By Martin Whittingham

This publication is the 1st of its type to concentration totally at the Qur’anic interpretation of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111), a towering determine of Sunni Islam. Martin Whittingham explores either al-Ghazali’s hermeneutical equipment and his interpretations of specific Quranic texts, and covers al-Ghazali’s mystical, felony and theological issues. Divided into components: half one examines al-Ghazali’s criminal and Sufi theoretical discussions half asks how those theories relate to his perform, analysing the one 3 of al-Ghazali’s works that are centrally fascinated about reading specific Qur’anic passages: Jawahir al-Qur’an (The Jewels of the Qur’an); Al-Qist as al-mustaqim (The right Balance); and Mishkat al-anwar (The area of interest for Lights). supplying a brand new element of entry to the works of al-Ghazali, this e-book can be welcomed via students and scholars of Islamic reports, spiritual reports, hermeneutics, and somebody attracted to how Muslims comprehend the Qur’an.

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Sample text

Nor does using ta’wīl automatically constitute unbelief since everyone must resort to it occasionally. Al-Ghazālī supports this claim by citing the interpretation of three hadiths by (d. 241/855), whose name, given to the school of law, is associated with a more literalist approach than the other three Sunni schools. 5 (Al-Ghazālī makes clear his understanding of decisive proof in chapter eleven, summarised later). No group should consider its adversaries to be unbelievers because of a disagreement over decisive proofs, although it is acceptable to call someone misguided, or an innovator (al-Ghazālī 1961:187; tr.

Unbelief is to deem anything the Prophet brought to be a lie’ (alGhazālī 1961:134; tr. 92). The principal question underlying the remainder of stems from this definition. When does someone employ interpretation in such a way as effectively to deny the truth of a scriptural text and therefore accuse the Prophet of lying? Chapters five and six outline the heart of al-Ghazālī’s scheme for determining whether and how to interpret texts. This scheme is based on a proposed correspondence between levels of existence and types of interpretation linked to them.

It argues for tolerance and liberty in interpretation, albeit ‘The activities of this world’ (I) 27 within certain limits. Yet the guideline it presents for regulating ta’wīl, namely syllogistic logic, would, if applied in practice, be restrictive since relatively few scholars had mastery of such logic at the time. So al-Ghazālī is in practice arguing for tightly controlled liberty. This paradox reinforces the view that al-Ghazālī is unlikely to be proposing a practical method of interpretation in An awareness of his different possible agendas is necessary in grasping the significance of his comments on ta’wīl, yet, as has been shown, no decisive consensus on these agendas has yet emerged.

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