My aim in writing this book is very modest. This is not a work of erudite scholarship. I am no learned mufassir, nor am I writing for scholars. I am not presuming to teach and guide, for I have no pretensions to that office. I am writing for those ordinary, inexpert and unlearned seekers after the Qur’an, especially the young men and women, who are struggling hard to fulfil their desire to understand, absorb and live the Qur’an, as I am doing myself. I am writing for students about things which I am learning myself.
n this book, then, I write as one wayfarer to another, trying to share with him whatever I have found and grasped as useful as I have stumbled, with all my deficiencies, along the easy and rewarding road to and through the Qur’an. I am sure that they, with their greater sincerity, devotion and competence, will improve greatly upon what I have presented here.This book is the product of a long and still-continuing search. Its contents have been gathered over many years of reading. The beginning of this book goes back more than three decades when I had just begun my own struggle to live by the Qur’an, and when I was given the duty of explaining how to study the Qur’an to a group of similarly committed young students. Most of what I said then, I owed to a small number of sources: Hamiduddin Farahi’s Tafdsari Fardhi; Sayyid Mawdudi’s Tafhimul Qur’an; Amin Ahsan Islahi’s Tadabburi Qur’an; al-Ghazali’s lhya’ ‘Ulum al-Din; Shah Waliullah’s Hujjah-Allah al-Balighah and al-Fawz al-Kabir fi Usul al-Tafsir, and Suyuti’s al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an. For all that this book contains, I continue to owe a debt of gratitude to them. And whilst I would like to acknowledge this, I must also point out that none of these authors are responsible for my own errors of understanding and presentation. The first opportunity to put my thoughts in writing arose in 1977 when I wrote a short introduction to Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Qur’an published by the Islamic Foundation ‘The Way to the Qur’an’.
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