CONTEXTS AND INTERPRETATION. PERSPECTIVES ON QUR’ANIC SURAH 112
AbstractSurah 112, in its usual format, consists only of four verses. However, in Muslim interpretative tradition, it is highly valued; some even estimate the contents of the surah as equivalent to a third of the Qur’an. In essence, it can be regarded as a confession of Islamic faith, defining the kernel issue of belief. Its focus is on the Oneness of Allah, not subjected to any life cycle, and incomparable.Various occasions have been suggested for the original revelation and proclamation of Surah 112. In general, it is agreed that the surah responds to questions put to the Prophet Muhammad regarding his religious convictions, but there is difference of opinion regarding the exact setting. Al-Tha‘labī (d. 427/1035), for example, refers to a debate within a polytheistic, Muslim, Jewish and Christian context. In this article, the contents of the surah is analysed and viewed from the angle of alternative occasions of revelation ascribed to them. It is shown that these different historically-related perspectives create divergent interpretative possibilities.
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