What are the differences between the various exegetes of the Qur’an and their methodologies? Exegetes – mufassirs – in Arabic are scholars who write explanatory
commentaries of the Qur’an. These are known as tafsir.
There are different approaches to the study of tafsir:
a. Tafsirs based on ahadith. Famous ones are:
1. al-Durr al-Manthur fi al-Tafsir Bil Ma’thur by Jalal-ul-Din al-Suyuti.
2. Jami’ al-Bayan by ibn Jarir al-Tabari.
3. Ma’alim al-Tanzil by al-Baghawi.
4. al-Burhan fi Tafsiral-Qur’an by Seyed Hashim al-Bahrani.
5. Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim by Ibn Kathir.
6. Fath al-Qadir by al-Shaukani.
7. Tafsir al-Qur’an by Ali bin Ibrahim al-Qummi.
b. Tafsirs based on the intellectual reasoning of their authors. Famous ones are:
1. Based on linguistic rules are –
• Tafsir al-Kashshaf by Ahmad bin Omar al-Zamakhshari.
• Majma’ al-Bayan by Al-Tabrasi.
2. Based purely on Philosophical and Mystical expositions of the Holy Qur’an –
• Mafatih al-Ghayb by Fakhr-ul-Din al-Razi.
3. Based on Jurisprudence (Ayat al-Ahkam), that deal specifically with Ayat concerned with Shari’ah rulings:
• Qalaid al-Durar by Shaikh Ahmad al-Jazaeri.
• Tafsir al-Qurtobi by Abu Abdillah al-Qurtobi.
• Ahkam al-Qur’an by Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki.
4. Based on Arabic grammar and literature such as –
• Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an by Seyed Qutub.
• al-Tebyan by Sheikh Tusi.
c. Tafsirs based on the Qur’an itself. The unique tafsir in this category is –
• al-Mizan (in English The Balance) by Seyed Muhammad Hussain Tabatabai.