Abu al-Saʻud's Qurʼanic Exegesis. Volume One


Shown here is the first volume of an unknown number of volumes comprising Irshād al-ʻaql al-salīm ilá mazāyá al-kitāb al-karīm (Guidance of the sound mind to the virtues of the noble book), more commonly known as “Abu al- Saʻud’s exegesis” of the Qurʼan. It contains the first 18 surahs of the Muslim holy book and their exegeses, starting with al-Fātiḥah (The opening) and ending with al-Kahf (The cave). Partially drawing on previous exegeses, such as those of al-Baydawi, al-Qurtubi, al-Wahidi, and al-Baghawi, Abu al-Saʻud’s work is known for its rational inclination and linguistic examination of the Qurʼan. Born into a learned family near Kostantiniyye (Ottoman Turkish name for Constantinople, present-day Istanbul, Turkey), Abu al-Saʻud Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-ʻImadi (1492 or 1493−1574 or 1575) was a chief judge in Bursa and later in Constantinople. He went on to occupy the highest religious office in the Ottoman Empire and bear the singular title of sheikh al-Islam (sheikh of Islam). Some sources highlight his significant role in the empire-wide reforms of the judicial system that were carried out by Sultan Suleiman al-Kanuni (Suleiman the Magnificent). Abu al-Saʻud died in Constantinople and was buried in the cemetery that he established near the tomb of the sahābī (Prophet Muhammad’s companion) Abu Ayub al-Ansari. In this manuscript the titles of surahs (chapters) are in gold, with the main text written in nastaʻliq raqiq script in black ink with some rubrication on thick, cream laid paper with vertical chain lines. The beginnings of some surahs are marked by threads of red, black, green or blue wool pasted in to protrude from the left margin. The work was copied in Turkey by an unknown scribe in 1592.

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Title in Original Language

المجلد الأول من تفسير أبي السعود

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Physical Description

442 leaves, bound : paper ; 26.5 x 17.5 centimeters

Last updated: August 27, 2015