By A.A. (4th Year ʿĀlimah Student, DarusSalam Seminary)
Imām Qurṭubī’s name is Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Abī Bakr Abū ʿAbdAllāh al-Anṣārī al-Khazrajī al-Qurṭubī al-Andalusī al-Mālikī. He was a Mālikī scholar, a Qurʾān exegete, and a muḥaddith. He was born in Cordoba, Spain. Imām Qurṭubī heard narrations from many people and had many teachers. Some of his teachers were Ibn Rawāj, Ibn al-Jummayzī, Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿUmar al-Qurṭubī, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Bakrī, Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Ḥafs, and others. Imām Qurṭubī had many students and there were many who narrated from him. One of his students was his son, Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad.
Imām Qurṭubī was an ascetic who spent his days worshipping and writing. Imām Dhahabī said regarding him: “He is skilled and knowledgeable. Imām Qurṭubī wrote many beneficial books that indicate his knowledge and virtue.” And Ibn Farḥūn remarked:
“Imām Qurṭubī was from Allāh’s righteous servants and the pious scholars who are ascetic in the world and always occupied with the hereafter. Their time is spent between worship and writing. He renounced the world; he walked upon it adorned in just one garment and a cap on his head.”
He was known for his humble lifestyle. In Shadharāt al-Dhahab, Ibn ʿImād wrote about him and said, “He would delve deep into the meanings of the Ḥadīth, study classifications, and he would also transmit.” This shows what an excellent muḥaddith he was.
Imām Qurṭubī wrote many books. Some of them are:
– al-Asnā fī Sharḥ Asmāʾ Allāh Ḥusnā wa Ṣifātihi
– al-Iʿlām bimā fī Dīn al-Naṣārā min al-Awhām
– al-Tidhkār fī Afḍal al-Adhkār
– al-Tadhkirah fī Aḥwāl al-Mawtā wa Umūr al-Akhirah
– al-Jāmiʿ li Aḥkām al-Qurʾān
– Qamaʿ al-Ḥarṣ bi al-Zuhd wa al-Qanāʿah wa Radd Dhull al-Suʾāl bi al-Kutub wa al-Shafāʿah
From his many works, the most famous is al-Jāmiʿ li Aḥkām al-Qurʾān, which is his commentary on the Holy Qurʾān. This tafsīr is special and unique for many reasons; he mentions the virtues of the sūrahs and various ayahs, the asbāb al-nuzūl for the ayahs, and the fiqhi aḥkām that are related to the ayahs along with as the fuqahās’ differences of opinion. He also presents their evidence. He also grammatically analyzes the words and explains their declension. Furthermore, he mentions the wujūh of qiraʾāt and whether they are mutawātir.
Thus, this tafsīr contains a lot of information and goes into the aḥkām of the Qurʾān in detail. Moreover, he engages the masāʾil for which the scholars held differences of opinion. These are some special features of Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī that show his immense knowledge and skill. Many scholars have used this book and referenced it, from when it was written until now; it is still widely used today.
After some time, Imām Qurṭubī traveled from Spain to the East and settled at Munyat Banī Khaṣīb (Minya), which is a city located on the Nile River in Upper Egypt. This was the place where he passed away on Shawwal 9, AH 671.
Keller, Nuh Ha Mim. Reliance of the Traveler. Maryland: Amana Publications, 2004.
al-Qurṭubī, Muḥammad b. Aḥmad. Tafsīr al-Qurṭubī. ed. Muḥammad Riḍwān. Beirut: Muʾasasat al-Risālah, 1427/2006.