Hasan's book on al-Khidr's story in the Qur'an published

Photo Credit: Book published: Abla Hasan and the cover of
November 14, 2022

Abla Hasan's book The Qur'anic Dilemma: A Hermeneutical Investigation of al-Khidr was published by Routledge as part of their "Studies in Islam and Human Rights" series.

The book focuses on reconnecting with the humanitarian content of the Qur'an through a hermeneutical investigation of al-Khidr's story, providing a new, analytical reading using primary and secondary sources.

Hasan is an associate professor of practice of Arabic at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. This is her third book.

From the description: "By reinvestigating the largely overlooked pluralistic message in the Qur'an, the book debunks an Islamic fundamentalism, which often uses the text as a justification for ill-informed choices that can be easily seen to drag the Qur'anic text in unexpected directions. It introduces current academic controversies over proper addressing of critical issues in Islamic heritage and goes beyond mystic romanticization to clarify blind spots in reading al-Khidr's story. Through rethinking al-Khidr's story, the book addresses the exegetical classical and modern attempts to reconcile the Qur'anic unconditional endorsement of the right to life for everyone regardless of their faith, with the perplexing reference to infidelity as a justification for killing found in chapter 18."


"Hasan's work advances the conversation in important ways by considering the historical, textual, linguistic, and literary aspects of the story of Prophet Khidr from within the ethical frame of view. This book addresses the "dilemma" posed by the Khidr narrative in the Qur'an concerning some of the key theological themes: taking of life, religious other, pluralism, human and divine powers, etc. Hasan examines the issues at hand at the granular level; something that is missing in many other works on the subject, and in that makes a significant contribution to Qur'anic studies, ethics, and to religious studies more broadly."
Irfan A. Omar, Marquette University

"The Qur'anic Dilemma is a beautifully written, fascinating and brave book that takes the reader on a journey into one of the most controversial and wicked questions of Islam: How to reconcile the Qur'anic message of social justice and humanity with elements that seem to portray infidelity as a justification for killing? Through her analysis of the controversial (and often misunderstood) Qur'anic story about al-Khidr, Abla Hasan convincingly finds the solution to this dilemma in the Qur'an itself – a solution that centers the Qur'an's deeply humanitarian message and challenges purposively politicising interpretations of both militant Islamists as well as Islamophobes from around the world. This book is highly engaging and deserves a broad readership, within and beyond Islamic Studies, within and beyond academia, and everyone interested in religious pluralism and co-existence."
Mario Peucker, Victoria University, Melbourne, author of Muslim Citizenship in Liberal Democracies

"With close textual analysis, Dr. Hasan demolishes claims by those who distort the Qur'an to argue that Islam is the sole legitimate faith and to justify brutality toward non-followers. She ably explains the enigmatic tale of al-Khidr, a mysterious figure whose killing of a young boy is cited by terrorists to rationalize murdering so-called infidels. Contradicting that distortion, Dr. Hasan instead eloquently demonstrates how the power of life and death in matters of faith resides in the hands of the Divine alone. She also draws fascinating parallels to the Biblical story in which Divine intercession spares Abraham's son, despite a commanded sacrifice. Her work is an insightful contribution both theologically and politically, drawing on the text to advance the ideals of tolerance, compassion and understanding."
Joseph Weber, University of Nebraska-Lincoln