|Jari Kaukua, Senior researcher
Qur’ānic Tolerance in Tafsīr and Fiqh Literature
Contemporary discussions on the question of religious tolerance in Islam typically take their cue from selected Qur’ānic verses, such as 2:256, “There is no coercion in religion”. Yet the reception of this material in classical exegetical (tafsīr) and jurisprudential (fiqh) literature is surprisingly understudied. We do know that some 10th and 11th century attempts at the legitimation of jihād in the face of Christian critique applied it, arguing that warfare against infidels is justified if it results in a society that guarantees the education and freedom required for the free religious commitment of each and every citizen. But these ideas have not been analysed in detail, and their subsequent reception is scantly investigated.
My plan in the project is twofold. First, I will conduct a survey of the interpretation of the relevant verses from classical to modern tafāsīr. Second, I will study whether – and if, how – the discussion of the legitimacy of jihād was carried over to those jurisprudents of the classical era that have been the most conducive to reformist readings of Islamic jurisprudence, such as al-Ghazālī (d. 1111), Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 1209), Najm al-Dīn al-Ṭūfī (d. 1316), and al-Shāṭibī (d. 1388).