Sufi Koran Commentary: a Survey
of the Genre
by A. Godlas (This is a web-based
version of the article "al-Tafsir al-Sufi" to be published by the Encyclopaedia
Note that to read this article you will have
the font "Iran Web 2"
from the Encyclopaedia Iranica web page.
Professor Böwering has stated
that with the coming of the thirteenth/ nineteenth century, the genre of
Sufi tafs^r began "a phase of certain decline that seems to continue today"
(Böwering, 1991, p. 43). Nevertheless, because we now know of
three tafs^rs composed in this final phase that Böwering did not mention
(those of Ebn ¿Aj^ba, S®af^ ¿Al^ Sha@h, and Molla@ H®owaysh),
it seems prudent to abandon the assessment that this recent phase of Sufi
tafs^r is characterized by "certain decline." In addition, as more
Sufi tafs^rs become published and translated into various languages, this
will make them available to large audiences for the first time. Hence,
it is certainly possible, if not probable, that this will bring about both
an increase in the appreciation of Sufi tafs^rs as well as an increase
in the production of them. One obstacle to this, however, is the
current tendency in Western scholarship to minimize the importance of critical
editions of texts. It is hoped that scholars will realize that without
such editions, our efforts to understand Sufi tafs^r will remain severely
Copyright A. Godlas 1998 All rights reserved.
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