Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tafsser "exegesis" of Quran: The Basis

From www.tafseercomparison.org

at-Tafseer, an Arabic word, translated as 'Exegesis' means explaining the meanings of the Qur'anic verse, clarifying its import and finding out its significance.
It is the aim of this website to present a comparison of the various Tafseer work of some prominent Muslim exegetes with respect to some Qur'anic verses that have been the subject of divisions and discussions among Muslims.
We have presented the actual text of the Tafseer work of the selected Qur'anic verses and also a summary of the same where necessary. Each of the verses or the set of verses selected is presented separately and at the end of the comparison, we have drawn our conclusions based on the following factors:

First: The Qur'an should be able to explain itself as Allah says: "...and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit." (16:89)

Second: No part of the Tafseer work should contradict the Qur'an as a whole; otherwise it would undermine the following Qur'anic declaration: "Do they not then meditate on the Quran? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy." (4:82)

Third: If a tradition is mentioned in the Tafseer work, that tradition should not be used as a source to explain a Qur'anic verse but the Qur'an should be used to verify the authenticity of that tradition. On the other hand, a tradition could be used to explain the circumstances of revelation of a particular verse provided the understanding is not rejected by the context of the verse or verses.

Fourth: A verse should not be taken out of context. In other words, a certain interpretation or explanation should conform to the context of the verse.

Fifth: If the verse is an ambiguous one, then it should be first 'returned' to the decisive verses because the latter forms the basis of the Qur'an and fixes the true connotation and meaning of the ambiguous verse. Allah says: "He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. But none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding." (3:7)

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