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Inner, interior, inward, hidden, secret. In Shii, Ismaili, and Sufi thought, the Quran is held to contain two aspects: an outer or apparent meaning (zahir) and an inner or secret meaning, often allegorical or symbolic (batin). While the apparent meanings of the Quran are accessed through the traditional discipline of tafsir or exegesis, the batin is made known only through the hermeneutical process known as tawil (interpretation). The notion of secret meanings underlying the Quranic verses is connected to the notion of God as al-Batin, the Hidden One (Quran 57:3), whose absolutely nonmanifest Being underpins the created realm. The Ismailis were also known as the Batinis, presumably on account of their predilection for esoteric interpretations of the divine revelation.

See also Zahir

Subjects: Islam.

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