It has been about seventeen months since I embarked on the journey of reading Maulana Maududi’s commentary on the Qur’an, ‘Tafheem-ul-Qur’an’. I’m thankful to my Allah for giving me an opportunity to make this little effort for His book. In a Hadith the Prophet (PBUH) says, “When Allah wants to do good with some, He gives him comprehension of Deen”. Ibn Abbas said that the Prophet (PBUH) once embraced him and prayed, “O! Allah, give him the knowledge of the Qur’an.” It is, thus, a privilege to have gone through a commentary of the Qur’an.
Every now and then, scholars of Islam have written translations and commentaries on the Qur’an in different languages, which have helped both the educated class of society and laymen, who couldn’t read the Qur’an directly on their own to understand the word of God. In the last century this work was also done by Syed Abul A’la Maududi. He wrote a 6-volume translation and commentary on the Qur’an titled ‘Tafheem-ul-Qur’an’, which soon became widely known. Being a layman and having only a little acquaintance with religious literature, I needed a commentary that would be easy to understand, relatable, and a commentary that could answer my questions in a non-conservative way; the Tafheem was adequate for me in all these respects.
In the preface of the book, the author concedes that he wrote this book for average educated people, especially for young people studying in high schools, colleges and universities. He also admits that his book is written in a simple language that does not need any sophisticated prerequisites. It is well said that Maulana Maududi has translated the Qur’an from pellucid Arabic to pellucid Urdu. One more reason to select this tafseer was that it provides logical and scientific explanation of verses of the Quran and doesn’t evade facing the different issues of the modern era.
Tafheem-ul-Quran is a combination of orthodox and modern interpretation of the Quran that has deeply influenced modern Islamic thought. It is eloquently written and is known for its notable style of writing. In Tafheem each chapter starts with an introduction or preface which includes the name, period of revelation, background and central idea of a Quranic chapter. On each page under the Arabic text is the plain and eloquent translation in Urdu and under that are the author’s comments about the composition under discussion. The comments mainly contain the elaboration and answers to the questions that may arise in the reader’s mind. In explaining a particular subject the author has taken the support of Hadith and the actions and sayings of the Prophet’s companions. He has also taken help of widely accepted commentaries of the Quran and opinions of famous and great scholars of Islam. He has even quoted the Bible to discuss some subjects and historical events.
Besides this approach, the Maulana has provided scientific and logical explanations. He has made use of maps, pictures and diagrams as well that elucidate the essays vividly. In jurisprudence issues where there is a difference of opinions, he has usually mentioned the four main schools of thought together and left it to the reader to himself opine about them.
Tafheem-ul-Quran encompasses all aspects of life. It presents the Quran as a complete workbook for man and presents Islam as the complete way of life. It criticises the decadence of Muslims today, discusses the wrongness of alignment of Muslims with modern philosophies, and addresses different spiritual diseases that have affected Muslims. It compares the Bible with the Quran and shows how the Bible has been maligned. It includes debates regarding economics, sociology and politics and compares modern politico-socio-economic philosophies, like Communism and Capitalism, with the Quranic philosophy and presents Islam as an inevitable alternative to replace modern systems with.
The Tafheem helped me a lot in developing a philosophy of life and changed my perception about Islam. Many misconceptions perpetuating in my head got cleared and also new ideas were planted. Starting in January 2020, with a routine of reading for not more than an hour daily, it took me about seventeen months to complete the reading of this commentary. During this period, I faced many challenges: preparing for my exams, maintaining consistency and perseverance in reading the text. But praise to Allah for keeping me steadfast; without His grace it could not have been possible. It would be worthy for everyone to go through this book at least once. I highly recommend this book to students in high schools, colleges and universities to enhance their understanding of the Quran.
The writer is studying for a master’s at JK Institute of Mathematical Sciences. [email protected]