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Learned IgnoranceIntellectual Humility among Jews, Christians and Muslims$
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James L. Heft, Reuven Firestone, and Omid Safi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769308

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769308.001.0001

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Walking on Divine Edge

Walking on Divine Edge

Reading Notions of Arrogance and Humility in the Qur’an

(p.170) 9 Walking on Divine Edge
Learned Ignorance

Afra Jalabi

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the dangers of arrogance and the need for humility from a Muslim perspective. It explores two major terms used in the Qurʾan to refer to arrogance: “istikbar,” which means to perceive oneself as bigger than one is, and “uluw,” which means to perceive oneself as higher than one is. These two attitudes describe persons whose minds have become delusional. They no longer know their proper size or embrace proper attitudes toward themselves. The chapter develops these two ideas through a close reading of two key Qurʾanic narratives: that of Adam, Eve, and Satan on the one hand, and that of Moses and Pharaoh on the other.

Keywords:   Muslim, Islam, Qurʾan, arrogance, Adam, Eve, Satan, Moses, Pharoah

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