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Ibn Sīnā’s Philosophical Interpretation of Sūrat al-Falaq

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Philosophical hermeneutics of the Qurʾān in the classical period has three major characteristics that are discussed in this paper in light of Ibn Sīnā’s work. First, philosophical hermeneutics falls under the category of symbolic interpretation (taaʾwīl)1 rather than technical/linguistic exegesis (tafsīr). Second, it selectively chooses Qurʾānic passages that lend themselves to philosophical interpretations. Third, it tends primarily towards metaphysical and moral issues, and is, for the most part, disinterested in ideological biases. This paper examines Ibn Sīnā’s interpretation of sūrat al-Falaq (Kor 113), and has two objectives: to elucidate the hermeneutical methodology adopted by Ibn Sīnā, and to investigate the consistency between the philosopher’s understanding of evil as well as the discourse used in his interpretation of al-Falaq and the treatment of the same issue in his major and minor philosophical writings. It demonstrates that, in the commentary on al-Falaq, evil emerges at the level of “particular realization” (qadar), while at the level of predetermination (qaḍā) evil is only a latent potentiality. Ibn Sīnā, in both his commentary on al-Falaq and his philosophical texts, tries to prove that evil at the level of predetermination can be explained as intended by accident (bi- al-ʿaraḍ).

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, University of Dayton smeisami1@udayton.edu

10.1163/22321969-12340043
/content/journals/10.1163/22321969-12340043
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2017-05-24
2017-10-24

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