Institute for Research
on Early Islamic History
and the Koran

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INÂRAH - Institute for Research on Early Islamic History and the Koran

Inârah, was founded as an incorporated charitable organisation (NPO) based in Saarbrücken (Germany) in 2007.

Our name is also our programme:
إنارة is used here in the sense of “Enlightenment.”

Our sole purpose is the scientific historical-critical, philological investigation into the Qur’an, the origins of Islam and its early history – something which has been sorely lacking until now. By and large, hitherto the traditional account of Islam’s rise and spread is accepted uncritically, although the sources upon which such claims are based are both late and of dubious historical quality. Similar scientific uncertainty also applies to the language and the theology of the Qur’an, for which source, textual, form and redactional criticism, vis-à- vis e.g. biblical studies, are still in their infancy. Hitherto our researches have clearly shown that the traditional account of Muhammad, the Qur’an, and the emergence of Islam actually have little or nothing in common with historical reality, nor does it fit into the well-established parameters of Late Antiquity.

For a part, Inârah undertakes its own researches, and for a part we aim to provide a platform for those involved in the historical-critical scientific study of the Qur’an and nascent Islam using state of the art philological and historical methodologies. In order to facilitate such, we organise scientific symposia (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 at the European Academy in Otzenhausen) in which we aim to “shed light” on this subject by bringing together a broad range of scholars from various disciplines such as Arabic studies, Semitics, linguistics, theology, history, hispanic studies, Classics, legal history, numismatics, epigraphy and religious studies to present and discuss their ongoing research. Furthermore, we publish the proceedings of these symposia (thus far eight volumes, two of which have been translated into English) as well as independent monographs. As such, we are a unique organisation, the sole independent scholarly platform with a purely scientific agenda without religious and/or political interests dedicated solely to the philological and historical study of qur’anic and islamic origins.
Until now, Inârah has had a decisive impact in the study of the Qur’an and Islam, and helped to conduce a paradigm shift in qur’anic criticism and islamic historiography. A brief glance at the news shows why our work dispelling anachronisms and ahistorical romantic notions held even by many contemporary academics is a long over-due necessity. It is our aim to continue and intensify our research, facilitate and organise the historical-critical study of the Qur’an and nascent Islam in an independent scholarly fashion and to make the fruits of these activities available to all interested parties in a timely and accessible fashion.