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Quran Commentary

Sufi Hermeneutics : Al-Maybudi\'s Kashf al-Asrar
Sufi Hermeneutics : Al-Maybudi's Kashf al-Asrar
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Details:  Sufi Hermeneutics -
The Qur'an Commentary of al-Maybudi,
*[A5] Paperback - 408 pages,
Kashf al-asrar by Rashid al-Din Maybudi,
by Annabel Keeler,
Published by Oxford University Press.

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Description :

This is the first major study in a Western language of Rashid al-Din Maybudi's Persian commentary on the Qur'an Kashf al-asrar wa 'uddat al-abrar (Unveiling of Mysteries and Provision of the Righteous).


Previously little known outside the Persian-speaking world, Maybudi’s Kashf al-asrar is today recognised as a work of considerable significance not only for an understanding of the development of Sufi hermeneutics, but also as a treasury of Sufi lore; the extensive esoteric sections of the commentary, which cover over a thousand pages, contain countless sayings and anecdotes of important figures in Islamic mysticism as well as detailed expositions of the doctrines of Sufism.


Commenced in 520/1126 CE during one of the most exciting periods in Sufism’s history, the Kashf al-asrar is based on, and probably embodies, the only surviving text of an earlier Qur’an commentary by the famous Hanbali mystic, ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari (d. 481/1089 CE).


Extant in over fifty manuscripts, the Kashf al-asrar may be counted among the most popular Persian tafsirs. Moreover, the emerging doctrines and poetic language of love-mysticism manifested in the text were to become essential elements in later Persian Sufi literature, influencing the style and content of Kamal al-Din Wa‘iz Kashifi’s (d. 910/1504 CE) Mawahib ‘Aliyya in Persian and Isma‘il Haqqi Burusawi’s (d. 1137/1724 CE) Ruh al-bayan in Arabic.


Annabel Keeler explores the interplay between scriptural exegesis and mystical doctrine in a twelfth-century Sufi commentary on the Qur'an. Previously little-known outside the Persian-speaking world, it is increasingly recognized as a key work in the development of Sufi Qur'anic interpretation. This volume provides invaluable background for anyone wanting to gain a deeper understanding of Persian mystical poetry and prose, and other major works of Sufi literature.




Rashid al-Din Maybudi :

He is Rashīd al-Dīn Abu’l-Faḍl Aḥmad ibn Abī Saʿd ibn Aḥmad ibn Mihr-i Īzad. He was apparently born in the town of Maybud, about fifty kilometers from Yazd in central Iran. Annabel Keeler thinks that he followed the Shafi’ite school of law because he usually gives priority to al-Shāfiʿī’s opinion in discussions of legal issues. He shows signs of both Ash’arism and Hanbalism, so it is not clear if he held to a specific school of Kalam. It seems that he was more concerned to provide a range of exegetical opinions than to state his own position, which helps explain why his statements in one place may seem at odds with what he says elsewhere.


The only thing known about Maybudi's dates is that he began writing Kashf al-Asrār
in the year 520h/1126CE. Anyone who studies the book will quickly see that he was well-versed in the religious sciences and had a gift for simplifying complex discussions.


In an appendix, he talks about the debate among the ulama concerning the legitimacy of the science of Qur’an commentary and concludes that only those who have mastered ten fields of learning have a right to undertake it. These are lexicography (lugha), the derivation of words (ishtiqāq), Arabic grammar (naḥw), Qur’an recitation (qirāʾa), biographies (siyar), Hadith, the principles of jurisprudence (uṣūl-i  fiqh), the science of the legal rulings (ʿilm-i aḥkām), the science of transactions and interactions (muʿāmalāt), and the science of bestowal (mawhiba). By the last he means knowledge that comes not from study or acquisition (iktisāb), but rather from “divine bestowal and lordly inspiration” (
mawhibat-i ilāhī wa ilhām-i rabbānī ; see under 8:29). Most commentaries deal only with some or all of the first nine fields, and a few focus on the tenth, such as those of al-Sulamī, al-Qushayrī, and ʿAbd al-Razzāq Kāshānī. What is distinctive about Maybudī’s work is that he addresses all ten fields.




Dr. Annabel Keeler, is an Affiliated Researcher at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a Research Associate of Wolfson College, both at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include Sufi exegesis, early to 'classical' Islamic mysticism, Persian literature and Prophetology.


As well as being the author of Sufi Hermeneutics: The Qur'an Commentary of Rashīd al-Dīn Maybudī (Oxford, 2006), she is co-translator of the commentary of Sahl al-Tustarī, under the title Tafsīr al-Tustarī (Kentucky, 2011) and co-editor of The Spirit and the Letter: Approaches to the Esoteric Interpretation of the Qur'an (Oxford, 2016).






Table of Contents :


---Note on transliteration and translation,
---List of abbreviations,
---List of manuscripts of Kashf al-Asrar,
---Foreword,
---Preface.


---[1]. Introduction,

Part I: Hermeneutics:

---[2]. The Hermeneutics of the Kashf al-asrar,
---[3]. The Hermeneutics of Mystical Commentary in the Kashf al-asrar,


Part II: Mystical Doctrine:

---[4]. The Development of Love Mysticism in Khurasan,
---[5]. God and the Creation,
---[6]. Aspects of Spiritual Guidance,
---[7]. Mystical Theology and the Way of Love.


Part III: Maybudi's Mystical Interpretation of the Stories of the Prophets;

---Prolegomenon: Prophets in the Qur'an and in Sufi Exegesis,
---[8]. The Story of Abraham,
---[9]. The Story of Moses,
---[10]. The Story of Joseph.

---Conclusion,


---Bibliography,
---Index of Qur'anic citations.
---Index.









Also see Tafsir al-Tustari,
More books on the Study of the Qur'an,

Also see Sufism Homepage.




*Dimensions : 21.7 x 14cm.

NB: This book is a study ( & not a complete translation or commentary).






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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 10 April, 2020.