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Title: The use of the Qur'an in the Epistles of the Pure Brethren (Rasda'il Ikhwdn al-Safa)
Author: Ali de Unzaga, Omar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2675 0803
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis examines the 4th/10th century work known as the Epistles of the Pure Brethren (Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa`), with special attention to their use and interpretation of the Qur'an. It analyses the classical sources that deal with issues of authorship, influence and condemnation. Chapter I outlines the two main theories regarding the authorship of the Epistles - the Basra group theory of Tawhidi and the theory of the Isma'ili imams in hiding, and covers the influence of the Epistles in later literature, as well as surveying those authors who have used or mentioned the Epistles in their work. Chapter 2 assesses the disapproval and condemnation with which influential figures, both contemporary to the Epistles and later, judged the work, including authors close to philosophical circles, others from the 'Abbasid establishment in Baghdad and a number of jurists (fuqaha) of different Sunni schools. Chapter 3 contains a complete annotated index of the qur'anic quotations in the Epistles, including page numbers, suras and verses, as well as the introductory formulas and exegetical comments prefixed or suffixed to the quotations, and a guide to consult the index. It addresses the issue of the relevance of qur'anic quotations in the Epistles in quantitative and statistical terms and provides a typology of the formulas used in the Epistles to introduce qur'anic quotations. Chapter 4 analyses the thirty most quoted qur'anic verses in the Epistles, which form a central core of the qur'anic material in the work. An intratextual reading of the quotations is carried out in order to interpret the verses through the analysis of the cotext surrounding each use or quotation. The aim is to arrive at the authors' interpretation of each verse by considering its use holistically through the sum of all its uses and co-texts in which it is quoted. Chapter 5 explores one of the hermeneutical postulates essential to understanding the Epistles, namely what I call harmonising hermeneutics, or the authors' belief in the identity between the aims of scripture and philosophical enquiry, in the correlation between the concepts used in both realms, and a correspondence of their terminologies. The Appendix, which is complementary to the Index of qur'anic quotations, arranges the quoted verses by sura and verse number, to facilitate consultation and quick searches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: JISC Digital Islam
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available