Caution in ‘Ijtihad’ or Re-Interpretation of Qur’anic Verses

(Posting on caution in re-interpretation of Qur’anic verses; by one NEB)

Some Qur’anic verses are rules; others are signs or warnings; others are stories teaching moral lessons; still others are good news. When it comes to interpretation and re-interpretation of these verses of different categories, caution has to be closely taken and attention paid. Verses of rules give little even no room for ijtihad or logic or critical thinking. You listen to them and obey them as such (Sami’na wa Ato’na). Verses of signs and warnings allow informed critical thinking; for this, learning from ulema or scholars with authority is an advantage. Verses of stories and good news render philosophy and conscience.

One example worth giving here is: If some Muslims believe that they have the right from Allah the One God to kill others of different religions even their own brothers and sisters in faith with no apparent cause, it is very likely that they have a problem with interpreting a particular Qur’anic verse of signs or warnings. Their misled and misleading interpretation is their own fault. It’s their own mistake. They lack learning. They believe in their own narrow-minded ijtihad. As for Islam itself, it remains paramount forever and ever. There is nothing wrong with Islam. There could be something wrong with some Muslims trying to interpret by themselves its verses of differing meanings and messages that must actually be taken with great above care…

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