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The Influence of Zāhirī Theory On Ibn Hazm's Theology: the Case of His Interpretation of the Anthropomorphic Text "the Hand of God"

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Both the Bible and the Qur¸ān contain anthropomorphic passages, and so a theological debate over their interpretation is very common in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the Qur¸ān, there are several anthropomorphic texts which describe God as having bodily features like those of human beings. For instance, God is said to have a face, eyes, feet, and hands. Various attempts were made to interpret such texts, either literally by accepting the corporcality of God or metaphorically by avoiding the implication of anthropomorphic texts. It is interesting how Ibn Hazm, who upheld Zāhirī theory (maintaining the literal meaning), tried to interpret Qur. 38:76, 5:67, 48:10 and 36:70 where reference is made to "the Hand of God." On the one hand, he felt he should maintain the literal meaning, according to which god is supposed to have hands. On the other hand, he declared himself to be a defender of tawhīd (the unity of God), which demanded that he reject all possibility of similarities between God and any of his creatures. This paper will focus on Ibn Hazm's argument by looking at his al-Fisal wa al-Milal wa al-Nihal.

Affiliations: 1: McGill University


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