al-Tha’aalabi

 — al-Tha’aalabi —

-Name of the Mufassir:

He was Abu Zayd, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Makhloof al-Tha’aalabi, al-Maaliki, al-Jazaa’iri. He was well-known for his piety. He authored a number of books related to tafsir, the sciences of the Arabic language and fiqh. He died in the year 786Ah/1385CE.

-Name of the Book:

al-Jawaahir al-Hisaan fee Tafseer al-Qur’an [الجواهر الحسان في تفسير القرآن]

-General Description of the Book:

In the introduction to his tafsir, al-Tha’aalabi explained that he set out to make an abridgement of the tafsir of Ibn ‘Atiyyah and to supplement that with other sources. He included additional benefits from close to one hundred other books, and endeavored to only draw on reliable and reputable scholars. That being said, he relied most consistently on a few select works. After ibn ‘Atiyyah, he relied most heavily on the summarized version of Tafsir al-Tabari by Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al-Lakhmi for narration-based tafsir, and the summarized version of Abu Hayyaan’s Bahr al-Muheet by al-Safaaqisee for linguistic tafsir.

al-Tha’aalabi was extremely diligent in his attribution of statements to their original authors, and thus he did not paraphrase but instead insisted on using direct quotes for fear of falling short in conveying the author’s original meaning. When quoting from any of the primary sources above or including his own words, he would indicate this by utilizing a coded letter system [the letter ‘ayn to indicate ibn ‘Atiyyah’s words, saad to indicate al-Safaaqisee’s words, etc].

‘Aqeedah:

This book draws heavily on the tafsir of ibn ‘Atiyyah and replicates its Ash’ari positions in ‘aqeedah. This means that it explains the names and attributes of Allah in a manner that is contrary to their apparent meaning, and contrary to the understanding of the salaf.

-Stance regarding isnaads (chains of narration):

al-Tha’aalabi included narrations from a number of hadeeth collections, among which were the six well-known collections, al-Adhkar of al-Nawawi, al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb of al-Mundhiri, al-Tadhkir of al-Qurtubi, Masaabeeh al-Sunnah of al-Baghawi, and others. He generally did not mention the chains of narration, and sometimes would not even indicate the source of the hadeeth itself.

-Stance regarding Fiqh (legal) Rulings:

He would mention the different positions that the previous scholars held regarding the various fiqh issues, especially the positions of the Maaliki scholars. These were summary discussions, however he would sometimes weigh the different positions against one another and state his own opinion as to the predominant stance.

-Stance regarding Qiraa’aat (different recitations):

He would mention the seven well-known recitations throughout his book, and would also sometimes mention odd recitations as well.

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

al-Tha’aalabi include some Israa’eeliyyaat narrations in his book, and would follow them up with comments on their validity and substance.

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

He gave special attention to these issues throughout his tafsir. He drew heavily on the previous works of Ibn ‘Attiyah and al-Safaaqisee’s abridgement of the tafsir of Abu Hayyaan. He would also regularly use poetry in his explanations of Qur’anic phrases.

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

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