Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī: Volume 3 – A Fourth/Tenth Century Shīʿī Commentary on the Qurʾan

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A Fourth/Tenth Century Shīʿī Commentary on the Qurʾan

Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī is a fourth/tenth century commentary of the Qurʾan by the Shīʿī Imāmī exegete Abū al-Naḍr Muḥammad b. Masʿūd al-ʿAyyāshī (d. 320/932). Composed during the period of the Twelfth Imam’s minor occultation (al-ghaybat al-ṣughrā) it counts as one of the earliest surviving commentaries from the early phase of Imāmī Shīʿism. Comprising several thousand traditions gathered from the Prophet Muḥammad and his household (ahl al-bayt) al-ʿAyyāshī’s tafsīr provides an overall unique Shīʿī conception of Islamic sacred history as well as an early representation of Imāmī exegesis and commentary on the outer and inner meanings of the Qurʾan, the sacred scripture of Islam. This bilingual Arabic-English edition of al-ʿAyyāshī’s tafsīr provides a complete translation in three volumes of a key text from the classical period of Imāmī Shīʿism and offers an indispensable resource for specialists and non-specialists alike interested in the history of Qurʾanic exegesis. This multivolume translation includes a detailed introduction by Professor Meir Bar-Asher, who has written extensively on the history of Imāmī exegesis, as well as multiple indices that enable the reader to engage with the text as an ongoing tool for study and research.

Muḥammad b. Masʿūd al-ʿAyyāshī al-Samarqandī was among the shi’a scholars of the 4th/10th century. He first was Sunni but after studying Shi’a works, changed his faith to Shi’a. He then went to Kufa, Baghdad and Qom for education. Because of his great eagerness to learning and preaching religion, upon his return to Samarqand, he spent all the heritage of his father for dissemination of knowledge and hadiths. Al-‘Ayyashi had many works in exegesis, jurisprudence, Arabic literature and hadith. Tafsir al-‘Ayyashi is his most famous work.

3 reviews for Tafsīr al-ʿAyyāshī: Volume 3 – A Fourth/Tenth Century Shīʿī Commentary on the Qurʾan

  1. Saad Javaid

    The three volumes are beautifully produced: the Arabic text is on the right and the English translation on the left, and adequate annotation is provided on sources. The indices are also quite an excellent tool. One can imagine using the text used profitably for research as well as for teaching – the very absence of serious translations of Shiʿi materials makes it rather difficult to teach students more broadly in religious studies. And in that sense this is also the first major translation of a classical Shiʿi exegesis. If we want to be read Shiʿi texts and incorporating them into a more holistic study of the early and classical period, such works are essential. From my perusal, the translations are quite excellent, rigorous and careful, and the Qurʾan itself has been rendered (as far as it fits the exegesis) from the existing translations of Abdel-Haleem and ʿAli-quli Qara’i.

  2. Saad Javaid

    The publication of the three-volume bilingual edition of the Tafsīr of Muḥammad b. Masʽūd al-ʽAyyāshī is a landmark in the study of early Shīʽism. This is notably the first complete English translation of a classical Shiʽi commentary on the Qurʾan. The Arabic text (originally published by the Islamic Studies department of the Biʽtha Foundation in Qom) is based on four manuscripts and is considerably better than earlier editions of this oeuvre. Also included is an appendix comprising fragments of the second, lost part of al-ʽAyyāshī’s commentary which were culled from later sources. The meticulous translation strikes just the right balance between literal accuracy and a freer rendering where appropriate, and the footnotes provide essential information on persons, places and events that are mentioned in the tafsīr. Having text and translation on facing pages ensures a user-friendly reading experience. The Introduction by Meir M. Bar-Asher provides biographical details on al-ʽAyyāshī, offers an analysis of his Tafsīr and places this work in the wider context of early Shīʽī doctrine and thought. Editor Wahid M. Amin, translator Nazmina Dhanji and the Al-Mahdi Institute are to be commended for making this valuable project available to the academic community.

  3. Saad Javaid

    Excellent translation of tafsir ayyashi, which is one the oldest books of Shia Quranic exegesis, easy to read and would recommend.

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Paperback

664 pages

Publisher (Paperback)

AMI Press (30 Oct. 2020)

Language (Paperback)

English

ISBN-10 (Paperback)

1838032096

ISBN-13 (Paperback)

978-1838032098

Dimensions (Paperback)

15.6 x 3.38 x 23.39 cm

Hardcover

664 pages

Publisher (Hardcover)

AMI Press (27 Oct. 2020)

Language (Hardcover)

English

ISBN-10 (Hardcover)

1838032037

ISBN-13 (Hardcover)

978-1838032036

Dimensions (Hardcover)

15.6 x 3.66 x 23.39 cm

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