The English Commentary of the Holy Quran
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The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community published The English Commentary of the Holy Quran in 1963. It was prepared by a board of translators consisting of Maulvi Sher Ali, Mirza Bashir Ahmad and Malik Ghulam Farid.
This 5 Volume "Commentary" covers about 3,000 pages with an Introduction by Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya movement. The Commentary is largely based upon the earlier volumes of the Urdu "Tafsir Saghir”, the 10 Volumes Tafsir Kabeer and unpublished notes of Mahmood Ahmad,. The Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur'an by Mahmood Ahmad, has been published as an independent work as well. In 1968, a single Volume abridged Edition was also published. The Arabic Text of the book has been given side by side with the English Translation, followed by a system of Cross-references and Notes.
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In 5 volumes (1963):
Scheme of translation
The authors explain to have adopted a three-fold scheme for translating and interpreting the Arabic words and expressions. First, interpreting an expression in the light of a corroborative testimony of the Quranic idiom itself. Secondly, the ‘context’ of a word or expression, which determines the meaning. Thirdly, meanings and explanations in the standard lexicons of the Arabic language, such as the Lisan al-Arab, the Taj al-'Arus, the Mufradat of Imam Raghib, the Arabic English Lexicon by E. W. Lane and the Aqrab AI-Mawar etc.
Words in italics have been placed to further explain/qualify the meaning of the text. The verses have been interpreted by appending notes to them which are serially numbered throughout the Commentary. It is claimed these notes derive their authority from the spirit and tenor of the Holy Quran. A concordance has been created to enable search for the same or similar expressions/concepts at other places of the Holy Quran. In transliterating Arabic words, the system adopted by the Royal Asiatic Society has been followed.
Order of precedence
In explaining difficult places or expressions, the authors, according to the Ahmadiyya beliefs, have adopted an order of precedence: Quran having precedence over Hadith, after the Hadith, the Arab Lexicons, and then the factual evidence of historical events.
The authors believe, the Chapters (Surahs) in the Holy Quran, have a natural order, which also runs through the verses of each Chapter. At the beginning of each Chapter, an introduction has been given, explaining the main subject of the Chapter, the Chronology of Revelation and the questions of how every Chapter is linked to the previous one. It is claimed the Quran forms a thoroughly coherent and consistent reading. The verses of the various Chapters, and the specific position of each Chapter itself is governed by an intelligent order.
The Notes, it is claimed, have been placed to refute the principal objections raised against Islam by the non-Muslim critics. It is claimed that such objections were based upon ignorance or deliberate misinterpretation of the teachings of Islam. Such objections have been refuted with the intent to remove the bias and prejudice against Islam, and make a better understanding of its teachings possible.
The Commentary has a system of cross-references, placed below the Text and the Translation. These give, at a glance, the various places where the subject of a particular verse has been dealt with, in the Quran.
- English Commentary of the Holy Quran (5 Volumes)
- Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur'an by Mahmood Ahmad.
- English Commentary of the Holy Quran(Abridged Edition )1968