Ibn ‘Atiyyah

 — Ibn ‘Atiyyah —

-Name of the Mufassir:

He is Abu Muhammad, ‘Abd al-Haqq ibn Gaalib ibn ‘Atiyyah al-Andaloosi. He hailed from a family of scholars, and was accomplished in the fields of fiqh, hadeethtafsir, and the Arabic language. He was appointed as a judge of Grenada. He died in the year 541AH/1146CE.

-Name of the Book:

Al-Muharrar al-Wajeez fee Tafsir al-Kitaab al-‘Azeez [المحرر الوجيز في تفسير الكتاب العزيز]

-General Description of the Book:

Ibn ‘Atiyyah drew heavily from the narrations found in the available books of tafsir bi’l-mathoor (narration-based commentary), especially  from the tafsir of Ibn Jareer al-Tabari from which he is often transmitting directly. The author keenly searched out the narrations which were most authentic, receiving commendation from ibn Taymiyah in this regard. In addition to including the statements of the Prophet (ﷺ), the companions and the salaf in general, he also regularly mentions the opinions of other mufassiroon in his tafsir.

Ibn ‘Atiyyah’s tafsir is also distinguished by his easy-to-comprehend and insightful comments, particularly related to linguistics and subtle extracted points of benefits. It appears that he drew on the tafsir of al-Zamakhshari in this regard and attempted to cull the accurate statements from the misleading ones, though he erred in some instances.


Ibn ‘Atiyyah was Ash’ari in ‘aqeedah and thus made ta’weel of the names and attributes of Allah in his tafsir, meaning that he interpreted them in a way contrary to their apparent meaning and contrary to the understanding of the salaf.  Despite relying heavily on explanations transmitted from the salaf in most areas, ibn ‘Atiyyah would leave off the explanations of the salaf regarding Allah’s names and attributes in favor of the interpretations of speculative theologians (Ahl al-Kalaam). In some places, this tafsir does show an influence from the Mu’tazilah ‘aqeedah, however overall the work is safe from that. However, in areas other than Allah’s names and attributes, ibn ‘Atiyyah insisted on interpreting the Qur’an according what is apparent, and censured Baatiniyyah (“hidden-meaning”) approaches to tafsir both explicitly in his introduction and throughout the text.

-Stance regarding isnaads (chains of narration):

He brings the narrated statements without their chains of narration. Sometimes he states an opinion in favor of certain statements over others, and sometimes he points out a weakness in some of the chains.

-Stance regarding Fiqh (legal) Rulings:

Ibn ‘Atiyyah was an respected authority in the area of Maaliki fiqh, however he approaches his tafsir first and foremost as a mufassir and then supplemented that secondarily as a faqeeh. He would mention the various statements of the fuqahaa’ (legal jurists) from among the salaf regarding fiqh issues, and then select the position that he felt to be most correct and endorse it, neither being overly long nor wanting for more clarification. In cases where there is ijmaa’ (consensus) he mentions it.

-Stance regarding Qiraa’aat (different recitations):

He frequently makes mention of the different recitations and devotes space to the discussion of their various meanings  and implications.

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

Ibn ‘Atiyyah transmits some Israa’eeliyyaat narrations from Wahb ibn Munabbih and al-Suddi, and follows some of them up with a discussion of their weakness and faults. However, in his introduction, he explained that he only mentions Israa’eeliyyaat narrations where an ayah or passage would otherwise be ambiguous without their presence.

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

The author was very accomplished in the field of grammar and assigned great importance to this issue throughout his tafsir. He also frequently makes reference to poetry and literature in his explanations of the Qur’anic language. He does not delve into discussions of rhetorical eloquence (al-Balaaghah) or figurative meanings except sparingly.

-Those who drew heavily from this tafsir:

al-Tha’aalabi set out to make his tafsir and abridgement of ibn ‘Atiyyah’s which he then supplemented with a variety of other works. Abu Hayyaan also depended heavily on ibn ‘Atiyyah’s tafsir.


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

منهج ابن عطية في تفسير القرآن الكريم للدكتور عبد الوهاب عبد الوهاب فايد

شرح مقدمة التفسير لشيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية لشيخ عبد الله بن عبد الرحمن جبرين

الاستنباط عند الإمام ابن عطية الأندلوسي في تفسيره المحرر الوجيز ـ رسالة لنيل الدرجة الدكتوراه من جامعة أم القرى لعواطف أمين يوسف البساطي

Back to Mufassir Profiles Index

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

2 thoughts on “Ibn ‘Atiyyah

    • In his Muqaddimah fee Usool al-Tafsir, Ibn Taymiyah spoke some about the tafsir of ibn ‘Atiyyah and its ‘aqeedah. In it, he compared it favorably to the tafsir of al-Zamakhshari in terms of it being closer to the Sunnah. He mentioned that ibn ‘Atiyyah would frequently transmit the statements of the salaf found in the famous tafsir of ibn Jarir al-Tabari, but ibn ‘Atiyyah’s tafsir would have been better if he had just transmitted them as they were without the commentary he sometimes added. And he also mentioned that sometimes ibn ‘Atiyyah would forgo the statements of the salaf in favor of the positions of Ahl al-Kalaam, and that this selective approach was similar to what the Mu’tazilah would do, however ibn ‘Attiyah and other similar mufassiroon were closer to the sunnah than were the Mu’tazilah. That is a paraphrase of what ibn Taymiyah mentioned.

      In any case, it is well-known that ibn ‘Atiyyah was Ash’ari in ‘aqeedah, and this fact is often assumed in the questions about his tafsir posed to the scholars. It is why the questioners are asking, to see if the book’s other benefits outweigh its errors in ‘aqeedah. And so, you find statements from some of our salafi scholars who have specialized in the Qur’anic sciences, such as Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool here and sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudair here, holding it in good regards for its valuable aspects, specifically its linguistic and fiqhi discussions. Tafsir ibn ‘Atiyyah is often discussed in relation to Tafsir al-Zamakhshari and presented as a viable alternative to it due to its comparative value in terms of linguistic tafsir while it is much closer to the correct ‘aqeedah than al-Zamakhshari, as ibn Taymiyah indicated here and sheikh Muhammad Bazmool mentioned here.

      For more information, I would encourage you to read a few statements of the scholars that we have compiled on their advice regarding the books of tafsir with distorted ‘aqeedah which contain certain other benefits. BaarakAllaahu feekum.

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