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Best Quran Tafseer In English – Over 50 Tafsir Books Compared!

Tafsir
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In this article, we will discuss the books of Tafseer. We will answer several questions such as the importance of reading Tafseer, the types of Tafseer, and what is the best Tafseer for beginners and advanced learners. This article is considered a brief guide for every Muslim aiming at understanding Allah’s book; the Quran.

There are many classifications to the books of Tafseer. We will briefly discuss these classifications and types in the following paragraphs. This will help the learner to decide which Tafseer is the most suitable for his case.

Selecting the “best” Quran Tafsir in English can be subjective and may depend on your specific preferences, needs, and the level of detail you’re seeking. Here are some highly regarded English Tafsirs that are widely appreciated by readers:

1. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary

This Tafsir includes contributions from various scholars, providing a comprehensive and well-researched interpretation of the Quran in English. It is known for its academic rigor and depth.

The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary

2. The Noble Quran: A New Rendering of Its Meaning in English” by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

 This book offers a clear English translation of the Quran, with brief explanations within parentheses to aid in understanding. It’s widely used and accessible.

The Noble Quran A New Rendering of Its Meaning in English

3. The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad

 Renowned for its clear and modern English translation, this Tafsir includes detailed commentary and insights into the Quranic verses. It’s known for its literary quality.

The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad

4. In the Shade of the Quran by Sayyid Qutb

 This Tafsir is structured thematically, making it easy to understand the Quran’s teachings on various topics. It provides a unique perspective on the Quranic message.

In the Shade of the Quran by Sayyid Qutb

5. Tafsir al-Jalalayn translated by Aisha Bewley

Offering concise explanations of Quranic verses, this Tafsir, attributed to two prominent scholars, is accessible to English-speaking readers and is valued for its clarity.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn translated by Aisha Bewley

6. Maariful Quran by Maulana Muhammad Shafi

 Originally written in Urdu and translated into English, this Tafsir provides comprehensive explanations and is respected for its depth and clarity.

Maariful Quran by Maulana Muhammad Shafi

7. Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged version)

 While the full version is extensive, abridged versions in English offer concise explanations based on the classical Tafsir by Ibn Kathir. It is highly regarded for its traditional interpretation.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged version)

Ultimately, the best Quran Tafsir in English for you will depend on your specific goals and preferences. Consider whether you want a comprehensive academic Tafsir, a clear and straightforward translation with basic explanations, or a thematic approach. You may also explore multiple Tafsirs to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Quranic text.

There are many classifications to the books of Tafseer. We will briefly discuss these classifications and types. This will help the learner to decide which Tafseer is the most suitable for his case.

1. Best Tafseer of Quran in English According to The Time of Authorship

That is the first classification according to the time of authorship of the book of Tafseer. Some books were written in the early ages and others were written in late ages, namely in the current era. Each has its own advantage.

1. Tafsir books of The Early Ages

These Tafseer books were written near the time of the prophet (PBUH). They may also have been written by scholars who heard the Tafseer directly from Tabi’een or followers of Tabi’een who themselves heard from Sahaba who directly heard from the prophet (PBUH). This gives these types of Tafseer books a high level of authenticity and credibility.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Jami’ Al-Bayan Fi Tafseer Ayy Al-Quran by Al-Imam Al-Tabari (died in 310 Hijri).
  • Ma’alem Al-Tanzeel by Al-Imam Al-Baghawy (died in 516 Hijri).
  • Al-Gami’ Li-Ahkam Al-Quran by Al-Qurtuby (died 671 Hijri).
  • Tafseer Al-Quran Al-Azeem by Al-Imam Ibn-Katheer (died in 773 Hijri).
  • Al-Durr Al-Manthour Fi Al-Tafseer Bil-Ma’thour by Al-Syooty (died 911 Hijri).
  • Fath Al-Qadeer by Al-Imam Al-Shawkany (died in 1250 Hijri).

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2. Tafseer Books of The Late Ages

These Tafseer books were written recently in the current era. Their authors may be still alive or died a couple of years earlier. These Tafseer books bear the advantage of simplicity -at most, and relevance to the current political, economic, and social status of the world. It is also open to a wide range of references of Tafseer as well as the contemporary scientific advances.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Tafseer Al-Kareem Al-Rahman Fi Tafseer Kalam Al-Mannan by Al-Sa’di (died in 1956 A.C, 1375 Hijri).
  • Adwa’ Al-Bayan Fi Idah Al-Quran Bil Quran by Muhammad Al-Shanqity (died in 1973 A.C, 1393 Hijri).se
  • Al-Mokhtasar Fil-Tafseer by a group of tafseer scholars.
  • Fi-Dhilal Al-Quran by Sayyid Qutb.
  • Mokhtasar Ibn Katheer which is a summary of Tafseer Ibn-Katheer. There are several versions of different authors. The best among them is the one authored by Ahmed Shaker.
  • Al-Tafseer Al-Muyassar by a group of tafseer scholars.
  • Tafseer Al-Jalalayn by Jalal Al-Din Al-Mahali and Jalal Al-Din Al-Siyoty.
  • Al-Tahreer Wa Al-Tanweer by Ibn A’shour (died in 1973 A.C, 1393 Hijri)

2. English Tafseer Of The Quran According to The Methodology of Tafseer

This classification depends on the Mufassir (Tafseer scholar) methodology of Tafseer. There are two main types of methodology; which are by Al-Ma’thour (authentic narrations) and by Al-Ra’I (Knowledgeable Opinion).

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1. Tafseer By Ma’thur (Authentic Narrations)

It is the methodology by which the Mufassir narrates all available authentic narrations around the verse. He provides the Tafseer of the verse from the Quran itself. If he doesn’t find its Tafseer in the Quran then from Sunnah. Consequently, he may narrate the sayings of Sahaba and Tabi’een respectively.

The advantage of this methodology is that it is the nearest one to the truth and Allah’s aim. That is because it supports the Tafseer with the most authentic sources of knowledge.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Jami’ Al-Bayan Fi Tafseer Ayy Al-Quran by Al-Imam Al-Tabari (died in 310 Hijri)
  • Ma’alem Al-Tanzeel by Al-Imam Al-Baghawi (died in 516 Hijri)
  • Al-Gami’ Li-Ahkam Al-Quran by Al-Qurtuby (died 671 Hijri)
  • Tafseer Al-Quran Al-Azeem by Al-Imam Ibn-Katheer (died in 773 Hijri)
  • Al-Durr Al-Manthour Fi Al-Tafseer Bil-Ma’thour by Al-Syooty (died 911 Hijri)
  • Fath Al-Qadeer by Al-Imam Al-Shawkany (died in 1250 Hijri). However, this tafseer book also included the other type of methodology; Tafseer by Al-Ra’i.
  • Adwa’ Al-Bayan Fi Idah Al-Quran Bil Quran by Muhammad Al-Shanqity (died in 1973 A.C, 1393 Hijri).
  • Tafseer Al-Kareem Al-Rahman Fi Tafseer Kalam Al-Mannan by Al-Sa’di (died in 1956 A.C, 1375 Hijri).

2. Tafseer By Al-Ra’I (Knowledgeable Opinion)

This methodology depends on the Mufassir’s own reflection upon the meaning of the verse based on authentic knowledge of several sciences. Among these sciences are: The Fusha Arabic language, Asban al-nuzul, Quran sciences, The science of fiqh, Al-Qira’at (Quran recitation), and many others.

This Mufassir scholar should be truthful and highly religious. He should also understand the Quran in the light of the Quran and sunnah, and shouldn’t bring up strange meanings that contradict them.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Fi-Dhilal Al-Quran by Sayyid Qutb.  (Died in 1966 A.C)
  • Al-Tahreer Wa Al-Tanweer by Ibn A’shour (Died in 1973 A.C, 1393 Hijri)
  • Mafatih al-Ghayb, usually known as al-Tafsir al-Kabir by Fakhruddin Razi (Died in 1209 A.C)
  • Al-Kashaf by Al-Zamakhshari (died in 1143 A.C)
  • Fath Al-Qadeer by Al-Imam Al-Shawkany (died in 1250 Hijri). However, this tafseer book also included the tafseer by Ma’thour as we previously mentioned.
  • Tafseer Al-Jalalayn by Jalal Al-Din Al-Mahali and Jalal Al-Din Al-Siyoty.
  • Anwar Al-Tanzil wa Asrar Al-Ta;weel by Al-Baydawy (Died in 1319 A.C, 685 Hijri)

3. English Tafseer Of The Quran According to The Subjects Discussed in Tafseer

Tafseer books can be classified according to the subjects mostly discussed in the book. There are Tafseer books that pay attention to the linguistic styles and vocabulary of the Arabic language. Other Tafseer books are good in clarifying Islamic legislations and Fiqh.

Some Tafseer books highlight the social, economic, and political aspects of Islam. However, other books aim at simplifying Tafseer for beginners and non-experts by clarifying the overall comprehensive meaning of the verse.

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1. Brief, Simplified Tafseer Books

This type of Tafseer is brief and simplified. It clarifies the overall meanings of the verse in a comprehensive way. They -mostly- don’t present many opinions or long narrations.

These Tafseer books vary in simplicity, where some are more detailed than others. Besides, some may support the Tafseer by narrations.

These Tafseer books bear the advantage of easiness and compatibility to beginners and children. However, a more advanced learner may not find his aim of study in these books.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Al-Tafseer Al-Muyassar by a group of Tafseer scholars.
  • Al-Mokhtasar Fil-Tafseer by a group of Tafseer scholars.
  • Al-Tafseer Al-Wadih Al-Muyassar by Al-Sabooni.
  • Al-Tafseer Al-Wajeez by Wahba Al-Zuhayly.
  • Zubdat Al-tafaseer by Muhammad Al-Ashkar.
  • Aysar Al-Tafaseer by Abu-Bakr Al-Jaza’iri.
  • Tawfik Al-Rahman Fi Droos Al-Quran by Faysal Al-Mubarak
  • Al-Mu’een Ala Tadabur Al-Kitab Al-Mubeen by Majd Makki.
  • Tafseer Al-Kareem Al-Rahman Fi Tafseer Kalam Al-Mannan by Al-Sa’di (died in 1956 A.C, 1375 Hijri).
  • Tafseer Al-Jalalayn by Jalal Al-Din Al-Mahali and Jalal Al-Din Al-Siyoty.

2. Detailed And Comprehensive Best tafsir of Quran

This type of Tafseer is more advanced than the previous one. It narrates detailed narrations of Tafseer. It also discusses different aspects and various reflections on the verse.

These Tafseers are suitable for more advanced learners who wish to learn the verses in a detailed, comprehensive way.

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Jami’ Al-Bayan Fi Tafseer Ayy Al-Quran by Al-Imam Al-Tabari.
  • Tafseer Al-Quran Al-Azeem by Al-Imam Ibn-Katheer.
  • Al-Durr Al-Manthour Fi Al-Tafseer Bil-Ma’thour by Al-Syooty.
  • Ma’alem Al-Tanzeel by Al-Imam Al-Baghawi.
  • Al-Tahreer Wa Al-Tanweer by Ibn A’shour.
  • Tafseer of Ahkam (Legal Tafseer)
  • This type of Tafseer is related to jurisprudence. It discusses the verses related to legislation and reflects upon them.
  • Among these Tafseer books are:
  • Al-Gami’ Li-Ahkam Al-Quran by Al-Qurtuby.
  • Fath Al-Qadeer by Al-Imam Al-Shawkany.

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3. Linguistic Tafseer Books

This type of Tafseer book discusses the linguistic aspect in the Quran. It reflects upon the Arabic words’ meanings, the Arabic language ‘Nahu’ (rules), and ‘Balagha’ (Eloquence).

Among these Tafseer books are:

  • Al-Kashaf by Al-Zamakhshari.
  • Fath Al-Qadeer by Al-Imam Al-Shawkany.
  • Al-Tahreer Wa Al-Tanweer by Ibn A’shour.
  • Anwar Al-Tanzil wa Asrar Al-Ta;weel by Al-Baydawy.
  • Political, economic, and Social Tafseer

This type of Tafseer discusses contemporary Islamic world issues and interests. It includes reflections upon contemporary world economic, political, and social lives.

The most important tafseer book in this type is: Fi-Dhilal Al-Quran by Sayyid Qutb.

4. Philosophical Tafseer Books

This Tafseer is somehow philosophical. It goes deep in the meanings of the verses and discovers beautiful reflections upon the verse.

Among these tafseer books is Mafatih al-Ghayb, usually known as al-Tafsir al-Kabir by Fakhruddin Razi

Which are the Best Tafsir Books?

The best Tafseer book is the one that refers to the true sources of Tafseer. These are The Quran, Sunnah, the interpretations of the Sahaba and Tabi’een (the companions of prophet Muhammad and their followers), and then the commentaries of highly knowledgeable Muslim scholars based on authentic knowledge.

Once you find that book, it will be one of your best candidates for Tafseer. However, you should keep in mind that the best Tafseer for you depends on your aim of studying Tafseer. This means that there are many truthful books of tafseer, yet each discusses the verses of the Quran from different aspects.

 the choice of a Quran Tafsir book in English book may depend on your specific preferences and the depth of interpretation you seek. These books can help you gain a deeper understanding of the Quranic text while maintaining the academic and professional tone you require for your work.

  • Tafsir Ibn Kathir by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
  • Tafhim-ul-Quran by Syed Abul A’la Maududi
  • Towards Understanding the Quran by Syed Abul A’la Maududi
  • The Study Quran by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
  • In the Shade of the Quran by Sayyid Qutb
  • The Clear Quran by Mustafa Khattab
  • Ma’ariful Qur’an by Muhammad Shafi Deobandi
  • Tafsir As-Sa’di by Abdul-Rahman al-Sa’di
  • Journey Through the Quran by Sharif H. Banna
  • The Noble Quran: Tafseer-e-Usmani by Shabbir Ahmad Usmani
  • The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an by Abdullah Yusuf Al

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What Is the Best Tafsir for Beginners?

When looking for a Tafsir (interpretation or commentary on the Quran) suitable for beginners, it’s essential to find one that is accessible, clear, and offers insights into the Quran’s meaning without delving too deeply into complex theological or linguistic discussions. Here are some recommendations:

  1. “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad: This Tafsir is known for its readability and clarity. It provides explanations of Quranic verses in a modern context, making it suitable for beginners.

  2. “In the Shade of the Quran” by Sayyid Qutb: This Tafsir is structured thematically, which can help beginners understand the Quran’s teachings on various topics. It is written in a straightforward style.

  3. “Tafsir Ibn Kathir” (abridged version): While the full version is quite extensive, there are abridged versions available that provide concise explanations of Quranic verses. This can be a good choice for those who want a more traditional Tafsir.

  4. “The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary”: This Tafsir includes commentary from various scholars, making it comprehensive. The commentary is written in a way that is accessible to readers of different levels of familiarity with the Quran.

  5. “The Quran: A Simple English Translation” by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan: While this is primarily a translation, it also includes parenthetical explanations of the text, which can be helpful for beginners.

  6. Online Resources: Websites like Quran.com and Quran Tafsir by Saad Al-Ghamdi offer translations and Tafsir explanations that can be accessed easily online. These can be valuable for beginners looking to explore the Quran with explanations.

Remember that the best Tafsir for you as a beginner may vary depending on your personal preferences and understanding of the Quran. It’s a good idea to explore a few different Tafsirs and choose the one that resonates with you the most in terms of clarity and accessibility while maintaining the academic and professional tone you require.

What Is the Best Quran Tafseer in English Online?

The best Quran Tafseer in English could be one of the previously mentioned Tafseer books. You may find many of them online translated into English. However, the most common ones available in English are:

The Ascendant Qur’an: Realigning Man to the Divine Power Culture by Imam Muhammad Al-Asi.

Ma’ariful Qur’an by Pakistani Sunni Islamic scholar Shafi Usmani.

What are the Best 16 Quran Apps with Tafseer?

The best Quran apps with Tafseer on Google Play are:

  1. Learn Quran Tafsir
  2. Daily Quran: English (Tafsir)
  3. Quran English Word by Word
  4. Al-Quran Tafseer & by word
  5. Quran and Tafsir by Quran Acad
  6. The Noble Quran and Tafseer
  7. Maarif ul Quran English
  8. Tafheem ul Quran in English
  9. Tafheem ul Quran | English Taf
  10. Quran Hadi-with English Tafs
  11. Holy Quran With Tafsir
  12. Tafsir Ibn Kathir
  13. Tafseer Ibn-e-Kaseer
  14. Tafsir As Sadi-Quran English
  15. Tafsir Al-Kurtubi English
  16. Quran -Word by Word & Tafsir

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Conclusion | How to Decide The Best Tafseer Book?

Tafseer is one of the essential types of knowledge we should focus on learning nowadays. It helps a Muslim understand Allah’s words and verses. It also opens the door for reflection upon the Quran and practicing it.

There are many types of Tafseer books written throughout Islamic history. They differ according to their time of authorship, the methodology of Tafseer, and the subjects discussed. A Learner should choose the most suitable type according to his purpose of study and level of knowledge.

FAQ:

How many types of tafsir are there?

There are several types of Tafsir (Quranic commentary) that scholars have developed over the centuries. Here are some of the main types:

  1. Tafsir Bil Ma’thur: This type of Tafsir relies primarily on the Quran itself and the Hadith (sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad) for interpretation. It seeks to explain the Quran using sources from within Islamic tradition.

  2. Tafsir Bil Riwaya: This form of Tafsir involves explaining the Quranic verses through a chain of narrators, focusing on the transmission of the interpretation through reliable narrators.

  3. Tafsir Bil Ray: This is an interpretive form of Tafsir that relies on the personal judgment and reasoning (ijtihad) of the scholar. It often considers linguistic, historical, and contextual aspects.

  4. Tafsir Al-Tafsir: This type of Tafsir seeks to explain the Quran using other parts of the Quran. Scholars look for similar or complementary verses within the Quran to understand the intended meaning.

  5. Tafsir Al-Mathur: This approach involves relying on the interpretations of early scholars and companions of the Prophet Muhammad. It seeks to preserve the interpretations passed down through generations.

  6. Tafsir Al-Ishari: Also known as allegorical or symbolic interpretation, this type of Tafsir looks for deeper, metaphorical meanings in Quranic verses.

  7. Tafsir Al-Tafsir Bi Al-Ra’y Al-Ma’qul: This form of Tafsir combines rational or philosophical thinking with traditional interpretation to derive meaning from the Quran.

  8. Tafsir Al-Tafsir Al-Adab: This type of Tafsir focuses on the ethical and moral lessons contained within the Quranic text.

Each type of Tafsir serves a specific purpose and may be more appropriate for different contexts or individuals depending on their level of knowledge and understanding of the Quran.

What are the 2 highest sources for Tafsir?

The two highest and most authoritative sources for Tafsir (Quranic commentary) in the Islamic tradition are:

  1. The Quran Itself: The primary and highest source for understanding the Quran is the Quran itself. Many verses in the Quran explain other verses, and by cross-referencing and studying the Quran’s text comprehensively, scholars can derive interpretations and meanings. This form of Tafsir is known as “Tafsir al-Quran bil-Quran” or interpreting the Quran with the Quran.

  2. Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): The second highest source for Tafsir is the Hadith, which consists of the sayings, actions, and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad. His explanations and contextual information provide valuable insights into the interpretation of Quranic verses. Tafsir based on Hadith is known as “Tafsir al-Quran bil-Hadith.”

These two sources, when used together, provide a comprehensive understanding of the Quranic text. Scholars often rely on both the Quran and the Hadith to derive the intended meanings of Quranic verses. Additionally, they may consider linguistic, historical, and contextual factors to provide a thorough Tafsir.

Which Quran Tafseer is good?

The choice of a Quranic Tafsir (commentary) can vary depending on your specific needs, background, and preferences. There are many reputable Tafsir works by renowned Islamic scholars. Here are some well-regarded Tafsirs that you may find beneficial:

  1. Tafsir al-Jalalayn: This Tafsir, authored by two scholars, Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, is known for its simplicity and clarity. It’s often recommended for beginners.

  2. Tafsir ibn Kathir: Authored by Ibn Kathir, this Tafsir is widely respected and comprehensive. It provides in-depth explanations of Quranic verses and includes references to Hadith and scholarly opinions.

  3. Tafsir al-Qurtubi: Written by Al-Qurtubi, this Tafsir is known for its scholarly depth and comprehensive coverage of various interpretations. It’s a valuable resource for those seeking a detailed understanding.

  4. Tafsir al-Mazhari: This contemporary Tafsir by Allama Shah Waliullah al-Dihlawi provides a modern perspective on the Quranic text. It’s known for its emphasis on spirituality and ethics.

  5. Tafsir al-Muyassar: This is a concise Tafsir in modern Arabic by a group of scholars. It’s designed to make the Quran more accessible to contemporary readers.

  6. Tafsir al-Saadi: Authored by Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Saadi, this Tafsir is known for its straightforward and practical explanations. It emphasizes the spiritual and moral lessons in the Quran.

  7. Tafsir al-Tafsir al-Tabari: Ibn Jarir al-Tabari’s Tafsir is one of the earliest and most respected Tafsirs. It provides historical context and diverse interpretations.

When choosing a Tafsir, consider your level of familiarity with Islamic scholarship, your linguistic skills (some Tafsirs are in classical Arabic), and your specific goals for studying the Quran. It’s often helpful to consult with knowledgeable individuals or scholars for guidance in selecting the Tafsir that best suits your needs. Additionally, you can explore multiple Tafsirs to gain a well-rounded understanding of Quranic verses.

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