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Tafsir Abi l-Jarud (book)

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Tafsīr Abī l-Jārūd (Arabic: تفسیر ابوالجارود) is a commentary of the Qur'an attributed to Imam al-Baqir (a) and transmitted by Abu l-Jarud. It is also known as Kitab al-Baqir (a) or Tafsir al-Baqir (a).

It is the first commentary of the Qur'an attributed to one of the Imams (a). The content of the book is believed to have been dictated by Imam al-Baqir (a) and written down by Abu l-Jarud.

Tafsir Abi l-Jarud is not extant, but it has been used extensively by other commentators, including Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi. There is no disagreement as to the fact that there was such a book, though there is disagreement as to whether the attribution of the book to Imam al-Baqir (a) is correct. Scholars such as al-Shaykh al-Tusi and al-Najashi have reported the existence of the book and mentioned the chain of transmitters by which they received the book.

Although scholars like al-Shaykh al-Mufid regarded Abu l-Jarud as trustworthy in his transmission of hadiths, some other scholars believe that Abu l-Jarud was the founder of the Jarudiyya sect, criticized by the Infallibles (a) for this reason, and therefore unreliable. The third group of scholars maintain that Abu l-Jarud compiled his book prior to his conversion to Zaydism, and therefore the authenticity of his book is to be accepted.


Main article: Abu l-Jarud

Abu l-Jarud is counted among the companions of Imam al-Baqir (a). He also quoted hadiths from Imam al-Sadiq (a); however, he converted to Zaydism. According to some scholars, he was one of the Zaydi Exaggerators, who distanced himself from the teachings of the Imams (a) and consequently was condemned and cursed by them. Some heresiographers and scholars of rijal consider him the founder of the Jarudiyya branch of Zaydism. There is a lot of disagreement as to whether Abu l-Jarud was a reliable hadith transmitter. Some scholars maintain that he was an unreliable liar; some others, like al-Shaykh al-Tusi, do not express any affirmative or negative opinions about him; and some others, such as al-Shaykh al-Mufid, believe that he was reliable.

Bibliographical Information

This book is the first exegetical work that attributed to one of the Imams (a). It is also known as "Kitab al-Baqir (a)" or "Tafsir al-Baqir (a)". According to Ibn al-Nadim, the book is the first independent commentary of the Qur'an. In this work, Abu l-Jarud has collected the exegetical hadiths of Imam al-Baqir (a).

Some scholars maintain that Imam al-Baqir (a) dictated the contents of the book to Abu l-Jarud and the book was compiled per the Imam's (a) request. The book is not extant today, but there is no doubt that there was such a book by Abu l-Jarud containing the exegetical hadiths attributed to Imam al-Baqir (a), though some scholars have doubted this attribution.

A number of commentaries have used Tafsir Abi l-Jarud, such as Tafsir al-Qummi from the beginning of Qur'an 3 onward. This use by al-Qummi has been so extensive that some scholars have seen Tafsir al-Qummi as a mixture of the commentary of Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi and Tafsir Abi l-Jarud. Al-Ayyashi and Furat al-Kufi have also used Tafsir Abi l-Jarud in their commentaries. Tafsir Abi l-Jarud has been transmitted through various chains of transmitters, including those mentioned by al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Shaykh al-Tusi, and Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi. Sunnis have usually rejected and opposed this commentary, though scholars such as al-Tabari in his commentary and al-Haskani in his Shawahid al-tanzil have used it.

Importance and Authenticity

There are different viewpoints regarding the authenticity of the book. Some scholars have considered it inauthentic because of the deviation of its author from the teachings of the Imams (a). Consequently, they have doubted the reliability of Tafsir al-Qummi because of its extensive use of the commentary of Abu l-Jarud. Other scholars maintain that Abu l-Jarud compiled his commentary prior to his conversion to Zaydism, because his conversion took place after the uprising of Zayd, which occurred after the martyrdom of Imam al-Baqir (a), and by that time Abu l-Jarud had already compiled his work. Therefore, there remains no problem in the authenticity of the work. Moreover, al-Shaykh al-Mufid introduced Abu l-Jarud as one of the prominent figures of the Shi'a, by whom a number of the hadiths in the field of jurisprudence have been transmitted. The book is very important considering the fact that it is attributed to Imam al-Baqir (a), and, if authentic, it would be a valuable source for the exegetical viewpoints of the Infallibles (a).