Islamic Morals and Gnosticism

Muhammad Taqi Misbah-e Yazdi

This article is an abstract of a series of lectures presented by the Professor Misbah-e Yazdi in which he explains Imam Sadiq's instructions to Abdallah-e Ibn Jondob. In its first part, this article presents some topics such as human intrinsic tendency towards the proximity of God, obedience to the Prophet's Household (Ahl al-Bait) as the genuine paradigm of gnosticim, tremendous threats against the wayfarers on the path to Allah and some remarkable characteristics of the lovers of the Prophet's Household (s). In addition, the article contains some other topics worthy of consideration such as: the Qur'an and tradition (sunnah) as a treasure sought by man, self-examination, avoidance of sin, paying attention to the quantity and quality of sins committed, as well as to the conditions required for the rightfulness of actions.

Qur¨anic Objectives, Conditions and Obstacles in Using the Qur'an

Mahmud Rajabi

Generally speaking, the objectives of sending down the Qur'an can be viewed as having three dimensions: visional, attitudinal and practical.

Regarding the first dimension, the objectives can be recounted as follows: freedom from ignorance, the forgotten, the establishment of true insights or visions. presenting clear evidence for the visions, determining what is true and what is false, contemplating the Qur¨anic verses, considering God's signs and using intelligence and understanding.

Within the attitudinal dimension, the following are worth mentioning: giving advice, warning and gladtidings, treatment of mental illnesses, acceptance of guidance, seeking advice and god fearing (Taqwa).

The objectives which can be set forth within the practical dimension are as follows: rendering thanks to God, setting up a just society, the dominance of the Divine Laws and that of God's religion over the other religions, coming out of darkness toward the light of guidance and entering God's grace.

Some conditions should be taken into account in using the Qur'an effectively such as: seeking knowledge and certainty, seeking the good pleasure of God, fear of God, righteous actions, having faith in God, and making an earnest request for the Qur'an.

As for the obstacles preventing one from getting benefit from the Qur'an, there are many such as: oppression, telling lies, committing sins, arrogance, disbelief in the Hereafter, blasphemy, idolatory as well as pursuing worldly desires and one's inclinations.

Foundations and Criteria in Systematic Understanding of Revelation

Muhammad Baqir Saedi Roshan

A historical-critical survey of the course and developments in the field of the Quranic exegesis (interpretation) reveals the various interpretational methods and approaches to be used by different interpretors. Traditionally, these methods can be classified into two categories:

1) Traditionalism
2) Unsystematic and chaotic non-original thoughts (heterodoxy)

The writer goes on to underline the bases for understanding the words of God in the following:

1) Human understanding of religious texts is authentic.
2) The Divine Message is addressed to man and it is intelligible to him.
3) The realm of religious teachings involves guidance and education of man in all aspects of life.
4) As long as the objective aspect of the Divine Message entails all spheres of time and space, it enjoys perfection and comprehensiveness.

And finally, the writer gives expression to the criteria for the systematic understanding of revelation which hang upon:

1) conformity with intelligence.
2) conformity with the traditionally rational rules governing the colloquialism.
3) internal congruity of textual meanings
4) compatibility with the general spirit of monotheistic Law

"Tawil of the Quran" and Its Linguistic Relationship with "Tanzil of the Quran"

Dr. Muhammad Kazim shakir

In the interpretation of the Quran, one can find no logical or linguistic relationship between some remarks and the words or phrases in the Quran. This is true in such examples as the interpretation of the verse "ten nights" in the Sura "The Down" as "the ten external and internal senses" or of the "The Night of AL-Qadr" as a reference to the holy Prophet, or of "the fig" and "the olive" as "the Intelligence". This kind of treatment is termed "tawil" or "the interior of the Quran" which can be found in one of the three realms of religious knowledge as follows:

1) The realm of interpretive tradition
2) The realm of philosophical-mystical interpretations
3) The realm of esoterism

It can de said that the accounts concerning the interpretation represent the most important reason of these realms to justify the interpretations whose semantic relationship with the Quranic words and terms is ambiguous and the esoteric aspect of the Quran, that is, the proposition that "every verse of the Quran in addition to its exoteric aspect enjoys an interior aspect or interpretation" has been used as a major premise in the argument regarding the soundness of its interpretations. Therefore, it seems as if there is no linguistic relationship between the interpretation of the Quran and the words and terms used in the Quran.

The writer rejects the analysis of the interpretation of the Qur¨an which yields incomprehensibility of the interpretation through revelation (tanzil), and seeks to confirm the idea that this analysis of the interpretation of the Quran seems to have no solid basis in the realm of religious knowledge. Therefore, the interpretation of the Quran should have a linguistic relationship in a way or other with the words in the Qur¨an and the examples of interpretation already given can be understood in a way by means of the words or terms in the Quran.

Rules in Understanding the Qur'an

Habibollah-e Zareii

Underestanding the Qur'an better as well as attaining the meaning or the depths of its verses, whether esoterically or exoterically, can be achieved in the light of some rules and principles. By rules it is not meant mere aquaintance with the rules that lead to the understanding of the Arabic language, though God has used it as a means of disseminating what he wants.

Furthermore, the Qur¨anic concepts and meanings have been revealed through sublime, transcendent and metaphysical expressions and were so unique that the Arabic language of that time failed to express things like (Quranic concepts) fully and intelligeably; the concepts were revealed in metaphors¨ similies, allegories, and metonymies. As a result, it was necessary for people to go beyond the Arabic language in understanding the Qur'an. In brief, the rules necessary to understand the Quranic concepts are as follows:

1) Literary rules as well as Arabic vocabulary
2) Rules regarding interpretive traditions (ahadith)
3) Conformity in the interpretations of the Qur'an
4) The foundations of the Qur¨anic interpretations
5) Rules of science of fundemental principles in Islam (Iim al-osul)

The writer has dealt with the above topics in detail.