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Title: The interpretation of Qur'anic verses on the salvation of religious others by Abū Ja`far Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923) : content and method
Author: Muttaqin, Zaenal
ISNI:       0000 0004 8504 1206
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates Abu Ja'far Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī's interpretive strategies through the lens of his interpretation of Qur'anic verses on the salvation of religious others. Al-Ṭabarī's methods of interpreting the Qur'an are often simply described as consisting of adducing traditions and linguistic explanation. While both methods constitute his main tools, al-Ṭabarī employs specific interpretive strategies to reveal the meaning of Qur'anic verses so as to state his view on certain topics. The topic of salvation of non-Muslims is chosen since there are Qur'anic verses that literally leave open the possibility of salvation of non-Muslims. This has become a focus of contestation in Muslim views of other religious believers. Therefore, this thesis aims to examine al-Ṭabarī's interpretation of such verses, both in content and method. The salvation of non-Muslims is examined within three sub-topics: the fate of virtuous non-Muslims, the eternity of Hell, and intercession. Regarding the first issue, Q. 2:62 states that non-Muslims will receive rewards for their righteous deeds, and they will neither fear nor grieve. Q. 11:107 indicates that God may release anyone from dwelling eternally in Hell. Finally, verse 19:87 makes intercession possible through God's intervention. Thus, all these verses suggest that non-Muslims might attain salvation. Al-Ṭabarī's interpretation of these verses are analysed, both to determine his view and to reveal his interpretive strategies. His views are then compared to his interpretation of other relevant verses, and located within the context of the theological discourse and inter-religious relationships of his time. Among the main conclusions of the research is that al-Ṭabarī's interpretation of the relevant verses indicates that non-Muslims will not attain salvation in spite of the verses literally suggesting that they will. This opinion was the same as the contemporary mainstream Muslim theological position which eventually developed into Islamic orthodoxy. The context of third/ninth century Baghdad also influenced al-Ṭabarī in establishing his viewpoint. As for al-Ṭabarī's exegetical strategies, this present research demonstrates that he combines traditions, reason and the methodology of jurisprudence, all of which were influenced by the contemporary epistemology of the Islamic sciences. Thus, although the verses under discussion concerned theological issues, al-Ṭabarī approaches them using techniques that were usually employed when interpreting verses with a legal significance, techniques such as the occasion of revelation (sabab al-nuzūl), abrogation (naskh), weighing conflicting opinions (tarjīḥ), and drawing a particular meaning from general meaning ('āmm and khāṣṣ). This was assisted by the use of relevant exegetical traditions.
Supervisor: Buckley, Ronald ; Karimullah, Kamran Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available