Tafhim-ul-Quran ( تفہيم القرآن, Tafheem-ul-Quran, lit. ‘Towards Understanding the Qur’an’) is a 6-volume translation and commentary of the Qur’an by the Pakistani Muslim philosopher, activist, and scholar Syed Abul Ala Maududi. Maududi began writing the book in 1942 and completed it in 1972.
The Tafhim is a combination of orthodox and modernist interpretations and has deeply influenced modern Islamic thought. It differs from traditional exegeses in several ways. It is more than a traditional commentary on the scripture as it contains discussions and debates regarding economics, sociology, history, and politics. In his text, Maududi highlights the Quranic perspective and argues that Islam provides ample guidance in all spheres.
Maududi uses the standard technique of providing an explanation of the Qur’anic verses from the Sunnah of Muhammed, including the historical reasons behind the verses.
The Tafhim deals extensively with issues faced by the modern world in general and the Muslim community in particular.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an
Translator’s Preface Preface
“The Meaning of the Qur’an” follows the interpretation of Maulana Abul A`la Maududi as contained in the “Tafhimul Qur’an.” This work has been before the reading public for a decade or so and has elicited unqualified and universal praise because of the freshness of its approach and its clarity and force. It can be safely asserted that this work has contributed more towards understanding the Qur’an than any other such work in our time. For it has applied the Qur’anic principles to the solution of the problems of the modern age and demonstrated in a wonderful way how up-to-date the Qur’an is and how surely it marches with the times.
It has, however, been felt that the people, who do not know Urdu or are not well-versed in it, cannot derive any benefit from the “Tafhimul Qur’an.” I have, therefore, With a deep sense of responsibility, undertaken the delicate and difficult task of rendering this work into English under the guidance of the Maulana himself. I am fully conscious of my limitations and pray to Allah to help me in this work.
“The Meaning of the Qur’an” 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 and to impress them with his mind, as far as possible, the same effect that it intends to produce. In order to achieve this,
- An interpretation has been attempted instead of a literal translation, and
- Explanatory Notes have been added wherever necessary.
A free explanatory translation has been adopted for two reasons:
- A word-for-word translation of the Qur’an has already been done by several worthy persons and that suffices to serve its purpose.
- 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.
In order to avoid the common defects of the existing English translations, the following devices have been adopted in “The meaning of the Qur’an”
- An attempt has been made to express the meaning of the Qur’an 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.
- 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.
In this connection, it is necessary to add a word of caution. There is a general tendency to regard the English translation of the Holy Qur’an as The Qur’an. It is obviously a misnomer. No translation, However good is maybe, can ever take the place of the original Qur’an, which is its Arabic Text, for it is impossible to reproduce its matchless, enchanting, and grand style, its highly emotive and fiery language, and its forceful rhetoric. Therefore one must turn to the original Arabic Text for fuller appreciation and understanding. Only then will the reader himself experience how irresistibly he is being moved to ecstasy and his heart melted and stirred to noble action
“The Meaning Of the Qur’an” 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. I pray to Allah to help and guide me in the achievement of this object.
Muhammad Akbar Muradpur, Sialkot West Pakistan 1970