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  • Writer's pictureRaghad Bushnaq

Interpretation Of the Quran


Interpreting the Quran is the process of understanding, analyzing, and explaining its meanings, context, and implications. As the central religious text of Islam, the Quran is a sacred book that contains guidance, wisdom, and inspiration for millions of Muslims around the world. However, its language, style, and historical context can pose challenges to readers and scholars seeking to interpret its messages and teachings.


Interpreting the Quran requires knowledge of Arabic language and grammar, as well as an understanding of Islamic theology, history, and culture.

Interpretation of the Quran is not limited to understanding the literal meaning of its verses. It also involves delving into the deeper, metaphorical, and spiritual dimensions of the text. Interpretation of the Quran may also involve exploring the ethical, social, and political implications of its teachings, as well as its relevance to contemporary issues and challenges facing Muslim communities and the wider world.

Interpreting the Quran is a complex and multifaceted process that requires careful study, reflection, and engagement with its text, context, and diverse interpretations.


Islamic scholars and experts in Arabic language and literature have devoted their lives to studying the Quran and its interpretation, and their insights have been passed down through the generations.

There are several verses and hadiths that emphasize the importance of understanding the Quran and seeking knowledge:

"Those to whom We have given the Book recite it with its true recital. They [are the ones who] believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it - it is they who are the losers." (Quran 2:121)

This verse highlights the importance of reciting and understanding the Quran in its true form, as it is the key to belief and salvation.


Another verse that emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge:

"Rather, these [disbelievers] say, "It is just legends of the former peoples, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon." (Quran 2:49)

This verse shows how some people dismiss the Quran as mere legends and stories, without seeking to understand its true meanings and teachings.


There are also numerous hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) that encourage Muslims to seek knowledge and understanding of the Quran. One such hadith is:

"Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim, and the one who imparts knowledge to others is deserving of praise." (Sunan Ibn Majah)

This hadith emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge and sharing it with others, as a means of gaining rewards and blessings from Allah.



First Interpreters of the Quran


The first interpreters of the Quran were the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Sahaba. They were the closest and most trusted companions of the Prophet, and they were present during the revelation of the Quran. As a result, they had a deep understanding of the context and circumstances in which the verses were revealed.

The Sahaba were also knowledgeable about the Arabic language and its nuances, which allowed them to understand the Quran in its original language. They often consulted with each other and with the Prophet PBUH himself to ensure that they had understood the verses correctly.


Some of the most notable Sahaba who interpreted the Quran include:

1. Abdullah ibn Abbas: He was a cousin of the Prophet and one of the most knowledgeable Sahaba in matters related to the Quran. He was known for his extensive knowledge of Arabic and his ability to provide detailed explanations of the verses. Prophet Mohammad PBUH made a dual for Abdullah: "Oh Allah, grant Abdullah knowledge and understanding of the religion, and the ability to interpret the Quran."


2. Omar ibn Al-Khattab: He was a close companion of the Prophet and one of the early caliphs of Islam. He was known for his wisdom and his ability to understand and apply the teachings of the Quran. In fact, many legislations in Islam revealed after Omar suggested the idea to the prophet PBUH. Foe example, Omar suggested that it that alcohol to become forbidden for good, which led to the subsequent revelation of the verse (Surat Al-Nisa' 4:43) that explicitly forbids the consumption of alcohol.

"O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]. And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving." (Quran 4:43)


3. Ali ibn Abi Talib: He was a cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, and one of the most knowledgeable Sahaba in matters related to the Quran. He was known for his deep understanding of the Quran and his ability to provide comprehensive explanations of its verses. One example of Ali's knowledge and insight into the Quranic text can be seen in his interpretation of the verse (2:255) known as Ayat al-Kursi, which is considered one of the most important and powerful verses of the Quran. Ali is reported to have said that this verse contains the greatest name of God, and that it encompasses the knowledge of the entire Quran. Furthermore, Ali's interpretations of the Quranic text were based on a deep understanding of the Arabic language and grammar, which he had acquired through his close association with the Prophet and his own personal study and reflection. He also had a profound spiritual insight and was known for his piety and devotion to God, which enabled him to understand the deeper meanings and significance of the Quranic text.

4. Abu Bakr: He was a close companion of the Prophet and the first caliph of Islam. He was known for his piety and his ability to interpret the Quran in a way that was easy for people to understand.

Abu Bakr's understanding of the Quran was not just limited to the theoretical or academic level, but he also translated his understanding into practical action by becoming the first male Muslim in the history of Islam. He demonstrated his commitment to Islam by taking active part in spreading the message of Islam and supporting the Prophet Muhammad in his mission, even in the face of great adversity.

Abu Bakr's understanding of the Quran was not limited to just the words and language of the text, but also extended to the values and principles that are embodied in the Quran. He saw the Quran as a guide for living a righteous and virtuous life, and he tried to apply its teachings in his own life as well as in his interactions with others.


Throughout Islamic history, there have been many famous interpreters of the Quran who have contributed to our understanding of its meanings and teachings. Here are some notable interpreters of the Quran from each century:

1st Century AH:

• Abdullah ibn Abbas, as mentioned earlier, was a famous interpreter of the Quran during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad and the early years of Islam.


2nd Century AH:

• Mujahid ibn Jabr was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 2nd century AH. He was a student of Ibn Abbas and was known for his extensive knowledge of the Arabic language and his ability to explain the verses of the Quran in a clear and concise manner.

3rd Century AH:

• Al-Tabari was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 3rd century AH. He wrote a comprehensive commentary on the Quran, which is considered one of the most important works of Quranic interpretation in Islamic history.

4th Century AH:

• Al-Qurtubi was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 4th century AH. He wrote a well-known commentary on the Quran that is still widely studied and cited by scholars today.

5th Century AH:

• Ibn Kathir was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 5th century AH. He wrote a renowned commentary on the Quran, which is considered one of the most comprehensive and detailed works of Quranic interpretation.

6th Century AH:

• Jalaluddin al-Suyuti was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 6th century AH. He wrote several works on Quranic interpretation, including a commentary on the Quran that is still widely studied today.

7th Century AH:

• Ibn Ashur was a famous interpreter of the Quran in the 7th century AH. He wrote a highly respected commentary on the Quran that is known for its comprehensive and modern approach to Quranic interpretation.

These are just a few examples of famous interpreters of the Quran throughout Islamic history. There have been many other scholars and experts who have contributed to our understanding of the Quran and its teachings over the centuries.


Influential Scholars and their Enduring Works in the 14th Century AH



Mohammed Metwally Al-Sha'rawi was a prominent Egyptian Islamic scholar and a leading figure in the field of Quranic exegesis (Tafsir) in the 20th century. He was born in 1911 in the village of Daqadous in Egypt, and he passed away in 1998.

Al-Sha'rawi made significant contributions to the field of Tafsir, and he is well known for his comprehensive and accessible approach to Quranic interpretation. He authored several works on Tafsir, including his most famous work, "Al-Tafsir Al-Sha'rawi."


"Al-Tafsir Al-Sha'rawi" is a multi-volume work that covers the entire Quranic text. The Tafsir is known for its simplicity, clarity, and accessibility, and it has been praised for its ability to make the Quranic message understandable and relevant to contemporary readers.

In his Tafsir works, Al-Sha'rawi drew on a wide range of Islamic sources, including classical Tafsir works, Hadith collections, and the writings of earlier Islamic scholars. He also emphasized the importance of understanding the historical context in which the Quranic verses were revealed, and he frequently discussed the practical applications of the Quranic message in daily life.


Al-Sha'rawi was also known for his lectures and public speeches, which were broadcast on Egyptian television and radio. His speeches were known for their eloquence and clarity, and he had a large following of devoted listeners and students. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential Islamic scholars of the modern era.



Wahba Al-Zuhaili was a prominent Syrian Islamic scholar and jurist who was born in 1932 and passed away in 2015. He is best known for his comprehensive Tafsir work, "Tafsir Al-Munir," which is a widely respected and highly regarded commentary on the Quranic text.


"Tafsir Al-Munir" is a multi-volume work that consists of 18 volumes in total, and it covers the entire Quranic text. The Tafsir is known for its detailed and comprehensive approach, and it draws on a wide range of Islamic sources, including classical Tafsir works, Hadith collections, and the writings of earlier Islamic scholars. He starts with grammatical analysis to study the structure, syntax, and rules of the Arabic language, including the principles of grammar, morphology, then he discuss the jurisprudence and states the opinion of the four Imams.

The Tafsir is also known for its modern approach, and Al-Zuhaili often draws on contemporary issues and events to illustrate the relevance of the Quranic message to the modern world. He also places a strong emphasis on the ethical and moral teachings of the Quran, and he frequently discusses the practical applications of these teachings in daily life.


Al-Zuhaili was a highly respected figure in the Muslim world, and his Tafsir work has been widely praised for its depth, clarity, and accessibility. It is considered to be one of the most important contemporary works of Tafsir, and it continues to be studied and referenced by Islamic scholars and students around the world.


Muhammad Ali Al-Sabouni was a contemporary Syrian Islamic scholar and writer, who was born in 1930 and passed away in 2019, in Syria. He was a prolific author and commentator, and he wrote numerous books on Islamic topics, including Quranic exegesis, Islamic law, and spirituality.


Safwat al-Tafasir is one of Al-Sabouni's most famous works, and it has been widely read and studied by Muslims around the world. The book is written in a clear and straightforward style, and it covers a range of themes and topics related to the Quranic message, including theology, ethics, and spirituality.


Ratib Al-Nabulsi is a contemporary Islamic scholar and preacher from Syria. He is known for his lectures and books on Islamic spirituality, self-improvement, and Quranic studies.

He is best known for his comprehensive Tafsir work, "Tafsir Al-Nabulsi," which is a widely respected and highly regarded commentary on the Quranic text.


"Tafsir Al-Nabulsi" is a multi-volume work that covers the entire Quranic text. The Tafsir is known for its comprehensive approach, and it draws on a wide range of Islamic sources, including classical Tafsir works, Hadith collections, and the writings of earlier Islamic scholars.

The Tafsir is also known for its focus on the spiritual and moral teachings of the Quran, and it frequently discusses the practical applications of these teachings in daily life


He also has written several books on Quranic studies, including "The Methodology of Quranic Interpretation" and "The Sciences of the Qur'an." These books explore the principles and methods of Quranic interpretation and provide insights into the deeper meanings and spiritual teachings of the Quran.


Ratib Al-Nabulsi's approach to Quranic studies is deeply rooted in the Islamic tradition, and he places a strong emphasis on the spiritual and moral dimensions of the Quranic message. He emphasizes the importance of developing a strong relationship with God and living a life of piety and righteousness based on the teachings of the Quran.


Ratib Al-Nabulsi's contributions to the field of Quranic studies have had a significant impact on the Muslim world, particularly in the areas of Islamic spirituality and self-improvement. His teachings continue to be studied and respected by Muslims around the world.


























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