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In tafsir, zahir (Arabic: ظاهر) is the exoteric or apparent meaning of the Quran. It is also the underlying principle of the Ẓāhiriyya, a school of thought in Islamic jurisprudence and Aqida known for its insistence on sticking to the manifest (zahir) or apparent meaning of expressions in the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
The opposite of zahir is batin, or the underlying, esoteric meaning of the Quran, which can only be interpreted by a figure of esoteric knowledge. For Shi'a Muslims, the Imam of the Time is alone capable in understanding the esoteric meaning.
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