Comments: Don't work that hard

Bill,

While you may not want to take the time to blog it, I do encourage you to read the portion of In the Shade of The Qur'an which is online.

The portion that is online, the 30th juz' (or part) of the Qur'an, deals with the shortest surahs (usually translated chapters) of the Qur'an and the ones which were, for the most part revealed earliest chronologically.

I think if you looked at any parts of Qutb's tafseer and compared them to other tafseers what will strike you most is how similar they are, if you have in your mind some idea that Qutb is some wild-eyed fanatic who came up with new meanings never thought of before. That just is simply untrue.

Especially, however, when dealing with these early short surahs, which deal primarily with the issues of the oneness of God, the reality of the day of judgment and issues of basic universal morality, I don't even think you'll find much controversial (at least unless you think the idea of the end of this world and a subsequent Day of Judgment is controversial).

The only ways in which Qutb's tafseer is really any different from the classical tradition of tafseer are 1. In some sections he does focus more on an understanding of the text in terms of how it relates to an Islamic "movement" in the 20th century. As I said, though, this will not really be the case for the surahs of the 30th juz.

2. As his background was in literature, Qutb also emphasizes literary aspects of the Qur'an and talks a lot about the imagery used by God and the specific language used. You will find a good deal of discussion of this in the 30th juz' but of course not all of it will even be included in an English translation and some that is will lose much of its power since there is a limit to how much one can talk about the literary power of a work to someone who does not even understand the language its written in.

Anyways, if you do read it, let me know if you agree with these observations, I'm interesed to know.

Posted by Abu Noor al-Irlandee at July 21, 2004 06:27 PM