The Debate on the Nature of the Science of Tafsir in the Tradition of Sharhs and Hashiyas on al-Kashshaf


The sharhs and hashiyahs written on al-Zamakhshari’s (d. 538/1144) al-Kashshāf formed an effective writing tradition and are connected to each other in terms of influence, quotation, rejection, objection, and answering. However, the commentators often provided explanations of the information related in the previous works without citing any specific author. Therefore, these relations can only become apparent via chronological and comparative analyses. This study examines these texts, which are mostly in manuscript form, both chronologically and comparatively in the context of the nature of the science of tafsīr. Al-Zamakhsharī explained his view on the nature of tafsīr in the introduction to his al-Kashshāf. This article, which presents a chronological study of the subsequent works in which these explanations were annotated, details how later scholars dealt with this subject. The selected section shows that the sharhs and hashiyahs do not reflect the widespread belief that such works were merely repetitions of each other, but that they were subjected to intense debates that matured over time. The following points are noted: There is no consensus on the definition of tafsīr, the critical approach is constantly in the foreground, and any serious study of the sharhs and hashiyahs on al-Kashshāf is only possible when one consults works of historical depth.


The nature of the science of tafsīr Definition of tafsīr Tradition of sharhs and hashiyahs Sharhs and hashiyahs on al-Kashshāf the Mutaahhirīn period of Islamic thought