Al-Kahf (18, vv. 60–82) is often cited as the locus classicus for Muslim discussions about the relationship between mysticism and doctrine. This passage in the Qur’an tells the story of an encounter between the prophet Moses and an unnamed figure whom tradition identifies as Khiḍr.1Al-Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-qurʾān (The Compendium of Legal Rulings of the Qur’an) by Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Qurṭubī (d. 671 AH/1272 CE) and al-Tafsīr al-kabīr (The Great Commentary) (or Mafātīḥ al-ghayb [The Keys of the Unseen]) by Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210) indicate that most scholars considered Khiḍr a prophet, although al-Qurṭubī’s commentary indicates that others considered Khiḍr a righteous servant of God or an angel.2 One argument in support of the view that Khiḍr is a prophet is the following: Khiḍr was Moses’s guide and...

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