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Learned IgnoranceIntellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims$
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James L. Heft, Reuven Firestone, and Omid Safi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769308

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769308.001.0001

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Finding Common Ground

Finding Common Ground

“Mutual Knowing,” Moderation, and the Fostering of Religious Pluralism

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Finding Common Ground
Source:
Learned Ignorance
Author(s):

Asma Afsaruddin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769308.003.0005

This chapter focuses on three Qurʾanic concepts from which universal ethical principles may be derived to promote harmonious relationships between diverse peoples and faith communities in full recognition, even in celebration, of their differences. These concepts are: (1) knowledge of one another (Ar. al-taʿaruf), based on respect for diversity and difference; (2) the commonality of human beings based on righteousness and ethical conduct rather than on religious labels and denominations; and (3) moderation as a defining characteristic of righteous believers. The chapter discusses these concepts and their bearing on interfaith dialogue and peaceful co-existence through the prism of exegeses of critical Qurʾanic verses that deal with these concepts. It shows that, although a number of premodern Muslim exegetes showed appreciation for the Qurʾanic valorization of diversity, their own social and historical circumstances limited their conceptualization of the extent of diversity and its impact on interfaith relations. It is, therefore, suggested that in our contemporary, increasingly cosmopolitan world, we may read these texts with fresh eyes today and uncover exegetical possibilities that will help reconfigure relations among religious communities from a more pluralist and intellectually humble perspective.

Keywords:   Qurʾan, ethical principles, respect for diversity, moderation, interfaith relations, Muslim exegetes

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