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

Priority: c, Quality: b
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Al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur'an
Authoral-Shaykh al-Tusi
Original titleالتبيان في تفسير القرآن
Series10 volumes
PublishedDar I'hya' al-Turath al-Arabi


Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān (Arabic: التبیان فی تفسیر القرآن) was the first comprehensive Shi'a Arabic commentary of the Qur'an, covering all aspects of Qur'anic sciences as we know it. It was written by Muhammad b. Hasan al-Tusi, commonly known as al-Shaykh al-Tusi.


Muhammad b. al-Hasan b. 'Ali b. al-Hasan (b. 385/995 – d. 460/1067) known as al-Shaykh al-Ta'ifa and al-Shaykh al-Tusi was the author of the two books of Tahdhib and al-Istibsar from the Four Books of Shia hadiths references. He is regarded among the greatest hadith and fiqh scholars of Shia. He had influential works in theology and the Qur'an exegesis. At the age of 23, he went to Iraq from Khurasan and benefited from great scholars there including al-Shaykh al-Mufid and al-Sayyid al-Murtada.

About the Book

In addition to citing relevant narrations, the author has evaluated the opinions of other commentators in regards to different aspects of Qur'anic sciences. In this respect, the commentary is a reference for various sciences related to interpretation of the Qur'an, including morphology, syntax, derivation, rhetoric, hadith, jurisprudence, theology and history.[1]

Author's Motive

In the preface of the book, al-Shaykh al-Tusi states, "What made me write a commentary was that I found out that no scholar had written an extensive commentary covering different meanings. I only found a group of scholars who just compiled a number of exegetical narrations without explaining and clarifying them".[2]

Exegetical Method


Quranic verses are studied in terms of their literary features and theology.


  • This ten volume commentary covers the whole of the Quran in the order that the Quranic chapters appear and attempts to briefly cover all aspects of Quranic sciences.
  • In the opening chapter of the book, some general points regarding Quranic sciences and exegesis are explained.
  • Then, at the beginning of each sura , the commentator explains the reason behind the sura's name, whether it was revealed in Mecca or Medina, and reviews any abrogating and abrogated (nasikh and mansukh) verses which may be present.
  • Differences in recitation (qiraat), meanings of words, derivation, morphology, syntax and rhetoric points are clarified, and ambiguous (mutashabih) verses are explored, all in order to convey the overall meaning of the verses.
  • The commentator also raises theological discussions in order to disprove deviated sects such as determinists(mujabbirah), anthropomorphists(mushabbihah), corporealists(mujassimah), etc. by establishing that Shi'a beliefs are based on Quranic verses.


Al-Tabirsi writes, "al-Tibyan is a book from which the light of the truth glitters and the fragrance of veracity can be smelled from it; and it contains unique secrets and extensive literary points."[3]

Agha Buzurg Tihrani asserts, "This commentary is a precious and valuable one. It is the first commentary in which all types of Quranic sciences have been incorporated."

Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bahr al-'Ulum states, "This commentary covers all [Quranic] sciences and is a unique book among commentaries."


In addition to narrations from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a), al-Shaykh al-Tusi also quotes from companions such as, Ibn 'Abbas, 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud, Jabir b. 'Abd Allah Ansari, Ubay b. Ka'b and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, and tabi'in such as, Mujahid b. Jabr Makki, Zahhak b. Muzahim and Tawus b. Kiyan.[4]


  • Rejects the distortion of the Qur'an in terms of omission or addition of phrases
  • Doesn't necessarily follow the path of other commentators
  • Confirms the existence of abrogating and abrogated verses
  • Takes lexical and exegetical works of previous scholars into consideration
  • Discusses recitation and diacritics
  • Studies the views of lexicologists and grammarians
  • Discusses controversial words
  • Cites poetic evidences
  • Discusses jurisprudential and theological issues
  • Criticizes the theological views of atheists and other sects of Islam


Tibyan has been summarized by two Shi'a scholars:


  • Lithography in two volumes through the efforts of Mirza 'Ali Agha Shirazi and 'Abd al-Rasul Ruwghani Zadi Isfahani in 1365/1945-6.
  • Letterpress printing in ten volumes researched and reviewed by Ahmad Shawqi and Ahmad Habib Ghasir with a preface by Agha Buzurg Tihrani in 1409/1988-9.


  1. Ṣadr, Taʾsīs al-shīʿa li ʿulūm al-islām, p. 339.
  2. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān, vol. 1, p. 1-3.
  3. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 1, p. 75.
  4. Qāsimpūr, Tahlīlī bar ruykard-i tafsīrī-yi Shaykh Ṭūsī dar tibyān.


  • Baḥr al-ʿUlūm, Muḥammad al-Mahdī al-. Al-Fawāʾid al-rijālīyya. Tehran: Maktabat al-Ṣādiq, 1363 Sh.
  • Āgā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Muḥammad Muḥsin. Al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa. Beirut: Dār al-Aḍwāʾ, 1403 AH.
  • Ṣadr, Sayyid Ḥasan al-. Taʾsīs al-shīʿa li ʿulūm al-islām. Baghdad: 1370, Tehran: Lithography, [n.d].
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1415 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. [n.p]: Maktab al-Aʿlām al-Islāmī, 1415 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Aḥmad Qaṣīr al-ʿĀmilī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Gurjī, Abu l-Qāsim. Tārīkh-i fiqh wa fuqahā. Edition 13th. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Samt, 1392 Sh.
  • Maʿrifat, Muḥammad Hādī. Al-Tafsīr wa al-mufassirān. Qom: Muʾassisa-yi Farhangī al-Tamhīd, 1388 Sh.