Theological Trends in Sunnī Tafsīr on Q.11:117: Universal Ethics and Divine Punishment

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Theological Trends in Sunnī Tafsīr on Q.11:117: Universal Ethics and Divine Punishment

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Theological Trends in Sunnī Tafsīr on Q.11:117: Universal Ethics and Divine Punishment
Author: Mol, Arnold Joost Willem
Issue Date: 2018-07-16
Keywords: Qurʾān
Islamic ethics
Islamic theology
Tafsīr studies
Human rights discourse
Religious pluralism
Islam and minorities
Abstract: The tafsīr tradition is, as an accumulative and overarching science, a direct reflection of the trends emerging in other Islamic sciences. Exegesis on verse Q.11:117 became an important marker for Islamic theology: (A) God transcends any form of injustice, therefore when He destroys a people it is caused by their own theological injustice i.e., unbelief/idolatry/major sins (vertical ẓulm). It therefore presents faith (ʾīmān) as the main expression of ethical goodness (maṣlaḥa), and unbelief as a just cause for divine wordly punishment. This interpretation became the exegesis of the Muʿtazila, as represented by al-Zamakhsharī (d. 538/1144). (B) God does not destroy a people for their theological injustice, but provides them respite as long as they are not unjust towards others i.e., their vertical ẓulm is ignored as long as they do not perform horizontal ẓulm. It therefore applies the separation of faith (ʾīmān) and works (aʿmāl), and views ethical injustice (horizontal ẓulm) as the main cause for divine worldly punishment. The Sunnī tafsīr tradition adopted the (B) reading early on, which in the post-classical period functioned as an uṣūli foundation for the preference of human rights (ḥaqq al-ʿibād) over divine rights (ḥaqq Allāh), as represented by the Later Ashʿarī scholars al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210) and alBayḍāwī (d. 685/1286). Our analysis will show the development from early to contemporary tafsīr works on Q.11:117, which went through several paradigm shifts, from the emphasis on divine justice towards the emphasis of human justice, becoming a school defining heuristic and thereby acting as a ground for theological humanism within Islamic thought.
Supervisor: Berger, M.S.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Religiewetenschappen (Bachelor)
Specialisation: Islamic Studies
ECTS Credits: 10
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/63837
 

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