The ‘Mathanian’ Character of the Qur’an: An Approach for a Scientific Exegesis
The aim of this paper is to define the ‘mathanian’ character of the Qur’an. It then proceeds to apply this concept as a methodology for a scientific exegesis on the cosmic and creation verses found in the Qur’an. This method is modelled from the application of al-Ghazzālī in his commentary on the secrets of al-fātiḥah in his book Jawāhir al-Qur’an. Three research questions guide this work: (i) what are the defining features of the mathanian character of the Qur’an, (ii) how was this mathanian character employed by al-Ghazzālī in synthesising revealed and scientific data and (iii) to what extent can the example provided by al-Ghazzālī’s application serves as a model for a richer understanding of scientific verses (al-āyāt al-kawniyyah) in contemporary times? The paper concludes with an application of the mathanian character to a Qur’anic description of al-arḍ as firāsh. The application demonstrates how this methodology can provide a comprehensive commentary on creation and cosmic verses in the Qur’an.
Keyword: Tawhid, science, methodology, integration, unity