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Al Jalalain tafsir

Al Jalalain tafsir

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04/27/2012

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© 2007 R 
afs
 ī 
Jal
ā
lJal
ā
l
TR 
Fe 
Edited and Ghazi bi 
The 
yal Aal al- A 
i
 
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By:al-D
 ī 
n al-Mal-D
 ī 
n al-S 
NSLATE 
as Ha 
with an Int Muhamma 
 
Complete 
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l
ā
la
a
all
 ī 
 uy
ūṭī 
 
BY 
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oduction by bin Talal 
 
Text 
te for Islaan
n
 
ic Thought
 
ii
 
General Editor’s
Introduction 
and
Foreword 
Introduction to
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
 
The fifteenth-century Qur’anic commentary or
Tafs 
ī  
of ‘the two Jal
ā
ls’ (
al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
) — the Egyptian
Shafi‘i 
-
madhhab 
scholar Jal
ā
l al-D
 ī 
n Mu
ammad b. A
mad al-Ma
all
 ī 
(d. 864 AH / 1459 CE), and his (alsoEgyptian) student the famous
‘ 
ā 
lim 
and polymath, Jal
ā
l al-D
 ī 
n 'Abd al-Ra
m
ā
n b. Ab
 ī 
Bakr al-Suy
ūṭī 
(d. 911 AH / 1505 CE) is one of the most popular
Tafs 
ī  
s in the Islamic world, perhaps even
the 
most popular
Tafs 
ī  
. Copies of it are available in almost every bookshop and library in the Arab and Islamic world, indozens of different editions, and it sits, well-loved and respected, in countless homes, schools and mosquesall over the world. Moreover, of the great Sunni Orthodox Classical
Tafs 
ī  
s — what might be called the ‘unofficial Sunni Canon’ of 
Tafs 
ī  
— namely, the
Tafs 
ī  
s of 
abar
 ī 
,
ā
z
 ī 
, Qur
ub
 ī 
, Bay
ḍā
w
 ī 
, Ibn Kath
 ī 
r andJal
ā
layn, it is by far the shortest and easiest to read and understand. Consequently, it is invariably read asan introduction to Classical
Tafs 
ī  
s — or even to
Tafs 
ī  
as such — such that for millions of students andadults who never go further into the subject, it is the only
Tafs 
ī  
they ever come to know extensively. Finally,because it is so accessible and ubiquitous, and because in Arabic it is always printed in a single volume, inthe margins of the Qur’an itself (where it fits quite easily and legibly), it is habitually used as an instantreference work for words in the Qur’an whose meaning is not immediately clear to the modern reader, andthis arguably is its real forte. It is thus an immensely successful and influential work not just as the classicintroduction to
Tafs 
ī  
, but also as the standard reference work for the language of the Qur’an.
The Method and Strategy of 
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
 The
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
is usually categorized as a
Tafs 
ī  
r bil-Ma'th 
ū 
— that is, a ‘commentary basedupon transmitted knowledge’ (from the
Ḥ 
ad 
ī  
th 
, the first
Tafs 
ī  
s and the early Islamic history books, usually) — this being the primary category of perhaps six or seven traditional categories of 
Tafs 
ī  
.
[1]
This, however, isdeceptive. In fact, in addition to the material handed down from the time of the Prophet Muhammad(p.b.u.h.), the
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
uses a number of different approaches to explaining the Qur’anic text, notall of which can be attributed only to transmitted Tradition or
tafs 
ī  
r bil-ma'th 
ū 
. These include precisely ‘linguistic commentary’, ‘legal or
Shari‘ah 
commentary’ and
tafs 
ī  
r bil-tafs 
ī  
as mentioned below (as differentcategories of commentaries). They also include, however, a few other elements, perhaps no less important.Thus, in addition to: (1) giving transmitted explanations and quoting
ḥ 
ad 
ī  
th 
s about Qur’anic verses, (2)providing Arabic synonyms for difficult Qur’anic words, (3) elaborating on legal explanations of versesaccording (mostly) to the
Shafi‘i 
school of jurisprudence, and (4) putting into context, perspective andmutual definition verses from the Qur’an using other verses about related matters (i.e. practicing
tafs 
ī  
r bil- tafs 
ī  
), the
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
uses the following Commentary strategies:(5) It gives the
 Asb 
ā 
 
al-Nuz 
ū 
(the ‘occasions for Revelation’, that is, what was happening to andaround the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) when a verse or verses were Revealed (ostensibly in answer to thesecircumstances) for selected verses when they are known (this of course is a purely
Ma'th 
ū 
element of Commentary).(6) It indicates which verses are abrogated (
mans 
ū 
kh 
) and which verses abrogate (
ā 
sikh 
), (thisshould be a purely
ma'th 
ū 
element, but is arguably not always so).(7) It notes the seven (or ten) different ‘readings’ (
qir 
ā 
’ 
ā 
) of the Holy Qur’an and briefly discussestheir divergent emphases.(8) It discusses the grammar of the Qur’an according to that of the Arabic language, and explainsthe arcane grammatical forms occasionally to be found in the Qur’an.(9) It clarifies many Arabic and Qur’anic linguistic tropes by filling in deliberate omissions andellipses strategically employed in the Qur’an, and by suggesting meanings for synecdoche, metonymy,metaphor and allusion used in Arabic.(10) Finally, it fills in, based largely on the Bible and its Rabbinical and Patristic Commentariesgleaned mostly from early Christian and Jewish converts to Islam (and therefore containing some confused,polemical and apocryphal material), the historical order, details and context of many of the stories in the
 
iii
 
Qur’an concerning the Biblical Prophets and Jesus (p.b.u.h.) and his family and disciples. This element isknown in Arabic as
Isr 
ā 
’ 
ī  
liyy 
ā 
(‘Tales of the Children of Israel’) and is generally thought of as not only themost controversial part of 
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
, but of 
Tafs 
ī  
in general, because of the tenuousness of some of the material involved. However, it is extremely useful for understanding the background — and thereforealso the meaning (symbolic or otherwise) — of many of the tales of the Qur’an, such that few if any ClassicalCommentaries have ever able been able to ignore it.Reading the
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
, one immediately understands that, despite the number of elementsand strategies that its authors employ (as just listed), its primary and overriding goal — one might say its ‘categorical imperative’ — is only to clarify the immediate sense of the Qur’anic text, thereby facilitating thereading of the Qur’an. There are no digressions, no distractions, no embellishments, nothing superfluous,and nothing whose sole purpose is not to elucidate an ambiguity in the text of the Qur’an or to explainsomething that is not self-evident.
[2]
Moreover, the commentary itself is made to fit in between the verses orphrases or words of the Qur’an without interrupting its sense as read, thereby generally forming onecontinuous, uninterrupted flow of holy text and commentary. It is thus as if the two Jal
ā
ls wanted to removeany obstacles to understanding any word or sense in the holy text so that even the simplest reader mightrecite the Qur’an and immediately understand at least its literal meaning. In this sense the
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
 is what the word ‘
Tafs 
ī  
’ literally means — an ‘explanation’ — and not what the word has come to mean byextension (namely: ‘commentary’ or ‘interpretation’). This is doubtless what makes the
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Jal 
ā 
layn 
 invaluable as an introductory classical
tafs 
ī  
, and is the secret of its timeless popularity.
The Interpretation of the Holy Qur’an (
Tafs 
ī  
) according to Personal Opinion (
Ra'y 
)
 Some of the partisans of 
Tafs 
ī  
r bil-Ma'th 
ū 
(and today their ranks are swollen by the literalistFundamentalists) hold that any
Tafs 
ī  
of the
 
Qur’an based on personal opinion (
ra'y 
), and not handed downby tradition is forbidden. In this context, Ibn Kathir (who in this respect echoes the views of his teacher, IbnTaymiyyah), in the introduction to his
Tafs 
ī  
r al-Qur' 
ā 
n al-'A 
ẓī  
, quotes this the following
ḥ 
ad 
ī  
th 
:
Whoever speaks of the Qur’an according to his own opinion or according to that of which he [or she] has no knowledge, then let him assume his place in the Fire 
.
[3]
 Other Islamic scholars, however, and amongst them Sunni scholars like Fakhr al-Din al-R 
ā
z
 ī 
and al-Ghaz
ā
l
 ī 
, argue that this
hadith 
must be understood in the wider context of the Qur’an’s own injunctionsabout its own interpretation as well the injunctions of other
ḥ 
ad 
ī  
th 
. The Holy Qur’an says:
He it is Who hath revealed unto thee [Muhammad] the Scripture wherein are verses which are clear  prescripts — they are the substance of the Book — and others [which are] allegorical. But those in whose hearts is deviation follow that which is allegorical seeking [to cause] dissension and seeking its interpretation. And none know its interpretation except God and those firmly grounded in knowledge [who] 
[4]
say: “We believe therein. It is all from our Lord”. And none remember except those [people] of kernels.
(
 Ā 
l 'Imr 
ā 
, 3:7) And:
Will they not then meditate upon the Qur’an? If it had been from other than God they would have found therein much discrepancy. / And if any tidings, whether of safety or fear, come unto them,they proclaim it about, whereas had they referred it to the Messenger and such of them as are in authority, those among them who can interpret it among them would have known it. And were it not for the bounty of God upon you and His Mercy, you would have surely followed Satan, save a few [of you].
(
 Al-Nis 
ā 
',
4: 82-83)
 
Thus there are, according to scholars, two types of verses in the Qur’an: (1) clear, legislative verses(called ‘
al-a 
ḥ 
ā 
’ by some scholars; see
ū 
11:1) that are not ‘open’ to interpretation, and (2) allegoricalverses (called ‘
al-akhb 
ā 
’ by some scholars; see
 Al-Zumar 
39:23) that are ‘open’ to interpretation.Following the first verses quoted above, Ghaz
ā
l
 ī 
maintains that the allegorical verses
can licitly be 
 interpreted by individual readers based on their own opinions and understanding, but
only 
upon thefollowing specific, strict conditions: (A) that the interpreter be completely familiar with all interpretations of the Holy Qur’an attributed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and his Companions, and that the individual

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