Towards Understanding the Qur'an

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Towards Understanding the Qur'an[1] is the English rendering of Syed Abul Ala Maududi's famous Urdu Tafsir or commentary of Qur'an -- Tafhim al-Qur'an.

This book ranks as one of the best commentaries of the Qur'an. In this commentary work Maududi gives the historical reasons behind the verses of Qur'an. He also gives a comprehensive introduction and background for each chapter in the Qur'an. This tafsir answers contemporary questions. Maps and indexes add greatly to the work.

Book: Towards Understanding the Qur'an (English Version of abridged Tafhim al-Qur'an) Author: Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi Translator: Zafar Ishaq Ansari

Targeted readers[edit]

"Towards Understanding the Quran" aims to fulfill the growing desire of the educated people to grasp the true spirit of the Qur'an and understand the real object of its revelation. It is hoped that this work will meet the demand that has been increasing day by day in spite of the praiseworthy efforts of the translators and commentators.

The main object of this work is to enable the English reader to understand clearly the meaning and the aim of the Qur'an. In order to achieve this, (a) an interpretation has been attempted instead of a literal translation and (b) Explanatory Notes have been added wherever necessary. A free explanatory translation has been adopted for two reasons: (1) A word for word translation of the Qur'an has already been done by several worthy persons and that suffices to serve its purpose. (2) It cannot fulfill the object for which this work has been undertaken. As a matter of fact, literal translation often becomes a hindrance to the full understanding of the Qur'an.

Special features[edit]

Original Urdu title

In order to avoid the common defects of the existing English translations, the following devices have been adopted in " Towards Understanding the Quran":

  • An attempt has been made to express Towards Understanding the Quran in simple, clear and effective modern English. An explanatory translation into intelligible English has been adopted and appropriate words have been placed within brackets to fill up the gaps which necessarily occur in every translation. Full care, however, has been taken to remain faithful to the original.
  • Anticipated difficulties have been removed and likely objections answered in the Introduction to each Surah or chapter.
  • The background of every Surah has been given in its introduction and the periods the circumstances and the occasion of its revelation have been specified, for every discourse has its own background and is so intimately connected with it that if it is isolated From it, its contents are liable to become unintelligible.
  • The meanings of the Text have been divided into coherent paragraphs.
  • Wherever there is no equivalent of an Arabic word in English, it has either been explained by a phrase or retained in the original.
  • A glossary of un-translated Arabic words and a key to the correct pronunciation of Arabic names and words have been added.

Towards Understanding the Quran merely attempts to help the reader to understand and appreciate the Arabic Text of the original Qur'an and is not a substitute for it.

A quick introduction[edit]

In pages of Introduction to the study of the Qur'an, Maududdi writes: "One cannot understand fully many of the topics discussed in the Qur'an unless one is acquainted with the background of their revelation. One should know the social, historical or other antecedents or conditions which help explain any particular topic. For, the Qur'an was not revealed as a complete book at one and the same time; nor did Allah hand over a written copy of it to Muhammad at the very beginning of his mission and command him to publish it and invite people to adopt a particular way of life. Moreover, it is not a literary work of the common conventional type that develops its central theme in a logical order; nor does it conform to the style of such a work. The Qur'an adopts its own style to suit the guidance of the Islamic Movement that was started by Allah's Messenger under His direct command. Accordingly, Allah revealed the Qur'an piece-meal to meet the requirements of the Movement in its different stages".

Translator's introduction[edit]

Professor Zafar Ishaq Ansari is presently the Director General of the Islamic Research Institute and the International Islamic University, Islamabad. He holds a Masters and Ph. D. degrees from McGill University, Montreal Canada. He taught at the University of Karachi, Princeton University, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and International Islamic University, Islamabad.

He edits Islamic Studies and is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Islamic Studies, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Journal of Qur'anic Studies and Studies in Contemporary Islam.

He is also a member of the international scientific committee appointed by UNESCO for the academic supervision of its 6-volume series on various aspects of Islamic Culture, and is one of two editors of its first volume, The Foundations of Islam.

He has contributed a number of research articles to journals of international repute and to Encyclopædia Britannica and Encyclopaedia of Religions.

He has also edited and translated Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi’s Tafhim al-Quran under the title "Towards Understanding of the Qur’an".[2]

Towards Understanding the Quran (Abridged)[edit]

see also English translations of the Quran


Towards Understanding the Qur'an is the abridgrd English rendering of Syed Abul Ala Maududi's famous Urdu Tafsir or commentary of Qur'an -- Tafhim al-Qur'an. This book contains complete translation of Qur'an in one volume.

Book: Towards Understanding the Qur'an (English Version of abridged Tafhim al-Qur'an) Author: Sayyid Abul A’la Maududi Translator: Zafar Ishaq Ansari Publisher: The Islamic Foundation / 2006 ISBN 0-86037-510-2 ISBN 0-86037-545-5 Deluxe Edition Reprinted in India by Markazi Maktaba Islami Publishers, New Delhi


  1. ^ Tafheem - Quran English Translation
  2. ^ Different Aspects of Islamic Cultures: International Scientific Committee

External links[edit]