Summary of hermeneutic method

Hermeneutic method

Below is found a summary of the hermeneutic method used in The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation.

Postulates

  • The Qur’an is guidance for mankind (2:185)
  • The Qur’an requires careful consideration and full attention (4:82, 47:24, 7:204)
  • The Qur’an was sufficient for Muḥammad (10:15)
  • The Qur’an could only be from God (10:37, 17:88)
  • The Qur’an is in Arabic so that we should use reason and understand (12:2, 43:3)
  • The Qur’an contains the best ḥadīth (39:23)
  • The Qur’an guides to that which is most upright (17:9)
  • The Qur’an was both divided and compiled by God (17:106, 75:17)
  • The Qur’an will be abandoned by its original recipients (25:30)
  • The Qur’an warns man and is that by which Muḥammad warned (27:92, 50:45)
  • The Qur’an is free of inconsistency or deviation (18:1, 39:28)
  • The Qur’an is wise in judgment and guides to sound judgment (36:2, 72:1-2)
  • The Qur’an is taught by God (55:2)
  • The Qur’an is guarded (15:9, 56:77-79)

Qualifications

  • The Qur’an is guidance for all mankind – a group to which I belong (2:185)
  • I have taken the time to give the Qur’an careful consideration and full attention (4:82, 47:24, 7:204)
  • I have studied the Arabic and use reason (12:2, 43:3)

Resources

  • Definitions found within the Qur’anic text (56:77-79, 85:2)
  • The principles and norms of the Arabic language (12:2, 43:3)
  • Arabic usage across the totality of the Qur’an (28:39, 39:28)
  • Reason (10:100)
  • Historical evidence (16:43, 21:7)

Methodology

  • Where a Qur’anic definition exists for a word, that value is adopted and sustained – either overtly in the translation or by means of elucidation in corresponding footnotes – across the entire text in every instance where that word is found in that form in which it is found in the definition; in all other cases that word is subject to the criteria which follow:
  • Where historically accepted word values cause no tension or dissonance either within local contexts or across the totality of instances they are considered potentially acceptable and if found to be so are applied consistently subject to the criteria which follow:
  • In any case where a clear, explicit value exists for any term, that value is enforced across all instances and an arbitrary value not admitted to any instance of that term, the remaining cases being subject to the criteria which follow:
  • In those cases where a value claimed by the Traditionalist for a word generates dissonance with the principle or prosaic meaning of that word and its root values and there exists no single instance which explicitly identifies the value for that word, the totality of the contexts of that word is considered in order to render a single value which can – and must – be applied consistently to every instance, the remaining cases being subject to the criterion which follows:
  • Where there are insufficient instances of a word to identify its value by comparing contexts, human reason is deemed sufficient to identify from lexicons which available value best fits the local context given consideration of the broader narrative.

About the Author Sam Gerrans

Sam Gerrans is an English writer and speaker with professional backgrounds in media, strategic communications, and technologies. He is driven by commitment to ultimate meaning, and focused on authentic approaches to revelation and Realpolitik. He is founder of Quranite.com and author of The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation where his consistent, Qur'an-centric hermeneutical methodology is applied to the text of the Qur’an in its entirety. Read more...

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