Qurʼānic Exegesis and History
One of the fundamental ingredients of Qurʼānic commentaries is elucidation of who is addressed or referred to in the various passages of the scripture. For example, Q 2:6–7 refers to a group that disbelieves and that will continue to refuse to believe, whether “you” warn them or not. It is the commentators who identify for us the “you” and the group of unbelievers. There is unanimity that the “you” addressed is the prophet Muhammad, but disagreement about the unbelievers: some commentators understood it as a reference to the Jews of Medina, some to the pagans of Mecca. Traditional exegesis establishes not only the possibilities for the interpretation of the various parts of the Qurʼān but also the limits within which those possibilities are confined. The Qurʼān presents a two-sided general image of the opponents: on the one hand vocabulary with connotations of idolatry and polytheism is applied to them; on the other, they appear to know about the one God and to share some of the concepts of the monotheist religion, especially the eschatological ones.
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