Ijtihad in Quranic Exegesis

  •  Hasan Rezaee Haftador    
  •  Azam Khodaparast    


The ijtihadi method of Quranic exegesis is one of the popular and proper methods of interpretation of religious texts. It is superior to the methods of subjective opinion (tafsīr bi al-raʾy) and narrative exegesis, and possesses many positive features and applications. These features, which are results of the evolution and comprehensiveness of ijtihadi exegesis as well as the multidisciplinary approach, have led to favourable reception of this method among Muslim exegetes. With a focus on the exegesis by Shaykh Ṭūsī, founder of the ijtihadi approach, exegetes have developed necessary conditions for using the method. These include jurisprudential, ethical, academic, and, most importantly in this approach, rational conditions. Muslim exegetes have provided valid reasons for ijtihadi tafsir including Quranic, narrative, and conventional rationales as well as the argument for the necessity of ijtihadi tafsir and the fact that it was an early method utilised by exegetes. Each of these rationales differ in their manner of presentation. However, all exegetes are unanimous that ijtihadi tafsir is permissible.

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