Message of Thaqalayn

A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Studies

Thematic Approach to Qur'an Exegesis

The Qur'an is a book of guidance, enabling man to live a noble life in this world and to enjoy eternal happiness in the world hereafter.1 Since the Qur'an is the main source of Islamic beliefs, laws and practices, it provides the norms to which Muslims should try to approximate their beliefs and deeds. Consequently from the earliest times, there have been, among the Muslims, sustained efforts to understand the divine message enshrined in the Qur'anic verses. Tafsir (exegesis), i.e. explaining the meaning of the Qur'anic verse, clarifying its import and determining its significance, was one of the earliest of the Islamic sciences to develop. According to S. M. H. Tabātabā’I, the verse "Even as we have sent among you, of yourselves, a Messenger, to recite Our signs to you and purify you, and to teach you the Book and the Wisdom, and to teach you that you knew not" (2:146) shows that the interpretation of the Qur'an began with its revelation.2 This is because the above mentioned verse clearly indicates two things; the recitation of the Qur'an and its teaching. Ta‘lim (teaching) in this verse means explaining the meaning of the Qur'anic verses.


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