Tafsir Ibn Kathir – English

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The Quran is indeed a unique book which does not compare with others. Its the word of Allah Almighty himself and all Muslim have utmost faith on this Holy book. We Muslims, are commanded to ponder over its verses and learn the Quran. As Allah says:

quranic verse

Yes, the recitation of the Quran is important however we can not just spend our life aimlessly reading the Quran when the true spirit of Islam is to understand the message behind the verse. It is impossible to ponder over the Quran without its correct interpretation. It is an obligation of every Muslim to find and learn the Quran with its correct interpretation. If a person misinterprets the Quran, he or she may be liable for punishment. That’s what makes it so important to understand the verses correctly.

reading Quran

Allah Almighty has promised to preserve the Quranic words as well as its interpretation. Till the end of times, there will be no change in its words. It will forever be safe from alteration. Allah Almighty says:

لَا تُحَرِّكۡ بِهِۦ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعۡجَلَ بِهِۦۤ إِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا جَمۡعَهُۥ وَقُرۡءَانَهُۥ فَإِذَا قَرَأۡنَـٰهُ فَٱتَّبِعۡ قُرۡءَانَهُۥ ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَیۡنَا بَیَانَهُۥ 

Do not rush your tongue trying to memorize ˹a revelation of˺ the Quran. It is certainly upon Us to ˹make you˺ memorize and recite it. So once We have recited a revelation ˹through Gabriel˺, follow its recitation ˹closely˺. Then it is surely upon Us to make it clear (interpret it for you) ˹to you˺.

(القيامة: 16-19)

An important question that comes to mind is how is the Quran interpreted? How do we come to learn the message of the Quran and the meaning of the verses?

The meaning of the Quran is derived from a number of sources. The method of Allah’s interpretation is that some verses of the Quran interpret others. The Quran itself is interpreted from many of the instructions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. There is no ambiguity about these two sources of Tafseer. Another source of Quranic commentary is the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ Companions. The Companions are among the first addressees of the Holy Quran. Every command of the Quran is drawn to them first. Since the companions are from the time of the revelation of the Holy Quran, they are considered to be a trusted source. They have a good idea of ​​what the verse means and about whom it was revealed, where it was revealed and when it was revealed. They are aware of the rules and regulations on the basis of which interpretations are given.

The Salaf instructed many rules and regulations about the interpretation of the Quran in detail. All these rules are helpful in the correct method of Tafsir. There are many books on the rules and regulations of the interpretation of the Holy Quran. If all the rules derived from these books are applied to any interpretation, we would end up with a great tafsir but only scholars would be able to understand it.  It would be too difficult for the majority of the people which destroys the whole purpose of a tafsir, since they are supposed to help people learn the Quran and its meaning.

Among the most renowned interpreters of the Quran and scholars of Islam, Imam ibn Kathir رحمه الله is known the best. He holds an esteemed position in the field of Quranic tafseer and its interpretation.

Imam ibn Kathir wrote a Tafseer with the Arabic title تفسير القرآن العظيم (Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Adhim) which is famous with the title تفسير ابن كثير. 

Ibn Kathir was born in 701 AH and died in 774 AH. He is one of the top and famous Muslim scholars of the 8th century AH. He was a renowned pupil of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah رحمه الله, the great Muslim scholar. Imam ibn Kathir رحمه الله was known for his great memory regarding the sayings of Muhammad ﷺ and the entire Quran. Ibn Kathir is known as a qadi, a master scholar of history, also a muhaddith and a mufassir (Quran commentator).

This is a famous and authentic commentary on the Quran which supports the interpretation of the verses with Hadiths, sayings of Muhammad ﷺ, sayings of the sahaba. Tafsir ibn Kathir is famous all over the Muslim world to learn the Quran. Among Muslims in the Western world, it is one of the most widely used explanations of the Quran today.

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The style of writing this commentary is similar to that of the Salaf رحمھم اللہ in their books making it the best tafsir to learn the Quran. Imam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله has mentioned in full detail about a word mentioned in the Holy Quran and then solved it according to the rules of grammar, then mentioned hadiths related to the verse in addition to a detailed description. In the hadiths mentioned by the Salaf in their books, Asanid must be included in this tafsir. 

This tafsir explains the verses with additional supported text like the Asanid as well as lexical terminology, testimonies from the poems of poets of pre-islamic era, various sayings of the Salaf related to a commentary, the objections to them and their answers, as well as the mention of the sciences of the Quran at every appropriate occasion and commentary in their light, arrangement of Israeli traditions, etc. 

 Tafsir ibn Khathir may be easy for the average reader to read, but it is impossible to understand. The reason is that there are many additional things in it that are very important for scholars but can be confusing to common people. Therefore, it was necessary to summarize it in order to highlight the understanding of Salaf as well as to simplify it for the general population. For this work, a group of scholars working under the supervision of Sheikh Safi-ur-Rehman Mubarakpuri رحمه الله  summarized it in a very beautiful way and gave it the Arabic title المصباح المنير في تهذيب تفسير ابن كثير, or Tafsir Ibn Khathir in English which has been published by Darussalam in a 10 volume set.

tafsir ibn khathir

 The features of which are as follows:

  • It has become a concise and comprehensive commentary that has a Salafist but public understanding temperament.
  • Due to its brevity, the articles have become very close, which has made it easier to understand the context of the Quran.
  • Sometimes it is difficult to deduce the real thing in a detailed commentary. The important aspects have been highlighted in this tafsir. 

Tafsir Ibn Khathir (English) contains 10 volumes and each volume contains more than one thousand pages.

tafsir ibn khathir volume set

The detail of every volume is as following:

Volume 1: Parts 1 and 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah)

Volume 2: Parts 3, 4 & 5 (Surah Al-Baqarah, V. 253 to Surat An-Nisa, V. 147)

Volume 3: Parts 6, 7 & 8 (Surat An-Nisa, V. 148 to the end of Surat Al-An`am)

Volume 4: Parts 8 to 11 (Surat Al-A`raf to the end of Surah Yunus)

Volume 5: Parts 11 to 15 (Surah Hud to Surat Al-Isra` Verse 38)

Volume 6: Parts 15 to 18 (Surat Al-Isra`, Verse 39 to the end of Surat Al-Mu`minun)

Volume 7: Parts 18 to 22 (Surat An-Nur to Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 50)

Volume 8: Parts 22 to 25 (Surat Al-Ahzab Verse 51 to Surat Ad-Dukhan)

Volume 9: Parts 25 to 28 (Surat Al-Jathiyah to Surat Al-Munafiqun)

Volume 10: Parts 28 to 30 (Surat At-Tagabun to end of the Quran)

Buy the book by clicking here.

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