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For other uses, see Tafsir al-Kabir.
Tafseer-e-Kabeer (Urdu: تفسير کبير, tafsīr-e-kabīr, "The Extensive Commentary") is a 10 volume exegesis of the Quran containing the lectures, writings and notes on Quranic verses by Mirza Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and took over 20 years to compile. It is often seen as his Magnum opus. A significant part of the text, especially that of the later volumes was dictated by Mahmood Ahmad.
The first of the 10 volumes was published in 1940 by Zia ul Islam Press, Qadian. Mirza Mahmood Ahmad was the second Head of the modern Islamic messianic movement known as the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. The author considered this commentary to be the next step ahead in Quranic studies. In the preface to the first volume, he writes that classical commentators like Ibn Kathir, Zamakhshari and Abu Hayyan did a great service for the Quran. Throughout the commentary he suggests the vital importance of the order in which chapters were arranged in the present form. The contextual relationship of the text of the entire Quran and of each sura to the preceding Sura i.e. the themes of the Qur'an are connected and all chapters, verses and words are perfectly arranged. The writer has given much importance to this aspect in his commentary, which was a novel approach at the time of its publication.
Contents of the Commentary
Although the work is very detailed, it does not contain all chapters of the Quran.
- Volume 1: Surah 1 and portion of Surah 2.
- Volume 2: Surah 2 (remaining portion)
- Volume 3: Surahs 10-14
- Volume 4: Surahs 15-18
- Volume 5: Surahs 19-21
- Volume 6: Surahs 22-25
- Volume 7: Surahs 26-29
- Volume 8: Surahs 78-90
- Volume 9: Surahs 91-104
- Volume 10: Surahs 92-114
Features and Themes
The commentary is written in the style of an argument for Islam. Repeated references and comments are made on the works of famous orientalists like Theodor Nöldeke, William Muir and William Montgomery Watt. The author has frequently dismissed the views of these writers in favour of more linguistic approach towards understanding the meanings of the Quran. As compared to other classical texts, this commentary seems to rely less on "Asbab al-nuzul" or reasons of revelation of verses. This approach greatly reduces the impact and validity of negative remarks and allegations made on the Quran by non-Muslim theologians.
Each verse is explained separately in two sections. The first section gives different translations of the words in the verse according to major classical Arabic lexicons along with their different uses derived from classical Arabic prose and poetry. The second section contains detailed commentary.
A detailed bibliography of references and indices are provided at the end of each volume.