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Al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur'an (book)

Al-Tibyan fi tafsir al-Qur'an
Author al-Shaykh al-Tusi
Original title Script error: No such module "lang".
Language Arabic
Series 10 volumes
Subject Tafsir
Genre Theological
Published Dar I'hya' al-Turath al-Arabi

Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān (Arabic: التبیان فی تفسیر القرآن) was the first comprehensive Shi'a Arabic commentary of the Qur'an, covering all aspects of Qur'anic sciences as we know it. It was written by Muhammad b. Hasan al-Tusi, commonly known as al-Shaykh al-Tusi.


About the Book

In addition to citing relevant narrations, the author has evaluated the opinions of other commentators in regards to different aspects of Qur'anic sciences. In this respect, the commentary is a reference for various sciences related to interpretation of the Qur'an, including morphology, syntax, derivation, rhetoric, hadith, fiqh, theology and history.

Author's Motive

In the preface of the book, al-Shaykh al-Tusi states, "What made me write a commentary was that I found out that no scholar had written an extensive commentary covering different meanings. I only found a group of scholars who just compiled a number of exegetical narrations without explaining and clarifying them".

Exegetical Method


Quranic verses are studied in terms of their literary features and theology.


This 10 volume commentary covers the whole of the Quran in the order that the Quranic chapters appear. In the opening chapter of the book, some general points regarding Quranic sciences and exegesis are explained. Then, at the beginning of each sura , the commentator explains the reason behind the sura's name, whether it was revealed in Mecca or Medina, and reviews any abrogating and abrogated (nasikh and mansukh) verses which may be present. Differences in recitation (qiraat), meanings of words, derivation, morphology, syntax and rhetoric points are clarified, and ambiguous (mutashabih) verses are explored, all in order to convey the overall meaning of the verses. The commentator attempts to briefly cover all aspects of Quranic sciences. He also raises theological discussions in order to disprove deviated sects such as determinists(mujabbirah), anthropomorphists(mushabbihah), corporealists(mujassimah), etc. by establishing that Shi'a beliefs are based on Quranic verses.


Al-Shaykh al-Tabarsi writes, "al-Tibyan is a book from which the light of the truth glitters and the fragrance of veracity can be smelled from it; and it contains unique secrets and extensive literary points."

Agha Buzurg Tihrani asserts, "This commentary is a precious and valuable one. It is the first commentary in which all types of Quranic sciences have been incorporated."

Sayyid Muhammad Mahdi Bahr al-'Ulum states, "This commentary covers all [Quranic] sciences and is a unique book among commentaries."


In addition to narrations from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a), al-Shaykh al-Tusi also quotes from companions such as, Ibn 'Abbas, 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud, Jabir b.'Abd Allah Ansari, Ubay b. Ka'b and Abu Sa'id Khidri, and tabi'in such as, Mujahid b. Jabr Makki, Zahhak b. Muzahim and Tawus b. Kiyan.


  • Rejects the distortion of the Qur'an in terms of omission or addition of phrases
  • Doesn't necessarily follow the path of other commentators
  • Confirms the existence of abrogating and abrogated verses
  • Takes lexical and exegetical works of previous scholars into consideration
  • Discusses recitation and diacritics
  • Studies the views of lexicologists and grammarians
  • Discusses controversial words
  • Cites poetic evidences
  • Discusses jurisprudential and theological issues
  • Criticizes the theological views of atheists and other sects of Islam


Tibyan has been summarized by two Shi'a scholars:


  • Lithography in two volumes through the efforts of Mirza 'Ali Agha Shirazi and 'Abd al-Rasul Ruwghani Zadi Isfahani in 1365/1946.
  • Letterpress printing in ten volumes researched and reviewed by Ahmad Shawqi and Ahmad Habib Ghasir with a preface by Agha Buzurg Tihrani in 1409/1989.