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Al-Tafsīr al-kabīr: An Investigation of al-Qushayrī’s Major Qur’an Commentary

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Abstract The mystic and scholar of Nishapur, Abū l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī, is widely acclaimed for his important treatise on the Sufi Path, al-Risāla, and his Sufi commentary of the Qur’an, Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt. However, a commentary composed during his early career has been largely overlooked despite its wide attestation in the biographical literature. Called al-Tafsīr al-kabīr or “the Major Commentary,” this work may only survive in manuscript form. At the center of the present study are two manuscripts from Leiden and Istanbul that appear to partially preserve Qushayrī’s earliest work of Qur’anic exegesis. By examining the various authorities cited in the text and cross-referencing relevant works, this study works to date the commentary of each text, to identify their respective commentarial influences and authorities, and to draw possible conclusions concerning how the manuscripts relate to one another and ultimately to Qushayrī, the alleged author.

Affiliations: 1: Fairfield University USA


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