H?amid al-Din Farahi (d. 1930), a Qur’anic scholar from the Indian Sub-continent, revisits the long contested questions on the nature and significance of the Qur’anic oaths. Previously, the Muslim scholarship generally explained the Qur’anic oaths by contending that there is a certain glory in the objects the Qur’an swears by. Farahi, however, adopts a different stance. He claims to have followed a principled stance and offered a coherent explanation of the Qur’anic oaths. Tracing the origin of the oath, surveying the conventions not only in the Qur’anic text and classical Arabic literature but also the non-Arabic sources, for instance classical Greek and Biblical Hebrew, he attempts to establish that conventionally, glorification of the object of oath is not its necessary element. Oaths are employed to evoke an object as evidence to the veracity of the claims that follow, but are not always mentioned explicitly. Farahi’s achievement is not confined to answering an old question about the nature and purpose of the Qur’anic oaths. His work contains a number of interesting examples of his interpretive approach that has become the hallmark of the exegetical school he founded.
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