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Abu 'Abdullah Al-Qurtubi
Qurtuba, Emirate of Taifa, Andalus
Died29 April 1273
EraIslamic golden age
Main interest(s)Tafsir, fiqh and hadith

Imam Abū ʿAbdullāh Al-Qurṭubī or Abū ʿAbdullāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr al-Anṣārī al-Qurṭubī (Arabic: أبو عبدالله القرطبي) (1214 – 29 April 1273)[3] was an arab Andalusian Sunni Muslim polymath, Maliki jurisconsult, mufassir, muhaddith and an expert in the Arabic Language.[4] He was taught by prominent scholars of Córdoba, Spain and he is well known for his classical commentary of the Quran named Tafsir al-Qurtubi.


He was born in Córdoba, Al-Andalus in the 13th century. His father was a farmer and died during a Spanish attack in 1230. During his youth, he contributed to his family by carrying clay for use in potteries. He finished his education in Cordoba, studying from renowned scholars ibn Ebu Hucce and Abdurrahman ibn Ahmet Al-Ashari. After Cordoba's capture in 1236 by king Ferdinand III of Castile, he left for Alexandria, where he studied hadith and tafsir. He then passed to Cairo and settled in Munya Abi'l-Khusavb where he spent the rest of his life. Known for his modesty and humble lifestyle, he was buried in Munya Abi'l-Khusavb, Egypt in 1273. His grave was carried to a mosque where a mausoleum was built under his name in 1971,[5] still open for visiting today.


He was very skilled in commentary, narrative, recitation and law; clearly evident in his writings, and the depth of his scholarship has been recognized by many scholars.[6] In his works, Qurtubi defended the Sunni point of view and criticised the Mu'tazilah.[7]


The hadith scholar Dhahabi said of him, "..he was an imam versed in numerous branches of scholarship, an ocean of learning whose works testify to the wealth of his knowledge, the width of his intelligence and his superior worth."[1]

Islamic scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller said of him:

Imam Qurtubi is Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Farah, Abu Abdullah al-Ansari al-Qurtubi, of Cordova (in present day Spain). A Maliki scholar and hadith specialist, he was one of the greatest Imams of Koranic exegesis, an ascetic who divided his days between worship and writing. Educated in hadith by masters like Ali ibn Muhammad al-Yahsabi and al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Bakri, he wrote works in the sciences of hadith and tenets of faith, though his enduring contribution is his twenty volume al-Jami li Ahkam al-Qur’an [The compendium of the rules of the Koran], from which he mainly omitted the stories and histories customary in other commentaries, and recorded instead the legal rulings contained in the Koran and how scholars have inferred them, together with canonical readings (qira’at), Arabic grammar, and which verses abrogate others and which are abrogated (nasikh wa mansukh). Scholars have used it extensively ever since it was written. It is related that Qurtubi disdained airs, and used to walk about in a simple caftan with a plain cap (taqiyya) on his head. He travelled east and settled in Munya Abi al-Khusayb in upper Egypt, where he died in 671/1273[8]


  1. Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī: the most important and famous of his works, this 20 volume commentary has raised great interest, and has had many editions.[9] It is often referred to as al-Jamī' li-'Aḥkām, meaning "All the Judgements". Contrary to what this name implies, the commentary is not limited to verses dealing with legal issues,[10] but is a general interpretation of the whole of Quran with a Maliki point of view. Any claims made about a verse are stated and thoroughly investigated.
  2. al-Tadhkirah fī Aḥwāl al-Mawtà wa-Umūr al-Ākhirah (Reminder of the Conditions of the Dead and the Matters of the Hereafter): a book dealing with the topics of death, the punishments of the grave, the end times and the day of resurrection
  3. Al-Asnà fi Sharḥ al-Asmā' al-Ḥusnà
  4. Kitāb ut-Tadhkār fi Afḍal il-Adhkār
  5. Kitab Sharḥ it-Taqaṣṣi
  6. Kitab Qam' il-Ḥirṣ biz-Zuhd wal-Qanā'ah
  7. At-Takrāb li-Kitāb it-Tamhīd
  8. al-Mufhim lima Ushkila min Talkhis Sahih Muslim

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Lewis, B. & Pellat, Ch., eds. (1986). "al-Ḳurṭubī". The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume V: Khe–Mahi. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 512. ISBN 978-90-04-07819-2.
  2. ^ Namira Nahouza (2018). Wahhabism and the Rise of the New Salafists: Theology, Power and Sunni Islam. I.B. Tauris. p. 154. ISBN 9781838609825. The master of Qur'anic exegetes, Imam Qurtubi (d.671/1273; Rahimahullah), author of 'al-Jami' li Ahkam al-Qur'an', was Ash'ari.
  3. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (April 2015). "Commentator key The Study Quran. San Francisco: HarperOne.
  4. ^ Status and Preservation of Hadith: Answering the contentions of orientalists, Christian missionaries and modernists on Hadith pg 49 by Syed Nooruzuha Barmave
  5. ^ 26, el-Kasabî Mahmûd Zelat. p. 30
  6. ^ Al-Qurtubi's depth of scholarship
  7. ^ Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Lewis, B. & Pellat, Ch., eds. (1986). "al-Ḳurṭubī". The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume V: Khe–Mahi. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 513. ISBN 978-90-04-07819-2.
  8. ^ Reliance of the Traveller (Revised Edition), p. 1090, by Sh. Nuh Keller
  9. ^ * MV, Kahire 1950; 1353-1369/1935-1950; 1380; I-XX, 1386-1387/1966-1967; nşr. Muhammed İbrahim el-Hifnâvî ve Mahmûd Hâmid Osman, l-XXll, Kahire 1414/1994, 1416/1996
  10. ^ Altıkulaç, Tayyar (2002). "KURTUBÎ, Muhammed b. Ahmed". TDV Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 26 (Ki̇li̇ – Kütahya) (in Turkish). Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, Centre for Islamic Studies. ISBN 978-975-389-406-7.

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