Professor Seyfeddin Kara Has New Book on Ali ibn Talib’s Codex

Seyfeddin Kara, Assistant Professor of Shi’i Studies and Relations between Islamic Schools of Thought, has a new book out this week.

The book is In Search of Ali ibn Abi Talib’s Codex: History and Traditions of the Earliest Copy of the Qur’an. Published by Gerlach Press, it is described this way: 

The history of the text of the Qur’an has been a longstanding subject of interest within the field of Islamic Studies, but the debate has so far been focused on the Sunni traditions about the codices of Caliphs Abu Bakr and ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan. Little to no attention has been given to the traditions on ‘Ali b. Abi Talib’s collection of the Qur’an. This book examines both Shi’i and Sunni traditions on the issue, aiming to date them back to the earliest possible date and, if possible, verify their authenticity. To achieve this, the traditions are examined using Harald Motzki’s isnad-cum-matn method, which is recognised as an efficient tool in dating the early Islamic traditions and involves analysis of both matn (text) and isnad (chain of trans-mission) with an emphasis on finding a correlation between the two.

Professor Kara is the Holder of the Imam Ali Chair for Shi’i Studies and Dialogue among Islamic Legal Schools.

Professor Kara was born and raised in Turkey and studied in seminaries in Syria, Iran and the UK. He is an interdisciplinary researcher and his academic interests focus on both the early history of Islam and contemporary issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims. He has published journal articles in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, The Muslim World and Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies and is currently working on a monograph about the Shiʿi approach to the textual history of the Qur’an. Prior to joining Hartford Seminary, heworked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Durham, UK.

Before pursuing a career in academia, Professor Kara worked at the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission for several years and submitted reports to the various United Nations treaty bodies. He also attended meetings at the UN Human Rights Council, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is a fellow of UK Higher Education Academy. Most of his works are available at


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