Tafsir al-safi (book)

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Tafsir al-safi
Bibliographical Information
Bibliographical Information
AuthorMulla Muhsin Fayd Kashani
Series7 vol.
Subjectexegesis of Qur'an
PublisherDifferent publications


Tafsīr al-ṣāfī (Arabic:تفسیر الصافی) is a work of Mulla Muhsin Fayd Kashani in exegesis of the Qur'an. The book is based on hadiths that interpret the Qur'an. Due to its conciseness and comprehensiveness, it was well-considered through several ages. Fayd Kashani tried to write an exegesis which is free from ideas of different schools, hence, he named his exegesis al-safi (which means pure).

The book contains theological, mystical and literary topics. The author wrote a concise version of the book under the title al-Asfa.

Motivation for Writing

After an introduction about trends of interpreting the Qur'an and the defects of their works, Muhsin Fayd Kashani wrote: "however, among numerous exegesis, I couldn't find an exegesis that is cultured and free from these defects; an exegesis that express the Qur'anic teachings in sufficient manner. I hope this exegesis would be the expected one that differentiate Sahih hadiths and teachings from unreliable and unauthentics."


Muhsin Fayd Kashani was impressed by al-Baydawi's exegesis and if there was no narration about a verse, he used to quote from the exegesis of al-Baydawi and sometimes he made nuance differences.

In his introduction, he discussed about 12 topics and according to Muhammad Hadi Ma'rifat, the introduction is one of the best introductions of the exegesis and the author stated the essential information that every exegete should know.

The topics in introduction are as follow:

  1. The first topic is on the virtue of the Qur'an and grasping it through the narrations of Ahl al-Bayt (a). It also contains some issues about the vice of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
  2. The second topic states that the knowledge of the Qur'an is in the hand of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and they know all the outward and inward meaning of the Qur'an.
  3. The third topic says that the whole content of the Qur'an is revealed on Awliya' Allah (friends of God) and their enemies.
  4. The forth topic is about different ways that meaning of a verse should be understood, such as: tafsir and ta'wil, zahir and batin, Muhkam and Mutashabih, nasikh and mansukh, etc.
  5. The fifth topic is on the interpreting based on personal ideas and interests (tafsir bi ra'y) and banning it.
  6. The sixth topic is that the Qur'an is protected from distortion.
  7. The seventh topic is about the idea that the Qur'an is explanation for everything and it contains the fundamentals of religious teachings and religious obligations.
  8. The eighth topic is regarding different readings (Qira'at) of the Qur'an and their authenticity.
  9. The ninth topic is about the gradual and at once revelation of the Qur'an.
  10. The tenth topic is on the intercession (shafa'a) of the Qur'an and the reward of reciting and memorizing it.
  11. The eleventh topic is about the manner of reciting the Qur'an.
  12. The twelfth topic is on the exegetic terms and the method of the interpretation in the book.

Narrative Sources

Muhsin Fayd Kashani quoted hadiths from several exegetic and non-exegetic sources. He narrated hadiths with reference to their source without mentioning the chain of the transmitters. In some cases, he didn't mention the source of the hadith and in some, he just mentioned a part of a hadith. To explain the hadiths, sometimes he mentions two controversial hadiths and suggests a compromise between them.

Some of the sources he narrated from are as follow:

So, the highest usage was from al-Tafsir al-Qummi, al-Tafsir al-'Ayyashi, al-Kafi and Majma' al-bayan exegesis.


Tafsir al-safi is among the interpretations that all the later scholars had used it in their books. For instance, 'Allama Tabataba'i in al-Mizan referred to this book. If one makes an inquiry in al-Mizan, he would clearly realize the importance and the position of Tafsir al-safi and the reliance of 'Allama Tabataba'i on it.

Muhammad Hadi Ma'rifat writes:" Tafsir al-Safi altogether is one of the exquisite and valuable interpretations that mentioned almost all of the hadiths of Ahl al-Bayt (a) in regard of the interpreting the Qur'an, though in some cases he mixed the authentic and unauthentic hadiths."

Sayyid Muhammad 'Ali Ayazi says: in comparison to other interpretations of the Qur'an, this exegesis is concise. The book was attractive to scholars and students and became a textbook in Islamic seminaries.

Muhammad Husayn Dhahabi writes: Tafsir al-safi is a book that its author wrote it according to the principles of Shi'as. The manner of the book is like other Shi'a interpretations that believe that Ahl al-Bayt (a) are the most knowledgeable people about the meanings and secrets of the Qur'an.


Mulla Muhsin al-Fayd wrote a concise version of his book titled al-Asfa.

Annotations and Translations

Tafsir al-safi was considered by scholars from the beginning and some of them have written some annotations on the book.

Annotations on the book:

  1. Hashiya Mulla Aqa Khu'i Tabrizi (d. 1307 AH/1889-90)
  2. Hashiya Sayyid Sadr al-Din Yazdi
  3. Hashiya Mulla 'Abd al-Rida Damawandi (d. 1160 AH/1747-8)
  4. Hashiya Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Tabataba'i Yazdi, known as Wamiq (d. 1240 AH/1824-5) in one volume in Arabic
  5. Hashiya Mirza Muhammad Tuysirkani
  6. Hashiya and sharh (comments) tafsir al-safi by Sayyid 'Abd al-A'la Sabziwari in one volume in Arabic which is written in eloquent language, just manner and rational approach.

Farsi Translations

  1. Hasan Hasanzadi Amuli says: Tafsir rawan jawid in 5 volumes by Mirza Muhammad Thaqafi, is a translation of Tafsir al-safi.
  2. Tarjumi-yi tafsir safi by Subhani and Muhammad Baqir Sa'idi Khurasani published by Nashr Safa in 1405 AH/1984-5 in 368 pages.
  3. Hashiya Dihgardi bar Tafsir al-safi by Sayyid Abu l-Qasim Husayni, a Shi'a scholar of 14th and 15th AH centuries.


Due to its importance among muslim scholars, Tafsir al-safi was published in different palces.

  1. In Tabriz in two volumes by Dar al-Taba'a of Muhammad Mahdi Tabrizi on 1269 AH/1852-3
  2. In Tabriz by handwriting of Muhammad Rahim Hamadani by Matba'a of Muhammad Taqi Tabrizi on 1272 AH/1855-6
  3. A lithograph in Mumbai on 1274 AH/1857-8
  4. In Iran by the correction of Abu l-Hasan Sha'rani by Kitabfurushi Islamiyya
  5. In Beirut by the al-A'lami Lilmatbu'at institute on 1399 AH/1978-9.