|Original title||معارف القرآن|
Maarif al-Quran (Urdu: معارف القرآن) is an 8-volume interpretation of the Quran written between 1941 and 1982. It was initiated by Idris Kandhlawi and completed by his pupil Malik Kandhlawi. Its purpose was to counter the influence of Western-oriented exegesis trends in South Asia. Idris Kandhlawi's approach to writing this tafsir was rooted in the methodology of his teacher, Ashraf Ali Thanwi's Bayan al-Quran. By following this method, he ensured a systematic and coherent presentation of the Quranic commentary, drawing inspiration from the teachings of the Salaf and the scholarly heritage of Islamic civilization. The tafsir synthesized insights and opinions from renowned commentators throughout history.
The background of Maarif al-Quran dates back to the mid-20th century in South Asia. During this period, there was a growing influence of Western-oriented exegesis trends and interpretations of the Quran. One notable work reflecting these influences was Syed Ahmad Khan's The Mohammadan Commentary on the Holy Quran. In response, Idris Kandhlawi undertook the task of compiling Maarif al-Quran.
Idris Kandhlawi had two main objectives in mind when compiling this tafsir. Firstly, he aimed to provide an accurate and concise translation of the Quran accompanied by a comprehensive commentary. His intention was to strictly adhere to the teachings and understanding of the Salaf-e-Saliheen, the pious predecessors of Islam. He wanted to ensure that the interpretations presented in the tafsir remained faithful to the original teachings of Islam without any deviation.
Secondly, Idris Kandhlawi sought to protect Muslims from the dangers and temptations of deviating interpretations. He wanted to safeguard the integrity of the Quranic message and prevent misinterpretations that could lead to misunderstandings or distortions of Islamic teachings. By compiling Maarif al-Quran, he aimed to provide a reliable and authentic source of interpretation that would guide Muslims in understanding the Quran correctly.
The process of compiling Maarif al-Quran began in 1941, but it faced challenges due to political conditions before the partition of India. After the creation of Pakistan, Idris Kandhlawi migrated there in 1949 and held the position of Shaikh-ul-Jamaiya in Jamia Islamia Bahawalpur. In 1951, he was invited to Jamia Ashrafia Lahore, where he continued his work. However, due to the country's conditions and travel difficulties, the compilation process was delayed. Until 1955, he had only commented on Al-Fatiha and Al-Baqara. During his stay in Lahore until 1962, he completed the compilation of Al Imran and An-Nisa. By 1969, half of the Quran had been covered, and in 1974, the commentary on the last verses of As-Saaffat was finished. Idris Kandhlawi's declining health prevented him from writing the commentary beyond that point. In total, he spent about 34 years researching and working on Maarif al-Quran.
The methodology employed in compiling Maarif al-Quran aimed to provide a comprehensive and authentic interpretation of the Quran. Idris Kandhlawi followed a structured approach and drew from various sources to ensure accuracy and adherence to the teachings of Islam. The key aspects of the methodology were as follows:
1. Emphasis on Traditional Commentaries: Idris Kandhlawi extensively referenced and quoted renowned Quranic commentators such as Ibn Kathir, Al-Qurtubi, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, and Mahmud al-Alusi. These traditional comment aries served as the foundation for his interpretation, allowing him to incorporate the wisdom and insights of eminent scholars who came before him.
2. Spiritual Insights: In addition to the traditional commentaries, Idris Kandhlawi also drew from the spiritual insights of notable scholars such as Ibn Arabi, Hasan al-Basri, and Rumi. By incorporating these perspectives, he aimed to provide a holistic understanding of the Quran that encompassed both the intellectual and spiritual dimensions of Islam.
3. Addressing Objections and Doubts: Idris Kandhlawi actively engaged with objections and doubts raised by critics throughout the tafsir. He sought to clarify misconceptions and resolve conflicts by presenting counterarguments based on sound Islamic principles and interpretations. This approach aimed to provide a robust defense of the Quranic teachings and address potential misconceptions.
4. Highlighting Authentic Opinions: When presenting various interpretations of verses, Idris Kandhlawi gave particular attention to highlighting the most authentic and significant opinions. He referenced multiple scholars and their perspectives, but he emphasized those that were considered reliable and in line with the teachings of the Salaf-e-Saliheen.
5. Primary Sources: Idris Kandhlawi relied on several primary sources in his interpretation, with the most prominent being Tafsir al-Alusi, Tafseer-e-Kabeer, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir. These sources provided him with a solid basis for understanding and interpreting the Quranic verses.
This Tafsir has been completely translated into Bengali by Abdul Halim, Raihan Khairullah, Abdullah Al Farooq, and Achiur Rahman. It was published by Maktabatul Azhar in eight volumes in 2020 from Bangladesh.
Maarif al-Quran has received positive reception within the academic and scholarly community. Abu Nasar Mohammad Abdul Mabood, a professor at the University of Chittagong, described it as a "bank of knowledge" that draws from the insights of previous Mufassirin (Quran commentators) and the practices of the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet Muhammad) and the Tabiin (successors of the Sahaba). It is regarded as a compilation that encompasses the wisdom of the past and provides guidance for contemporary readers.
Muhammad Zubair, a lecturer at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, stated that Maarif al-Quran serves as a concise summary of previous tafsirs. It addresses many logical problems and provides realistic solutions to the challenges posed by contemporary issues. This quality makes it widely accessible and popular among a diverse range of readers.
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