An Overview Of Ibadi Tafseer


An Overview of Ibadhis Tafsir

Essay submitted for the M.St. in Oriental Studies, June 2000

By Kahlan Al-Kharusi

… during the last few years, research workers have made some progress in investigating and representing some of the Ibadhis works in tafsir, but because of the constant
tendency to treat the Ibadhiya simply as a facet of Khariji thought, the Ibadhis role has not been considered in a proper manner or even been looked at with reasoned thought…



Our knowledge about the Ibadhis[1]contribution to the field of tafsir is seriously defective. It is true to a considerable extent that there are objective reasons for this dereliction, as well as subjective reasons. From the first group comes the irresponsibility of Ibadhis, despite their positive and productive role for the service of the Quran and its sciences, to introduce their works to those who are eager for such material to be available. However, during the last few years, research workers have made some progress in investigating and representing some of the Ibadhis works in tafsir, but because of the constant tendency to treat the Ibadhiya simply as a facet of Khariji thought, the Ibadhis role has not been considered in a proper manner or even been looked at with reasoned thought. Dr Mohammad Hussayn al-Dhahabi[2], for example, did a huge study about tafsir and Mufassireen, but when he comes to Ibadhiyya he deals with them on that basis, thus he gives nothing but a distorted picture. I am not going to debate with his views here, as I am only illustrating an example of how such respected doctors, intentionally or inattentively, have failed to grasp the Ibadhis contribution in such a field. To try to remedy this, this paper will try, as much as possible, to take a step forward in introducing and addressing Ibadhis works right from the constructive period of the Ibadhis school of thought until the late thirteenth/ nineteenth century.

In these circumstances, it seemed useful to set out the basic information about Ibadhis tafsir according to the latest information available. There are still gaps, as some libraries are still failing to provide information about the manuscripts they contain and to give access to them. However, this essay is, I believe, a positive step forward in providing information that all those studying Ibadhiya need.

It would appear that the following texts form the primary list of Ibadi works in the field of Tafsir The list is in historical order, and detailed consideration will follow:

The Diwan of Jabir b. Zayd al-Azdi (d.93/711)

The Tafsir of ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam (d.171/787)

The Tafsir of ‘Abdu l-Wahhab b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam (d.208/823)

The Tafsir of Abu l-Munib Muhammad b. Yanis al-Nafusi ( d. in the first half of the third/ninth century )

The Tafsir of Houd b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari (d. in the second half of the third/ninth century )

Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya by Abu l-™awari Muhammad b. al-™awari ( d. in the fourth/tenth century )

al-Tfsir al-Kabir of Abu Ya’qub Yusuf b. Ibrahim al-Warjlani ( d.570/1175)

A commentary on the tafsir of Houd b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari , by Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. Abi Sitta (d. 1087 or1088/1676 or 1677)

Annotation of the Tafsir al-Jalalayn by Yusuf b. Muhammad al-Mus’abi al-Maliki (d.1187/1773)

al-tafsir al-Muyassar by Sa’id b. Ahmad al-Kindi (d. at the beginning of the thirteenth /nineteenth century )

Partial Tafsir ( Suras 103-114 ) by Ibrahim b. Bahman ( d.1232/ 1817 )

The Tafsir of Yusuf b. ™addun ( 1236/1821)

(a) Maqalid al-Tanzil

(b) Tafsir Ayat Mutashabiha mina l-Quran both by Ja’id b. Khamis al-Kharusi (d.1237/1822)

14. al-Yumn wal-Baraka fi Tafsir al-Huda wa-l-Rahma by Muhammad b. Sulayman

Adrisu .

15. (a) Himyan al-Zad ila Dar -al-Ma’ad

(b) Taysir al-tafsir

(c) Da’i l-’amal ila yawm al-ajal

All three are by Mohammad b. Yusuf Atfayish (d.1332/1914)

I shall now examine this list and try to reveal these ascribed works in details as possible.

Abu l-Sha’tha’ Jabir b. Zayd al-Azdi[3]was born in the small village of Farq near Nizwa in the interior of Oman. After receiving his early education in Oman he moved with his family to Basra and settled there. He studied in Basra and in the Hijaz and is thought to have studied with such leading companions of the Prophet as Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurayra, Anas b. Malik , ‘Aisha bint Abi Bakr.. etc

Jabir is generally reckoned to be one of the greatest of the early Ibadhis. Due to his tact and organising ability, he effectively became the real founder of the Ibadhiya sect. He was particularly well-known for his learning and piety, winning the regard of such a notable as Anas b. Malik[4].

Jabir was probably the author of one of the earliest collection of hadith, tafsir, correspondence and legal opinions (Futya), known as the Diwan[5]. It is not clear whether this work was originally committed to writing or not – there are arguments on both sides – though it should be noted that Jabir flourished at a time when there was a great surge in the use of written Arabic during the Caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik (with whom Jabir was on good terms, externally at least). But even if Jabir transmitted his knowledge verbally, his work was recognised as a discrete entity, and sooner or later it was committed to writing.

There appear to have been several copies, with one perhaps having gone to the Ibadhis in North Africa. However, by the third/ninth century the sole known copy was in the libraries of the ‘Abbasids in Baghdad, when al-Ma’mun is said to have set great store by the work. Some time later it was lost. The importance of the oral transmission of Jabir’s Diwan must be stressed. It should be remembered that his successor as imam, Abu ‘Ubaida Muslim b. Abi Karima al-Tamimi was his student, and students, especially at that time, learned aurally and not from books.

Unfortunately, it does not seem that any part of this work still exists, unless what Ennami[6] found in North Africa of Kitab al-Nikah and K. al-Salah by Jabir b. Zayd might be parts of his Diwan. This is just an assumption, and I cannot prove it yet. Beyond that we can look to the work of Pakoosh[7], who brought together more than forty examples of Jabir’s tafsir [Tafsir is of course subsumed in any major collection of ™adith]. The examples show him to be a disciple of Ibn ‘Abbas, but his crucial scholarly importance is in the transmission of this learning to the Ibadhis community.

2-’Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam and His Tafsir

‘Abd al-Raahman b. Rustam (date of birth is unknown) came from a Persian family that was stranded in Mecca when his father died on the Pilgrimage. Later his mother married a man from Qayrawan, and the family moved there. As a young man he traveled to Basra to study with Abu ‘Ubayda, the second Ibadhis imam.

‘Abd al-Rahman was elected Imam in Tiaret in 160/777. He died in 171/787[8], having composed numerous works on tafsir, Hadith and other Islamic sciences.

Most Ibadhi sources[9]agree that ‘Abd al-Rahman did write tafsir a, but there is disagreement about the time of its loss and the reason for it. One view is that it was lost when the ‘Umayyads sacked Tiaret in 296/909 and burnt the Ma’sooma Library there. A second view is that it survived but was sold on to someone who would not grant access to it. There is slightly more support for this view[10]. The end result, however, was the same: the work was lost.

As far as I can see from my reading, no trace of the work survived. It has been suggested that Shaykh Houd b. Muhakkam may have drawn on the tafsirs of both ‘Abd al-Rahman and his son ‘Abd al-Wahhab and that this may be indicated by the phrase “in the tafsirs of our sect …” This is an ingenious suggestion, but it is devoid of proof, and we most regretfully assume that this first complete tafsir by a renowned Ibadhis scholar, has been lost without trace. The loss is a particularly sad one, as we can tell from his correspondence[11]that he was an excellent scholar.

3- ‘Abd al-Wahhab b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam

The son of ‘Abd al-Rahman (the end of the second century and the beginning of the third century) is said to have written a book of tafsir. The only possible indication of this comes from the redactor[12]of the tafsir of Houd b. Muhakkam al-Hawary but he provides insufficient evidence to show that the book existed. It must remain a claim only.

4- Shaikh Houd b. Muhakkam al-Hawary and his tafsir

                Houd b. Muhakkam was a Berber tribesman from what is now Algeria. He is a third century figure, who probably died at some time between 280-290/893-903.[13]

                There is no doubt that he put together a book known as Tafsir Kitab Allah al-’Aziz, as it has survived and has been printed[14]. However, there has been dispute about the extent of Shaykh Houd’s role in the book. It is clearly based in part on the tafsir of Yahya b. Sallam al-Basri (d. after 273/887). Close examination of the work shows that Shaykh Houd is far more than a summarizer. Crucially he adds Ibadhis views whenever they are needed and he recasts and explains difficult passages, and produces a tafsir that may be probably considered Ibadhis. It is, thus, the earliest extant Ibadhis tafsir and as such is extremely important.

                The published edition relies on one manuscript only, in which the first few pages are lost. As a result we are lacking Shaykh Houd’s Introduction and thus any remarks he might have made about his aims and methods. Nor is there any clarification in the marginal commentary by Shaykh Abu Sitta[15]. It seems to me to be important to search for other copies of the manuscript, which may well exist in private libraries.

5- Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya

There is a difficult problem about the authorship. The work has been published three times, first in facsimile by Salim b. Hamad al-Harthi in 1974, then by Muhammad Zanati in 1991, and then by Dr. Walid ‘Awjan of the University of Mu’ta in 1994. All three editions give the name of the book as al-Diraya wa Kanz –ul-Ghinaya wa Muntaha al-Diraya fi Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya and say that the author was the third century Omani scholar Abu l-Hawari Muhammad b. al- Hawari b. ‘Uthman, who studied at Nizwa under Muhammad b. Mahbub (d.250/864) and whose principal teacher was al-Salt b. Khamis al-Kharusi (d.278/891). He was certainly the author of numerous works.

However, the ascription to Abu l-Hawari is based on one sentence that occurs frequently throughout the work ‘Abu l-Hawari said’. What the sentence really indicates is that the opinions of Abu l-Hawari are frequently quoted. Sometimes authors do refer to themselves in this way, but it does not appear likely that this was so in this case[16]. Another suggestion is that the author was al-Salt b. Khamis al-Kharusi. This seems anachronistic and even less likely[17].

                Finally[18]there is a suggestion that this is simply the work of Muqatil b. Sulayman al-Azdi (d. 150/767) because he has a work in tafsir with exactly the same name ‘Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya’. So in order to judge this opinion I compared precisely the texts of the two works. From the first few pages, I discovered the similarity between the two, or more accurately how much similar the tafsir ascribed to Abu al-Hawari was to that of Muqatil b. Sulayman. The only main difference was the additional Ibadhis juristic opinions in Abu al-Hawari’s work and, alternatively, the expurgation of the non-Ibadhis. This makes me confident that the basic author of this work is not the Omani scholar Abu al-Hawari but Muqatil b. Sulayman and the role of Abu al-Hawari is no more than a juristic refutation.

6- Abu Ya’qub Yusuf b. Ibrahim al-Warjlani

This Ibadhis scholar was born in the Algerian town of Warjalan at the beginning of the sixth century. After initial education in his home town, he studied for several years in al-Andalus. He died in 570/ 1175 after composing many significant works for the Ibadhis School. One of these was a tafsir, al-Tafsir al-Kabir as al-Salimi calls it[19]. Both al-Barredi[20] and al-Shammakhii[21]saw this
work, but despite many diligent searches, no manuscript has been found.

Some idea of al-Warjlani’s method may be gleaned from al-Barradi’s description[22]and from passages found in other works by him, such as al-Dalil wa-l-Burhan and al-’Adl wal-Insaf. However, the information is fragmentary, and any views about it must remain tentative.

7- Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. Abi Sitta

This eleventh century Ibadhis writer (d.1087 or 1088/1676 or1677) earned the name al-Muhashshi for the large amount of marginal annotations that he wrote on important Ibadhis works. The most important of these was on the tafsir of Houd b. Muhakkam al-Hawari. It stops part way through Surat al-Baqara, and was probably interrupted by the author’s death.

Several copies of this work survive in a number of libraries in North Africa but there has been no access to any of them so far. Obtaining a copy of the manuscript is important, as it would throw light on the lost first few pages of the original work of Houd b. Muhakkam.

8- Abu Ya’qub Yusuf b. Muhammad al-Mus’abi al-Maliki (d.1187/1773)

This twelfth century Tunisian scholar is known as al-Muhashshi l-thani, because, like Abu Sitta, he wrote marginal annotations on various books. One of these, in two volumes, was on the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a copy of which is extant in al-Baruniya Library in Libya[23].

9- Sa’id b. Ahmad al-Kindi

Al-Kindi is a member of a family of a famous scholars in Oman. Amongst his ancestors was Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Kindi (d.507/1113), author of the Bayan al-Shar’ in 73 volumes, and Ahmad b. ‘Abdullah al-Kindi (d. 557/1162), who wrote a Kitab al-Musanaf in 42 volumes.

Sa’id b. Ahmad appears to have been born between 1130/ 1718 and 1139/1727 at Nizwa. He was a pupil of the outstanding scholar of the twelfth century in Oman, Sa’id b. Bashir al-Subhi (d.1150/1737). He wrote various works including a refutation of al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din and a tafsir entitled al-Tafsir al-Muyassar lil-Quran al-Karim. The manuscript states that the work was completed on the second of Dhul-Hijja, 1181/ 1757[24]. It was published in Oman, in three volumes, as recently as 1998. It is fortunate that the manuscript has survived, as the work is not referred to either by his contemporaries or by later scholars.

Sa’id b. Ahmad sets out clearly in the introduction to his tafsir the main sources that he uses – and reading of the work corroborates this. They were:

1. Ma’alim al-Tanzil by al- Baydhawi (d.526/1132)

2. Anwar al-Tanzil by al-Baydhawi (d.682/1283), particularly important in vol.3.

3.Madarik al-Tanzil by al-Nasafi (d.707/1307).

4. Jawami’ al-Jami’ by al-Tabarsi al-Imami (548/1153)

5. al-Kashshaf by al-Zamakhshari al-Mu’tazili (d.538/1144 ), also important in vol.2 and 3.

In addition to these non-Ibadhis sources, he drew on most of the earlier Ibadhis sources, including Abu Sa’id al-Kudami (the fourth/tenth century) and Muhammad b. Mahbub b. al-Ruhayli (d.260/874) and Ibn Baraka (the fourth /tenth century). For lexicographical problems he drew on the Qamus of al-Fayruzabadi.

Sa’id b. Ahmad shows broad, eclectic views in his tafsir in drawing on the non-Ibadhis authorities quoted above and other as well as Ibadhis sources.

The work is not particularly systematic. Sometimes the writer refers to many authorities and summarizes them. Elsewhere he quotes a single text in extenso and without any change. Nor does he show clearly when he is paraphrasing and when he is quoting exactly. Nevertheless, Sa’id b. Ahmad produces a valuable work, which may properly be considered to be the first Mashriqi Ibadhis tafsir that we have.

10- Ja’id b. Khamis al-Kharusi

                This author was an outstanding Omani scholar at the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century (b.1147/1734, d.1237/1821). His scholarly abilities were noted at an early age and soon attained a position of respect among his contemporaries. He wrote widely on many different subjects, but most of the surviving works have not yet seen the light of day[25].

                His son Nasir b. Ja’id reports that his father was always criticizing Omanis for their neglect in not writing a comprehensive Ibadhis tafsir and a complete reference work on Hadith[26].

Ja’id himself did not fill this gap, though he might have intended to do so. Two works on tafsir survive. The first is called Maqalid al-Tanzil, of which I possess the autograph manuscript. (There are many other copies in Omani libraries). As it stands, the work covers only the interpretation of surat al-Fatiha consisting of 17 pages with 18-30 lines of writing. Nevertheless, Ja’id states in his Introduction that it was his aim to write a complete Ibadhis tafsir[27]. As of now we can only assume that the most of the work is lost or that he died before he could move to the bulk of the work.

Study of the text shows that Ja’id was not content to produce the work of his predecessors, but brought a sharp critical and analytical mind to the subject. It would appear that among his sources, he referred to the Jami’ al-Bayan of al-Tabari and the Kashshaf of al-Zamakhshari.

There is a certain Sufi coloration to Ja’id’s language, most probably derived from the study of al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din. This puts him just slightly outside normal Ibadhis tradition, though he is strongly critical of Sufi analyses and of non-Ibadhis works on tafsir. Even this fragment is an important work.

Ja’id’s other work on tafsir is a collection of about forty verses from al-Mutashabihat (where there is uncertainty on the meaning established by the verses) with a fully explanation[28]. He shows briefly the Ibadhis views on these verses and more importantly how they are to be linked with the Muhkams (clear or perfect) verses to reveal their dogmatic dimension. This collection is still in manuscript form, and, unlike the Maqalid al-Tanzil, it has not yet been seriously studied, though there are various manuscripts in Oman. A good part of it also appears in the printed Qamus al-Shari’a by Jumail b. Khamis al-Sa’di (fourteenth/twentieth century).

11- Ibrahim b. Bihman al-Thamini

                Not many are familiar with this scholar, as most of the sources that introduce him are unpublished yet. What I know about him is that he is an Algerian scholar from Mzab born in the second half of the twelfth century and studied with the famous Ibadi scholar, his uncle, Dhia’ al-Din Add al-’Aziz al-Thamini (1223/1808). After a scholarly life, he died in 1232/1817 leaving many works and a great library in Bani Yasjin in Mzab. One of his works on tafsir is al-Ma’an al-Masun ‘ala Surat al-Kanz al-Madfun which is all a tafsir of surat al-Fatiha.

He also wrote Asdaf al-Durar wa Akmam al-Zahr al-Mawdhu’a ‘ala Surat al-’Asr which is again a tafsir of one sura (al-’Asr). The third work is a marginal annotation on the tafsir of al-Baidhawi ‘ Anwar al-Tanzil ’. A copy of the manuscript of this work is kept in al-Istiqama Library in Mzab. Finally he has Tafsir Ayat al-Nnur min Surat al-Nnur which is a correspondence he wrote in 1225/1810[29].

12- Muhammad b. Yusuf Atfayyish.

                Muhammad b. Yusuf b. ‘Isa b. Salih Atfayyish, from the Mzab in Algeria, was born in 1237/1821 and died in 1332/1914 at the age of 96[30]. He is considered, with justification, to be one of the greatest and most productive of all Ibadhis scholars. He appears to have started teaching and writing at the age of sixteen and by the end of his long life he had written about three hundred works on a wide range of subjects: language, philosophy, dogma, jurisprudence, tafsir, hadith, etc.

                Also known as al-Qutb, Atfayyish wrote three works on tafsir. Two of them are complete, but one is not. The incomplete work, entitled Da’I l-’Amal li-Yawm al-Ajal, was his first attempt at tafsir. He intended to write it in thirty three volumes. However, he changed his mind and started a second tafsir, Himyan al-Zad ila Dar -al-Ma’ad; only four volumes of the Da’I l-’Amal were completed. They start with Surat al-Rahman, go on to the end of the Quran and then back to Surat Sad, with which the work stops.

His second tafsir, Himyan al-Zad was also written when he was quite young. The book shows his immaturity in various respects. In particular, he was not aware of some sources and reference works. Also he was including weak traditions and Isra’ilyat[31]. Nevertheless, the work has been published twice, first in Zanzibar, and then in Oman in 1986.

Towards the very end of his life, al-Qutb wrote his last tafsir, entitled Taysir al-tafsir. This is a great refinement of his earlier work, and deals with a much wider range of issues, problems and ideas. It is thus a good example of Ibadhis tafsir.

The Taysir al-tafsir has been published twice already, but without any redactory study. A critical edition is now being made in Algeria, and the first volumes have been published. In addition, there are various studies of al-Qutb and his works[32].

Al-Qutb’s works enrich the Ibadhiyya intellectually, and they have had a strong influence. Many of his pupils[33]have turned their hands to tafsir and similar works, but they do not stand out as anything but continuers of the Qutb school.

Doubtful Works

                During my investigation for Ibadhis works on tafsir, I have encountered some doubtful works; or more precisely I could not find sufficient details to make accurate judgments about them. Though some of them seem to be Ibadhis works and others are claimed to be so, I found it hard to accept them as such. These works can be presented by dividing them, according to availability of information, into three categories, even if each category consists of no more than one work.

The first category includes works that have been mentioned, in Ibadhis sources, merely by their names and no more than the names. The only work I found under this category has been referred to by Jumayyil b. Khamis al-Sa’di (the thirteenth/ nineteenth century) twice[34] in his book Qamus al-Shari’a. He gives the book the title of al-Jawhar al-Shaffaf al-Muntaza’ min Maghasat al-Kashshaf. From the way al-Sa’di presents his quotation from this book, as well as the contents of the quotations indicate, it seems reasonable to say that this work is an Ibadhis Tafsir. From the title of the book and by comparing it with other works of tafsir, one can deduce that it is an annotation on the Kashshaf of al-Zamakhshari. But all these remain uncertain possibilities as the work is not referred to except by Qamus al-Shari’a , here the information given is insufficient to draw a clear picture about the work and its author.

The second category consists of works indicated by their author’s names. The example I found to this category is Tafsir ‘Amr b. Qa’id, which is quoted by Ibn Ja’far (end of the third/ ninth century) in his Jami’ [35]. Although not so much can be read from what has been quoted there to reveal whether this ‘Amr b. Qa’id is an Ibadhi or not, there appear distinguishable similarities in his opinions and the views of Ibn Ja’far. But I discovered later in a recently published volume of the same source that Ibn Ja’far referred to him as a non Ibadhi author[36]. I then found al-Jahidh refers to him but with the name of Abu ‘Ali ‘Amr b. Fa’id al-Aswari[37], there is also a short biography of him in Ibn Hajar in which he quoted many authorities describing him as Mu’tazili and Qadarite lived in al-Basrah and died shortly after the year 200/ 815[38]. This obviously unveils the doubts and makes it clear that he is non-Ibadhis although quoted in Ibadhis sources and his name is ‘Amr b. Fa’id and not Qa’id.

On the other hand, some researchers[39]claim that Abu ‘Ubayda Ma’mar b. al-Muthanna al-Taymi (d.210/827) who wrote a tafsir called Majaz al-Quran, is an Ibadhis scholar. But there is no substantial evidence for such a claim and non of the Ibadiyya says this, nor does his work indicate that he adopts any very Ibadhis view. Similarly, Dr. Walid ‘Awjan claimed[40] that Muqatil b. Sulayman is an Ibadhi scholar or that Ibadiyya consider him to be so. But none of the Ibadiyya, as far as I know has agreed with him, even when I referred to the source[41] to which he drew on, I did not find any mention of Muqatil there.

Analysis and Comments

                Before ending this paper, I think it is essential to remember that although there are some more important points in the field of Ibadhis tafsir that need to be dealt with in details, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do so without having an overview on the whole topic, which is precisely what I tried to give. However, from this basic, but fundamental, outline, some analytic views take one’s attention. Not least of all the richness in the Ibadhis Maghribi works compared to the Mashriqi (from our list, twelve works are Maghribi while five Mashriqi). This phenomenon requires some explanation. It appears that at least one of the Omani scholars[42] realized this fact and tried to fill the gap but with no avail, and even if he would have succeeded it was too late (the thirteenth century only). Some writers tray to give answers such as the fear of entering this field, or the political events that lead to many attacks on the Ibadhis literature[43]. Personally, I am not convinced of these reasons and if I am to give a superficial answer I think it is the aural method followed more extensively by Mashriqis to transmit knowledge from one generation to another that lead to this phenomenon.

Another interesting observation is that a separation line could be drawn after the sixth/twelfth century down until the thirteenth/ nineteenth century on the quality of the works. One can see that the works before the seventh/ thirteenth century were creative works, while those after that are mostly in the form of marginal annotations or fragmentary works until the appearance of Ja’id b. Khamis in Oman and Ibrahim b. Bihman al-Thamini in Algeria.

Also related, in one way or another, to this issue, the influence of al-Zamakhshari on the Ibadhis works on tafsir. Due to the similarity in many dogmatic questions between Ibadiya and Mu’tazila and because of the intellectual aspects as well as his linguistic skillfulness, his influence is obvious but needs detailed study. This, subsequently, may lead to another important point, that is the general features of the Ibadhis tafsir compare to Sunni works bearing in mind that some Ibadhis works are based on Sunni’s – as shown earlier-. One can fairly say that the Ibadi Tafsir falls at the middle of the two extremes of Mu’tazila who over-used al-’aql (rationality, reasoning) in interpreting the Quran, a method which has been widely rejected or at least criticised by Sunnis and is thought to have led Mu’atazila to contradict many explicit texts of the Quran, and of many Sunnis who rely most on al-Naql (tradition or irrationality) which on the other hand leads to deactivating the intellect and limiting the text to certain superficial interpretations. This makes Ibadi tafsir distinctive when looking at the whole field of tafsir.

Those are really complex issues that I am not competent to deal with at this stage, but they open the door for more detailed studies to be carried on later.



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[1]I tried my ut-most best in the transliteration of Arabic, but I could not get all for a good transliteration of the letters because of the system I am using. I am working to put this right, and I trust that the problem will be solved in my later written work.

2Al-Dhahabi, M. ™. Al-Tafsir wa-l-Mufasirun, (1985) vol.2 pp.291-323

[3]See al-Shamm~khi, A. Kitab al-Siyar vol.1 pp.67-72, al-’Asqalani, Ibn Hajar Tahdhib al-Tahdhib vol.2 p.34

[4]al-Bukhari, al-T~rikh al-Kabir vol.1 part 2 p.204

[5]The Diwan has been ascribed to J~bir b. Zayd by many writers like: Abu Zakaryia Yahy~ b. Abu l-Khayr (d. shortly after 474/1082) in Siyar al-a’imma wa Akhb~ruhum pp.33-5, al-Darjini, A. œabaq~t al-mash~ykh. Vol.2/p.205, and as non Ibadi, ™~ji Khalifa also mentioned it, probably from nonIbadhis sources, in his book Kashf al-Ÿunun, vol.1 p.781.

[6]Studies in Ibadism, p.53

[7]Pakoosh, Y.M. Fiqh al-im~m J~bir b. Zayd, pp.79-91

[8]Ibn al-^aghir, Akhb~r al-’a’ima al-Rustumiyyin pp.28-41

[9]al-Darjini , œabaq~t al-Mash~ikh.vol.1p23, al-Barr~di,Ris~la fi Kutub al-Ib~diyya p.66, Abu Zakariy~, Siyar p.37. There is also a mention of this work in some non-Ibadhissources like al-Zarkali, al-’A’l~m vol.3 p.306

[10]The first view is adopted by contemporaries like Dabbuz,.Bu Tardin,Y. al-shaykh Atfaiyysh wa Madhabuhu fi al-tafsir (unpublished thesis) p.132 but he did not state his sources while the other view is adopted by early sources like al-Barr~di and al-Darjini.

[11]See his book al-Dalil wa-l-Burhan , Oman (1997) 2nd edition.

[12]Sharifi, B. in al-Hawwari, H. M. Tafsir Kitab Allah al-’Aziz. Vol.1 pp.15-25

[13]al-Shammakhi, A. Kitab al-Siyar vol.2 p.59.

14in 1410/1990 in 4 volumes redacted and studied by Sharifi, B.S. ( D~r al-Gharb al-Islami)

15 See p.7,8 of this paper.

[16]The first page of the ms. says ’this is the refutation of the outstanding scholar Abu l-™aw~ri..’ and if the author were Abu l-™aw~ri, he would not have described himself like this, see also the way he has been quoted in pp.144-47. Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at >ya(1994) ed. Dr. ‘Awj~n. W.

[17]This view is adopted by al-Barr~di , in his brief epistle about the Ibadhis works at the end of al-Qalh~ti, al-Jaw~hir al-Muntaq~t, but unlike other places, without mentioning that he saw the book or even it has been described for him. However, he did not mention it, at all, in his latest epistle Rissla fi Kutub al-’bidiyya . Also al-^alt b. Khamis is Abu l-™aw~ri’s teacher and it is unusual for the teacher to quote his student as would be the case here.

18There is indeed another opinion by Ennami, A (1971) that the author is al-^alt b. M~lik al-Kharusi. But it seems to me a false impression occurred to Ennami due to the similarity between the two names, otherwise his source here was al-Barr~di who ascribed it to al-^alt b. Khamis not Malik.

[19]al-lam’a al-Mar‡iyya, p.23

[20]Risala fi Kutub al-Ibadiyya p.70

[21]Kitab al-Siyar vol.2 p.105.

[22]He saw the first volume of the book and described it as a comprehensive commentary that he has never seen such a detailed tafsir before.  

[23]Ibrahim, Abu al-YaqŒan (1393/1973) Fath Nawafidh al-Quran p68

[24]I did not see the ms. itself, but the last page of it is photocopied in the printed work p.21

[25]More details about the author and his works can be found in my graduating paper aboutMaq~lid al-Tanzil , submitted to the Institute of Jurisprudence, Oratory and Guidance (Oman) in 1996.

[26]al-Kharusi, N. J. al-™aq al-Mubin (ms)vol.3 p.3

[27]al-Kharusi, J.Kh. Maq~lid al-Tanzil (ms) p.2

[28]I possess a photocopy of this collection, and is in 19 folios each of 17 lines in a clear naskh hand writing.

[29]Bakalli, A. U in his introduction to Tafsir Surat al-Nnurby Bayyu‡ p.14

[30]Bu Tardin, Y. ^. al-shaykh Atfayyish wa Madhabuhu fi al-tafsir in published thesis)p.103

[31]The author realized this himself as he stated in theTaysir al-tafsirvol.1 p.7

[32]The most advanced study is of Bu Tardin, Yahy~ b. ^~lih. al-Shaykh Atfayyish wa Madhabuhu fi al-tafsir , which is a Master’s theses submitted to the University of ‘Ayn Shams in Egypt in 1989.

[33]Like ^~lih b. ‘Umar la’li (d.1347/1928) who wrote al-Qawl al-Wajiz fi Tafsir Kal~m Allahi –l-’Aziz (ms.), Ibr~him, Abu l-YaqŒ~n (1393/1973) who has many works on tafsir:Fath Naw~fidh alQur~n, Ashi’at al-Nnur min Al-Nnur and others.

[34]al-Sa’di, J. K. Q~mus al-Shari’a. vol.1 p.26, vol.4 p.50

[35]Ibn Ja’far, M. J. al-J~mi’ vol.1.p.91

[36] ibid. Vol.5 p.319

[37]al-JahiŒ, A. B. al-Bay~n wa-l-Tabyin V.1, Part1 pp. 368-9. al-Hayw~n, V.6p.191,V.7p.203

[38] al-’Asqalani, ibn ™ajar, Lis~n al-Miz~n. V.4,p372-3

[39]Sezgin, M. F Maj~z al-Qur~n of Abu ‘Ubaidah Ma’mar b. al-Muthann~ ( a critical study ) p.10

[40]al-Dir~ya wa Kanz –ul-Ghin~yawa Muntah~ al-Dir~ya fi Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at >ya ed.(1994) p.10

[41]al-Siyar wa-l-Jaw~b~t al-’Um~niya K~shif,S. (ed.) p.352

[42]See p.10 of this paper.

[43]Bu Tardin, Y. ^ (op. cit.) pp.104-5


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