Despite this exegetical diversity, the modern period has seen the re-emergence of a strongly literalist approach to Scripture, which tends to emphasise certain understandings of the Qur’anic text as transmitted in the tradition at the expense of other possible and potentially equally valid understandings. Such an approach can be referred to as “textualist.”
Those who follow the textualist approach seem to believe that their approach to the Qur’an provides the highest degree of certainty as far as the “meaning” of the text is concerned and oﬀers a way to navigate the extreme complexity and ﬂuidity of contemporary experience through a simple and straightforward framework of ideas. As such, the strengthening of this textualist approach, and its consequent attractiveness to a large number of Muslims around the world, is one of the most diﬃcult challenges for Muslim intellectuals and thinkers today.1
1Abdullah Saeed, Reading the Qur’an, in the Twenty-First Century: A Contextualist Approach (Routledge, Oxon and New York, 2014), p. 182.
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