This is an effort by a group of anonymous authors to sow a few seeds of love, compassion, peace and pluralism.
Our reward is with Allah so we are not cashing out here in this world.
We have extensively reviewed and borrowed from the following translations and commentaries, from different denominations in Islam:
- Seyyed Hossein Nasr (N)
- Muhammad Asad (A)
- Muhammad Abdel Haleem (H)
- Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (GA)
- Hakeem Nurruddin (HN)
- Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (BA)
- Malik Ghulam Farid (F)
- Syed Abul A’la Maududi (M)
- Abdullah Yusuf Ali (Y)
- Muhammad Ali (Ali)
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (G)
- Muhammad M Pickthall (P)
It is self evident that all the above commentators of the Quran loved the holy scripture, but, we know as a positive fact that many among them could not love the others because of the sectarian differences. Nevertheless, with our broader perspective, we have found love and respect for all of them and learnt and shared from all of them.
For those with a sectarian bend of mind, allow us to take the liberty of asking a question: Won’t you think that limiting the Quran, a book of the All Knowing and All Powerful, to one teacher, to one scholar, to one leader of your choosing, is a blasphemy of sorts, an attempt to box the Infinite into someone finite?
Seyyed Hossein Nasr and his associates’ commentary was published in 2015 and they give the names of 41 traditional commentaries in Arabic and Persian both from the Sunni and Shiite tradition that they reviewed for their work. We have tabulated these 41 commentaries at the bottom of this page.
Banking on their review for the traditional contributions, we are focusing on the commentaries from the last century and contemporary knowledge of science and law to bring out the best for our readers.
Where ever we have borrowed ideas from the above thirteen commentators, we have acknowledged their contributions, at the end of the paragraph with the initials used above.
In the translation we have benefited the most from the translations of Muhammad Abdel Haleem, which was published by Oxford University, A. J. Arberry and Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan. We are making Khan’s translation available online here: Quran Translation by Sir Zafrulla Khan. The Arabic text of the Quran is borrowed from this website.
We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah. This is why each and every prophet of God was sent and this indeed is the very purpose of the holy Quran. In the worldly and human sphere the goal of the Quran is to create just and compassionate individuals and society.
Many have noticed this Quranic emphasis on Monotheism and accountability, for example the Encyclopedia Britannica states under the Qur’an, under the sub-heading basic ideas:
Many early sūrahs are devoted to the notion of a universal resurrection and “Day of Judgment” (yawm al-dīn). A number of passages at least clearly imply that the judgment will occur very soon (e.g., 70:6–7), although others are more noncommittal (e.g., 72:25). The judgment will be preceded by a thorough disintegration of the cosmos, as depicted, for instance, in Qurʾān 81:1–14. It is frequently emphasized that God’s verdict will be based exclusively on individual merit and demerit and that the Day of Judgment will be “a day at which no soul will be able to do anything for another soul” (82:19). Disbelief in the judgment is assumed to be concomitant with a propensity to exploit and mistreat the weaker members of society, such as orphans and the poor, whose protection the Qurʾān urges (e.g., 107:1–3).
The announcement of an eschatological resurrection of the dead seems to have occasioned doubts and objections among the Qurʾān’s original audience. Many Qurʾānic passages therefore rehearse various aspects of the natural order that God has created, thereby demonstrating his grace toward humankind and his power to recreate all deceased humans at the end of the world (e.g., 75:37–40 or 78:6–16). God’s ability and willingness to enact just punishment is also supported by accounts of his destruction of past peoples (e.g., 89:6–14). At the same time, the Qurʾān assures believers of God’s steadfast assistance to the pious and their entitlement to paradisiacal reward. Narratives about past messengers, such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses, not only illustrate the obliteration of the wicked and impious but also demonstrate that God does not abandon his “chosen servants” in the face of adversity (e.g., 37:74, 81, 111). Thus, the Qurʾānic understanding of God combines the attributes of omnipotence and punitive justice, requiring a human attitude of fearful wariness (taqwā), with an emphasis on God’s creative solicitude for humankind, his compassion, his forgiveness, and his loving affection for the pious (e.g., 7:151–154, 19:96, or 85:14).
A second core doctrine of the Qurʾān, which makes a slightly later appearance than the notion of eschatological judgment, is the denial that there are any other divine beings apart from the one divine creator and judge, Allāh (“the Deity” in Qurʾānic Arabic; e.g., 51:51 and 73:9). By contrast, Muhammad’s opponents are cited as professing additional belief in a plurality of “gods” (e.g., 25:42), who appear to occupy a subordinate and intermediate status and to function as intercessors, obviating exclusive reliance on Allāh. Like the Qurʾānic announcement of an eschatological resurrection, the clash between its uncompromising monotheism, on the one hand, and the willingness of many of its addressees to countenance a more extended pantheon, on the other, triggers polemical exchanges in which Muhammad’s opponents are charged with the sin of “associationism”—i.e., of illicitly relying on other beings and associating them with God.
The Quran aims at translating the two basic beliefs into compassionate and just individuals and societies.
The focus of our commentary is more on human interactions than on beliefs, so those verses get greater attention and more detailed commentary. As every religion claims that it is based on compassion and even agnostics and atheists promote humanism, for the sake of our global village we want to focus more on human interactions. It is said that the Golden rule is shared by each and every religion.
We believe that the two fundamental themes in the Quran for interaction in the human family are compassion and justice. The former is discussed in Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in one of the sections of Surah Al Nisa.
You can help make it the best commentary in the world, for a long time to come, by making suggestions for us in the comment section or leaving ideas and reading materials for the readers. Allah says in the holy Quran that whoever makes a righteous promotion or endorsement will have part of the reward of the goodness that follows. (4:85)
Every Muslim wants to see greater love among the Muslims and less inter-sectarian and other divisions. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” by endorsing this well intentioned effort and contributing to it by your suggestions. We can all remember at this time the popular Hadith of the holy prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, “The best among you is he or she who learns the Quran and teaches it!”
Would you like to know, which is the most important verse of Surah Mariam in our opinion?
41 traditional commentaries quoted by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
In our careful reading of the commentary by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and associates, we believe that we have done justice to the traditional commentaries.
Here is the list of 41 commentaries:
AF Abu’l-Futuh Husayn Ibn Ali al-Razi (d. 525/1131), Rawh al-jinan wa ruh al-janan
Aj Ahmad ibn Ajibah (d.1224/1809), al-Bahr al-madid fi tafsir al-Qur’an al-majid
Al Shihab al-Din al-Alusi (d. 1270/1854), Ruh al-masani fi tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘azim wa’l-sab’ al-mathani
As Muhammad al-Tahir ibn ‘Ashur (d.1393/1973), al Tahir wa’l-tanwir
Bd Abd Allah ibn Umar ibn Muhammad al-Baydawi (d.685/1286), Anwar al-tanzil wa asrar al-ta’wil
Bg Al-Husayn ibn al-Farra al-Baghwawi (d.516/1122), Ma’alim al-tanzil
Bq Burhan al-Din Abu’l Hasan Ibrahim al-Biqa’i (d.885/1480), Nazm al-durar fi tandsub al-ayat wa’l-suwar
IA Qadi Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn al-‘Arabi (d.543/1148), Ahkam al-Qur’an
IH Isma’il Haqqi al-Burusawi (d. 1137/1725), Ruh al-bayan
IK ‘Imad al-DinAbu’l-Fida’ Isma’il ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathir (d.774/1373), Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘azim
Is Al-Raghib al-Isfahani (d.502/1108), Mufradat alfaz al-Qur’an
It Abu Muhammad ‘Abd al-Haqq ibn ‘Attiyah al-Andalusi (d.541/1147), al-Muharrar al-wajiz fi tafsir al-kitab al-‘aziz
JJ Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli (d.864/1459) and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (911/1505), Tafsir al-Jalalayn
K ‘Abd al Razzaq al-Kashani (d.736/1336), Ta’wil al-Qur’an al-karim, known by many as Tafsir ibn ‘Arabi
Ka Muhammad Muhsin al-Fayd al-Kahsani (d.1091/1680), tafsir al-safi
Kl Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi (d.741/1340), al-Tashil li- ‘ulum al-tanzil
M Abu Mansur Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Maturidi (d.333/944), Ta’wilat ahl al-sunnah
Mu Muqatil ibn Sulayman (d.150/767), Tafsir Muqatil ibn Sulayman
Mw ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Mawardi (d.450/1058), al-Nukat wa’l-‘uyun fi Tafsir al-Qur’an
My Rashid al-Din al-Maybudi (d.ca.520/1126), Kashf al-asrar wa ‘uddat al-abrar
N ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad al-Nasafi (d.710/1310), Madarik al-tanzil wa haqa’iq al-ta’wil
Q Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurtubi 9d671/1272), al Jami li-ahkam al-Qur’an
Qm ‘Ali ibn Irahim al-Qummi (d. 328/939), Tafsir al-Qur’an
Qu Abu’l Qasim al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072), Lata’if al-isharat
R Fakr al-Din al-Razi (d.606/1201), al Tafsir al-kabir, also known as Muftih al-ghayb
Rb Ruzbihan al-Baqli al-Shirazi (d.606/1209), Ara’is al-bayan fi haqa’iq al-Qur’an
Sa Nasr ibn Muhammad al-Samarqandi (d.373/983), Bahr ul-‘ulum
Sh Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Shawkani (d.1250-55/1834-39), Fath al-qadir
ST Sahl ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Tustari (d. 283/896), Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim
Su ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami (d.412/1021), Haqa’iq al-tafsir
Sy Jalal al-Din al–Suyuti (d.911/1505), al-Durr al-manthur fi tafsir al-ma’thur
T Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d.310/923), Jami’ al-bayan ‘an ta’wil ay al–Qur’an
Tb Muhammad Hysayn Tabataba’i (d.1401/1981), al-Mizan fi tafsir al-Qur’an
Th Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha’labi (d.427/1035), al-Kashf wa’l-bayan ‘an tafsir al-Qur’an
Ts Abu ‘Ali al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan al-Tabrisi (or al-Tabarsi; d. 548/1153-54), Majma’ al-bayan fi tafsir al-Qur’an
Tu Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Tusi (d.460/1067), al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur’an
W abu’l Hasan ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi (d. 468/1076), Asbab nuzul al-Qur’an
Z Abu’l Qasim Mahmud ibn Umar al-Zamakhshari (d. 538/1144), al-Kashshaf an ghawamid haqa’iq al-tanzil wa ‘uyun al-aqawil fi wujuh al-ta’wil