Posts

The Semantics of Gratitude (Shukr) in the Qurʾān – Joseph E. B. Lumbard College of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar

Abstract:

Since the publication of Toshihiko Izutsu’s The Structure of Ethical Terms in the Qurʾan in 1959, scholars of Islam have recognized that gratitude (shukr) is central to the ethicoreligious worldview conveyed by the Qurʾān. Izutsu further developed this analysis in God and Man in the Qurʾan and Ethico-Religious concepts in the Qurʾan. Ida Zilio-Grade enhances our understanding by providing linguistic analysis of shukr, and Atif Khalil examines the understanding of shukr in Sufi texts. This paper draws the connections between these three approaches. It expands upon Zilio-Grade’s linguistic analysis by examining the root sh-k-r and analyzing the differences between the uses of shākir (thankful) and shakūr (ever-grateful) when used in relation to the human being and when used in relation to God. It then demonstrates that expanding the analysis of contextual semantic fields employed by Izutsu to include intertextual semantic fields reveals how shukr is related to the cognitive faculties of the human being. The paper concludes by examining how authors such as a-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111), al-Tilimsānī (d. 773/1291), and Aḥmad al-Tijānī (d. 1230/1815) addressed the paradoxes to which this Qurʾānic presentation of shukr gives rise.

The_Semantics_of_Gratitude_Shukr_in_the