— al-Baghawi —
-Name of the Mufassir:
He is Abu Muhammad, al-Husayn ibn Mas’ood. He is most commonly known as al-Baghawi, an attribution to his hometown in the region of Khorasan. He is also referred to by the honorific titles of Muhiyy al-Sunnah (the Enlivener of the Sunnah) and Rukn al-Deen (Pillar of the Faith). He was known for his expertise in the sciences of tafsir, hadeeth, and fiqh, as well as his personal piety and abstemiousness. He died in the year 516Ah/1122CE.
-Name of the Book:
Ma’aalim al-Tanzeel [مَعالِم التنزيل]
-General Description of the Book:
It is primarily a book of narration-based tafsir characterized by easy-to-understand and condensed language. At its core, it is an abridgement of Tafsir al-Tha’labi, however al-Baghawi removed the fabricated narrations and statements of bid’ah from it in constructing his own work. In his tafsir, al-Baghawi mentions different statements of the salaf in regards to their explanations of an ayah, although he does not state a position as to their relative merits, neither in regards to the content nor the chain. In sum, it is an excellent and sound book of tafsir which is well-recognized and widespread among the people of knowledge.
It is salafi in ‘aqeedah, affirming for Allah what He affirmed for Himself in regards to His names and attributes, as Imam al-Baghawi confirmed in the introduction to his valuable work “Sharh al-Sunnah“. So by-and-large, this tafsir affirms the attributes of Allah, however some instances of ta’weel in regards to some of Allah’s attributes do occur, most likely as traces from Tafsir al-Tha’labi.
-Stance regarding isnaads (chains of narration):
In general, al-Baghawi transmitted the statements of the sahabah, the tabi’oon and those who followed them from the salaf of this ummah regarding their explanations of the ayaat without mentioning the chain of narration in the text, sufficing merely to say, “Ibn ‘Abbaas said such-and-such” or “Mujaahid said such-and-such”. This is because he had already mentioned the majority of chains of narrations which he would use in the introduction of his tafsir. So he primarily relied upon 11 chains of narration, and if he employed a different one in some instances, he would include the full chain in the text.
In general al-Baghawi sought sound and authentic chains of narrations going back to the Prophet (ﷺ) and thus left off rejected or fabricated narrations. However one will still find some chains which contain weak narrators on occasion.
-Stance regarding Fiqh (legal) Rulings:
al-Baghawi presents the fiqh issues in an easy-to-understand manner, and he mentions differences of opinion without expounding on them. The author was a faqeeh in the Shaafi’ee madhhab.
-Stance regarding Qiraa’aat (different recitations):
He regularly mentions different recitations along with brief comments regarding attribution and the respective meanings.
-Stance regarding Israa’eeliyyaat (Judaeo-Christian traditions):
On occasion, al-Baghawi mentions some Israa’eeliyyaat narrations in his tafsir without any follow-up comments or clarifications.
-Stance regarding poetry, linguistic analysis, grammar, etc.:
In general he abstains from lengthy discussion of syntax and grammar and the fine points of linguistic expression except where necessary. Rather, he focused on the most important points for clarifying the intended meaning of an ayah. These efforts often include concise clarifications of a word’s root meaning.
Those who drew heavily from this tafsir:
al-Khaazin relied heavily on this book to make his own work of tafsir, Lubab al-Ta’weel. He made his book a summary of al-Baghawi’s, but also added some additional points, along with leaving the chains of narration in truncated form.
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
البغوي ومنهجه في التفسير ـ رسالة علمية لدرحة الماجستير من جامعة الملك عبد العزيز لعفاف عبد الغفور حميد
منهج الإمام البغوي في عرض القراءات وأثر ذلك في تفسيره ـ رسالة علمية لدرحة الدكتوراه من جامعة أم القرى لطلحة بن محمد توفيق بن ملاحسين
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See also: Recommended Books of Tafsir