Sufi Qurʾan Commentaries, Genealogy and Originality: Universal Mercy as a Case Study

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article reflects on some methodological issues in the study of tafsīr, taking the dissemination
of the ideas of Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) on the non-perpetuity of the chastisement
of Hell in Sufi tafsīr as a case study. I show that Ibn ʿArabī’s ideas on the issue
were hardly adopted by later Sufi commentators on the Qurʾān. 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 ʿArabī on Hell proposed
outside the genre. This brings up some considerations on the use and usability of tafsīr
as a source of intellectual history.
LanguageEnglish
Pages102-124
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sufi Studies
Volume7
Issue number1/2
Early online date5 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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Mercy
Quran
Genealogy
Originality
Sufi
Tafsīr
Hell
Saying
Usability
Intellectual History
Commentators

Cite this

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title = "Sufi Qurʾan Commentaries, Genealogy and Originality: Universal Mercy as a Case Study",
abstract = "This article reflects on some methodological issues in the study of tafsīr, taking the disseminationof the ideas of Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) on the non-perpetuity of the chastisementof Hell in Sufi tafsīr as a case study. I show that Ibn ʿArabī’s ideas on the issuewere hardly adopted by later Sufi commentators on the Qurʾān. I investigate whetherjust 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 moreconservative in its content. Although the Sufi genre of tafsīr generally seems more willingto include Sufi sayings and ideas from outside the boundaries of the genre, thisdoes not make it adaptive of the non-mainstream ideas of Ibn ʿArabī on Hell proposedoutside the genre. This brings up some considerations on the use and usability of tafsīras a source of intellectual history.",
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Sufi Qurʾan Commentaries, Genealogy and Originality: Universal Mercy as a Case Study. / Coppens, P.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1/2, 12.2018, p. 102-124.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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