• Fights and Flights: Two Underrated ‘Alternatives’ to Dominant Readings in tafsīr

    Author(s):
    Sohaib Saeed (see profile)
    Date:
    2022
    Subject(s):
    Qurʼan, Criticism and interpretation, Sacred works, Hermeneutics, Translating and interpreting
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Qur'an, Exegesis, Translation
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/b2x2-na03
    Abstract:
    Does Q. 2:178 legislate retaliation for murder? Was Abraham commanded to chop up some birds according to Q. 2:260? This paper examines two cases in which a dominant view in Muslim exegesis has existed alongside an alternative that is minimised or criticised, while arguably being a closer fit to the text and context of the verse. The first, a ‘historicist’ reading of the qiṣāṣ verse (Q. 2:178), was picked up and advocated by the influential Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), yet it has even less of a footprint in exegetical works subsequent to him. The second, a ‘naturalist’ reading of the birds verse (Q. 2:260) advanced by Abū Muslim al-Iṣfahānī (d. 322/934), has been adopted by some modern exegetes and translators, but largely dismissed as strained and contrary to consensus. As well as charting the reception of these competing views, I analyse them comparatively, phrase by phrase, and argue that these alternatives are more plausible, and indeed fruitful, than the commonly accepted interpretations. The juxtaposition of these cases invites closer examination of key hermeneutical concepts in the tafsīr tradition.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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