MESA Banner
Incorporating Contemporary Science in Qurʾānic Exegesis
Abstract by Dr. Azadeh Aghighi On Session IV-29  (Ritual and Faith)

On Friday, November 3 at 11:00 am

2023 Annual Meeting

In recent years, there has been a growing interest among scholars to incorporate modern science in the interpretation of the verses of the Qurʾān. So far, various approaches have been proposed to use this interpretative method, but each is flawed in one way or another. More importantly, many modern interpretative methods not only do not follow fixed and specific rules but impose the unsteady findings of modern science on the Qurʾān, disregarding its divine nature and mission. This paper provides an overview of the various definitions and approaches to using modern science in the interpretation of the Qurʾān and critically evaluates their strengths and weaknesses. The paper also discusses the debate surrounding this interpretative method, which has been divided into four groups: necessity, permission, prohibition, and the possibility of using modern science in the interpretation of the Quran. Islamic scholars have differing opinions on this interpretative method. Some object to it, claiming it is either unnecessary or forbidden based on the role of the Qurʾān in guiding humanity to perfection from epistemological, mythological, or linguistic perspectives or by emphasizing the consequences of the interpretive method of the Qurʾān. On the other hand, some see it as necessary or acceptable, with the aim of preserving the Qurʾān's sanctity and showcasing its modern miracle. The paper concludes by identifying the conditions necessary for a correct and meaningful application of the modern interpretative method. These include a faithful adherence to the exoteric meaning of the verses, an understanding of the difference between various levels of modern science, the clarification of the compatibility of modern findings with the exoteric meaning of the verses, a refusal to comment when a such comparison is not possible, and a familiarity with empirical science. Keywords: Qurʾān; scientific miracle; modern interpretation; modern tafsīr; modern sciences
Religious Studies/Theology
Geographic Area
Islamic World
Sub Area