Amin Ahsan Islahi An Introduction to His Tafs¥r Methodology

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Israr Ahmad Khan

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Abstract

Amin Ahsan Islahi (1903-97), an illustrious Islamic scholar from India, is the author of the Urdu-language Tadabbur-e-Qur’an, the first tafs¥r of its kind. In it, he has applied a unique method of interpreting the revealed words that, he rightly claims, he actually borrowed from his great teacher `Abd al-Hamid al-Farahi (1861-1930). According to him, this methodology leads to the unity of meaning and hence to the unity of thought. Its salient feature is what he refers to as “coherence in the Qur’an” (na`m al-Qur’OEn). Identifying the coherence between the Qur’an’s verses enables the commentator to establish cohesion among apparently conflicting passages within a s´rah. Coherence is not merely an academic witticism (la‹¥fah `ilm¥yah); rather, it is an intellectual endeavor (al-sa`y¥ al-`ilm¥) based on the Qur’anic principle of deliberation (al-tadabbur) to apply certain rules to the text in order to unfold the truth enshrined in the divine statements. Islahi’s work is a methodological and practical example of na`m al-Qur’OEn. This paper seeks to introduce his methodology in detail as applied in his work with a view to formulating its system of practical application in tafs¥r.

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