The Mind of the Quran: Chapters in Reflection

The Mind of the Quran: Chapters in Reflection

The Mind of the Quran: Chapters in Reflection

The Mind of the Quran: Chapters in Reflection

Excerpt

The Qur'ān has several names for itself--book, guidance, reminder, criterion. All of them suppose community and intelligence. The command to "read in the name of the Lord" was the genesis of Muḥammad's mission. Hence reading and book-relatedness have always been the central factor in Islam and calligraphy the familiar feature, and puzzle, of the mosque.

All literature is the art of transaction with other minds. The more sacred the text then the more crucial the readership. The meaning of a book is always meaning for a people. The truth of the one stands in the awareness of the other. The title The Mind of the Qur'ān intends this reciprocal situation--the book related to readers and readers relating to the book. Only in such relation does a scripture wield its authority. Once the book exists, and what is written is written, and the meaning thus entrusted to words, its writ and its content are with the minds and wills that read.

This fascinating quality of all literature, in the unique shape of the Qur'ān, is the theme of these pages. Their aim is to reflect on the characteristic thoughts of the Islamic Scripture in the receiving of Muslim thinking, and to do so by the clue of its dominant terms of vocabulary. This is not, however, merely a semantic study. It is, rather, a sequence of essays in religious thinking, responsive to the impact of Quranic style and emphasis. It is meant as a companion book to The Event of the Qur'ān and pre-supposes the understanding, there outlined, of the Qur'ān in its actual genesis, as a historic phenomenon in religious experience. From those dimensions of origin, this study traces the implications of the Qur'ān in the related fields of man and history, evil and forgiveness, unity and worship, wonder and the hallowing of the world. It does so--as in duty bound--with a respectful, if also critical, eye for the classical commentators, three of whom are translated here in their exegesis of three important Surahs. Traditional commentary, though in part an incubus, is also a vital index to the Quranic mind, its qualities and instincts, as these . . .

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