Sunday, August 9, 2020

An Overview of Ibadi Tafsir


Our knowledge of the Ibadi1 contribution to tafsir is seriously defective There are objective as well as subjective reasons for this state of affairs. The Ibadis, despite their positive and productive role in the service of the Qur’an and its sciences, have failed to make their works more widely known. However, during the last few years, researchers have made some progress in investigating and representing some of the Ibadi works of tafsir but because of the constant tendency to treat Ibadi thought simply as a facet of Khariji thought, the Ibadi role has not been considered in a proper manner. Muhammad Hussayn al-Dhahabi,2 for example, produced a huge study of tafsir and mufassirun, but when he comes to the Ibadiyya he deals with them on this basis thus giving a distorted picture. I am not going to discuss his views here — I am only giving an example of how such a respected scholar, intentionally or inattentively, has failed to grasp the Ibadi contribution to this field. To remedy this, this paper will try, as much as possible, to take a step forward in introducing Ibadi works starting from the formative period of Ibadi thought until the late thirteenth/nineteenth century.

          In these circumstances, it seems useful to set out the basic information concerning Ibadi tafsir according to the latest information available. There are gaps, as some libraries still fail to provide information about, and to give access to the manuscripts they contain. However, this essay is, I believe, a step forward in providing information for all those studying the Ibadiyya.


It would appear that the following texts form the primary list of Ibadi works in the field of tafsir. The list is in chronological order followed by a detailed consideration:

1.      The Diwan of Jabir b. Zayd al-Azdi (d. 93/711).

2.      The Tafsir of ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam (d. 171/787).

3.      The Tafsir of ‘Abdu l-Wahhab b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam (d. 208/823).

4.      The Tafsir of Abu 1-Munib Muhammad b. Yanis al-Nafusi (d. the first half of the third/ninth century).

5.      The Tafsir of Hud b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari (d. in the second half of the third/ninth century).  

6.      Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya by Abu l-Hawari Muhammad b. al-Hawari (d. the fourth/tenth century).

7.      al- Tafsir al-Kabir of Abu Ya‘qub  Yusuf b. Ibrahim al-Warjlani (d. 570/ll75).

8.      A commentary on the Tafsir of Hud b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari by Muhammad b. ‘Umar b. Abi Sitta (d. 1087/1676 or 1088/1677).

9.      Annotation of the Tafsir al-Jalalayn by Yusuf b. Muhammad al-Mus‘abi l-Maliki (d. 1187/1773).

10.  al- Tafsir al-Muyassar by Sa‘id b. Ahmad al-Kindi (d. at the beginning of the thirteenth/nineteenth century).

11.  Partial Tafsir (suras 103-114) by Ibrahim b. Bahman (d. 1232/1817).

12.  The Tafsir of Yusuf b. Haddun (d. 1236/1821).

13.  (a) Maqalid al Tanzil.

13.(b) Tafsir Ayat Mutashabiha min al-Qur’an.

Both by Ja‘id b. Khamis al-Kharusi (d. 1237/1822).

14.  Al-Yumn wa-l-Baraka fi Tafsir al-Huda wa-l-Rahma by Muhammad b. Sulayman Adrisi.

15.  (a) Himyan al-Zad ild Dar al-Ma‘ad.

15.)b) Taysir al-tafsir.

15.(c) Da‘i l- ‘amal ild yawm al-ajal.

15.All three are by Muhammad b. Yusuf Atfayyish (d. 1332/1914).

I shall now attempt to describe ascribed works in as much detail as possible.


1. Abu l-Sha‘tha’ Jabir b. Zayd al-Azdi3 was born in the small village of Farq near Nizwa in the interior of Oman. After receiving his early education in Oman, he moved with his family to Basra and settled there. He studied there and in the Hijaz and is thought to have studied with such leading companions of the Prophet as Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Hurayra, Anas b. Malik, ‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr etc.

          Jabir is generally reckoned to be one of the greatest of the early Ibadis. Due to his tact and organising ability, he effectively became the real founder of the Ibadi sect. He was particularly well known for his learning and piety, winning the regard of such a notable as Anas b. Malik.4

          Jabir was probably the author of one of the earliest collections of hadith, tafsir, correspondence and legal opinion (futya), known as the Diwan.5 It is not clear whether this work was originally committed to writing or not — there are arguments on both sides — though it should be noted that Jabir flourished at a time when there was a great surge in the use of written Arabic during the Caliphate of ‘Abd al-Malik (with whom Jabir was on good terms, on the surface at least). But even if Jabir transmitted his knowledge verbally, his work was recognised as a discrete entity, and sooner or later it was committed to writing.

          There appear to have been several copies, with one perhaps having gone to the Ibadis in North Africa. However, by the third/ninth century the sole known copy was in the libraries of the Abbasids in Baghdad, where al-Ma’mun is said to have set great store by the work. Sometime later it was lost. The importance of the oral transmission of Jabir’s Diwan must be stressed. It should be remembered that his successor as imam, Abu ‘Ubayda Muslim b. Abi Karima al-Tamimi was his student, and students, especially at that time, learned aurally and not from books.

          Unfortunately, it does not seem that any part of this work still exists, unless the Kitab al-Nikah and Kitab al-Salah by Jabir b. Zayd, which Ennami6 found in North Africa, might be parts of his Diwan. This is just an assumption and cannot be proved yet. Beyond that we can look to the work of Pakoosh,7 who brought together more than forty examples of Jabir’s tafsir (tafsir is of course subsumed in any major collection of Hadith). The examples show him to be a disciple of Ibn ‘Abbas but his crucial scholarly importance is in the transmission of this learning to the Ibadi community.


2. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam and his Tafsir. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam (date of birth unknown) came from a Persian family that was stranded in Mecca when his father died on the Pilgrimage. Later his mother married a man from Qayrawan, and the family moved there. As a young man he traveled to Basra to study with Abu ‘Ubayda, the second Ibadi imam.

          ‘Abd al-Rahman was elected Imam in Tahert in 160/777 He died in 171/787,8 having composed numerous works on tafsir, hadith and other Islamic sciences.

          Most Ibadi sources9 agree that ‘Abd al-Rahman did write tafsir, but there is disagreement about the time of its loss and the reason for it. One view is that it was lost when the ‘Ubaydis sacked Tahert in 296/909 and burnt the Ma‘suma Library there. A second view is that it survived but was sold on to someone who would not grant access to it. There is slightly more support for this view.10 The end result, however, was the same — the work was lost.

            As far as I can see from my reading, no trace of the work has survived. It has been suggested that Shaykh Hud b. Muhakkam may have drawn on the tafsirs of both ‘Abd al-Rahhman and his son ‘Abd al-Wahhab and this may be indicated by the phrase “in the tafsirs of our sect …” This is an ingenious suggestion but lacking in proof and we must assume that this first complete tafsir by a renowned Ibadi scholar has been lost without trace. The loss is particularly regrettable. as we can tell from his correspondence11 that he was an excellent scholar.


3. ‘Abd al-Wahhab b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Rustam. The son of ‘Abd al-Rahman (end of the second century and beginning of the third century) is said to have written a book of tafsir. The only possible indication of this comes from the redactor12 of the tafsir of Hud b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari but he provides insufficient evidence to show that the book existed. It remains only a supposition.


4. Shaykh Hud b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari and his tafsir. Hud b. Muhakkam was a Berber tribesman from what is now Algeria. He is a third century figure, who probably died sometime between 280/893 and 290/903.13

          There is no doubt that he put together a book known as Tafsir Kitab Allah al- ‘Aziz, as it has survived and been published.14 However, there has been dispute about the extent of Shaykh Hud’s role in the book. It is clearly based in part on the tafsir of Yahya b. Sallam al-Basri (d. after 273/887). Close examination of the work shows that Shaykh Hud is far more than a summarizer. Crucially, he adds Ibadi views whenever they are needed and he recasts and explains difficult passages and produces a tafsir that may be considered Ibadi. It is, thus, the earliest extant Ibadi tafsir and as such is extremely important.

          The published edition relies on one manuscript only in which the first few pages are lost. As a result, we are lacking Shaykh Hud’s Introduction and thus any remarks he might have made about his aims and methods. Nor is there any clarification in the marginal commentary by Shaykh Abu Sitta.15 It seems to me to be important to search for other copies of the manuscript which may well exist in private libraries.

5. Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya. There is a difficulty with the authorship of this work. It has been published three times, first in facsimile by Salim b. Hamad al-Harthi in 1974, then by Muhammad Zanati in 1991, and then by Walid ‘Awjan of the University of Mu’ta in 1994. All three editions give the name of the book as al-Diraya wa Kanz al-Ghinaya wa Muntaha al-Diraya fi Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya and say that the author was the third century Omani scholar Abu l-Hawwari Muhammad b. al-Hawwari b. ‘Uthman, who studied at Nizwa under Muhammad b. Mahbub (d. 250/864) and whose principal teacher was al-Salt b. Khamis al-Kharusi (d. 278/891). He was certainly the author of numerous works.

          However, the ascription to Abu 1-Hawwari is based on one sentence that occurs frequently throughout the work: ‘Abu 1-Hawwari said’. What the sentence really indicates is that the opinions of Abu 1-Hawwari are frequently quoted. Sometimes authors do refer to themselves in this way but it does not appear likely that this was so in this case.16 Another suggestion is that the author was al-Salt b. Khamis al-Kharusi. This seems anachronistic and even less likely.17

          Finally,18 there is a suggestion that this is simply the work of Muqatil b. Sulayman al-Azdi (d. 150/767) because he has a work of tafsir with exactly the same name, ‘Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya’. So in order to judge this opinion I carefully compared the texts of the two works. From the first few pages I discovered how very similar the tafsir ascribed to Abu 1-Hawwari was to that of Muqatil b. Sulayman. The only significant difference was the additional Ibadi juristic opinions in Abu l Hawwari’s work and also the expurgation of the non-Ibadi ones. This makes me confident that the basic author of this work is not the Omani scholar Abu l-Hawari but Muqatil b. Sulayman and the role of Abu 1-Hawwari is no more than a juristic refutation.

6. Abu Ya‘qub Yusuf b. Ibrahim al Warjlani. This Ibadi scholar was born in the Algerian town of Wargla at the beginning of the sixth century. After initial education in his home town, he studied for several years in al-Andalus. He died in 570/1175 after composing many significant works for the Ibadi school. One of these was a tafsir, al-Tafsir al-Kabir as al-Salimi calls it.19 Both al-Barradi20 and al-Shammakhi21 saw this work, but despite much searching, no manuscript has been found.

          Some idea of al-Warjlani’s method may be gleaned from al-Barradi’s description22 and from passages found in other works by him, such as al-Dalil wa-l-Burhan and al-‘Adl wal-Insaf. However, the information is fragmentary, and any views about it must remain tentative.

7. Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Umar b. Abi Sitta. This eleventh century Ibadi writer (d. I087/.1676 or I088/I677) earned the name al-Muhashshi for the large amount of marginal annotations that he wrote on important Ibadi works. The most important of these was on the tafsir of Hud b. Muhakkam al-Hawwari. It stops part way through Surat al-Baqara, and was probably interrupted by the author’s death.

          Several copies of this work survive in a number of libraries in North Africa but there has been no access to any of them so far. Obtaining a copy of the manuscript is important, as it would throw light on the lost first few pages of the original work of Hud b. Muhakkam.

8. Abu Ya‘qub Yusuf b. Muhammad al-Mus‘abi l-Maliki (d. 1187/I773). This twelfth century Tunisian scholar is known as al-Muhashshi l-thani because like Abu Sitta he wrote marginal annotations on various books. One of these, in two volumes, was on the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a copy of which is extant in al-Baruniya Library in Libya.23


9. Sa‘id b. Ahmad al-Kindi. al-Kindi is a member of a family of famous scholars in Oman. Amongst his ancestors were Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Kindi (d. 507/1113) author of the Bayan al-Shar‘ in 73 volumes and Ahmad b. ‘Abdullah al-Kindi (d. 557/1162) who wrote a Kitab al-Musannaf in 42 volumes.

          Sa‘id b. Ahmad appears to have been born between 1130/1718 and 1139/1727 at Nizwa. He was a pupil of the outstanding scholar of the twelfth century in Oman, Sa‘id b. Bashir al-Subhi (d. 1150/1737). He wrote various works including a refutation of al-Ghazali’s Ihyd’ ‘Ulum al-Din and a tafsir entitled al-Tafsir al-Muyassar lil-Qur’an al-Karim. The manuscript states that the work was completed on the second of Dhu l-Hijja, 1181/1757.24 It was published in Oman in three volumes as recently as 1998. It is fortunate that the manuscript has survived, as the work is no referred to either by his contemporaries or by later scholars.

          Sa‘id b. Ahmad sets out clearly in the introduction to his tafsir the main sources that he uses and reading of the work corroborates this. They were:

1.    Ma‘alim al-Tanzil by al-Baghawi (d. 526/1132).

2.    Anwar al-Tanzil by al-Baydawi (d. 682/1283), particularly important in vol. 3.

3.    Madarik al-Tanzil by al-Nasafi (d. 707/1307).

4.    Jawami‘ al-Jami‘ by al-Tabarsi l-Imami (d. 548/1153).

5.    al-Kashshaf by al-Zamakhshari l-Mu‘tazili (d. 538/1144), important in vols. 2 and 3.

In addition to these non-Ibadi sources, he drew on most of the earlier Ibadi sources, including Abu Sa‘id al-Kudami (fourth/tenth century) and Muhammad b. Mahbub b. al-Ruhayl (d. 260/874) and Ibn Baraka (fourth/tenth century). For lexicographical problems he drew on the Qamus of al-Fayruzabadi.

          Sa‘id b. Ahmad shows broad, eclectic views in his tafsir in drawing on the non-Ibadi authorities quoted above and others, as well as Ibadi sources.

          The work is not particularly systematic. Sometimes the writer refers to many authorities and summarizes them. Elsewhere he quotes a single text in extenso and without any change. Nor does he show clearly when he is paraphrasing and when he is quoting exactly. Nevertheless, Sa‘id b. Ahmad produces a valuable work, which mayproperly be considered to be the earliest Mashriqi Ibadi tafsir that we have.

10. Ja‘id b. Khamis al-Kharusi. This author was an outstanding Omani scholar at the end of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century (b.1 147/1734, d. 1237/1821). His scholarly abilities were noted at an early age and he soon attained a position of respect among his contemporaries. He wrote widely on many different subjects but most of his surviving works have not yet been published.25

          His son Nasir b. Ja‘id reports that his father was always criticizing Omanis for their neglect not writing a comprehensive Ibadi tafsir and a complete reference work on Hadith.26

          Ja‘id himself did not fill this gap, though he might have intended to do so. Two works of tafsir survive. The first is called Maqalid al-Tanzil, of which I possess the autograph manuscript (there are many other copies in Omani libraries). As it stands, the work covers only the interpretation of Surat al-Fatiha consisting of 17 pages with 18-30 lines of writing. Nevertheless, Ja‘id states in his Introduction that it was his aim to write a complete Ibadi tafsir.27 At present we can only assume that most of the work is lost or that he died before he could complete the bulk of the work.

          Study of the text shows that Ja‘id was not content to reproduce the work of his predecessors, but brought a sharp critical and analytical mind to the subject. It would appear that among his sources he referred to the Jami‘ al-Bayan of al-Tabari and the Kashshaf of al-Zamakhshari.

          There is a certain Sufi coloration to Ja‘id’s language, most probably derived from the study of al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din. This puts him just slightly outside orthodox Ibadi tradition, though he is strongly critical of Sufi analyses and of non-Ibadi works of tafsir. Even this fragment is an important work.

          Ja‘id’s other work on tafsir is a collection of about forty verses from al-Mutashabihat (where there is uncertainty on the meaning established by the verses) with a full explanation.28 He shows briefly the Ibadi views on these verses and more importantly how they are to be linked with the Muhkams (clear or perfect verses) to reveal their dogmatic dimension. This collection is still in manuscript form and, unlike the Maqalid al-Tanzil, has not been seriously studied yet, though there are various manuscripts in Oman. A good part of it also appears in the printed Qamus al-Shari‘a by Jumayyil b. Khamis al-Sa‘di (fourteenth/twentieth century).


11. Ibrahim b. Bihman al-Thamini. This scholar is largely unknown, as most of the sources that introduce him are still unpublished. What I know about him is that he is an Algerian scholar from Mzab born in the second half of the twelfth century who studied with the famous Ibadi scholar, his uncle, Diya’ al-Din ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Thamini (1223/1808). After a scholarly life, he died in 1232/1817 leaving many works and a great library in Bani Yasjin in Mzab. One of his works of tafsir is al-Ma‘dan al-Masun ‘ala Surat al-Kanz al-Madfun which consists of a tafsir of Surat al-Fatiha.

          He also wrote Asdaf al-Durar wa Akmam al-Zahr al-Mawdu‘a ‘ala Surat al-‘Asr which is again a tafsir of one sura (al-‘Asr) The third work is a marginal annotation on the tafsir of al-Baydawi’s Anwar al-Tanzil. A copy of the manuscript of this work is kept in al-Istiqama Library in Mzab. Finally, there is Tafsir Ayat al-Nur min Surat al-Nur, which is correspondence he wrote in 1225/1810.29


12. Muhammad b. Yusuf Atfayyish. Muhammad b. Yusuf b. ‘Isa b. Salih Atfayyish, from the Mzab in Algeria, was born in 1237/1821 and died in 1332/1914 at the age of 96.30 He is considered, with justification, to be one of the greatest and most productive of all Ibadi scholars. He appears to have started teaching and writing at the age of sixteen and by the end of his long life he had written about three hundred works on a wide range of subjects: language, philosophy, dogma, Jurisprudence, tafsir, hadith, etc.

          Also known as al-Qutb, Atfayyish wrote three works of tafsir. Only two of them are complete. The incomplete work, entitled Da‘i l-‘Amal li- Yawm al-Ajal, was his first attempt at tafsir. He intended to write it in thirty-three volumes. However, he changed his mind and started a second tafsir, Himyan al-Zad ila Dar al-Ma‘ad. Only four volumes of the Da‘i l-‘Amal were completed. They start with Surat al-Rahman proceeding to the end of the Qur’an and then back to Surat Sad, with which the work stops.

          His second tafsir, Himyan al-Zad was also written when he was quite young. The book shows his immaturity in various respects. In particular, he was not aware of some sources and reference works. Also, he included weak traditions and Isra’iliyyat.31 Nevertheless, the work has been published twice, first in Zanzibar, and then in Oman in 1986.

          Towards the very end of his life, al-Qutb wrote his last tafsir, entitled Taysir al-Tafsir. This is a great refinement of his earlier work, and deals with a much wider range of issues, problems and ideas. It is thus a good example of Ibadi tafsir.

The Taysir al-Tafsir has been published twice already but without any redactory study. A critical edition is now being made in Algeria and the first volumes have been published. In addition, there are various studies of al-Qutb and his works.32

          al-Qutb’s works enrich the Ibadiyya intellectually, and they have had a strong influence. Many of his pupils33 have turned their hands to tafsir and similar works but they only appear to continue the Qutb school.


Doubtful Works

During my investigation of Ibadi works of tafsir, I have encountered some doubtful works, or more precisely, I could not find sufficient details to make accurate judgments about them. Though some of them seem to be Ibadi works and others are claimed to be so, I found it hard to accept them as such. These works can be presented by dividing them, according to the availability of information, into three categories, even if each category consists of just one work.

          The first category includes works that have been mentioned in Ibadi sources merely by name. The only work I found in this category has been referred to by Jumayyil b. Khamis al-Sa‘di (the thirteenth/ nineteenth century) twice34 in his book Qamus al-Shari‘a. He gives the book the title of al-Jawhar al-Shaffaf al-Muntaza‘ min Maghasat al-Kashshaf. From the way al-Sa‘di presents his quotation from this book, as well as the contents of the quotations, it seems reasonable to say that this work is an Ibadi Tafsir. From the title of the book and by comparing it with other works of tafsir, one can deduce that it is an annotation on the Kashshaf of al-Zamakhshari. But all these remain uncertainties as the work is not referred to except in Qamus al-Shari‘a, where the information given is insufficient to draw a clear picture about the work and its authors.

          The second category consists of works indicated by their authors’ names. The example I found in this category is Tafsir ‘Amr b. Qa’id, which is quoted by Ibn Ja‘far (end of the third/ninth century) in his Jami‘.35 Although not so much can be gleaned from what has been quoted there to reveal whether this ‘Amr b. Qa’id is an Ibadi or not, there appear distinct similarities between his opinions and those of Ibn Ja‘far. But I discovered in a recently published volume of the same source that Ibn Ja‘far referred to him as a non-Ibadi author.36 I then found that al-Jahiz refers to him with the name of Abu ‘A1i ‘Amr b. Fa’id al-Aswari.37 There is also a short biography of him in Ibn Hajar in which he quoted many authorities describing him as a Mu‘tazilite and Qadarite who lived in al-Basra and died shortly after the year 200/815.38 This makes it clear that he is not an Ibadi, although quoted in Ibadi sources, and that his name is ‘Amr b. Fa’id and not Qa’id.

          Lastly, some researchers39 claim that Abu ‘Ubayda Ma‘mar b. al-Muthanna al-Taymi (d.210/827), who wrote a tafsir called Majaz al-Qur’an, is an Ibadi scholar. But there is no substantial evidence for such a claim and none of the Ibadiyya say this, nor does his work indicate that he adopts any distinctly Ibadi view. Similarly, Walid ‘Awjan claimed40 that Muqatil b. Sulayman is an Ibadi scholar and that the Ibadiyya consider him to be so but none of the Ibadiyya, as far as I know, has agreed with him. Even when I referred to the source41 on which he drew, I did not find any mention of Muqatil there.


Analysis and Comments

Before ending this paper, I think it is essential to remember that although there are some important points in the field of Ibadi tafsir that need to be dealt with in detail, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do so without having an overview of the whole field, which is precisely what I have tried to give. However, from this basic outline some points emerge. Not least of all is the richness of the Ibadi Maghribi works compared to the Mashriqi (from our list, twelve works are Maghribi whilst five are Mashriqi). This phenomenon requires some explanation. It appears that at least one of the Omani scholars42 realized this fact and tried to fill the gap but to no avail, and even had he succeeded it would have been too late (the thirteenth/nineteenth century). Some writers try to give explanations such as the fear of entering this field, or the political events that lead to many attacks on Ibadi literature.43 Personally, I am not convinced of these reasons and if I am to give a superficial answer it is, I think, that the aural method was followed more extensively by Mashriqis to transmit knowledge from one generation to another.

          Another interesting observation is that a line of separation could be drawn after the sixth/twelfth century down until the thirteenth/nineteenth century on the quality of the works. One can see that the works before the seventh/thirteenth century were creative works, while those afterwards are mostly in the form of marginal annotations or fragmentary works until the appearance of Ja‘id b. Khamis in Oman and Ibrahim b. Bihman al-Thamini in Algeria.

          Also related to this issue, in one way or another, is the influence of al-Zamakhshari on the Ibadi works of tafsir. Due to the similarity in many dogmatic questions between the Ibadiyya and Mu‘tazila and because of his intellect as well as his linguistic skill, his influence is obvious but needs detailed study. This leads to another important point, which is how the general features of Ibadi tafsir compare to the Sunni, bearing in mind that some Ibadi works are based on Sunni ones — as shown earlier. One can fairly say that Ibadi tafsir falls in the middle of two extremes. On the one hand, the Mu‘tazila, who over-used al-‘aql (rationality, reasoning) in interpreting the Qur‘an, a method which has been widely rejected or at least criticised by Sunnis and is thought to have led Mu‘atazila to contradict many explicit texts of the Qur‘an, and on the other hand, the many Sunnis who rely largely on al-Naql (tradition or irrationality) which leads to insufficient use of the intellect and limiting the text to superficial

interpretations. This is what makes Ibadi tafsir distinctive.

          These are complex issues which I am not competent to deal with at present, but they open the door for more detailed studies to be carried out at a later stage.


1 This article is based on my master’s thesis, written under the supervision of Professor Alan Jones. I am very grateful to him for all the help he has given me in the completion of this work

2 M.H., al-Dhahabi, al-Tafsir wa-l-Mufassirun (Cairo, 1985), vol. 2, 291-323.

3 See A. al-Shammakhi, Kitab al-Siyar (Oman, 1992), vol. 1, 67-72; A.H. al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (Beirut, l948), vol. 2, 34.

4 al-Bukhari, al-Tarikh al-Kabir (Beirut, 1986), vol. 1, part 2, 204.

5 The Diwan has been ascribed to Jabir b. Zayd by many writers such as Abu Zakariyya Yahya b. Abu l-Khayr (d. shortly after 474/1082) in Siyar al-a’imma wa Akhbaruhum (Beirut, 1982), 33-5; A.S.

al-Darjini, Tabaqat al-mashayikh (Algeria, 1974), vol. 2, 205; and a non-Ibadi, Hajji Khalifa also mentioned it, probably from non-Ibadi sources, in his book Kashf al-Zunun (Beirut, 1982), vol. 1, 781.

6 Ennami, Studies in Ibadism (Cambridge: Ph.D. thesis, 1971), 53.

7 Y.M. Pakoosh, Fiqh al-imam Jabir b. Zayd (Beirut: Dar al Gharb al-Islami, 1986), 79-91.

8 Ibn al-Saghir, Akhbar al-a ’imma al-Rustumiyyin (Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami 1986) 28-41.

9 al-Darjini, Tabaqat, vol. 1, 23; al-Barradi, Risala fi Kutub al-Ibadiyya (Cairo, 1994), 66; Abu Zakariya, Siyar, 37. There is also a mention of this work in some non-Ibadi sources, such as al-Zarkali, al-A‘lam (7th ed. Beirut, 1986), vol. 3, 306.

10 The first view is adopted by contemporaries like Y. Dabbuz Bu Tardin, al-Shaykh Atfiyash wa madhhabuhu fi l-tafsir (unpublished thesis) 132 but he did not state his sources while the other view is adopted by early sources like al-Barradi and al-Darjini.

11 See ‘Abd al-Rahhman, al-Dalil wa-l-Burhan (2nd ed., Oman, 1997).

12 B. Sharifi in H.M. al-Hawwari, Tafsir Kitab Allah al-‘Aziz (Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1990), vol. 1, 15-25.

13 al-Shammakhi, Kitab al-Siyar, vol. 2, 59.

14 In 4 volumes edited and commented on by B.S. Sharifi, (Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, l990).

l5 See section 7 of this article.

16 The first page of the ms. says: ‘this is the refutation of the outstanding scholar Abu 1-Hawwari’ but if the author were Abu l-Hawwari he would not have described himself thus. See also the way he has been quoted in 144-47. Walid ‘Awjan, ed., al-Diraya wa Kanz al-Ghinaya wa Muntaha al-Diraya fi Tafsir al-Khams-mi’at Aya (Jordan, l994).

17 This view is adopted by al-Barradi in his brief epistle about Ibadi works at the end of al-Qalhati, al-Jawahir al-Muntaqat (Cairo: lithograph, n.d.) but, unlike other places, without mentioning that he saw the book or even that it has been described for him. However, he did not mention it at all in his latest epistle, Risala fi Kutub al-Ibadiyya. Also al-Salt b. Khamis is Abu l-Hawwari’s teacher and it is unusual for the teacher to quote his student as would be the case here.

18 There is indeed another opinion by Ennami, Studies in Ibadism, that the author is al-Salt b. Malik al-Kharusi. But this seems to me to be a false impression occurring to Ennami due to the similarity between the two names, otherwise his source here was al-Barradi who ascribed it to al-Salt b. Khamis not Malik.

19 A.H. Salimi, al-Lam‘a al-Mardiyya (Oman, 1983), 23.

20 Barradi, Risala fi Kutub al-Ibadiyya, 70.

21 al-Shammakhi, Kitab al-Siyar, vol. 2, 105.

22 He saw the first volume of the book and described it as such a comprehensive commentary that he has never seen such a detailed tafsir before. Barradi, Risala fi Kutub al-Ibadiyya, 70.

23 Abu l-Yaqzan Ibrahim (d. 1393/1973), Fath Nawafidh al-Qur’an (Oman, 1991), 68.

24 I did not see the ms. itself but the last page of it is photocopied in the printed work, 21.

25 More details about the author and his works can be found in my graduating paper on Maqalid al-Tanzil, submitted to the Institute of Jurisprudence, Oratory and Guidance (Oman) in 1996.

26 N.J. al-Kharusi, al-Haqq al-Mubin (uncatalogued ms.), vol. 3, 3.

27 J.Kh. al-Kharusi, Maqalid al-Tanzil (uncatalogued ms.), 2.

28 I possess a photocopy of this collection which is in 19 folios, each of 17 lines in a clear naskhi script.

29 A.U. Bakalli, in his introduction to Tafsir Surat al-Nur by Bayyud (Algeria, 1998),14.

30 Yahya b. Salih Bu Tardin, al-Shaykh Atfayyish wa Madhhabuhu fi l-Tafsir (University of ‘Ayn Shams, Egypt, master’s thesis, 1989), 103.

31 The author realized this himself as he stated in the Taysir al-Tafsir (Oman: Ministry of National Heritage, I986), vol. l, 7.

32 The most advanced study is Bu Tardin, al-Shaykh Atfiyash.

33 Such as Salih b. ‘Umar La‘li (d. 1347/1928) who wrote al-Qawl al- Wajiz fi Tafsir Kalam Allah al-‘Aziz (ms.) and Ibrahim Abu l-Yaqzan (1393/1973) who has many works of tafsir: e.g. Fath Nawafidh al-Qur’an, Ashi‘at al-Nur min al-Nur.

34 J.K. al-Sa‘di, Qamus al-Shari‘a (Oman, 1982), vol. 1, 26 and vol. 4, 50.

35 M.J. Ibn Ja‘far, al-Jami‘ (Oman, 1983), vol. 1, 91.

36 Ibid. vol. 5, 319.

37 A.B. al-Jahiz, al-Bayan wa-l-Tabyin (Beirut, n.d.), vol. 1, part 1, 363-9; al-Hayawan (3rd ed. Beirut, 1969), vol. 6, 191; vol. 7, 203.

38 Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Lisan al-Mizan (3rd ed. Beirut, 1986), vol. 4, 372-3.

39 M.F. Sezgin, Majaz al-Qur’an of Abu ‘Ubayda Ma‘mar b. al-Muthanna (2nd ed. Cairo, 1970), 10.

40 ‘Awjan, ed., a1-Diraya wa Kanz al-Ghinaya, 10.

41 S. Kashif, ed., al-Siyar wa-l-Jawabat al-‘Umaniyya (Oman, 1989), 352.

42 See section I0 of this article.

43 Bu Tardin, al-Shaykh Atfiyash, 104-5.



An Overview of Ibadi Tafsir, by: Dr. Kahlan al-Kharusi (Oriental Institute, University of Oxford).

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