A SYSTEMATIC STUDY OF THE QURAN
Author(s): Javed Jamil
Reviewed by: Abdur Raheem Kidwai
In the tafsir genre, the use of the term “systematic” brings to mind the nazm (coherence) theory which stipulates that all the Qur’anic verses and Surahs, in their divinely ordained order, are thematically interrelated. The studies of the two Qur’anic scholars of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, Hamid al-Din Farahi (1863–1930) and Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904–1997) provided a vigorous impetus to this approach. However, in classical tafsir corpus, the concept of nazm does not enjoy the centrality it has been accorded lately.
This observation aside, Jamil’s long subtitle explains the thrust of his work: ‘A humble endeavour to make a Systematic Study of the Holy Quran in terms of the Systems Almighty God created in the Universe, on the Earth, in Human Life, and the System He wants man to establish and adhere to with the aim of building a Healthy and Peaceful World and ensuring a Successful Life in the Hereafter.’ So, it is essentially an earnest, pious and, above all, cogent exposition of the Qur’anic worldview for the general readers. In his insightful Foreword, Sayyid Hamid (d. 2014), former Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, affirms that the book under study is ‘destined to spark rethinking’ (p. vi) for this work is marked by a freshness of perspective, as the author takes into stride the currents and cross-currents of globalization, i.e. today’s context. He does not rest content with blandly citing the relevant Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions on certain topics and issues. Rather, he attempts to take on some of the present challenges and grim ground realities about the world and the Muslims of the day. He believes that ‘Islam is a well-developed code for individuals as well as for the family and society, and for the ruler as well as the ruled.’ More significant is his observation that ‘Islam characteristically possesses great flexibility. It may not necessarily pin point its laws; it erects boundaries, and the space within the boundaries is usually sufficiently large’ (p. 167).