About the Course
In this study of al-Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Tafsir, students will become acquainted with the essential principles in the interpretation of the Qur’an as authored by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rh).
This brief but comprehensive work on the principles of Tafsir sets out the means by which a reader of the Qur'an can determine what the Almighty is communicating to them through His Book; and what He expects them to do. Emphasis in this course is placed on understanding the thinking and reasoning of the author, and providing a detailed study of this work in comparison with other works of Usul al-Tafsir.
About the Text
Among the extant works of Ibn Taymiyyah is a small treatise entitled ‘Muqaddimah fi Usul al-Tafsir’ (An Introduction to the Principles of Qur’an Interpretation’) that he dictated from memory whilst in prison in response to a question about proper Qur’an interpretation (Tafsir).
This work sets out the proper principles to be deployed in interpreting the Quran and gives advice on the types of Tafsir one should depend on from among the numerous works of Tafsir that are available. The text places emphasis on the fact that the reader of the Qur’an should always keep in mind who the speaker is and who it is spoken to. It has proven to be a unique work in that, despite its conciseness, this small work of scholarship has been quoted by Qur’anic scholars from the earliest times like Ibn Kathir and Al-Suyuti unto the present day.
Upon successful completion, students should be able to:
- understand how the Quran is best explained by the Quran
- understand how the Prophet (SAW) explained the Quran
- understand how the Companions and their successors explained the Quran
- recognise different sources of Tafsir
- understand why there are differences in Tafsir
- recognise ideological and sectarian bias in Tafsir works
- evaluate the pros and cons of Tafsir based on Reason
- consider whether new hermeneutical methods are useful in interpreting the Quran
Shaykh Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi, a graduate of the world renowned Nadwatul Ulama, India, is a Muḥaddith. He has a doctorate in Arabic Language and has authored and translated over 30 titles on Language, Jurisprudence, Qurʾān and Ḥadīth. Shaykh Akram worked as a research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies for over 20 years. He is currently a Senior Lecturer of Advanced Islamic Sciences at Al-Salam Institute, London.