The Role of Intertextual Polysemy in Qur'anic Exegesis

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Abdulla Galadari


Although there are various methods of Qur’anic interpretation with various rules laid down by Qur’anic interpreters (mufassirīn), there is only one approach that the Qur’an sanctions, which is a linguistic approach. Since the Arabic language is rich in polysemy, this study introduces the method of intertextual polysemy in Qur’anic hermeneutics, which is independent of traditional approaches of exegesis, such as interpretation by precedence and circumstances of revelation. It analyzes the root meanings of the Arabic terms used in the Qur’an and relating to how the Qur’an uses different morphologies of the same root in different verses. When connecting the terms in the Qur’an it brings forth a different perspective of how to interpret the text. The study illustrates three different examples to understand the extent of intertextual polysemy in exegesis by i) relating the Qur’anic text with itself, ii) relating the phonetic expression of the Qur’an with the text, and iii) relating ritual with the text. In all cases, we find a unique understanding for Qur’anic interpretation, which would not be seen through classical approaches. This sheds light on the various possibilities for the role of intertextual polysemy in understanding deeper meanings of the Qur’an.


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Research Article (English)