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approaches to the qur n



JUNE 10, 2008


The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims affirm the Shahadah ‘La ilaha illa-llah, Muhammadur Rasulu-llah’, the Tawhid therein and that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Salla-llahu-alayhi wa-sallam) is the last and final Prophet of Allah. Islam, as revealed in the Holy Quran, is the final message of Allah to mankind, and is universal and eternal. The Holy Prophet (S.A.S) through the divine revelation from Allah prescribed rules governing spiritual and temporal matters.

(Preamble (A) of the Constitution)

“ Fortunately the Koran has itself made this task easy, for it contains a number of verses which declare that Allah speaks to man in allegory and parable. Thus the Koran leaves the door open for all kinds of possibilities of interpretation so that no one interpreter can accuse another of being non-Muslim. A felicitous effect of this fundamental principle of Islam that the Koran is constantly open to allegorical interpretation has been that our Holy Book has been able to guide and illuminate the thought of believers, century after century, in accordance with the conditions and limitations of intellectual apperception imposed by external influences in the world.

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“It leads also to a greater charity among Muslims, for since there can be no cut-and-dried interpretations, all schools of thought can unite in the prayer that the Almighty in His infinite mercy may forgive any mistaken interpretation of the Faith whose cause is ignorance or misunderstanding.”

(Imam Sultan Mohammad Shah, Islam the Religion of My Ancestors, page 7-8)

“This programme is also an opportunity for achieving insights into how the discourse of the Qur’an-e-Sharif, rich in parable and allegory, metaphor and symbol, has been an inexhaustible well-spring of inspiration, lending itself to a wide spectrum of interpretations. This freedom of interpretation is a generosity which the Qur'an confers upon all believers, uniting them in the conviction that All-Merciful Allah will forgive them if they err in their sincere attempts to understand His word. Happily, as a result, the Holy Book continues to guide and illuminate the thought and conduct of Muslims belonging to different communities of interpretation and spiritual affiliation, from century to century,

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in diverse cultural environments. The Noble Qur’an extends its principle of pluralism also to adherents of other faiths. It affirms that each has a direction and path to which they turn so that all should strive for good works, in the belief that, wheresoever they may be, Allah will bring them together.”

(Mowlana Hazar Imam, Speech at the opening session of ‘Word of God, Art of Man’, London,


` “Careful analysis has been made of the theological and historical authenticity of our pluralistic heritage. The same careful enquiry is being applied to the wide body of Tafsir across the Ummah and across time, in order to achieve a thorough comprehension of the multiple schools of interpretation of the Holy Quran, including those of Fatimid times. When these endeavors will have been completed to my satisfaction, I will make available to the Jamat worldwide my thoughts and reflections in regard to the future practice of the Shia Ismaili Tariqah of Islam.”

(Irshad Mubarak-Aiglemont, July 11, 2007)

My Beloved Spiritual Children,

“This area of the practice of our faith is an area which is highly important but which requires commitment on behalf of the Jamat and guidance on behalf of the Imam. And I want to make it clear to my spiritual children that we are, and will continue to seek out knowledge and understanding, particularly from the Qur’an, so that my murids can look forward to the future with interpretation which is correct. You are aware, of course, that over the history of Islam, there are thousands and thousands of interpretations of the Qur’an for every time. For every part within the Ummah, there have been

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interpretations of the Qur’an, and it is important that, as time evolves, we should continue under the guidance of the Imam to seek clarity and understanding from the Qur’an-e-Shariff. And I want my spiritual children to know that this is an endeavor which is being undertaken on an ongoing basis, and that guidance will be given on a continuing basis.”

(Golden Jubilee Darbar, Dar-es-salam, Tanzania Aug 17, 2007)

“As Imam of the Ismaili sect I am in the position to adapt the teachings of the Quran to the modern conditions.”

(Mowlana Hazar Imam’s Interview with Arun Purie, The Editor of ‘India today’ , February 1989)