Journal Articles

“Tafisr al-Qur’an bi’l Qur’an: The Hermeneutics of Imitation and Adab in ‘Ibn ‘Arabi’s Qur’anic Exegesis”

  • Islamic Studies, Vol. 50, no. 1 (Spring 2011): 5- 23.
Abstract: It is well-established in scholarship that the Qur’ân plays a vital role in Ibn’ Arabi’s writings and spiritual teachings. Ibn ‘Arabi himself is conscious of the centrality of the Qur’ân to his works The hidden analogs between the Qur’ân and Ibn ‘Arabi’s writings explain the seemingly abrupt transitions from one topic to another in the chapters of Futūhāt or the non-chronological presentation of the wisdom associated with the various prophets in the Fusūs. Although these strong connections between the Qur’an and the Shaykh’s writings have been noted and demonstrated by many, and some of the general hermeneutical principles documented a more in-depth examination of his concrete exegetical method remains to be done. This short essay carries out this ask It highlights he main features of Ibn ‘ Arabi’s hermeneutics, is own prescriptions for the interpretive method and how it was, or was not, enacted and embodied in his writings.

“Descartes and Al-Ghazālī: Doubt, Certitude and Light” 

  • Islamic Studies Vol. 49, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 219-251.
Abstract: The epistemologies of René Descartes (d. 1650) and Abu Hãmid al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111) have frequently been compared both by Muslim and Western scholars. The basis of comparison in the author’s view is immense similarities between Descartes and al-Ghazãli as demonstrated by the structure, arguments , and the method in their respective Discours de la méthode and al-Munqidh min al-Dalal. The debate that revolves around al-Munqidh continues to present al-Ghazãli as an anti-authoritarian character, much akin to modern thinking, and his doubt is, at best pretentious. In this essay, we take issues with both conclusions. We attempt to that neither al-Ghazãli is opposed to acceptance of authority in knowledge (taqlid) nor his doubt plays any central role in his epistemology. A lot that has been said about al-Munqidh rests on interpreters’ failure to understand his explicit arguments and in tendentiously seeing him as a pre-modern skeptic . Any comparison of Descartes’ Discours de la méthode and al-Munqidh min al-Dalãl cannot be faithfully made unless the confusions that surround the interpretation of the latter are clarified. Through an analysis of Descartes’ First Meditation and the conclusions drawn from our reading of al-Ghazâlï’s al-Munqidh we compare their epistemologies and show that not only their conclusions are very different, but even the initial skeptical moves are poles apart This is accomplished by comparing Descartes’ “natural light” to al-Ghazali’s “divine light,” a comparison which provides us with the essential insight needed in our inquiry.