Tafsir Al-Tustari The Great Commentaries on the Holy Qur’an Series – Volume IV

Valerie Turner
Annabel and Ali Keeler

The fourth volume in the Great Commentaries on the Holy Qur’an series, Al Tafsir Al-Tustari is the earliest surviving Sufi commentary on the Qur’an and it one of the few authenticated works in Tustari’s name. It is a key source for understanding the mystical thought and teachings of this important and influential Sufi.

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  • 9781891785191
  • ePDF, ePUB, MOBI, Paperback
  • 406

Product Description

Tafsir Al-Tustari, presented here in complete English translation for the first time ever, is the fourth work in The Great Commentaries on the Holy Qur’an series. The series aims to make widely available leading exegetical works in translation for study and research in unabridged form, which are faithful to the letter and meaning of the Arabic.

The Tafsir Al-Tustari is the earliest surviving Sufi commentary on the Qur’an. This commentary is one of the few authenticated works in Tustari’s name, and is a key source for understanding the mystical thought and teachings of this important and influential Sufi. In addition to insights into the spiritual significance of almost 1000 verses of the Qur’an, this commentary includes numerous references to traditions of the Prophet, explanations of the ethical and mystical dimensions of the religious life, stories of the prophets, and anecdotes about earlier mystics. The translation has the benefit of reference to three good manuscripts in addition to the printed edition of the text, and is generously augmented with explanatory footnotes throughout. The book will not only provide its readers with an invaluable introduction to the Sufi tradition of Qur’anic interpretation, but also acquaint them with spiritual doctrines that were to become fundamental to the later development of Sufism.

This is the first complete translation into English of any Sufi Qur’an commentary, and will be a substantial and much-needed primary resource for the study of the Qur’an, Islamic mysticism and the history of Islamic thought. Whilst there is an increasing number of works by the great Sufi masters available in Western languages, there has been no complete Sufi commentary available in English translation, in its entirety, until now.


---------------------- In his commentary on the words, That you may warn [the people of] the mother of cities, and those around it... [42:7], he says, In its outward meaning, it [the mother of cities] refers to Mecca. In its inner meaning it refers to the heart, while those around it refer to the bodily members (jawāriḥ). Therefore warn them, that they might safeguard their hearts and bodily members from delighting in acts of disobedience and following [their] lusts. Annabel Keeler translates the following passage, on Tustarī’s use of the terms nafs and rūḥ: The lower self (nafs) desires the world because it comes from that, but the spirit (rūḥ) desires the Hereafter because it comes from that. Gain ascendancy over the lower self and open for it the door to the Hereafter by glorifying [God] (tasbīḥ) and seeking forgiveness for your nation. Tustarī sometimes contrasts the lower self (nafs) with the heart (qalb), as, for example, when he explains: If your lower self overpowers your heart, it will drive you to the pursuit of desire (hawā). But if your heart overpowers your lower self and your bodily members, it will tether them with propriety (adab), compel them into worship (ʿibāda), and then adorn them with sincerity in servanthood. The use of symbolism can be seen in the interpretation of a variety of verses, as below, where Tustarī employs the symbolism of the house for the heart when he comments on houses [lying] deserted [27:52], and explains: Their houses are an allusion to hearts; for there are hearts which are inhabited (ʿāmir) through remembrance (dhikr), and there are those which are ruined (kharib) through heedlessness (ghafla). Whomsoever God, Mighty and Majestic is He, inspires with [His] remembrance, He has freed from oppression (ẓulm). Again, Tustarī presents the heart as God’s property: Truly the heart is [like] a house: if it is unoccupied it goes to ruin, while if it is occupied by other than its owner, or by other than one whom the owner has settled there, it will also go to ruin. Therefore, if you wish your hearts to be in good repair, do not let your prayer in them be other than to God, Exalted is He.
Above is a taste of Tustarī’s metaphorical and symbolic interpretations, simply and clearly presented. -