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Mullā Jīwan’s Methodology in His Qurʾān Commentary Al-Tafsīrāt Al-Aḥmadiyyah

Abstract

This article outlines the Ḥanafī subcontinent contribution to the field of tafsīr. It provides a synopsis of Ḥanafī books on the genre of aḥkām al-Qurʾān (legal verses of the Qurʾān). Aḥmad b. Abū Sa‘īd al-Junfūrī (d. 1717), more commonly known as Mullā Jīwan, was an Indian jurist and celebrated teacher of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir (d. 1707). Given he was a teacher of a Mughal emperor, his writings potentially had the capability to practice and influence fiqh at state level. In his introduction, Mullā Jīwan states three types of derivations from the selected āyāt: juristic rulings (aḥkām fiqhiyyah), Islamic jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh) and issues of creed (masāʾil al-‘ʿaqīdah al-sunniyyah). I use examples of āyāt for each derivation to highlight and identify the manhaj (methodology) of his tafsīr. Other sciences are mentioned in his tafsīr—like naḥw (grammar) or taṣawwuf (Sufism)—but they are not the salient objectives mentioned in his introduction nor are they as common as the abovementioned points. Mullā Jīwan is most known for his commentary on Abū al-Barakāt al-Nasafī’s (d. 1311) text on jurisprudence, al-Manār, titled Nūr al-anwār sharḥ al-manār (Light of Lights, commentary on the Enlighted). Prior to writing that commentary, Mullā Jīwan wrote a juristic exegesis of the Qurʾān titled al-Tafsīrāt al-Aḥmadiyyah fī bayān al-āyāt al-sharʿiyyah (Aḥmad’s Exegeses in Explaining Legal verses). It was the first complete juristic exegesis written in the subcontinent. In this tafsīr, he presents each masʾalah (case study) based on the Ḥanafī/Māturīdī school of thought. 

Keywords

Mullā Jīwan, Tafsir, Maturidism, Mughal, Fiqh, Subcontinent, Hanafi

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