Anthropomorphism and Interpretation of the Qur’ān in the Theology of al-Qāsim ibn Ibrāhīm

Kitāb al-Mustarshid. Edited with Translation, Introduction and Notes


The present work deals with anthropomorphism and interpretation of the Qur’ān in the theology of the Zaidite imam al-Qāsim ibn Ibrāhīm (785-860 A.D.). The edition and annotated translation of al-Qāsim's epistle Kitāb al-mustarshid is preceded by a detailed introduction, which treats early Islamic theology. For the abrogation of the literal meanings of Qur’ānic anthropomorphic expressions, the author uses similes, idioms and phrases in Arabic, pieces of evidence from ancient Arabic poetry and rational arguments which often reflect the Mu‘tazilite ways of dealing with anthropomorphism. The second subject, the place of the Qur’ān in al-Qāsim's writings and his methods of interpretation of the Qur’ān, bears directly upon his doctrines in general and upon his doctrine of anti-anthropomorphism in particular, and also contributes to the understanding of the development of Qur’ānic exegesis in the first half of the ninth century.

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Binyamin Abrahamov, Ph.D. (1982) in Islamic Theology, Tel Aviv University, is Associate Professor at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. He has published on al-Qāsim ibn Ibrāhīm (Brill, 1990), on al-Ghazāl-ī, and on several Islamic theological isssues.
' This approach marks out the Epistle as an exercise in the application of which has received little attention to date and a work which will prove invaluable to and usable by comparative Arabic dialectologists, syntacticians and morphologists.'
Janet C.E. Watson, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 1997.
All those interested in Islamic theology, Arabic and Qur’ān exegesis.