The Shiites pp 27-46 | Cite as

Shiite Ta’wil: The Esoteric Dimension of Quranic Scripture

  • David Pinault


In Sunnism and Shiism alike the Quran enjoys an authority not fully comparable with that of the Bible in Judaism and Christianity. The latter religions ascribe the Bible to human authors (albeit divinely inspired) and consider the component texts comprising Scripture to be the product of human history, the record of the Creator’s interaction with His people. From a Muslim perspective the author of the Quran is not Muhammad nor any other human but rather God Himself; the sacred text predates human history and was revealed at the predestined moment in time to Muhammad through the agency of the angel Gabriel. Muhammad did no more than recite the words dictated to him by Gabriel (and “Quran” in fact is the Arabic term for “recitation”); hence the frequency throughout the text of the imperative “say (the following) …!”


Literal Meaning Sacred Text Muslim Society Islamic Society Muslim Scholar 
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© David Pinault 1992

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  • David Pinault

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