Monday, August 2, 2010

633)Shi‘i Ismaili Interpretations Of The Holy Qur’an, Institute Of Ismaili Studies Article By Dr Azim Nanji; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred Et Al.

"Time is eternity measured by the movements of the heavens,whose name is day, night, month, year. Eternity is Time not measured, having neither beginning nor end…The cause of Time is the Soul of the World….; it is not in time, for time is in the horizon of the soul as its instrument, as the duration of the living mortal who is “the shadow of the soul”, while eternity is the duration of the living immortal – that is to say of the Intelligence and of the Soul(Nasir Khusraw, 11th Fatimid Ismaili Cosmologist-Philosopher-Theologian-Poet)

"The Divine Intellect, Aql-i Kull, both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this Intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dictated by the faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given him and that he should know himself. It is the Light of the Intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal, and developing that intellect requires free inquiry. The man of faith, who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah's creation. Indeed, it is man's intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Inauguration Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11, 1985)

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"The Intellect is the substance of (God's) unity and it is the one (al-wahid), both cause and caused, the act of origination (al-ibda) and the first originated being (al-mubda al-awwal); it is perfection and perfect, eternity and eternal, existence and that which exists all in a single substance"( Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani, 11th centuryFatimid Ismaili cosmologist (Kitab al-Riyad, pp. 221-222))

"Tarkib' is composition as in the compounding of elements in the process of making more complex things, that is, of adding together two things to form a synthesis, a compound. Soul composes in the sense of 'tarkib'; it is the animating force that combines the physical elements of the natural universe into beings that move and act. Incorporating is an especially apt word in this instance. It means to turn something into a body, as in 'composing'. But it is actually the conversion of an intellectual object, a thought, into a physical thing. Soul acts by incorporating reason into physical objects, the natural matter of the universe and all the things composed of it"(Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani,10th century Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist, d971CE, from the book, 'Abu Yakub Al-Sijistani: Intellectual Missionary', by Paul Walker)

"God – may He be Glorified and Exalted – created Intellect ('aql) first among the spiritual entities; He drew it forth from the right of His Throne, making it proceed from His own Light. Then he commanded it to retreat, and it retreated, to advance, and it advanced; then God proclaimed: 'I created you glorious, and I gave you pre-eminence over all my creatures.'"(Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, Circa 765CE)

"The beginning of all things, their origin, their force and their prosperity, is that intellect ('aql), without which one can profit from nothing. God created it to adorn His creatures, and as a light for them. It is through intellect ('aql) that the servants recognize God is their Creator and that they themselves are created beings …It is thanks to intellect ('aql) that they can distinguish what is beautiful from what is ugly, that they realize that darkness is in ignorance and that light is in Knowledge"( Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, (al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 1, pp. 34), circa 765CE)

Lifelong Learning: Articles

Shi‘i Ismaili Interpretations of the Holy Qur’an

Professor Azim Nanji

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Selected Proceedings of the International Congress for the Study of the Qur’an, 1980, pp.39-49

Key words

Fatimids, Qur’an, ta’wil, tawhid, shari‘a, zahir, batin, salat, Adam
Given the whole spectrum of views that have developed throughout Ismaili history, it is not easy to define any one of these as representing an exclusive form of Ismaili interpretation. Focusing on the Fatimid period, this article attempts to develop a basis for understanding Shi’i Ismaili interpretations of the Holy Qur’an. It illustrates how the Ismailis used the foundational doctrine of ta’wil as a tool to interpret Qur’anic concepts such as tawhid, Creation, Prophecy, shari‘a and Adam. Believing that mere zahir without batin is not complete; they see each human being as part of a purposeful sacred history, imbued with Divine purpose where human destiny is exalted, moving forwards and upwards to its origin.

Continue at the source to download the pdf version of the article:


Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)