Tafsir al-Qurtubi – Vol. 2: Sūrat al-Baqarah 142 – 253

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The tafsīr of al-Qurṭubī is perhaps one of the most compendious of them all and is certainly among the most famous. As its title, al-Jāmi‘ li Aḥkām al-Qur’ān – The General Judgments of the Qur’an, suggests, its main focus is on the rulings and judgments to be found in the Qur’ān. However, in the course of doing that, al-Qurṭubī examines all the relevant sciences necessary, such as the ḥadīth pertaining to the āyahs, events in the sīrah, what the Companions, their Followers and other noted people of knowledge said about the āyahs, essential aspects of Arabic etymology, syntax and usage, copiously illustrated by examples, and much more.

In this volume, the author continues through the second juz’ (two ḥizbs) of Sūrat al-Baqarah, stopping to examine aḥkām/judgments in greater detail including the changing of the qiblah, ḥajj, retaliation, fasting, wills and bequests, menstruation, marriage and divorce, fighting in the Way of Allah, Ṭālūt and Jālūt, and lending Allah a generous loan, a list, however, which hardly does justice to the range of subject matter and depth of treatment of this extraordinary work.

Abū ‘Abdullāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr ibn Farḥ  al-Anṣārī al-Khazrajī al-Andalusī Al-Qurṭubī (610-11 AH/1214 CE – 671 AH/1273 CE) was born in Cordoba in Spain, but moved in 1236 to Cairo in Egypt, where he lived until his death. He was Mālikī in fiqh, and although he composed other works, he is most famous for this tafsīr.

Aisha Bewley is the translator of a large number of classical works of Islam and Sufism, often in collaboration with Abdalhaqq Bewley, notably The Noble Qur’an – a New Rendering of Its Meanings in English; Muhammad, Messenger of Allah – the translation of Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ’s ash-Shifā’; the Muwaṭṭa’ of Imam Mālik ibn Anas; and Imam an-Nawawī’s Riyāḍ aṣ-Ṣāliḥīn.

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