The international colloquium "From Jāhiliyya To Islam" was initiated by Prof. M. J. Kister.
Meir J. Kister (1914-2010), Professor of Arabic language and literature made a major contribution to the study of the spiritual, religious, economic and social aspects of pre- and early Islamic periods. Thanks to his meticulous studies we now know a lot more about the history of Islam’s sacred cities, al-Ḥīra’s relations with the tribes of eastern Arabia, Mecca's rise to prominence, the tribes of Quraysh, Tamīm and Quḍāʿa, early Islamic institutions and many other topics that caught his interest.
For several years Kister led the Arabic Poetry Concordance project. He founded the periodicals Israel Oriental Studies and Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. He also initiated the colloquium "From Jāhiliyya to Islam" . In 1971 he published an edition of Balādhurī's Ansāb al-Ashrāf the work on which had begun by Max Schloessinger in the 1940s.