. The undisputed leader in Islamic art was Arts and the Islamic World, but after some twenty issues it has folded for lack of funds. Eastern Art Report has suffered the same fate. A useful source of reference, IRCICA Newsletter, is perhaps the last hope for scholars of the Islamic arts. Mimar, an acclaimed architecture journal, is now defunct. Another title is Muqarnas. In archaeology, a single title reigns supreme, Archeologie islamique (Paris).

There is discernible growth in the periodical literature on Interfaith studies. Focus on Christian-Muslim Relations, Islamochristiana, Henry Martin Institute of Islamic Studies Bulletin, and Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations are some of the pertinent titles.

In the area of reference periodical publishing, Muslim World Book Review remains one of a kind, rivaled only in part by the Digest of Middle East Studies. The Index of Islamic Literature that accompanies every issue of the Muslim World Book Review is a useful addition to Islamic bibliographic sources in English. For Arabic material, `Alam al-kutub (Riyadh) is an excellent source. Fasl-i kitab is convenient for Farsi publications. Periodica Islamica, founded by Munawar Ahmad Anees, serves as the foremost source of current knowledge on Islamic periodical literature from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Finally, interdisciplinary studies are generating new journals. A few of the newest primary titles are Al-qalam, (Lahore), Al-adwd’ (Lahore), Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford), _7urnal IKIM (Kuala Lumpur), Muslim and Arab Perspectives (New Delhi), Izlenim (Istanbul), Fountain (London), and Intellectual Discourse (Kuala Lumpur).

From the time of Afghani to `Alam al-kutub, Islamic periodical literature has matured into a tangible harvest. There are gaps in quality of production and editorial rigor; there are areas of outright neglect, and those where Muslim scholarship is heading for greater maturity. It is time for concerned scholars to examine critically the status of periodical publishing in the Muslim world.


Aman, Muhammad M., ed. Arab Periodicals and Serials: A Subject Bibliography. New York, 1979. Lacks a tide index.

Atram, M. A. al-. “Al-Fihrist: New Critical Study.” `Alam al-Kutub (Riyadh) 10.1 (AH 1409/1988 CE): 2-12 (in Arabic).

Auchterlonie, Paul, and Y. H. Safadi, eds. Union Catalogue of Arabic Serials and Newspapers in British Libraries. London, 1977. 1,011 titles from twenty-nine libraries.

Bachir. `Imad, and Andrew Buxton. “The Information Content of Titles of Arabic Periodical Articles.” Journal of Information Science 17 (1991) 57-63.

Behn, Wolfgang, ed. Index Islamicus, 1665-1905. Millersville, Pa., 1989. Covers Islamic periodical literature in Western languages since the appearance of the first article in 1665.

Bloss, Ingeborg, and Marianne Schmidt-Dumont, eds. Zeitschriftenverzeichnis Moderner Orient (Stand 1979). Hamburg, 1980. Lists holdings of the six largest periodical collections (Arabic, Persian, Turkish) in Germany.

Duman, Hasan, ed. Istanbul Kutuphaneleri Arap Harfli Sureli Yayinlar Toplu Katalogu, 1828-1928. Istanbul, 1986. Union catalog of periodicals in Arabic script in the libraries of Istanbul.

Al-fihrist: Kashshdf ad-dawriyat al-`Arabiyah. Annual. Beirut, 1981-Index of articles in selected Arabic periodicals, edited by `Ubaydli `Ubaydli.

Fihrist-i Maqalat-i Farsi dar Matbu’at-i Jumhuri-i Islami-i Iran. Quarterly. Tehran, 1982-. List of Persian periodical articles, edited by Iraj Afshar.

Index of Islamic Literature. Quarterly. Leicester, 1987-. Listings of articles in English only, issued as a supplement to Muslim World Book Review.

Islamic Book Review Index. Annual. Berlin, 1982-. Lists book reviews from nearly two hundred Western-language periodicals. Edited by Wolfgang Behn.

Pearson, J. D., et al., eds. Index Islamicus, 1906-1955. Cambridge, 1958. A classified list of articles in peridocials, collective volumes, and conference proceedings. Excludes Arabic and other Muslim languages. Sixth supplement, 1981-1985, London, 1990.

Periodica Islamica: An International Contents Journal Quarterly. Kuala Lumpur, 1991-. Reproduces table of contents from more than eight hundred periodicals worldwide; multilingual. Edited by Munawar Ahmad Anees.

Sims-Williams, U., ed. Union Catalogue of Persian Serials and Newspapers in British Libraries. London, 1985. 640 tides from sixteen libraries.

Turkologischer Anzeiger. Annual. Vienna, 1975- Listings of articles in all languages on Turkish and Ottoman studies.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/periodical-literature/

  • writerPosted On: June 25, 2017
  • livePublished articles: 768

Most Recent Articles from P Category:

Translate »