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Tarjumān Al-Qur’ān and Tafhīm Al-Qur’ān: A Comparative Analysis of Selected Qur’ānic Chapters

Abstract

This article explores the underlying factors that prompted the production of influential Qur’ān exegesis in the Indian subcontinent. Both exegeses continue to influence later exegesis, since Mawlānā Āzād (Tarjumān al-Qur’ān) and Mawlānā Mawdūdī (Tafhīm al-Qur’ān) were contemporary influential Muslim intellectuals, prolific writers and skilled journalists. However, both have different perspectives especially regarding the political matters that influenced their tafsīr writings. To achieve the mentioned goals, the article employs comparative methodology coupled with historical analysis. To do so, the paper investigates chapters 9 (Sūrah al-Tawbah) and 18 (Sūrah Al-Kahf) of the Qur’ān. Moreover, it explores and identifies their adherence to ḥadīth and their stand on fiqh while interpreting the Qur’ān. While going through a meticulous study of these exegeses, it becomes clear that Mawlānā Mawdūdī’s Tafhīm al-Qur’ān bears many imprints and influences of Tarjumān al-Qur’ān. Moreover, Tafhīm al-Qur’ān views the Qur’ān through a political prism in which Tarjumān al-Qur’ān has little interest. What makes Tafhīm al-Qur’ān influential in modern Urdu tafāsīr is that it is written in simple and easy to understand Urdu language. Regarding the ḥadīth literature and reliance on traditional fiqh sources, Tafhīm al-Qur’ān relies on them more often compared with Tarjumān al-Qur’ān.Though many have written on these two great exegeses on various fronts, no study has been done on Mawlānā Āzād’s influence on Mawdūdī’s exegesis. Moreover, a comparative study of this kind explores many similarities between them. Living in the same socio-political environment, but having different perspectives with regard to Qur’ānic exegesis, also reveals different human tendencies when approaching the Qur’ān.

Keywords

Tafsīr, Tarjumān al-Qur’ān, Tafhīm al-Qur’ān, Āzād, Mawdūdī, Qur’ān, Exegesis

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