Conciliation in the Qur’an and Interfaith Relations

Conciliation in the Qurʾan: The Notion of Iṣlāḥ and Man’s Universal Duty as God’s Vicegerent
Despite its important social implications, Conciliation in the Qurʾan remains a fragmented and under-researched field of study. This seminar will focus on Conciliation in the Meccan suras Q.6 and Q.7, and will argue that Conciliation is emphasised through the central notion of iṣlāḥ (reconciliation, reform, order). The analysis reveals that iṣlāḥ is the central axis around which equilibrium is maintained in the Divine world order, a process of Divine education in the form of revelation and prophetic instruction, which prevents and contains disputes and directly aims to address the angelic complaint, at man’s creation, of fasād and bloodshed on the earth. As such, iṣlāḥ is integrally embedded in the Qurʾanic discourse and appears to be the primary responsibility of man as God’s vicegerent. The origination narrative of Adam and Satan, embedded within the discourse on iṣlāḥ, utilises the repeated term of address ‘O Children of Adam’ to provide a clear sense of universal and timeless appeal.

Notably, the analysis addresses an apparent lacuna in the understanding of coherence in the Meccan narratives of Q.7 identified by Welch.1 The analysis utilises two influential commentaries, the pre-modern Arabic exegesis by Al-Rāzī (d. 606/1209) and the contemporary Urdu exegesis by Iṣlāḥī (d. 1997).

[1] Welch, A., ‘Formulaic Features of the Punishment Stories’ in Boullata, I. (ed.), Literary Structures of Religious Meaning in the Qurʾan, p.85 (Oxon: Routledge, 2000).