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A Contemporary Muslim Scholar’s Approach to Revelation: Moḥammad Moǧtahed Šabestarī’s Reform Project

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Over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, rethinking the traditional understanding of revelation has been welcomed by a number of Muslim scholars. Moḥammad Moǧtahed Šabestarī, an influential Šīʿī reformer from contemporary Iran, certainly falls in the category of such scholars. The aim of this paper is to discuss his theory of revelation for the purpose of exploring the potential values it holds for flexible interpretation of Islam in the present context. The paper argues that Šabestarī’s method of interpretation of the Qurʾān has its roots in his account of revelation. In order to show in practice how Šabestarī’s understanding of the nature of revelation influences the way he approaches the Qurʾān, the paper focuses on three main themes that consistently appear throughout his writings, namely Qurʾānic socio-political provisions, religious pluralism and the relation between state and religion. The paper, in general, provides an insight of how rethinking the classical methods, ideas and approaches can take place within Islamic tradition in the modern period.À la fin du XX e et début du XXI e siècles, le fait de repenser la compréhension traditionnelle de la Révélation fut bien accueilli par un certain nombre de savants musulmans. Moḥammad Moǧtahed Šabestarī, un influent réformateur chiite de l’Iran contemporain, appartient sans nul doute à cette catégorie de savants. Le propos de cet article est d’analyser sa théorie sur la Révélation dans le but d’explorer ses valeurs potentielles pour une interprétation souple de l’islam en fonction du contexte contemporain. L’article démontre que la méthode d’interprétation du Coran de Šabestarī trouve ses racines dans son récit de la Révélation. Afin de montrer concrètement comment la compréhension qu’avait Šabestanī de la nature de la Révélation influence la façon dont il aborde le Coran, l’article se concentre sur trois thèmes principaux qui apparaissent systématiquement dans ses écrits, à savoir les dispositions socio-politiques du Coran, le pluralisme religieux et la relation entre l’État et la religion. D’une manière générale, l’article donne un aperçu de la façon dont le fait de repenser les méthodes, idées et approches classiques peut avoir sa place dans la tradition islamique à l’époque contemporaine.This article is in English.

Affiliations: 1: University of Melbourne


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