Sufi Qur'ānic Exegesis and Theomorphic Anthropology

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Stephen Cúrto


Of all the various ideological controversies in the history of Islamic thought, a highly contentious area is that which surrounds the ontological nature of the Divine attributes or Ṣifāt Allah. Questions surrounding God’s attributes and what delineations to be made between this nature and Being, known as Dhāt Allah, preoccupied some of the greatest classical participants in the ‘ilm al-kalām systematic theological disputation tradition. Therefore, this study engages Qur’ānic paradigms of theomorphic anthropo-logy and re-interrogations by Sufi thinkers. A rich debate occurred within the Islamic Scholarship on the nature of the Divine attributes and their interrelationship with Banī Adam. Many of the mystical Sufi scholars, such as Ibn ‘Arabī, Mūlla Sadra, Nāṣir Khusraw, and Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī all articulated onto-theological concepts in their writing. These works became known as Waḥdat al-Wujūd, Tajallī Allah, Tajallī al-Nafs’ Nafs-e ‘Aql, and Nafs-e Kūl. Consequently, this paper argues that the idea of Divine immanence articulated in concepts like ‘Tajallī al-Nafs’ is not a later retrojection onto Qur’ānic material. Rather, it is the Qur’ānic material that was exegeted with a meaningful and consistent hermeneutic, which resulted in their theosophical understandings.


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Cúrto, Stephen. “Sufi Qur’ānic Exegesis and Theomorphic Anthropology”. Teosofi: Jurnal Tasawuf dan Pemikiran Islam 10, no. 1 (June 1, 2020): 29–49. Accessed August 7, 2022.


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