Nahj al-bayan 'an kashf ma'ani l-Qur'an (book)

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Nahj al-bayan 'an kashf ma'ani l-Qur'an (book)
Bibliographical Information
Bibliographical Information
AuthorMuhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani
Original titleنهج البيان عن کشف معاني القرآن
PublisherBunyad-i Da'irat al-Ma'arif Islami

Nahj al-bayān ʿan kashf maʿānī l-Qur'ān (Arabic:نهج البيان عن کشف معاني القرآن) is a commentary on the Qur'an in Arabic written by Muhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani, the Shi'a scholar of 7th/13th century. In this commentary, the author's interpretation approach is based on hadiths and concision of text. There is disagreement over attribution of this text to al-Shaybani; however, it has been among important Shi'a sources for al-Sayyid Hashim al-Bahrani's al-Burhan and 'Allama Tabataba'i's al-Mizan commentaries on the Qur'an.

Attribution of the Book

There is a doubt about whether the author of the book was Shi'a or Sunni. Aqa Buzurg Tihrani believed that this book was being mistaken with al-Tha'alibi's al-Kashf wa l-bayan and that some scholars including al-Muhaddith al-Nuri in Dar al-salam and Mustadrak al-wasa'il and al-Sayyid Hasan al-Sadr in Ta'sis al-Shi'a made a mistake in taking him as Muhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani and the teacher of al-Shaykh al-Mufid.

It is mentioned in the introduction of the commentary that when al-Shaybani is mentioned alone, Muhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani, the author of Nahj al-bayan is meant who lived after the time of al-Shaykh al-Mufid and quoted from him in his commentary. He is different from al-Shaybani from whom al-Sayyid al-Murtada quoted in his treatise of Muhkam wa mutashabih.

Goal of Writing

As the author mentioned in the introduction of his commentary, there were many disagreements among exegetes of the Qur'an which made people confused and those opinions were the causes of disputes and personal judgements. His goal was to remove points of disagreements and he added what thought useful for the scholars and readers, as well as the hadiths of the Ahl al-Bayt (a).


The author wrote this brief and concise commentary based on the opinions of previous scholars to dedicate to the great library of Mustansiriyya school in Baghdad during the caliphate of al-Mustansir Billah al-'Abbasi (623/1226 – 640/1242-3).

Exegetical Approach

In encountering different exegetical opinions, al-Sahybani mentioned what would be less disagreed upon. He also mentioned some hadiths from the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and added some points about the abrogating and the abrogated, acts of worships, contexts of revelation and the ideas of the scholars of literature. He followed concision in text and thus he did not discuss some verses and believed that their meaning can be found in the appearance of the verses.

Sources of Exegesis

Al-Shaybani benefited from al-Tibyan and mentioned al-Shaykh al-Tusi with respect. He mentioned al-Kalbi as if he had a copy of his commentary. He also quoted from al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Juba'i, al-Tabari, al-Zajjaj, al-Farra' and Abu 'Ubayda. He benefitted from hadith references such as al-Kafi, al-Ikhtisas, Ma'ani al-akhbar, 'Ilal al-sharayi', Tafsir Imam Hasan al-'Askari, Tafsir al-Qummi, and 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida (a).

Summary and Copies

The summary of this commentary is Mukhtasar Nahj al-bayan written by Muhammad b. Ali al-Naqi al-Shaybani. The manuscripts of some parts of this summary are available.

Some of the copies are available in the following libraries:

  • Library of Department of law of University of Tehran
  • Central library of University of Tehran
  • Department of theology of University of Tehran
  • Department of literature of University of Tehran
  • Library of Madrasa 'Ali Shahid Mutahhari
  • Department of literature of University of Isfahan (manuscript)
  • Library of Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi in Qom


The first volume of this commentary was published by the use of some of the copies mentioned above with the research of Husayn Dargahi and contains up to the end of the Qur'an 2. The publication of Bunyad-i Da'irat al-Ma'arif Islami in Tehran printed it in 1413/1992-3 in the printing house of Sazman-i Chap va Nashr of the Iranian Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from نهج البیان عن کشف معانی القرآن (کتاب) in Farsi Wikishia.