I have had countless requests from people to know what book of tafsīr I refer to when delivering the weekly tafsīr class in London. The following is a list of the books I mainly refer to as well as a brief discussion of some of the books.
Books of Tafsīr referred to:
- Aṭ-Ṭabari. (26 vols.)
- Ibn Kathīr. (The print I refer to is 15 vols due to its extensive checking, otherwise it is usually shorter)
- al Qurṭubi. (24 vols.)
- Al Baghawi. (8 vols.)
- At-Taḥrīr wat-Tanwīr – Ibn ‘Āshūr. (30 vols.)
- Al Muḥarrar al Wajīz – Ibn ʿAṭiyyah. (6 vols.)
- Aḍwā’ al Bayān – Shinqīṭi. (10 vols.)
- Aḥkām al Qur’ān – Ibn al ‘Arabi. (4 vols.)
- Zād al Masīr – Ibn al Jawzi. (4 vols.)
- Fatḥ al Qadīr – ash-Shawkāni. (4 vols.)
- Mafātīḥ al Ghayb – ar-Rāzi. (32 vols.)
- Naẓm ad-Durar – al Biqāʿi. (22 vols.)
- Maḥāsin at-Taʾwīl – Jamāl ad-Dīn al Qāsimi. (9 vols.)
- Al Baḥr al Muḥīṭ – Abū Ḥayyān. (8 vols.)
- Badāʾiʿ al Fawāʾid – Ibn al Qayyim. (4 vols.)
- Tafsīr as-Saʿadi. (1 vol.)
- Aysar at-Tafāsīr – Abū Bakr al Jazāʾiri. (2 vols.)
- ʾIʿrāb al Qur’ān wa Bayānuhu – Muḥammad ad-Darweish. (9 vols.)
- At-Tafsīr al Mawḍūʿi. (Groups of scholars) (10 vols.)
- Al Burhān fī tartīb suwar al Qur’ān. – al-Gharnāṭi. (1 vol.)
- Muʿjam Mufradāt alfāẓ al Qurʾān. – ar-Rāghib al Aṣfahāni. (1 vol).
- al Iklīl fi Istinbāṭ a-Tanzīl – as-Suyūṭi. (1 vol.)
- Tafsīr Juzʾ ʿamma – Musāʿid aṭ-Tayyār. (1 vol.)
This list covers various different types of tafāsīr such as the traditional maʾthūr method of transmitting statements from the Prophet (saw) and his companions and tābiʿīn (such as Ṭabari, Ibn Kathīr, Zād al Masīr, al Muḥarrar al Wajīz etc).
There are also those that are based on raʾi (opinion) and thus tend to delve into dangerous areas such as philosophy and exaggerations in trying to read between the verses that sometimes led to some of the mufassirūn to abandon narrations. A typical example of such types of tafsīr is the Rāzi’s tafsīr. It was even said about it: “It contains everything but tafsīr”! Nonetheless, some of his reflections are very interesting and beneficial.
Some of the books above focus on fiqhi rulings such as Ibn al ʿArabi’s and Qurtubi’s tafsīr with the latter being much more comprehensive, including a more detailed linguistic discussion of the verses as well as mentioning āthār.
A few also focus heavily on the concept of Naẓm/Munāsabah (coherence of verses/chapters and the relationship they have with one another) such as Naẓm ad-Durar, Mafātīh al Ghayb, at-Tafsīr al Mawḍūʾi and al Burhān. These works are extremely beneficial for those who wish to ponder over the meanings of the verses albeit sometimes the authors go to extremes to try and relate one verse to another and one chapter to another. Many people today are very keen on reading and hearing tafsīr following this method since certain types of coherence in the literature we read here in the west is really considered to be the backbone for what it is considered to be good literature. We can say a lot more about this point but perhaps we will leave that for later inshā’allāh.
Shaqīṭi’s work is a gem and focuses on interpreting the Qur’ān by the Qur’ān itself (i.e. by discussing over verses that cover similar meanings to the verse at hand.) In addition to that he discusses the verses of aḥkām very well as well as clarifying many of the disputed issues of tafsīr in a very convincing manner. It is also free from deviations in ʿaqīdah.
Maḥāsin at-Taʾwīl by al Qāsimi is another gem. He has the ability to extract gems of benefits from obscure and rare works and authors.
Sheikh Musā’id’s tafsīr is beneficial too. He is a contemporary expert in the sciences of the Qur’ān and deals with variant opinions very well.