Talkhis al-bayan (book)

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Talkhis al-bayan (book)
File:کتاب تلخیص البیان.jpg
AuthorAl-Sharif al-Radi
Original titleتَلخیصُ البَیان فی مَجازاتِ القُرآن
PublisherDar al-Adwa'

Talkhīṣ al-bayān fī majāzāt al-Qurʾān (Arabic: تَلخیصُ البَیان فی مَجازاتِ القُرآن) is an Arabic book concerning figurative and metaphorical phrases in the Qur'an written by a Shi'a scholar, al-Sharif al-Radi (d. 406/1015). It is the first independent work regarding Quranic metaphors and figurative speeches.


Talkhis al-bayan is a valuable book, and according to Ibn Khallakan, it was unique in its field. The author himself in his al-Majazat al-nabawiyya as well as Ibn 'Inaba and al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin referred to the book as Talkhis al-bayan 'an majazat al-Qur'an (Arabic: تلخیص البیان عن مجازات القرآن, but in other sources it is mentioned as Talkhis al-bayan min majazat al-Qur'an. Others have referred to the book as Majaz or Majazat al-Qur'an (because of its subject-matter). However, in all published versions of the book it is mentioned as Talkhis al-bayan fi majazat al-Qur'an.


Because of its eloquent prose and grandiose writing, the book counts as one of the most important works of the 4th/10th century in the development of rhetorical sciences. In this book, Quranic metaphorical and figurative phrases are mentioned in the order of suras and verses along with evidence from Arabian poems. It can be considered as a rhetorical exegesis of the Qur'an which aims to show its rhetorical aspect.

It is the first independent book regarding Quranic figurative and metaphorical phrases, as pointed out by the author in his al-Majazat al-nabawiyya. Although Majaz al-Qur'an, the book of Abu 'Ubayda Mu'ammar b. Muthanna's (d. 209/824-5), seems to be concerned with Quranic figurative phrases, the word, "Majaz", had a wide meaning for him, that is, ways in which the Qur'an expressed its meanings. Thus, for him, "Majaz" meant something like interpretation, meanings, and exegesis. It did not refer to a rhetorical notion.

Date of Writing

In his Talkhis al-bayan, al-Sharif al-Radi referred to his father, Abu Ahmad Husayn b. Musa, with praying as follows: "May God be pleased by him and may He please him" which implies that his father was not alive at the time of writing the book. Since his father died in 400/1009-1010 and he himself died in 406/1015, he must have written the book in the last 6 years of his life. He mentioned some of his teachers in this book, such as Ibn Jinni, Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar al-Mu'tazili and Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Musa al-Khwarazmi.


Here are some features of the book:

  • It mentions different recitations of the Qur'an according to the views of the Seven Reciters.
  • It discusses the meanings of Quranic words and phrases.
  • It solves the problems with the poems to which he appeals and expresses his view regarding different issues.
  • It cites hadiths in his elaboration of Quranic figurative phrases.


A manuscript of the book was first identified by Sayyid Muhammad Mishkat, and its photograph was published with a preface and indexes in 1329 Sh/1951 in Tehran. The manuscript was later edited by an Egyptian researcher, Muhammad 'Abd al-Ghani al-Hasan and was published in 1374/1955 in Egypt, and its photograph was published in Beirut.

Later, Sayyid Muhammad al-Jaza'iri found another manuscript of the book in Najaf and it was published by Makki in 1375/1955-6 in Baghdad. It was a basis for another publication of the book in Tehran. Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Sabzawari translated the book into Persian in 1330 Sh./1951-52; he added Persian poems to the translation.