Ghazali’s view of the Holy Quran

Credit / Courtesy: Dawn.com

By Nilofar Ahmed

JUST as there is a growing global demand for enlightening modern commentaries of the Quran, there is a persisting dearth of exegetical scholarship, even as the overall body of literature on Islam increases.

In this scenario, it is rewarding to look at Imam Ghazali’s classic theory of Quranic interpretation, presented in one of his most well-known works, Ihya Ulum ud-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences). Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (1,058-1,111CE), a great philosopher, cosmologist, jurist, psychologist and theologian-turned-mystic, was born and died in Tus (Khorasan). He was a prolific writer. Many of his books are extant to this day.

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Editor’s comments:

The Holy Quran states about itself:

Say, ‘If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’  (Al Quran 18:110)

And:

To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth. Indeed, Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.   And if all the trees that are in the earth were pens, and the ocean were ink, with seven oceans swelling it thereafter, the words of Allah would not be exhausted. Surely, Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al Quran 31:27-28) 

 

Categories: Islam, Quran

4 replies

  1. INFINITE TREASURES OF THE HOLY QURAN AND SCIENCE

    قُل لَّوْ كَانَ الْبَحْرُ مِدَاداً لِّكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّي لَنَفِدَ الْبَحْرُ قَبْلَ أَن تَنفَدَ كَلِمَاتُ رَبِّي وَلَوْ جِئْنَا
    بِمِثْلِهِ مَدَداً

    Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’ [Al Kahf (Chapter 18), Verse 110]

    The Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani wrote in commentary of the verses quoted in this post:

    “The Holy Qur’an is not matchless merely on account of the beauty of its composition, but is matchless on account of all its excellences which it claims to comprise and that is the truth, for whatever proceeds from God Almighty is not unique only on account of one quality but on account of every one of its qualities. Those who do not accept the Holy Qur’an as comprehensive of unlimited eternal truths and insights, do not value the Qur’an as it should be valued. A necessary sign for the recognition of the holy and true Word of God is that it should be unique in all its qualities, for we observe that whatever proceeds from God Almighty is unique and matchless even if it is only a grain of barley, and human powers cannot match it. Being matchless means being unlimited, that is to say, a thing can be matchless only when its wonders and qualities are unlimited and have no end. As we have just stated, this characteristic is found in everything created by God Almighty. For instance, if the wonders of a leaf of a tree are investigated for a thousand years, that period would come to an end, but the wonders of the leaf will not come to an end. That which has come into being through unlimited power, must comprise unlimited wonders and qualities. The verse, ‘Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help;’ (18:110) supports this, for the whole of creation is Words of God.

    …. Thus this verse means that the qualities of creation are without limit and endless. Now when every created thing possesses unlimited and endless qualities and comprises numberless wonders then how could the Holy Qur’an, which is the Holy Word of God Almighty, be confined to the few meanings which may be set out in a commentary of forty or fifty or a thousand volumes, or could have been expounded by our lord and master the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] in a limited period? To say so would almost amount to disbelief, if it is deliberately persisted in. It is true that whatever the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] has set forth as the meaning of the Holy Qur’an is true and correct, but it is not true that the Holy Qur’an contains no more than the insights that have been set forth by the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. Such sayings of our opponents indicate that they do not believe in the unlimited greatness and qualities of the Holy Qur’an. Whereas the Holy Quran says, “Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’” (Al-Quran 18:110)

    [Karamat-us-Sadiqin, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 7, pp. 60-62]

    To read further on this theme:

    Click to access eGazette-March2008.pdf

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