Tafseer : Ussul Al tafseer. and
Tareekh Al tafseer
Q637 :I will be grateful if you will kindly explain
the meaning of the following two terms: Ussul Al tafseer and
Tareekh Al tafseer
A637 : The two terms are used in the study of the
Qur'an and its interpretation. The term tafseer means, in its original
linguistic sense, "explanation, clarification, interpretation, etc."
However, in an Islamic context it refers to the explanation and
interpretation of the Qur'an. Since the Qur'an is God's final message
to mankind, revealed by Him and preserved in its original form, it is
only natural that Muslims should give much attention to the study of
the Qur'an and understanding its meaning. This has developed into a
major branch of Islamic studies, known as tafseer. Any course of study
leading to a university degree in the Islamic studies is bound to have
tafseer as an integral and major component. It is indeed a branch in
which many scholars specialize. Over the centuries, many scholars have
written new commentaries on the Qur'an, trying to explain its meaning.
These often have new contributions to make to the study of the Qur'an.
In the 20th century, two very eminent scholars have written invaluable
commentaries in Arabic. These are Sheikh Rasheed Reda and Sayyid Qutb.
Also Maulana Maudoodi wrote Tafheem Al Qur'an which is a commentary
running in several volumes in Urdu. Other scholars have written books,
or pieces of research, or articles which also contribute to the
explanation of the Qur'an. Indeed, the efforts to explain and interpret
the meaning of the Qur'an date back to the early days of Islam, with
the Prophet explaining to his companions, and to Muslims in general the
meaning of numerous verses. Abdullah ibn Abbas is perhaps the most
famous commentator on the Qur'an among the companions of the Prophet.
He achieved that position of eminence in fulfillment of the Prophet's
prayer when he held him as a newborn baby and prayed close to the
Ka'aba: "My Lord, make him highly conversant in Islam and teach him in
interpretation (of the Qur'an)". Other scholarly companions of the
Prophet were known to explain the meaning of surahs and verses. The
study of the trends and the development of interpreting the Qur'an
comes under the heading Tareekh Al tafseer, or "History of Qur'anic
interpretations." As there is a continuous process of studying the
Qur'an and explaining its meaning, certain rules and principles are
bound to be developed for such studies. For example, scholars agree
that the best interpretation of the Qur'an is that which uses the
Qur'an itself. This refers to the fact that certain ideas are expressed
in the Qur'an in a general way at one point, but elaborated upon later.
This elaboration provides the best interpretation of the earlier
general statement. Secondly, the Hadith is to be taken as a major basis
for interpreting the Qur'an. The third source is statements and
comments made by the Prophet's companions. But there are other rules
and principles that have been developed by scholars over the centuries.
These are studied under the heading Ussul Al tafseer, which may be
translated as "Principles of the Qur'anic Interpretation."
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )