Isrā'īlīyāt ( Arabic إسرائيليات, DMG Isrāʾīlīyāt ) is a term for texts that can be found in various genres of Islamic literature and that are used to offer additional knowledge to the information contained in the Koran (e.g. about prophets).
Origin of the texts
The Koran itself is characterized by an allusive style and a concise narrative style, which often results in questions about the text from the listener or reader, which are answered, for example, by Isrā'īlīyāt. The term "Isrā'īlīyāt" is a foreign name that only appeared when the literary form was available. The term already indicates the presumed origin of this material, with Jewish sources or Jewish converts such as Kaʿb al-Ahbār being assumed as narrators. The exact origin of the material is highly controversial in research. For example, some researchers weight Judaism more heavily and some Christianity. Due to the emergence of Islam in a late antique environment, one must not only assume Jewish and Christianity (or one of the two religions), but also the general late antique narrative context, which was characterized by a large religious plurality, for these texts. These are important intertexts that represent a decisive snapshot of the exegetical process of early Islam and their use in later literature also show the individual weighting of the interpreter.
Traders of narratives
Proselytes and converts played an important role in the transmission of the Isrā'īlīyāt, who passed these texts on from their context and brought them into the emerging Islam. The so-called “storytellers” were also important for the transmission of these stories. At a time when Islam was spreading and many people were illiterate, they were important conveyors of information on Koranic stories.
Criticism of these texts
Isrā'īlīyāt are often criticized, especially nowadays, and viewed as "un-Islamic" because they are seen as foreign to Islam and elements such as B. Find perspectives on prophetic figures who contradict or appear to contradict certain theological convictions. Their traders are also criticized and their orthodoxy is questioned. The strong criticism of this literature is a modern phenomenon and stands in contrast to the intensive use of these texts in the premodern era.
- Abd Alfatah Twakkal: Ka'b al-Ahbār and the Isrā'īliyyat in the Tafsīr Literature . MA thesis, McGill University 2007. Digitized
- G. Vajda: Art. Isrāʾīlīyāt in: The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition . Vol. IV, pp. 211b-212b.
- Angelika Neuwirth: The Koran as a text of late antiquity. A European approach. Verlag der Welteligionen im Insel Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3458710264 .
- Isabel Lang: Intertextuality as a hermeneutical approach to the interpretation of the Koran. A consideration using the example of the use of Isrā'īlīyāt in the reception of the David narrative in Sura 38 : 21-25. Logos publishing house. Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3832541514 .
- Johannes Pedersen: The Islamic Preacher wāʿiẓ, mudhakkir, qāṣṣ. In: Ignace Goldziher Memorial Volume. Part 1. Ed. By Samuel Löwinger [u. a.]. Budapest: Globus, 1948. pp. 226-251; Johannes Pedersen: The Criticism of the Islamic Preacher. In: The World of Islam; 2. 1949-1950. Pp. 215-231.
- Isabel Lang: A Sinless Prophet? - Ideas of David in Islam. In: Religions on the move; 18.4. 2012. pp. 18–23 and 29.
- Isabel Lang: Intertextuality as a hermeneutical approach to the interpretation of the Koran. A consideration using the example of the use of Isrā'īlīyāt in the reception of the David narrative in Sura 38: 21-25. Logos publishing house. Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3832541514 .