The Qur’an: The Arbiter of Diverse Interpretations

By: Dr. Zainab Alwani

The question of Qur’anic interpretation is at the heart of any juristic interpretation.  Some of the questions are ones that have been debated among scholars throughout Islamic history. Other questions, however, are a product of the unique circumstances that face the Muslim-American community in the twenty-first century. Who possesses the authority to interpret the Qur’an? What are the limits of Qur’anic interpretation?  If the Qur’an is universal, then how do its interpretations continue to be relevant for every age and society?  When there is a multiplicity of interpretations, how do we determine which interpretation best reflects God’s intention?

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