By challenging the discursive scholarly tradition, and attempting to return to another type of tradition (i.e., the early generations of Muslims) Ibn Taymiyya carved a niche in Islamic intellectual history as a thinker who worked outside of the standard genre of running Qur’an commentaries and redefined what exegesis should be.
He argued that legitimate interpretation of the Qur’an should rely on intra-textual relations within the Qur’an, reports of the Prophet Muhammad, and reports of the early Muslims, the Salaf. My dissertation suggests that although Ibn Taymiyya’s Muqaddima Fi Usul al-Tafsir (Treatise on the Principles of Qur’anic Interpretation) articulates a system for performing qur’anic exegesis, it proves difficult to find a definitive method that he consistently employs in his exegetical writings.Ibn Taymiyya often applies general principles from his Treatise but not always systematically or exhaustively. To fully apply his ambitious vision for interpreting the Qur’an, one would require an exhaustive appendix of reports from the salaf and Prophet that bear on exegesis, which he admits does not exist. The challenge, then, asks exegetes to find relevant and reliable reports while applying them to particular verses in the Qur’an
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