What is it about?

An Egyptian professor published in 1997 a book called ‘My Father Adam’, a pro-evolutionary account of human origins based on the Qur’an. This created much controversy, including various refutations written of his book. By looking at his book alongside two such refutations, this paper focuses on what we can understand about the current state of Qur’an interpretation as a discipline, and how it might develop from here.

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Why is it important?

This is the first critical account of Shahin’s ‘My Father Adam’ and the first account of the refutations written against it. It sheds light on the widely-held view among Muslim scholars today that Qur’anic hermeneutics are in urgent need of consolidation and development, and discusses what is at stake in a few areas of Qur’anic studies.


This paper goes beyond its immediate historical context in that it highlights the importance of Qur’anic exegesis as a discipline that deserves more attention and development.

Sohaib Saeed

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This page is a summary of: The Shāhīn Affair and the Evolution of uṣūl al-tafsīr, Journal of Qur anic Studies, October 2019, Edinburgh University Press, DOI: 10.3366/jqs.2019.0401.
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