Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn (book)

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Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn
Bibliographical Information
Bibliographical Information
Author'Abd 'Ali b. Jumu'a al-Huwayzi
Original titleتفسير نور الثقلین
Series5 vol.
SubjectHadith-Based Qur'anic Exegesis
PublisherMatba'a al-'Ilmiyya

Tafsīr nūr al-thaqalayn (Arabic:تفسير نور الثقلین) is a Hadith-Based Qur'anic Exegesis in Arabic, written by 'Abd 'Ali b. Jumu'a al-'Arusi al-Huwayzi, a Shiite scholar of jurisprudence and hadiths in the 12th/18th century. This book contains 13,422 hadiths. Since the book contains verses of the Qur'an (the major "thiql" or weighty thing) and hadiths (the minor weighty thing), it was called "Nur al-thaqalayn" after the well-known Hadith al-Thaqalayn, which is accepted by all Muslims.


Al-Shaykh 'Abd 'Ali b. Jumu'a al-'Arusi al-Huwayzi, known as Ibn Jumu'a (d. 1112/1700-1), was an Imami scholar and muhaddith in the 11th and early 12th/18th centuries. He was born in Huveizeh in Khuzestan. He later moved to Shiraz and studied with teachers such as al-Sayyid Ni'mat Allah al-Jaza'iri al-Shushtari and wrote works in the style of Akhbaris of his time.

Al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili characterized him as a knowledgeable scholar of jurisprudence and hadiths, a reliable and pious person, a scholar of Arabic literature, a poet, and familiar with different disciplines and sciences.

Motivation for Writing

In a short preface, the author says that his motivation to write the book was that other exegeses of the Qur'an had mainly focused on lexical exegeses of the Qur'an and the roots of words therein, conjugations of such words, grammatical features of Qur'anic sentences, issues of theology, and other similar aspects, but they did not cite remarks by the Imams (a) concerning the meanings of the Qur'an and secrets of its interpretation.


Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn is a Hadith-Based Qur'anic exegesis. It only deals with Qur'anic verses about which at least one hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a) is transmitted. This is why, it does not deal with all Qur'anic verses. There are 13,422 hadiths in this collection, and the chains of transmitters of most of the hadiths are cited. The author did not comment on the contents of the cited hadiths except in few cases in which he just refers to detailed discussions in other books.

In the preface of the book, the author states the aim of writing the book to be to provide an organized collection of hadiths from Ahl al-Bayt (a) concerning the exegesis of the Qur'an. He then adds that the hadiths he cites which are contrary to what Imamiyya agree on are cited not as statements of his beliefs or what he acts upon; rather they are cited in order for readers to learn about them and try to reconcile them with widely-agreed views.

The author cites relevant hadiths concerning the interpretation of Qur'anic verses in the order of the suras and verses of the Qur'an. He avoids making any comments on the hadiths. Thus, the book consists only of Qur'anic verses and hadiths, which is the reason why it is called "Nur al-thaqalayn" (the light of the two weighty things: the Qur'an and hadith).

The main feature of the book is the combination of Qur'anic verses and hadiths which is helpful in understanding Qur'anic doctrines. Hadiths cited in the book are either explanations of the meanings of Qur'anic verses, or concerned with occasions on which the verses are revealed or their applications to Ahl al-Bayt (a). However, much fewer hadiths fall in the first group.

The book does not deal with the words, i'rab, (pronunciation of Qur'anic verses). Since there are no hadiths regarding some Qur'anic verses, the book does not provide exegeses of all Qur'anic verses.

Nearly two-third of the hadiths cited in the book are exactly like the ones cited in Kanz al-daqa'iq. Some people maintain that one of the two books probably cited these similar hadiths from the other. And since the author of Nur al-thaqalayn died sooner than the author of Kanz al-daqa'iq, it is more probable that the former was the source of the latter.

Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn in the View of Others

  • In his preface to Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn, 'Allama Tabataba'i, the author of al-Mizan, characterizes the book as valuable and as one of the best written exegeses of the Qur'an.
  • Muhammad Hadi Ma'rifat wrote that the author of Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn did not seek to criticize the hadiths or work out their apparent contradictions. He did not, Ma'rifat holds, care about the chains of transmissions of hadiths and their reliability. Thus, there are many unreliable hadiths as well as ones without chains of transmissions in this book.
  • Baha' al-Din Khurramshahi takes the book to be one of the most prominent Shiite Hadith-Based exegeses of the Qur'an.


The exegesis of each sura of the Qur'an begins with hadiths concerning the virtues of that Qur'anic suras, its characteristics, effects, and divine rewards for its recitation. It then goes on to cite hadiths regarding the occasions on which the sura or its verses were revealed, and since a remarkable part of Shiite occasion of revelation are cited in Tafsir al-Qummi, it is the source of most hadiths in this part, although some others are cited from al-Ihtijaj, al-Kafi, Tafsir al-'Ayyashi, and others. The next part is concerned with hadiths regarding the interpretations of the verses or their applications and instances, and finally, the ones concerned with interpretations of the meanings of Qur'anic verses are cited.

Al-Huwayzi has also cited some Sunni sources, such as Shawahid al-tanzil by al-Hakim al-Hasakani and al-Kashf wa l-bayan by Abu Ishaq al-Tha'alibi.

As of Shiite sources of Hadith-Based Qur'anic exegeses, the main sources of Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn are Tafsir al-Qummi by 'Ali b. Ibrahim al-Qummi and Tafsir al-'Ayyashi. All hadiths in these two sources are cited in al-Huawyzi's book.

Al-Huawyzi tried to cite all relevant hadiths without any selection or elimination. Each hadith has a number and its source and chains of transmission are mentioned.

Here is the order of the volumes and Qur'anic verses in Tafsir nur al-thaqalayn:

  1. The first volume: Qur'an 2 (Sura al-Hamd) through Qur'an 6 (Sura al-An'am).
  2. The second volume: Qur'an 7 (Sura al-A'raf) through Qur'an 14 (Sura Ibrahim).
  3. The third volume: Qur'an 15 (Sura al-Hijr) through Qur'an 24 (Sura al-Nur).
  4. The fourth volume: Qur'an 25 (Sura al-Furqan) through Qur'an 44 (Sura al-Dukhan).
  5. The fifth volume: Qur'an 45 (Sura al-Jathiya) to the end of the Qur'an.


  • The book was edited by Sayyid Hashim Rasuli Mahallati and was published with a short preface by 'Allama Tabataba'i in 5 volumes by Matba'a al-'Ilmiyya in Qom in 1383/1963-4.
  • It was also published by Mu'assisa Isma'iliyan.


  • A manuscript in the personal library of 'Abd al-Husayn Shahid Salihi.