Al-Mizan English Volumes 15 & 16

We are delighted to inform our readers that the editing of these volumes have been completed and approved for publication.

The English volumes 15 and 16 are translations of the Arabic volume 8 of al-Mīzān, which covers Sūrah al-Aʿrāf (chapter 7) of the Qur’an. Some students of the author and some teachers of tafsīr have identified this part as the peak of al-Mīzān. Interested readers are sometimes advised to start with this volume because it bears many principal discussions that equip the reader with the essential tools in tafsīr. Having learnt how to fish, the student of Qur’an can explore the other parts of this ocean more independently, and enjoy more fulfilling catches. Volume 1, on the other hand, could deter some readers by some of its intricate discussions.

Early in this sūrah, we read the story of Adam’s creation, which is also found in the early pages of the Qur’an in Sūrah al-Baqarah. In volume 15, the author presents some in-depth discussions on some topics including: the devil, the ṭīnah (clay, substance), felicity and wretchedness, and the divine Throne. In volume 16, he analyzes Prophet Moses’ request to “see” God, the primordial covenant of all humankind with their Lord, and the significance of the divine names.

The author does not hesitate to challenge and clarify common superficial understandings of the Qur’an and hadith. He points out their inner inconsistencies, and offers an ingenious alternative reading that is supported by both scriptural and rational evidence. He extracts from the Qur’an and hadith rational principles and conclusions that can also be presented to, and appreciated by, non-Muslims. Despite his Islamic terminology, his profound discussions can be a basis for conducting a meaningful dialogue with other schools and traditions, whether religious or not.

One example of this is his discussions on the human soul and its knowledge of God under verses 7:143 and 7:172 in volume 16. He provides some thought-provoking principles that are not to be found in the works of almost any Muslim scholar. He first points out our inner sense of need which is inseparable from any aspect of our existence. Then he equates the realization of this need with the realization of the substratum which sustains it. This is an intuitive knowledge of the Infinite Source of existence, which is inseparable from us, just like our need. This kind of knowledge is neither mental nor metaphorical; nor is it something to be acquired through books and schooling.

The other sublime discussions in these volumes are:

(1) the Hour, the scale (mīzān), and aʿrāf (heights, elevations, ramparts) [7:6-9, 7:37-51]

(2) Satan and his hosts [7:27]

(3) the idea that the Quran has taʾwīl (fulfilment, realization) [7:53]

(4) the Throne [7:54]

(5) the verse of the Covenant (7:172)

The chapter also includes a concise reference to religious obligations and prohibitions, as we read: Say, “My Lord has enjoined justice” (7:29) and: Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants, and the good things of [His] provision?” (7:32).

Expected Publication Date: September 2018