[ms] Re-definition of the term Tafsir ‘Ilmi (Scientific Exegesis of al-Qur’an)

Nor Syamimi Mohd, Haziyah Husin, Wan Nasyrudin Wan Abdullah


Tafsir ‘ilmi, or interpretation of al-Qur’an based on empirical science, is one of contemporary exegesis streams. Discussion about it was very significant at the end of the 19th and early 20th Centuries CE, particularly in the works ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, Usul al-Tafsir and Tafsir al-Qur’an. However, scholars differ in opinion regarding the definition of tafsir ‘ilmi. The diversity in its definition have both positive and negative implications for acceptance and understanding of its meaning. Thus, the purpose of this research is to analyse the terms applied in tafsir ‘ilmi and re-evaluate its definitions submitted by scholars. This qualitative research is designed using the method of content analysis. Data is collected by document analysis of dictionaries, the books ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, Usul al-Tafsir wa Ittijahatuhu, encyclopedia and works by certain scholars which discuss the term from the linguistic and terminology aspect. Further, data obtained is descriptively analysed. Research findings conclude that the definition of tafsir ‘ilmi is interpretation which explains the meaning of certain Qur’anic verses guided by authentic and permanent modern scientific discovery based on tawhidic science concept. The interpreted Qur’anic verses encompass not only kawniyyat (signs of God in the universe) verses but also those relating to ordainments of shariah law and health. In addition, research suggests that translation of the term tafsir ‘ilmi may be applied in Malay language as tawhidic scientific interpretation. Understanding of this term is very essential in order to ensure interpretation is done accurately and does not contradict the true meaning intended by the verses and so that the function of al-Qur’an as the Book of Guidance continues to be preserved.


Re-definition; translation; tafsir ‘ilmi; kawniyyat verses; tawhidic science

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