Sufi Qur'ān Commentaries, Genealogy and Originality: Universal Mercy as a Case Study

Pieter Coppens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This article reflects on some methodological issues in the study of tafsīr, taking the dissemination of the ideas of Ibn Arabī (d. 638/1240) on the non-perpetuity of the chastisement of Hell in Sufi tafsīr as a case study. I show that Ibn Arabī's ideas on the issue were hardly adopted by later Sufi commentators on the Qur ān. I investigate whether just as its exoteric counterpart, and despite the claim of Sufi tafsīr being rooted in 'experience' and thus being more 'original', Sufi tafsīr is 'genealogical' and is thus more conservative in its content. Although the Sufi genre of tafsīr generally seems more willing to include Sufi sayings and ideas from outside the boundaries of the genre, this does not make it adaptive of the non-mainstream ideas of Ibn Arabī on Hell proposed outside the genre. This brings up some considerations on the use and usability of tafsīr as a source of intellectual history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-124
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sufi Studies
Volume7
Issue number1/2
Early online date5 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Hell
  • Ibn Arabī
  • Ishārī tafsīr
  • Mercy
  • Qur ān commentaries
  • Salvation
  • Sufism

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