Islamo-Biblica in Tafsir Literatures IV



Islamo-Biblica in Tafsir ("Qur'an Commentary") Literatures IV.

Islamo-Biblica in Tafsir ("Qur'an Commentary") Literatures III. Early Sufi and Esoteric Tafsir writings of Ibn al-`Arabi and his devotees.



Muḥyī al‑Dīn  Ibn al‑`Arabī (d.638/1240).

Though his own detailed and massive Tafsīr   on the whole Q. remains unpublished,  Muḥyī al‑Dīn  Ibn al‑`Arabī wrote  numerous tafsīr  works   (Yahya,1964 vol. 2: nos. 725‑736)1 including a  Tafsīr sūra yūsuf  (Commentary  on the Sūra of Joseph; Yahya, 1964, 2:484 no  734a) and a Qiṣṣat yūsuf  fī’l‑ḥaqīqa  (‘The inner reality of the story of Joseph’, ibid ii: 422‑3 no.  574).


Both the terminology and Sufi hermeneutical  style of Ibn al`Arabī’s non‑literal, often gnostic type exegesis,  is frequently reflected in the writings of Bāb and Baha-Allah. Though they condemned a literalistic waḥdat al‑wujūd (existential oneness) they show very considerable influence from the Great Shaykh and his disciples.


`Abd al‑Razzāq al‑Kāshānī (d. c.730/1330)

 Influential also were the works of Ibn al‑`Arabī’s mystically inclined pupil `Abd al‑Razzāq al‑Kāshānī (d.c.730/1330) whose Tafsīr  is often printed as if that of his master  (Loiry,1980). The following is an extract from Kāshānī’s commentary on the Sūra of the Mount (al‑ṭūr,   Q. 52:1‑5);

"By the Mount!" (wa’l‑ṭūr). The "Mount" (al‑ṭūr) is the mountain on which Moses conversed with Him [God]. It [symbolically] signifies the human brain (al‑dimāgh al‑insānī) which is a seat of intellect and articulation (maẓhar al‑`aql wa’l‑nuṭq)....  its Being is the locus of the divine Command (maẓhar  al‑amr al‑ilāhī) and the seat of the eternal decree (al‑qiḍā’ al‑azalī).  "And the Book Outstretched" (wa’l‑kitāb al‑masṭūr)  is the all‑encompassing form (ṣūrat al‑kull)  according to what interfaces with Him of the established order (al‑niẓām al‑ma`lūm). It is what is engraved in the tablet of the decree (lawḥ al‑qiḍā’) and the Most Great Spirit rūḥ al‑a` ẓam) ... (Ibn `Arabī/ al‑Kāshānī,Tafsir  2:553).

     1 Ibn al`‑Arabī also wrote a Tafsīr āyat  al‑kursī  (Commentary on the Throne Verse, Q. 2:256 = Yahya ibid. ii no. 728) and a Tafsīr āyat al‑nūr  (Commentary on the Light Verse; Q. 24:35 ). See also Yaḥya  ibid ": 482, no 729 (unfortunately these works remain unpublished).