The present study examines Abū ʿAmr ibn al-ʿAlāʾ (d. 154/770), an important scholar whose life coincided with the rise of the various disciplines of Qur’anic philology. I examine his contribution to the field Qur’anic philology, focusing on three distinct yet overlapping genres: Qur’anic chronology, Qur’anic counting, and variant readings. Because these genres were still in development during his time, the material examined in this thesis allows us to examine their state before they reached full development. As we do not have a written corpus by Abū ʿAmr, we will analyse material that was transmitted by his students and preserved in later works. The nature of the material under examination varies. As such, we will see Abū ʿAmr sometimes as a transmitter of material and sometimes as its originator. In both cases, we gain new insights into Abū ʿAmr and his contribution to, and involvement in, the disciplines of Qur’anic philology.

In modern research, Abū ʿAmr is not associated with Qur’anic philology. His legacy is limited to the fact that he was a Qur’anic reader. The reports examined in this thesis force us to reassess this view and, instead, to appreciate Abū ʿAmr as a scholar who had a pivotal role in the rise of Qur’anic philology. This thesis, therefore, aims to demonstrate the significance of Abū ʿAmr and illuminate our understanding of Qur’anic philology in the early Islamic period (first and second/eighth centuries)


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date

Spring 2-9-2023

Submission Date


First Advisor

Ahmad Khan

Committee Member 1

Mohamed Serag

Committee Member 2

Zeinab Taha


193 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item

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