A Constitutive Work in the Sharh Tradition of Quranic Exegesis: Qutb al-Din al-Razi’s Sharh Mushkilat al-Kashshaf


Al-Zamakhsharī’s al-Kashshāf is one of the most in uflential works in the history of tafsīr (Qur’ānic exegesis). Its terse style, laconically reflecting the accumulation of previous tafsīrs, and success in applying maʿānī methodology to the entire Qur’an caused this work to stand out. However, it only symbolizes the fraction of the science of Qur’anic exegesis during the muta’ākhkhirīn period. As the literature from the seventh/ thirteenth century onward, whenever this period’s significant scholars aspired to contribute to this field by using its methodology, instead of reconciling themselves to it, they preferred to write annotations on it, as well as al-Bayḍāwī’s Anwār al-tanzīl, to prevent themselves from replication. Among those who did so is Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī, whose Sharḥ Mushkilāt al-Kashshāf annotated the main text via linguistic and balāgha, such as ishtiqāq, ṣarf, naḥw, maʿānī, bayān, and badī‘. He pointed out subjects related to religion and reason in the main text whenever he considered it appropriate to do so. This work’s linguistic and literary aspects become more apparent because the discussion’s subject is a tafsīr text that contains a linguistic and literary content. Al-Rāzī’s goal is to expound upon the text’s Muʿtazilī views, rather than to criticize them. His annotation is one of the most influential and frequently cited works in the field’s sharḥ and ḥāshiya traditions. After him, important annotators took into consideration and discussed his views. In their discussions, one regard see Al-Rāzī’s annotation as a source of those discussions. Given its status, al-Kashshāf deserves to be called the constitutive work of these two traditions in ʿilm al-tafsīr (the science of tafsīr). This article reveals this work’s constitutive feature and provides information about its content and methodology.


The muta’ākhkhirūn period of Islamic thought / tafsīr al-Kashshāf Annotations of al-Kashshāf Annotations of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s al-Kashshāf Sharḥ Mushkilāt al-Kashshāf. Qutb al-Din al-Razi