Tradition, Reason, and Qur'anic exegesis in the modern period: The Hermeneutics of Said Nursi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Key figures in modernist Qur’an exegesis include Sayyid Ahmad
Khan (d. 1898) and Muhammad ʿAbduh (d. 1905). This article
presents the exegetical principles of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi
(1877–1960), a Muslim thinker and a major twentieth-century
Turkish scholar who is not necessarily to be labelled a ‘modernist’,
on tafsīr bi-al-maʾthūr (tradition-based exegesis) and tafsīr bi-al-raʾy
(reason-based exegesis) with special reference to the views of
early Muslim modernist thinkers. It particularly refers to Nursi’s
work on usūl al-tafsīr, Muh ākamāt (Reasonings), and his onevolume
commentary, Ishārāt al-iʿjāz (Signs of Inimitability), in
order to understand his method of tafsīr. The purpose of the
article is to place Nursi within the historical framework of Qur’an
exegesis and it argues that, while there are some similarities
between ʿAbduh and Nursi since the latter is influenced by the
former, the methodological differences are clear. While ʿAbduh’s
method is text-based, Nursi’s is based on kalām (Islamic theology).
While ʿAbduh is critical of the classical style tafsīr and linguistic
discussions in tafsīr, Nursi can be considered to be a modern
representative of the Ottoman exegetical school and a follower in
the way of al-Zamakhsharī (d. 538⁄1144), Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d.
606⁄1210) and al-Bayd āwī (d. 685/1286).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages25
JournalIslam and Christian-Muslim Relations
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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hermeneutics
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Quran
Exegesis
Hermeneutics
Modern Period
Modernist
Muslims
Thinkers

Cite this

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Tradition, Reason, and Qur'anic exegesis in the modern period: The Hermeneutics of Said Nursi. / Coruh, Hakan.

In: Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2017, p. 85-104.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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