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I am particularly uncomfortable with the categorization of tafsr bi al-ray

as it is a loose catch-all categorization that labels linguistic, legal,


theological, etc.
The main references are Muhammad al-Zarqani (Z), Muhammad Husayn
al-Dhahabi (DH), al-Fadl b. Ashur (IA), Nur al-Din Itr (I), Mustafa al-Bugha
(B), Abdullah al-Juday (J), Ibrahim Rufaydah (R), Manna al-Qattan (Q), and
Musaid al-Tayyar (T).
Ibn Ashur probably has the most specialized knowledge and is well-versed
in the tradition, al-Dhahabi probably has the best overview, Rufaydah has
good judgment in grammar, Juday and al-Tayyar are probably the most
insightful
The formative period
Muqtil (d. 150; the earliest preserved tafsr) none listed but still important
nevertheless
Yahy ibn Sallm (d. 200) IA
al-Farr (d. 207) R
Ab Ubaydah (d. 209) R
Codification
al-Zajjj (d. 311) R, Z
al-abar (d. 311) (mathr) IA, DH, R, Z, Q, J, B, I, T
Ab Mansr al-Mturd (d. 333) the first major theological tafsr IA
al-Nahhs (d. 338) R, J (Irab) Z (nasikh mansukh)
al-Jasas (d. 370) ahkam J
al-Samarqand (d. 375) mathur DH, Z, Q
al-Thalab (d. 427) mathur IA, DH
Makki al-Qaysi (d. 437) J
al-Whid (d. 468) R, Z (basit), Z (asbab)
Abd al-Qhir al-Jurjn (d. 471) a major linguistic tafsr IA
Ilkiy al-Harsi (d. 504) J
al-Baghaw (d. 516) mathur DH, Z, J
al-Zamakhshar (d. 538) a major linguistic tafsr (with al-Jurjn) IA, R, Q, B,
I
Ibn Aiyyah (d. 542) mathur masterpiece in tarjh IA, DH, R, Q, J, T
Ibn al-Jawz (d. 597) J, T
Fakhr al-Dn al-Rz (d. 604) IA, DH, R, Z, Q, B,
al-Qurtb (d. 671) R, Z, Q, J, B
al-Nasaf (d. 710) ray DH, R, Z, Q, I
al-Khzin (d.725) DH, Z, Q, I
al-Naysbr (d. 728) ray lists the qirat, DH, Z
Ibn Juzayy (d. 741) T
Ab ayyn al-Gharn (d. 745) the apex of grammatical tafsr , DH, R,
Z, Q, J, T
Ibn Kathr (d. 774) mathur distinguished in hadth DH, Z, J, B, I, T
al-Bayw (d. 791) IA, DH, R, Z, Q, J, I
Ibn Arafah (d. 803) IA
al-Thalib (d. 875) DH, R, I
al-Suy (d. 911) al-Durr al-manthr and Tafsr al-Jallayn DH, Z, Q, J,
al-Khab al-Sharbn (d. 977) ray gives tarjh DH, R, Z
Ab al-Sud (d. 982) IA, DH, R, Z, Q, I
al-Siylkt (d. 1066) best hashiya on al-Bayw, though incomplete IA
al-Khafj (d. 1069) one of the best hawashi on al-Bayw IA, R
al-Shawkn, (d.1250) both mathr and ray R, J

al-ls (d. 1270) IA, DH, R, Z, Q, I


Ibn shr (d. 1393) J (says the tafsr of our age) T
Al-Shanqiti (d. 1393) J
al-Darwish (d. 1403) J (says best Irab)

(1) Abd al-Karm al-Khab (Egypt)11: Al-tafsr al-qurn li-lQurn


(30 parts, 15 volumes)12
Abd al-Karm al-Khab was born in 1920 in a village in Upper Egypt.
After having attended a Qurnic school and memorised the Qurn,
he went to a state school and then to Dr al-Ulmthe same teachers
college asan al-Bann and Sayyid Qub had attendedwhere he
graduated in 1937. After having worked as a teacher for a number of
years, he came to work in the Ministry of Pious Foundations (Wizrat
al-Awqf) as a Parliamentary Secretary and, from 1953, as Director of
the Ministers Office. He was sent into early retirement in 195913 and
after this devoted himself to writing. Despite short spells as a lecturer
on tafsr at the Shara Faculty in Riyad in 1973 and 1975, he was certainly
an autodidact in religious matters.14 He was a prolific writer with
a focus on Qurnic and theological questions and an interest in finding
Islamic answers to contemporary problems. He also wrote biographies
of Umar b. al-Khab, Al b. Ab alib and, interestingly, Muhammad
b. Abd al-Wahhb.15
His commentary constitutes, just as the title states, an attempt to
explain the Qurn through the Qurn, i.e. without reference to
external sources. Without making use of traditions about the occasions
of revelation (asbb al-nuzl) or discussing philological problems in any
depth, it states what each verse is supposed to mean, sometimes
with reference to other Qurnic verses. Al-Khab usually does not
address possible alternative meanings or explain the reasons for which
he chose one particular meaning above others. His tafsr is cited by none
of the other mufassirn, and there seem to have been no re-editions or
translations, making it one of the less important works of modern tafsr.
(2) Muammad Ab Zahra (Egypt): Zahrat al-tafsr (incomplete,
5.482 pages)16
Ab Zahra was born in al-Mahalla al-Kubr in the Nile Delta in 1898
to a pious family that traces itself back to a Sufi shaykh whose tomb was
a place of worship in the town. Like many of his generation, the education
he received was both religious and secular. He studied at a
Mosque in an, then enrolled in a school for shara judges, from
which he graduated in 1925, and acquired a diploma from Dr al-Ulm
in 1927. Subsequently, he started a teaching career at various faculties
and universities, both theological and secular; most notably the Faculty
of Law at Cairo University, where he finally became head of the Shara
Department. In 1958, he retired, but continued teaching and publishing.
His appointment to al-Azhars Islamic Research Academy in
1963 is indicative of the fact that he seems to have gained acceptance
as an lim despite the fact that he had only briefly taught at al-Azhar.
His publications show a marked shift from legal to theological topics
in his later years.
At some point, probably during the 1950sthe precise date is not

knownhe started writing a Qurnic commentary for the magazine


Liw al-Islm. He was forced to interrupt his work for political reasons
due to his opposition against Nasser, and continued it when the latters
reign was over. He deceased in 1974 while working on Srat al-Naml
(sra 27);17 his incomplete commentary was published by his family
posthumously, apparently more than a dozen years later. It is rather
extensive and quotes a large number of inner-Qurnic as well as external
references, like classical works of tafsr, sra, hadth and asbb
al-nuzl. Ab Zahra draws his own conclusions from the sources and
aims at precision while taking into account varying interpretations and
occasionally acknowledging multiple layers of meaning.
While the commentary is erudite, it is nevertheless easy to read, using
rhetorical questions and even occasional references to contemporary
issues, which points to its journalistic origins. It is available on several
websites, but its lacking availability in libraries across the world suggests
that the number of printed copies that have been distributed is
very limited. Ab Zahra is quoted in the recent al-Tafsr al-tarbaw
by Anwar al-Bz18, but does not seem to have been used as a reference
by any of the other commentaries, with the possible exception of
anw.19
(3) Muammad Sayyid anw (Egypt): Al-tafsr al-was li-lQurn
al-karm (15 volumes)20
anw was born in an Upper-Egyptian village in 1928. He received
a religious education, graduating from the Religious Institute in Alexandria
in 1944, pursuing his studies at al-Azhar and obtaining his doctoral
degree in tafsr and hadth in 1966. He held teaching positions
for Islamic theology at various faculties in Egypt, Libya and Saudi
Arabia until he was appointed Mufti of Egypt in 1986. He became
Shaykh al-Azhar in 1996. He has a reputation for being a moderate
and is often criticised for being too accomodating towards the Egyptian
government.21
His extensive Qurnic commentary has been published between
1974 and 1986. It is heavily indebted to Islamic scholarly tradition.
When dealing with a verse or a group of verses, anw usually
first presents the potential asbb al-nuzl, explains difficult words, para
phrases the verse and then explains it in detail, phrase by phrase,
making frequent reference to classical exegetes like al-abar and Fakhr
al-Dn al-Rz, often quoting or paraphrasing them without adding
conclusions of his own.
e commentary has seen a second edition, but no translations. Like
in Ab Zahras case, between its erudition and its often didactic style,
the target group is not entirely clear. None of the other Arabic and
Turkish commentators refer to anw, but he is frequently cited by
the Indonesian Muhammad Quraish Shihab, who has received most of
his education in Egypt and has strong ties to Egyptian Islamic institutions.
anws commentary is one of four Arabic commentaries,
among those discussed here, to be available on Altafsir.com, a website
operated by the Jordanian l al-Bayt Foundation for Islamic ought
that is probably the most comprehensive tafsr site currently in existence.
22
(4) Muammad al-Mutawall al-Sharw (Egypt): Tafsr al-Sharw
(incomplete, 12.832 pp.)23
ere is no lack of studies on this particular Muslim scholar and his

works, owing to his immense popularity in Egypt even after his death
in 1998.24 So far, however, his complete tafsr inasfar as it has been
publishedhas not been examined. Shaykh al-Sharw was born in a NileDelta village in 1911. He
received a religious education and went on to study at al-Azhar, from
where he graduated in 1941 with a diploma in Arabic language. In
1943, he started teaching at several Azhar institutes in the Delta.
Between 1950 and 1974, he spent most of his time in Saudi-Arabia
and Algeria, teaching religious subjects. After his return to Cairo, he
started to take part in a religious programme on state TV, Nr al nr,
in which he delivered his exegesis of the Qurn in the form of a sermon
directed to the common people during about a quarter of a century.
For a short period under Sadat, he became Minister of Religious Affairs,
for in spite of his extremely conservative views and a brief affiliation
with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth, he always abstained from
criticising the government directly. At the time, he also benefitted from
the fact that, due to his long absence from Egypt, he was not associated
with the Nasserists. However, for most of his later life, until his death
in 1998, he was a popular preacher who appeared on TV, published
books, audio and video tapes and a newspaper.25
His Qurnic commentary was thus first and foremost delivered and
presented on television, which accounts for its enormous success. e
printed version, which is incomplete26, clearly reveals these oral origins.
e commentary is full of repetitions, paraphrases, rhetorical questions;
it explains words and syntactic constructions in a way that people with
little education can understand. It treats the Qurn verse by verse,
without forming larger units, but makes ample reference to other verses
of the Qurn. Apart from that, al-Sharw does not usually mention
his sources or refer to other scholars; very occasionally, the printed
version
contains a reference in a footnote. If al-Sharw mentions the
occasion of revelation at all, he usually does so in a very general way,
without providing names or other details.
While Shaykh al-Sharw was and still is extremely popular with a
predominantly Egyptian middle and lower class audience, his work
does not seem to have had an impact on Muslim scholarship, nor had it
been intended for that purpose. His commentary has not been translated,
nor is it cited by any of the other Arabic or Turkish commentators.
e Indonesian Muhammad Quraish Shihab does mention him
as one of his central sources, though.27 His commentary is also included
in the selection of tafsr works that is available on the website Altafsir.
com.
(5) Anwar al-Bz (Egypt): Al-tafsr al-tarbaw li-l-Qurn al-karm
(3 volumes)28
Virtually nothing could be found about Anwar al-Bz, besides the fact
that he edited Ibn Kathrs abaqt al-fuqah al-shfiyn29 and Ibn
Taymiyyas Majm al-fatw, the latter together with a co-editor.30
His concise commentary was published by Dr al-Nashr li-l-Gmit,
a Cairo-based publisher whose publication programme reveals an
affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.31 e same can be said for
the commentary, whose main source is Sayyid Qubs F ill al-Qurn
which is quoted extensively in nearly every section. Another often-used
source is Sad awws commentary, which again owes a lot to
Qubs. Occasionally, al-Bz quotes other commentaries, but is remarkably

reluctant to refer to works from the classical era like al-abar,


al-Zamakhshar or al-Bayw; he prefers to rely on the commentaries
of Ab l-Sud (d. 1574), al-Shawkn (d. 1834) or the Tafsr al-Manr
(1900-1934). His educational commentary divides the Qurn into
sections of approximately equal length, mostly comprising between
four and twelve verses, and comments on each of those sections as a
whole. He first explains the meanings of particular words or phrases,
then lists a number of practical and moral aims, usually around three to
four. He goes on to explain the educational content in some detail,
quoting from other commentaries (mostly Sayyid Qubs), and concludes
with a few guidelines to be drawn from each section. e commentary
is clearly not meant to be a work of scholarship, but rather a
kind of handbook that translates the Qurn into a set of easily
understandable
and applicable rules for the average Muslim. In its structure,
approach and style, it is very similar to al-Jazirs tafsr (see below). As
it has appeared only recently, its impact is difficult to assess. It does not
seem to be available on the internet or to be discussed there at any
length.
(6) Amr Abd al-Azz (Iraq/Egypt/Palestine): Al-tafsr al-shmil
li-l-Qurn al-karm (6 volumes)32
Amr Abd al-Azz was born in al-Fallja in Iraq in 1935. He received
a first degree in shara studies in Damascus, and obtained his Master
and Doctoral degrees in the same discipline from al-Azhar in Egypt in
1975 and 1977. After having worked as a teacher for 22 years, he
became a lecturer at Jmiat al-Najjh al-Waaniyya in Nablus, Palestine,
where he was promoted to the rank of professor in 1990.33 According
to the caption on his commentarys front pages, he specialises in
comparative
fiqh.
His commentary is of medium length, somewhere in between the
concise educational commentaries and the extensive, erudite ones.
After a very brief introduction to each sra, he comments on it verse
by verse, treating it as a continuous text and thus making it rather difficult
to find individual verses. His approach to the verses varies. Sometimes
he starts with the occasions of revelation; at other times, he omits
them and starts with explanations of words. Sporadically, he quotes a
broad spectrum of sources; at other times, he gives no references at all.
His target group, according to the foreword, comprises scholars as well
as students and educated people.34 It is thus rather unspecific, but does
in any case not include people with little or no education. It does not seem
to have been re-edited, translated or cited by any of the other
commentators.
(7) Sad aww (Syria): Al-ass f l-tafsr (11 volumes)35
Sad aww is regarded as the foremost ideologue of the Muslim
Brethren movement in Bathist Syria.36 He was born into a poor family
in the Syrian town of amh in 1935. His education was characterised
by ruptures, but due to his intellectual abilities, he managed to make
it to secondary school. Under the influence of his teacher of Islamic
religious education, he became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood
in 1953. In the second half of the 1950s, he studied Islamic Law at the
Shara Faculty in Damascus and obtained his degree in 1961. Most of
his adult life was shaped by the conflict between the regime and the
Muslim Brotherhood in which he remained an important activist and

ideologue, which caused him to spend many years either in exile or in


jail. In 1966, he left for Saudi Arabia where he wrote the first of many
books on Islamic thinking and Islamist ideology. In 1971, he returned
to Syria, where he was imprisoned two years later after having organised
non-violent protests against al-Asads proposal for a new constitution
which did not contain a clause making it obligatory for the president
to be a Muslim. It was during the five years he subsequently spent in
prison that he wrote his Qurnic commentary. ese circumstances
certainly contributed to the high degree in which he identified with
Sayyid Qubs tafsr. After his release from prison in 1978, he went into
exile to Jordan, where he lived until his death in 1989.37
His commentary owes much to Sayyid Qub, whom he quotes extensively;
but he also adds a number of own ideas, especially in the way he
tries to explain the logic behind the internal structure of the Qurn.38
He uses a large number of classical references, primarily with regard to
the asbb al-nuzl, but his main concern lies in transferring the Qurnic
message to a modern context, using a distinctly political vocabulary.
His analysis incorporates Ibn Taymiyyas concepts of tawhd al-ulhiyya
and tawhd al-rubbiyya, which also form a central part of Ibn Abd
al-Wahhbs doctrine.39 Due to its complex structure and awws view
of the Qurnic text as an argumentative continuum, the commentary
is hardly practical to consult for information about invidual verses; it
is rather meant to be read as a whole. awws commentary does not
seem to have been translated or re-edited; he is quoted frequently by
the Egyptian Anwar al-Bz, who shares his ideological orientation.
(8) Wahba al-Zuayl (Syria): Al-tafsr al-munr f l-aqda wa-lshara
wa-l-manhaj (32 parts, 16 volumes)40
Wahba al-Zuhayl was born in Dayr Aiyya near Damascus in 1932 to
a farmers family. Like aww, he studied shara at the University of
Damascus. After his graduation in 1952, he went to Egypt, where he
studied at al-Azhar and at the same time obtained degrees in law from
Ayn Shams University and Cairo University. In 1963, he received his
doctorate with a thesis on Islamic Law and returned to Damascus,
where he taught at the University of Damascus and became a professor
in 1975. He also acted as an imm and preacher and is a member of
the Syrian Majlis al-Ift.41 When he published his first Qurnic
commentary
in 1991, he was Head of the Department of Islamic Law and
its Schools at the University of Damascus.42
He wrote three commentaries on the Qurn that vary in length.
ree years after the publication of his sixteen volume work al-Tafsr
al-munr followed a concise commentary in one volume43 and another
seven years later a medium-sized commentary in three volumes.44 For
the present study, I will only consider the largest and most extensive of
the three.45 Writing three commentariesone of them large, one of
medium length (was) and a concise one (wajz)is a classical pattern;
in this, al-Zuhyl emulates great scholars of the past like al-Whid.46
He is the only one among the commentators discussed here to do so.
Al-tafsr al-munr usually looks at small groups of verses, first discussing
problems of irb, then explaining words or phrases. After
that, it presents traditions on the occasion of revelation. Subsequently,
it discusses the verses in detail and concludes with a chapter on their
practical legal meaning. is commentary is heavily indebted to

al-abar, al-Qurub and other classical exegetes; however, al-Zuhayl


does not always mention his sources.
Al-Zuhayls commentary has seen at least a second edition. It is also
included in the bibliography of the commentary published by Karaman
et al. (see below).
(9) Ab Bakr al-Jazir (Algeria/Saudi Arabia): Aysar al-tafsr li-lkalm
al-al al-kabr (4 volumes)47
Al-Jazir was born in 1921 in South Algeria, where he was educated
in a Sufi convent (zwiya) until he emigrated to Medina, where he
studied in the Mosque of the Prophet. He received a licence to teach
there and became a professor at the Islamic University of Medina upon
its opening in 1961, where he worked until his retirement in 1406 H.
(1985/86).48
His commentary is conceived as a concise work and, true to its name
(e most simple commentary), it makes for an easy read, aiming at
explaining the Qurn for contemporary Muslims so they can live
according to it and use it as a source of shara. Al-Jazirs method is
very straightforward: he divides the Qurn into groups of several verses,
explains meanings of difficult words or expressions and then expounds
the meaning of the passage in one or two pages. He concludes each
orientation is distinctly Wahhabite in its rejection of bida, denunciation
of popular Islam and its declared aim of providing a Salaf49 interpretation
of the Qurn. In fact, al-Jazir recounts that the president of the
Islamic University of Medina specifically asked him to write a commentary
that resembles the Tafsr al-Jallayn, but with a Salaf agenda,
and could replace the former in institutions of religious education. He
explicitly declares his intent to dispense with differences of opinion
concerning the correct interpretation of verses, to omit interpretations
that deviate from the literal meaning of a verse and to avoid linguistic
analyses. He mentions only four sources: al-abar, Tafsr al-Jallayn,
Tafsr al-Margh and Abd al-Rahmn b. Nir al-Sads Taysr al-Karm alRahmn (Cairo 1955-58).51
A new printed edition has been published in 2003 in Medina. e
commentary is available online on the platform Altafsir.com. In 1996,
a Turkish translation was published under the title En Kolay Tefsir. e
commentary seems to be rather popular in Indonesia as well, at least
among those who can read Arabic.52
(10) Abd al-Munim Amad Tuaylab (Egypt/Saudi Arabia): Fat
al-Ramn f tafsr al-Qurn (7 volumes)53
Tuaylab was born in a Nile Delta village in 1921. He was educated in
a Qurnic school, then in an Azhar institute and finally at al-Azhars
Faculty of eology (ul al-dn), where he obtained his first degree.
He was promoted to the rank of lim at al-Azhar in the field of tafsr.
At the same time, he became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He worked as a preacher for al-Azhar during the Palestine and the Suez
crises, but retired from al-Azhar after the rift between the Muslim
Brotherhood and the government in the 1950s and returned to his
village. He then found employment in the Ministry of Pious Foundations
in Kuwait; the breakthrough in his career, however, was his move
to Saudi Arabia where he participated in the foundation of the Faculty
for Islamic Studies at King Abd al-Azz University in Jidda. From that
time, he completely devoted himself to the field of tafsr, first working
on an English commentary on the Qurn that was commissioned by

the Muslim World League, but never published, then writing a thematic
commentary grouped around central verses of the Qurn, and finally
his Fath al-Rahmn, a commentary on the complete Qurn.54
His commentary is rather concise and intended to be easy to read
and not partisan to any theological school or ideology.55 It is certainly
brief and to the point; it discusses groups of several verses, clarifies the
meanings of difficult words or expressions and then gives the meaning
phrase by phrase. It uses a broad range of inner- and extra-Qurnic
references, making use of a large number of sources, but does not quote
them extensively. In contrast to al-Jazirs commentary, it does not
obviously pursue a Wahhabite or Salaf agenda. In fact, it does frequently
not express any opinion at all, occasionally making it rather
difficult for the reader to find his way between the conflicting points
of view about particular exegetical problems.
Tuaylabs commentary is the subject of a very favourable review on
the popular website IslamOnline; it does not seem to have been cited
by any of the other commentators, nor to have been translated or
reedited.
In Egypt, Muhammad Ab Zahra (18981974), the Dean of Cairo
Universitys
Shara Faculty and a member of al-Azhars Islamic Research Academy,
started
publishing his Quran commentary, Zahrat al-tafsr,5 in an Islamic
magazine in
the mid 1950s. Publication had to be interrupted for political reasons
during the
1960s, probably due to Ab Zahras Islamist leanings; after Nassers death
he
resumed writing the tafsr until his demise in 1974, at which time he had
reached
the twenty-seventh sura (Srat al-Naml) of the Quran.6 His family had the
book
printed around 1987; it has lately been scanned and made available for
download on
the internet.7
Muhammad Sayyid anw (19282010), shaykh al-Azhar until his recent
death,
wrote his al-Tafsr al-was8 while holding faculty positions in Islamic
theology in
Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia.9 The fifteen volumes were published
between 1974
and 1986; a second edition was printed in 1992. It is available online on
the internet
platform Altafsir.com.
Another Egyptian medium-sized commentary on the Quran, al-Tafsr alwas
lil-Qurn al-karm was published between 1972 and 1986, in the form of
small
booklets, by a committee of scholars under the auspices of al-Azhars
Islamic
Research Academy;10 the endeavour seems to have been abandoned in
1986.11 The
commentary was written by 40 scholars and edited by a committee of ten
members,

some of whom had a background in literary studies rather than Islamic


theology.12
This may have been due to the fact that many traditional tafsr scholars
had left
al-Azhar, or had been made to leave, after Nassers reforms.13 The
editorial
committees task was to simplify and unify the structure and style of the
contributions;
in the resulting exegetical work it is not possible to identify individual
authors. There
has been no reprint, and no online edition is available.
Certainly the most widely popular among the four Egyptian commentaries,
although
not for its conventional scholarly qualities, is that named Tafsr alSharw14 a
label its author, Muhammad al-Mutawall al-Sharw (191198), himself
was critical
of as he did not consider his work a tafsr in the proper sense of the word,
but rather a
collection of thoughts on some of the blessings of individual ayas.15 The
printed work
is based on Shaykh al-Sharws successful TV show Khawir al-Sharw
hawl
al-Qurn al-karm, in which he had interpreted the Quran verse by verse
from 1977
until his death, apparently up to Sura 57 (Srat al-add) plus the juz
amm (Suras
78 through 114).16 Although he graduated from al-Azhar and went on to
hold various
faculty positions in Saudi Arabia during the 1960s and 1970s,17 his
commentary is not
academic in style or content; rather, it takes the form of consecutive
sermons. This
work has been scanned and is available online on several websites,
including Altafsir.
com.18
In Syria, the local Muslim Brotherhoods chief ideologue Sad aww
(193589)
was the only one among the exegetes discussed here who, after having
obtained his
first degree in Shara from the University of Damascus, never aspired to
an academic
position in Islamic theology, but rather opted for devoting his life to
political
activism.19 During the 1970s he spent five years in prison where he wrote
the first
draft of his tafsr; the work, which owes much to Ibn Kathr, al-Nasaf and
Sayyid
Qub, was completed during his exile in Jordan and published under the
title al-Ass
fl-tafsr in 1985.20 According to aww, his main motivation for writing
the
commentary was the wish to convince his fellow Muslims that the Quran
contains

solutions for todays problems; in addition to this, he also presents a new


theory on
the structural coherence of the Quran and the unity of its suras. The work
has
been reprinted at least four times and translated into Turkish.21 It is not
available
online.
Wahba al-Zuhayl (b. 1932) is one of Syrias most prominent Muslim
religious
scholars. He obtained degrees in law and Shara from the University of
Damascus,
the University of Cairo, Ayn Shams University and al-Azhar and has been
teaching
Islamic law in Damascus for several decades.22 A well-known imm and
preacher and
a member of the Syrian fatwa council, he belonged to a group of scholars
who took
the liberty of vehemently criticising the president in an open letter for his
plans for
educational reform in 2007, which indicates that al-Zuhayl, while not
being part of
the political opposition, possesses a certain degree of independence.23 He
has
published no less than three Quran commentaries of varying length,
following a
classical pattern; in this paper, I discuss his al-Tafsr al-munr fl-aqda
wal-shara
wal-manhaj, which is the most extensive of the three.24 It was first
published in 1991
and reprinted in 1998, and is not available online. Recently, a Turkish
edition has been
published.25