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Feminist Edges of the Qur’an$
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Aysha A. Hidayatullah

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199359561

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359561.001.0001

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History of Tafsir

History of Tafsir

(p.23) 1 History of Tafsir
Feminist Edges of the Qur’an

Aysha A. Hidayatullah

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides basic background on the history of tafsir (interpretation of the Qur’an) from its early classical origins to its modern and contemporary manifestations. The chapter explains the development of the premodern tafsir tradition; the author summarizes its characteristic features, identifies its major figures, and notes the cumulative nature of its authority. The chapter covers the emergence of Muslim modernism and the development of modern tafsir, describing its characteristic features (including its emphasis on rational interpretation and ijtihad, or independent reasoning) and identifying some of its major proponents and their successors. This discussion pays particular attention to the work of Fazlur Rahman, who has prominently influenced the development of feminist tafsir. In addition, the chapter explains modern challenges to traditional interpretive authority and delineates the growth of women’s movements in the Muslim world, as well as the emergence of tafsir by women in the late 20th century.

Keywords:   Qur’an, tafsir, interpretation, authority, premodern, modern, Muslim modernism, ijtihad, women

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