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Footnote: Why al-Tabari's tafsir?

Reader comment on item: Advice to Non-Muslim Women against Marrying Muslim Men
in response to reader comment: Kitab Mubeen - Next Session - Translation Transition - Which Came First - Classical or Quranic?

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Nov 14, 2021 at 08:47

1. al-Tabari's tafsir is the earliest extant and complete Quranic tafsir (the word tafsir means explanation) and it is the foundation of understanding of the grammar of the Qur'an and what the author of the Qur'an is really saying. And yes there are older Tafasir (pl of Tafsir) the likes of Ibn 'Abbas and Muqatil. However, both Ibn 'Abbas and Muqatil tafsirs are ascriptions and in the case of ibn 'Abbas it can be dated to the 13th century AD.

2. This is also a reminder that Ghali's translation of the 1923-1924 Cairo Qur'an, in my opinion, is the best translation from Quranic Arabic to English. Ghali's command of both Classical/Quranic Arabic and English is excellent. He is unapologetic and it is mostly not contaminated by al-Ahadith and the Sira.

3. How is al-Tabari's command of Aramaic/Syriac and Hebrew? It is uneven. He seems to have no idea about the meaning of clearly Aramaic words in the Qur'an the likes of Sakina and Forqan. Also his understanding of late antique geography is uneven. Example? In his Tarikh he does not seem to be aware that the Fayum oasis in Egypt is located south of Giza and on the western side of the Nile.

4. The consonantal Arabic text of the Qur'an has no dots, short and at times long vowels mostly the letter alif, and hamza, shadda

5. Words in Semitic languages are formed from (mostly) triliteral roots. Example? K-T-B is the root for Book. However, in the Arab world the starting point is the singular, present tense and masculine word from the root. And in the case of K-T-B it would be: Yaktub or he writes

6. It is clear from reading al-Tabari that the names of the various chapters of the Qur'an was still in flux.

7. In the Arab world Muslims do not seem to use the number system we have in the Qur'an. Example? A Muslims quoting Surat al-Ruum: 2 would say: "Surat al-Ruum, Ghulibat al-Ruum instead of Qur'an 30:2

I hope this would help in the next post about what the Qur'an says in Surat al-Ruum

Submitting....

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