The Qur'ān as a Hidden Academy for Learning Dialogic Exchange

  • Mohamed Wehby University of Sydney, Bellfield College
Keywords: Quran, Dialogue, Debate, Invitational rhetoric, Dialogic exchange, Language

Abstract

The Qur’ān hosts numerous dialogues independent of its readers’ moral and ideological positions – a key source for renewed learning and understanding. Conventional readings of the Qur’ān rarely notice the subtle underlying linguistic features. Similarly, rote readings can narrow one’s capacity for renewed learning. As a result, the accustomed reader misses the profound moral lessons. To address this problem, I have analysed how the Qur’ān can be imagined as an open academy for learning dialogic exchange. This article’s thematic approach is inspired by heuristic modes of learning to ascertain the Qur’ān’s dialogic medium as a model of ‘invitational rhetoric.’

The theories in this article create an inter-disciplinary framework. I used the Arabic word qawl (statement/assertion) as a primary linguistical index of dialogic exchange. I quantitatively surveyed two morphological derivatives of this word across the Qur’ānic text: qul (say, denoting God’s voice) and qālū (they said, plural in the past tense, denoting voices of the Other vis-à-vis God). These derivatives signify voices speaking from different yet interactive contexts.

This article argues the Qur’ān’s down-to-earth guidance translates the notion of dialogue from an elitist noun concept into an interactive dialogic context. The Qur’ān’s dialogic medium illustrates its artistic elevation of dialogic exchanges at two levels: justice and iḥsān (excellence). To this end, I use content analysis to analyse emergent themes according to the three principles of invitational rhetoric. The outcomes of this analysis ascertained how the Qur’ān records multiple voices of dialogic exchange, which it accords with its aesthetic features.

Published
2020-12-06
Section
Articles