Ethics of Peace and Pluralism in the Qur’Énic Discourse
Alhagi Manta Drammeh *
Many scholars, exegetes and students of the Qur’ānic studies have generally approached the Qur’ān from either linguistic (lughawi) or legal (ayāt al-Ahkām) perspectives. While the former looks into the linguistic aspects such as the grammar, rhetorical significance (balāghah); and the inimitable issues (I‘jāz), the latter dwells mainly on the legal issues pertaining to family law (ahwāl shaksiyyah), devotional issues from prayers (salāh) to pilgrimage (hajj). I would like to argue however that the important area of ethics requires further exploration and deeper examination. I assert that hardly there is a verse (ayah) or chapter (sūrah) without an ethical meaning and lesson to learn from. The ethical issues have a bearing on what can be called the human-centred approach within the Qur’an itself. Although the Qur’ān has been and can be studied from linguistic and legal perspectives, this paper suggests that other aspects such as the educational, sociological, anthropological and psychological areas are equally important in order to have a bigger picture of the Qur’ānic discourse on a certain issue or set of issues. Indeed this human-centred approach and of some incidents the Qur’an elucidates is absolutely important in order to understand acts and underlying principles that guide those acts. In fact, the Quran is addressed to people and not angels. Thus, the failure to grasp this reality when dealing with the Qur’ānic discourse may cause some distortion in expounding some important concepts such as peace and plurality in Islam. This paper will particularly examine the issues of plurality and peace in light of the Qur’ānic hermeneutics. In fact the two above-mentioned issues have been seen by some as the lack of integration of some Muslims in the modern Western societies. Thus, I will examine whether the two concepts are antithetical to or incompatible with Qur’anic discourses on the one hand. On the other, it will be relevant here for one to expound on the concepts of (qitāl) and (harb) in light of Quranic conception and how they are confused with the Quranic notion of (jihād).
* Alhagi Manta Drammeh is currently an assistant Professor in the Study of Islam and Muslims at Al Maktoum College of Higher Education, Dundee, Scotland.