PhD Candidate in Quranic Studies: Qirāʾāt in Early Tafsirs

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 19 Jun 2023

23 May 2023
Job Information

Leiden University
Research Field

Language sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

19 Jun 2023 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Project Description
The canonisation of the Quranic reading traditions (qirāʾāt) goes back to the 10th c. scholar ibn Mujahid who established the canon. Up until recently, it was thought that his work functioned as our historical horizon- everything we can know about the pre-canonical situation is filtered through his choices and thinking. However, there are hundreds of Quranic manuscripts from the time preceding the canonisation stretching back at least to the beginning of the 8th c. that make use of diacritics to instruct the reader. These pre-canonical reading traditions provide a vista into the pre-history of Quranic recitation, yet they have so far gone almost entirely unstudied. The ERC Consolidator grant project QurCan aims to mine these rich historical sources to understand what Quran recitation was like before ibn Mujahid, how the reading traditions developed, and how this led to the crystallized canon that we know today.

Key Responsibilities
The PhD candidate will approach the canonisation of the Quranic reading traditions from the perspective of the exegetical sources. The candidate will focus on the reception of the reading traditions in the exegetical works in early tafsirs that predate the canonization of the reading traditions such as al-Farrāʾ, al-Akhfash, Muqātil b. Sulaymān, and Mujāhid b. Jabr. Ibn Mujāhid's canonisation quickly took hold and became dominant, but earlier exegetical works preserve precious data concerning the readings prior to their canonisation, often commenting on and approving of readings that are no longer accepted in the canon, while expressing criticism of those that are now considered unassailable. By embedding research into the larger QurCan project which will collect qirāʾāt data from manuscripts, studying these works will give unprecedented insight into the variation that circulated in the region and at the time of these early exegetes, and allows the possibility to deduce which readings the exegetes comment on, even where they do not explicitly mention which one they have in mind.

Specific Requirements

Selection Criteria

  • MA in a relevant field (e.g. islamic studies, religious studies, Arabic language & linguistics) or a letter of proof that you will acquire it soon.
  • Demonstrable affinity with research into the Quran.
  • Good command of English
  • Good command of Classical Arabic
  • Knowledge of the Quranic reading traditions is not required but appreciated.

Additional Information

Terms and Conditions
Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). The employment will be for a period of four years (first a contract of 18 months with an extension of 30 months after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility), starting 1 January 2024. You are expected to work in Leiden. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis.

The salary range for a PhD candidate is from €2,541.- to €3,247.- gross per month (pay-scale PhD candidates in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities), with substantial additional holiday and end-of-year bonuses. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

Selection process

Please submit your application online no later than 19 June 2023 via the blue button in our application system. Your application should include:
● A detailed Curriculum Vitae;
● A motivation letter (max. 1 page);
● A short description of your research plan (max. 1 page);
● A PDF of your MA Thesis or a term paper whichever is more relevant to the project;
● Names, positions and contact information of two referees (no reference letters).
Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

Additional comments

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Marijn van Putten, e-mail: .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Universiteit Leiden
Postal Code
Rapenburg 70

Where to apply



Rapenburg 70
Postal Code

2311 EZ

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