Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Towards Understanding the Quran, Vol. I Paperback – International Edition, 1995
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Parts of it were indeed interesting and informative. However, I quickly found it harder and harder to ignore its pervasive hostility toward Jews. One needs only look up "Jews" in the index, with references such as "Jews, their lies" and "Jews, the depravity of," to see where Mawdudi is going. The actual entries are worse, often taking a passage in the Quran referring to Jews which is only vaguely contemptuous and piling on insult after insult in the commentary "explaining" the verse. According to the author, Jews are congenitally corrupt and vile. He even argues, bizarrely, that Jews of 7th Century Arabia truly knew that Muhammad was a prophet of God, yet opposed him out of sheer innate spite. This would be silly if it weren't so earnest and the author so influential. It goes beyond religious critique, or even polemics. And the author doen't even have the excuse of being a medieval writer - this is a modern, educated 20th Century man. I cannot describe Mawdudi's commentary as anything other than racist. It is not hard to understand why this writer is immensely popular among Islamists and harabi terrorists. I wonder where the tafsirs are for the rest of us.
The introduction mentions that this is the first of 12 books, this volume addresses the first two surrahs in the Quran, and each of the other three volumes tackles a few at a time until Volume 4 which goes up to Surrah 16. I am still waiting for the rest of the volumes that have not yet come out, but I studying the first 4 in depth, so I have enough to keep me busy.
I have read the original Urdu version and occasionally refer to English version. I would recommend it to anybody Muslim or non Muslim who sincerely wants to understand Quran and its relevance today.
Muslim and non Muslim scholars have mentioned some flaws in this book. It would take lots of space to analyze them all in this short space. However it should be noted that scholarship of nobody is final. There is always room for disagreement. This would be in accordance with what Maudoodi has been preaching himself all his life. That one should never consider his words to be last on any subject!
The most interesting aspect of this Tafseer I find is its analysis of current western ideologies. It convincingly proves that current ideologies of secularism, communism, nationalism, modernism etc are not beneficial for the ultimate well being of mankind. Quran not only shows how a person can go to heaven but also tells how one can establish utopian society which provides best room for spiritual and moral growth of mankind and at the same time is most progressive , most modern and most adaptive in terms of science and technology. Material growth doesn't have to be at the expense of moral values and moral requirements of society don't necessarily have to regress material progress. Western civilization went from one extreme where before renaissance all scientific and material progress was considered bad and was opposed both by state and church to another extreme where religion has been relegated to backseat. In this context this commentary convincingly argues that the only hope to take out the mankind from both these extremes is Islam.
It is also interesting to note that a reader Mr. Geoffrey Dennis has termed this commentary a racist one. Being a student of comparative religion and having gone through Islamic , Christian and Jewish religious texts and their commentaries, I can say with confidence that there are far less anti Jewish messages in Quran compared to both Old and New Testament. The meaning of these messages as I understand them (and Quran makes it clear) is that there are good people and bad people in any community. Quran condemns only the 2nd group be they Jews , Christians or Muslims. The only thing Maudoodi has done is to further explain these verses in the light of both Old and New Testaments. One could find tonnes of such quotations all over in this commentary. To call him racist is to call all these texts ( Old and New Testament and Quran) racist. By the way some of most devout followers of Maudoodi were Jewish converts to Islam like Maryam Jamilah etc.
As for the book, I would confidently say that for any non-Arabic-speaking reader intending to have a deep and unbiased and rational understanding of the Quran, this work is indispensible. This is an excellent translation of a monumental and indispensible commentary on the Noble Quraan. This commentary could be considered one of the most influencial and popular Islamic books that served, among other things, to guide the Islamic movement worldwide. It presents the Quran in its true spirit: the last heavenly revelation, intended for the mankind forever to come; at the same time being a commentary on the revolutionary movement of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The timelessness of the Quranic message along with its close connection with the seerah (life) of the Prophet Muhammad is duely captured in this commentary. I recommend it for all readers.