Critical Analysis of the Sunni and Shi’ite Commentators’ Views on the Comprehensiveness of the Qur’an

The comprehensiveness of the Qur’an is one of significant issues which has been reviewed by Islamic scholars from different perspectives since the early history of Islam. Absolute comprehensiveness, comprehensiveness in terms of guidance, and minimal comprehensiveness are among the most important perspectives in this regard. Qur’anic verses and traditions on this subject claim that the Qur’an has absolute integrity in terms of guidance and religious matters, that is to say, there is no religious or guidance issue which has not been mentioned in the Qur’an while an investigation of its apparent structure reveals that it is not comprehensive even in terms of religious arguments. In another words, we cannot extract all religious commands and arguments from the surface structure of the Qur’an; yet, there are numerous verses and particularly traditions which mention the absolute comprehensiveness of the Qur’an. Using descriptive analysis, the present study critically analyzes the views of Sunni and Shi’ite commentators in this regard and admits the absolute comprehensiveness of the Qur’an on guidance affairs for the infallible Imams. It also draws a line between the comprehensiveness of the Qur’an and the comprehensiveness of Islam, appointing the latter to those other than the infallibles. The results of the study show that, first, the Qur’an independently has absolute comprehensiveness in terms of guidance and religious issues having vivid evidence in the deep structure of the Qur’an; however, this sort of absolute comprehensiveness is exclusively for the infallible Imams who can extract knowledge from the profound aspects of the Qur’an. Second, for those other than the infallibles, the comprehensiveness of Islam is mentioned and the Noble Qur’an along the tradition of holy Imams pave the ground for that sort of integrity. Third, the comprehensiveness of Islam indicates absolute comprehensiveness in terms of guidance affairs which fulfills human need up until hereafter. Received: 8/6/2018   |   Accepted: 4/3/2018

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Journal of Comparitave Tafsir Studies, Volume:5 Issue:9, 2019
219 - 244  
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