Sufi Commentaries on the Qur'an in Classical Islam: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sufi Commentaries on the Qur'an in Classical Islam

1st Edition

By Kristin Sands


208 pages

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Meeting the ever increasing interest in Islam and Sufism, this book is the first comprehensive study of Sufi Qur’anic commentaries and includes translations of many writings previously unavailable in English. It examines the shared hermeneutical assumptions of Sufi writers and the diversity in style of Sufi commentaries. Some of the assumptions analyzed are:

* the Qur’an is a multi-layered and ambiguous text open to endless interpretation

* the knowledge of deeper meanings of the Qur’an is attainable by means other than transmitted interpretations and rational thought

* the self is dynamic, moving through states and stations which result in different interpretations at different times.

The styles of Sufi commentaries are explored, which range from philosophical musings to popular preaching to literary narrative and poetry. Other commentaries from the classical period are also investigated to provide context in understanding Sufi approaches and exegetical styles.


'This book will serve as an excellent introduction to this genre … the author deserves congratulations on her great effort.' - The Muslim World Book Review

Kristin Zahra Sands’ Sufi Commentaries on the Qur’an in Classical Islam is certainly one of these meaningful studies. On account of its clarity, exemplary textual fidelity and sound translations from the Arabic and Persian, this monograph will serve as an effective basis for further inquiries into Sufi Qur’anic exegesis. It is, therefore, a welcome contribution to the growing literature on Islamic mysticism.

- Mohammed Rustom, University of Toronto

'This fine contribution to Sufi tafsir studies provides a reliable and well-written guide to many of the major works of that tradition and raises a number of importatn questions, especially about the categories with which we are accustomed to thinking about Islam' - Todd Lawson, University of Toronto, Journal of the American Oriental Society

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Hermeneutics 1. The Qur'an as the Ocean of all Knowledge 2. The Qur'anic Text and Ambiguity 3. Uncovering Meaning: Knowledge and Spiritual Practice 4. Methods of Interpretation 5. Attacking and Defending Sufi Qur'anic Interpretation Part 2: Commentary 6. Sufi Commentators on the Qur'an 7. Qur'anic Verses 18:60-82: The Story of Musa and Al-Khadir 8. Qur'anic Verses on Maryam 9. Verse 24:35 (The Light Verse). Conclusion. Appendix: Other Commentators on the Qur'an. Glossary of Terms

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Qur'an

In its examination of critical issues in the scholarly study of the Qur'an and its commentaries, this series targets the disciplines of archaeology, history, textual history, anthropology, theology and literary criticism. The contemporary relevance of the Qur'an in the Muslim world, its role in politics and in legal debates are also dealt with, as are debates surrounding Quranic studies in the Muslim world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Islam / Koran & Sacred Writings
RELIGION / Islam / Sufi
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies