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Raouf, Mohamed (1963) Studies in the Qur'anic concept of sin. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029427

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Abstract

The world of Islam during the early period of its history has to formulate ideas and notions inherent in the teaching of its faith into fairly well defined concepts in order to meet certain inevitably essential needs. One of the most important, and yet the most complex and difficult concepts was that of sin. Its importance in the whole system of social and political structure need hardly be emphasised. The ideas surrounding- the concept of sin in Islam, especially the belief in the divine sanction were ever present in the minds and often repeated on the tongues of the adherents of the faith. These ideas played a major part, not only in guiding the individual in the Muslim community in conforming with the accepted and recognised moral order, but also helped the vast community to maintain, especially during the periods of -vicissitudes, a fairly orderly social life and a high degree of social cohesion. The notions and ideas constituting the Muslim concept of sin are at the very bottom of the Qur'anic verses, implicit or explicit in certain Traditions, and were elaborated and formulated by the works of the theologians, the Sufis, and the writers on ethics. The original aim of this study was to trace the development of the Muslim concept of sin in its entirety, i.e., from its embryonic Qur'anic stage, the works of Traditions, and finally the formulation of the concept as a whole at the hands of the leading theologions. In the course of the progress of this work, however, it was realized that such a vast undertaking would be beyond the scope of a thesis of this nature. The formulation of the concept based on Traditions and the works of scholars is closely linked with the complex fabric of the social, theological auid political development. Hence, it was decided to confine the scope of the present work to the study of the Qur'anic views on the subject, which undoubtedly form the basis of all subsequent developments. This, however, does not preclude us from occasionally touching upon some later views which may further elucidate certain Qur'anic notions. The Qur'anic idea of sin implies certain principles and hypotheses, but in nowhere are these principles and hypotheses defined or set forth in a logical manner. In order to determine these principles and hypotheses, it is proposed, first, to trace, as far as possible, the development of the ethical teaching of the Qur'an in a chronological order and then attempt to derive from this, the underlying principles and hypotheses. The analysis of the Qur'anic ethical teaching in this way will not only indicate what an adherent of the faith of the Qur'an is expected to do and what he is expected to avoid, but it will probably enable us to arrive at the fundamental notions and ideas which underlie and surround the Qur'anic concept of sin. This will be followed by a discussion of the words and terms which the Qur'an employs in describing disapproved acts, auid then an attempt will be made to infer from the use of these words and the context any principles and hypotheses which have a bearing on the concept of sin. This is followed by a classification of the acts regarded as acts of sin; and this will lead us to the examination of the relationship between faith and acts in the Qur'an. A fundamental assumption underlying the concept of sin is that man is held responsible for his acts, and this in turn implies another equally important concept, namely that man is a free agent, capable of determining the course of his acts. Therefore, in order that our investigation of the concept of sin be complete, an attempt will be made to determine the Qur'anic attitude towards this problem with particular reference to the doctrine of Qadar. In view of the complexity of the subject of the human responsibility and the degree of human freedom, the subject is treated separately, and this treatment comprises the second part of the work, under the heading "Qadar", the Islamic key-word to the problem. The earlier investigation forms Part I of the work. The author is conscious of the vastness and complexity of the subject; but he would feel more than repaid for his efforts if this work stimulates interest in the subject leading to further investigations.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029427
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:13
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29427

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