al-Aloosi

 — al-Aloosi —

-Name of the Mufassir:

He is Mahmood ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Aloosi. He was also known by the honorific titles Shihaab al-Deen, or al-Aloosi al-Kabeer. In his age, he was a major scholar of the people of Iraq, skilled in the sciences of hadeeth, fiqh, and tafseer. He died in the year 1270Ah/1854CE.

-Name of the Book:

Rooh al-Ma’aani fee Tafseer al-Qur’an al-‘Atheem wa’l-Saba’a al-Mathaani [روح المعاني في تفسير القرآن العظيم والسبع المثاني]

-General Description of the Book:

al-Aloosi’s tafsir serves an a valuable encyclopedic collection and abridgement of previous works, drawing heavily on the previous explanations of ibn ‘Atiyyah, Abu Hayyaan, al-Zamakhshari, Abu Sa’ood, al-Baydhawi, al-Razi, and others. al-Aloosi was very precise and discerning of what to transmit of these previous works as well as what to criticize of their positions. He did not limit himself to merely repeating their words, but would also pit their differing opinions against one another, discuss their relative merits, and provide his own opinions as to the the strongest positions. His tafsir displays a focus on issues of grammar, rhetoric and fiqh issues throughout, as well as devoting considerable attention to discussing the signs of Allah’s creation.

Note: al-Aloosi would regularly quote from the sources mentioned above and signify which source by using honorific titles for their respective authors. He would refer to al-Razi as al-Imaam, al-Baydhawi as al-Qaadhi, and Abu Sa’ood as sheikh al-Islaam.

‘Aqeedah:

His tafsir includes some explanations which fall in line with the way of the salaf, and others which are in accord with Ash’ari beliefs. He devotes some attention to refuting the beliefs of the Mu’tazilah, Shi’a and other deviated understandings.

Overall, what is clear from reading the text is that the author is a proponent of Sufism and regularly employs the practice of Tafseer al-Ishaari, or explaining the Qur’an according to perceived “hidden meanings” which may or may not be supported by the text. However, unlike some other works of tafsir, highlighting these “hidden meanings” assumed only a level of secondary importance in al-Aloosi’s work and would only be mentioned after discussing the clear and apparent meanings of the text.

-Stance regarding Fiqh (legal) Rulings:

He would convey positions and relevant evidences of the four schools of jurisprudence without showing prejudice or preference to any one of them. al-Aloosi was especially knowledgeable in fiqh and the differences among the different schools.

-Stance regarding Qiraa’aat (different recitations):

He would mention the various different recitations in the course of his tafsir, both the well-attested qiraa’aat as well as odd ones.

-Stance regarding Israa’eeliyyaat (Judaeo-Christian traditions):

This work includes a significant amount Israa’eeliyyaat narrations and fables.

-Stance regarding poetry, linguistic analysis, grammar, etc.:

al-Aloosi’s work is replete with discussion of grammar and rhetoric to such an extent that it ceases to resemble a work of tafsir at some points. He would frequently use examples from Arabic poetry and sayings to illustrate a meaning.

Bibliography:

القول المختصر المبين في مناهج المفسرين لمحمد بن حمد الحمود النجدي

التفسير والمفسرين لمحمد حسين الدهبي

التيسير لمعرفة المشهور من أسانيد وكتب التفسير  لعلي بن أحمد الرازحي


Back to Mufassir Profiles Index

See also: Advice Regarding the Books of Tafsir with Distorted ‘Aqeedah