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Introduction to Quranic Exegesis and Interpretation


Course Overview

The study of usul al-tafsir (the principles of Quranic exegesis) is part of the broader subject of ‘ulum al-Quran. The goal is to become acquainted with the essential aspects of the Scripture and rules of interpretation, so as to avoid erring in one’s understanding. At the introductory level, it is important to gain an overview of the main features of the sacred text and the disciplines that are connected to it, so as to lay the foundation for the technical studies to follow.

Primary Text:

Mabadi fi Usul Al-Tafsir by Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi

About the Text:
Mabadi fi Usul al-Tafsir is part of a series of five books written by Shaykh Akram Nadwi in order to introduce the sciences of Quran, Hadith, Fiqh and Arabic language. The book provides an introduction to Usul al-Tafsir in a concise yet comprehensive way making a suitable book for a beginner.

Teaching Method:
During the course the primary text will be read in Arabic along with its translation, commentary and relevance to the wider field. There will be an encouragement for the teaching to be interactive, with questions both posed to the students and welcomed from them.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the history of the development of Quranic exegesis.
  2. Understand the Quran through a methodical approach to its interpretation.
  3. Understand the terminology and general principles used in Quranic exegesis.
  4. Analyse and evaluate interpretations of the Quran in text and other literature.
  5. Apply exegetical methods to the interpretation of the Qur’an.
  6. Recognise different exegetical types.


Course Content:

  1. Introduction to the methodology of Quranic exegesis
  2. Historic development of Quranic exegesis
  3. The notion of wahy (revelation)
  4. Transmission of the Quranic revelation
  5. Form, structure and coherence of the Quran
  6. Occasions of revelation (asbab al-nuzul) and Isra’iliyyat
  7. Muhkam and mutashabih (clear and ambiguous verses) and the notion of naskh (abrogation)
  8. Western scholarship of the Quran
  9. The concept of abrogation
  10. The different readings (qira’at)
  11. Categories of Qur’anic rhetoric
  12. The inimitability (i’jaz) of the Qur’an
  13. The distinction between Meccan and Medinan surahs.
  14. The fundamental thematic meanings contained within the Qur’an

Course Reviews


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  1. An enriching introduction


    Our shaykh’s introduction to usul al-tafsir is intelligible and his personnel opinions motivate you to further study the subject.

  2. Must Watch!!!


    Excellent course outlining the most important aspects of the Qur’an one should have knowledge of. By far the best course I’ve undertaken thus far. Highly recommended to understand the history of the Qur’an, its compilation, tafseer, scholars of tafseer etc.

  3. Informative


    Excellent course as always, Shaikh Akram Nadwi.

  4. A Helpful Guide


    Salam. As an Arabic student and just started my journey with Quran study seriously, I have been benefiting from this course in order to get myself familiar with the Usul Al-Tafsir. I was searching for the basic, if not the right, tafseer and Alhamdulillah, Sheikh mentioned it here from among the classical, modern, methodical and literary perspectives. Besides, it takes to the deep of my heart to realise how strict he is with following the Quran and Sunnah in the process of learning Kalamullah even though there’re opinions that say otherwise about him. In addition, this course makes me feel that I should be ready to think properly, analyse accurately and inshaAllah address the issue accordingly so that others and myself are then applying the understanding of Al-Quran into our own circumstances. Hence, it will appear to us how timelessly guiding Quran is.Alhamdulillah. May Allah preserve and bless Sheikh and us all, ameen.

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