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Al-Asfa fi tafsir al-Qur'an (book)

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Al-Asfa fi tafsir al-Qur'an
Author Mulla Muhsin Fayd Kashani
Original title الأصْفیٰ فی تَفْسیرِ القُرْآن
Language Arabic
Series 2 vol.
Subject exegesis
Genre Hadith
Published Qom, 1418 A.H.
Publisher Markaz al-Nashr
Exegesis
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Al-Aṣfā fī tafsīr al-Qur'ān (Arabic: الأصْفیٰ فی تَفْسیرِ القُرْآن) is an Arabic exegesis of the whole Qur'an written by Mulla Muhsin Fayd Kashani (1007/1598-1091/1680). Al-Asfa is a selection of another book by the author, al-Safi. In his al-Asfa, Fayd rested content to the exegesis of Ahl al-Bayt (a).

Author

Muhammad b. Murtada, known as Mulla Muhsin Kashani and Fayd was a prominent Shi'a scholar of hadiths and jurisprudence. Fayd was a man of literature and mysticism as well. He wrote numerous books concerning the exegesis of the Qur'an, hadith, philosophy, and mysticism. Fayd Kashani was born on Safar 14, 1007 (September 16, 1598) and died on Rabi' II 22, 1091 (May 22, 1680). He was buried in Kashan.

Date and Style of Writing

Al-Asfa was written in 1076/1665, that is, one year after Tafsir al-safi. In his preface to the book, the author says that he tried to be selective and to eliminate marginal remarks.

Contents and Structure

The book consists of two parts. The first part includes Qur'an 1 through Qur'an 17. And the second part includes Qur'an 18 through the last sura of the Qur'an.

In addition to the transmission of exegetical hadiths, Fayd also concerned himself with the diraya (understanding) of the hadiths. And for the sake of brevity, he eliminated the chains of transmissions of the hadiths. The author says,

"Whenever I cited something from Tafsir al-Qummi which was not attributed to an Infallible (a), I separated it from other hadiths by adding the word, "Qummi", at its beginning. And whenever I cited something from Sunni sources, I distinguished it from other hadiths by the [passive verb] "ruwiya" (it is transmitted), and whenever I cite the exact words of the Imams (a), I use the verbs, "qala" (he said), "warada" (it occurred), and "fi riwaya" (in a hadith), and if I cite an Imam's (a) words in a summarized form, I use the phrase "kadha warada" (thus occurred). And whenever there is no hadith from an Infallible (a) or there is one but it is not reliable, I selected the strongest view from other exegeses and cited it in the book.

Summaries and Translations

Fayd Kashani himself summarized al-Asfa and called it al-Musaffa.

There are two Urdu translations of al-Asfa:

  • The translation of Mazhar Hasan Hindi in the fifteenth/twenty first century.

It was also translated into Farsi by Muhammad Mas'ud Abbasi Zanjani.

Manuscripts

Aqa Buzurg Tihrani refers to a manuscript of the book with the handwriting of Sayyid Ahmad b. Shahab al-Din Ali al-Tabataba'i in 1104/1692 together with al-Safi. However, the manuscripts consulted for the correction and publication of the book are the two following,

  • The manuscript of the Library of Iranian Majlis in Tehran. Its first volume was written in 1090/1679 and its second volume was written in 1089/1678, two years before the demise of the author in 235 pages. It is with the beautiful handwriting of ibn Ali b. Ali, known as Nowruz al-Din Muhammad Nasir and was corrected in its margins with the handwriting of Fayd Kashani himself.
  • The manuscript of the Library of Astan Quds Razavi in Mashhad in 306 pages. It was written in 1081/1670 with the handwriting of Ahmad b. Muhammad Hasan. It is also corrected in its margins with the handwriting of Fayd Kashani. It was written from a manuscript with the handwriting of the author himself.

Publications

  • It was first lithographically printed in 1274/1857 in Mumbai in the margin of al-Safi. It was also published in 1310/1892 in the margin of al-Safi.
  • It was separately published in Tehran in 1303/1924 and 1354/1975 in one lithographical volume. The edited version of the work was published in two volumes; the first includes the beginning of the Qur'an through Qur'an 17, and the second includes Qur'an 18 through the end of the Qur'an. It was published by the publications of the Islamic Propagation Office of the Islamic Seminary of Qom in 1418/1997.

References