Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding and Qur'anic revelation: The dynamic hermeneutic of Irfan A. Khan
by Azmat, Tanveer, Ph.D., Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2016, 198; 10248903
Abstract (Summary)

The dissertation explores the Qur’anic hermeneutics of Irfan A. Khan (b. 1931), a significant contemporary scholar of the Qur’an and modern western philosophy. It demonstrates that Khan’s Qur’anic hermeneutic is a paradigm shift as compared to classical Qur’anic hermeneutic and provides a substantive theory and methodology of Qur’anic interpretation.

For Khan, Qur’anic God is perpetually active in new creation and new guidance. Since the sum total of all current existences is new creation, therefore it requires fresh guidance. Therefore, Khan considers the Qur’an a primary guide for us, as if it were just revealed. Khan proposes that readers should exert themselves directly to understand the Qur’an with their own mind, developing a personal relationship with it. The readers must keep the Sunnah of the Prophet in front of them. The Prophet and his Companions read the Qur’an in their existing socio-historic situation, purified themselves, and changed their socio-historic reality. The current readers should also follow the Sunnah in this sense. Finally, for guidance Qur’anic God has been systematically guiding humankind through prophets. After the Prophet Muhammad we are in post-prophetic stage. Thus, the Prophetic Movement changed into the Qur’anic Movement. Therefore, the responsibility of interpretation rests squarely upon humankind in the absence of any prophet.

Philosophically speaking humankind’s understanding is limited by its epistemic system. The lower bound of our epistemic system is apprehending Reality, but we always fail to apprehend it as an organic whole. The upper limit of our epistemic system is what we can think. Understanding happens between these two bounds. When we understand texts we convert textual symbols into images, manipulate the images, and get insights about the world of the text in front of us. However, it is only when we act upon it that we find the truth of our textual insights. Since our epistemic capacities keep on increasing due to advances in science, technology and the arts, it is possible to understand the same text in a deeper way in future. Thus, Qur’anic understanding is a continuous process that requires its new concretization in each historic epoch.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Swanson, Mark N.
Commitee: Shelley, Michael, Stewart, Benjamin M., Westhelle, Victor
School: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Department: Theological Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Biblical studies, Theology
Keywords: Authenticity, Hermeneutics, Qur'an, Tafsir
Publication Number: 10248903
ISBN: 978-1-369-42477-5
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