The Perennial Relevance of the Quran
The Quran must be interpreted in every age with all the sorts of relevant knowledge that are available in that age.
This verse, being part of the Quran, will be read in exactly the same way, till the last day, the Day of Judgment. So, we can take it to mean that the process of God revealing His signs in the universe, His creation, will continue till the Final Day. This means that newer sciences and advances in knowledge will reveal more of God’s signs to us over time. For this, we will have to have fresh thinking on the Quran in all ages. With every significant advancement in knowledge about the universe, we will, if need be, have to go back to the Quran and re-understand and reinterpret it with the help of the new knowledge at our disposal in order to gain from the Quran the appropriate solutions to the problems of that age. This is because the Quran has a message for all ages, and the key for this is knowledge (ilm), including of the facts of the universe. For every age, the knowledge of that age is the key. Use that key for understanding the Quran and it will open to you the guidance you need to handle the issues of the age. And this process will continue right till the Day of Judgment. In this way, we can understand and realise that Quran is a book for all times. To do otherwise, to cling to one particular interpretation of the Quran, developed at a certain point in time and in a particular context, and to claim that it is the final interpretation would freeze our understanding of the Quran. The inner dynamism of the Quran can be accessed only if we seek to approach it with a fresh mind, with the help of new forms of knowledge, including from the findings of various sciences.
In other words, the Quran must be interpreted in every age with all the sorts of relevant knowledge that are available in that age. Since ours is an age of science and technology, we need to understand the Quran with the help of modern sciences. In this way, we can truly appreciate the fact that the Quran is a book that is relevant for all times.
(Mohammad Aslam Parvaiz is editor of the Urdu Science magazine and Vice-Chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. He can be contacted on [email protected])