Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer: A Brief Introduction

(Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi, New Delhi)

Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer

Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer: A Brief Introduction

By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi
Email: [email protected]

Compilation of Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer: A Renovating Work:
Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer Fee Usul Al-Tafseer is a well known and famous book of “Usulut Tafseer” (The Principles of the Exegesis/Tafseer). This book is compiled by the great Islamic Scholar, Hakeemul Islam Ahmad bin Abdur Rahmee –Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlavi (Rahimullah) – (1703-1762) from India. This book is very comprehensive though brief in the Principles of Exegesis-Tafseer. It’s full with unique principles and laws. Studying this book alone will make you free from reading many books on Tafseer and the books on Principles of Tafseer to comprehend the Noble Qura’an. In fact, authoring this book is from the renovating and revolutionary works of Shah Waliullah (Rahimahullah). It’s very suitable and appropriate for one who is interested in Tafseer and wants to comprehend the Holy Qura’an easily. It’s included in the syllabus of “Darse Nizaami” and is commonly taught in the sixth year of “Aalim Course” with much importance. It’s not only recognised in Indian subcontinent; but also in many African and European countries. Originally, this book was authored in Persian language as it was like mother tongue in India then.

The Chapters of Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer:
No doubt, this book is very important and comprehensive in its respective field. Its importance and comprehensiveness can be realised easily by the topics presented in it. To understand it, it’s necessary to mention here the chapters (Abwaab) and sections (Fusul) of the book. It is, therefore, written here. Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer comprises five chapters. Each chapter includes some sections (Fusul). The five chapters along with the sections are respectively as follow:

1 - الباب الأول: في بیان العلوم الخمسة التي يدل عليها القرآن العظیم نصاً، وكأنّ نزول القرآن بالإصالة كان لهذا الغرض.
(Translation: The first chapter deals with those five sciences which the Great Qur’an literally implies, and almost the revelation of the Qur’an was basically for this purpose.)
This chapter comprises two sections (Fusul):
الفصل الأول: في علم الجدل.
(Translation) The first section is regarding the science of debate.
الفصل الثاني: في بقیة مباحث العلوم الخمسة.
(Translation) The second section is regarding the discussions of the remaining five sciences.

2 - الباب الثاني: في بیان وجوه الخفاء في معاني نظم القرآن بالنسبة إلى أهل هذا العصر، وإزالة ذلك الخفاء بأوضح بيان.
(Translation: The second chapter is describing the reasons of the difficulties faced in understanding the Qur’an by those in that era and its solutions with much explanation.)
Under the second chapter, the author has brought 5 sections. They are:
الفصل الأول: في شرح غریب القرآن.
(Translation) The first section is regarding the explanation of the difficult (words) of the Qur’an.
الفصل الثاني: في معرفة الناسخ والمنسوخ.
(Translation) The second section is regarding knowledge of the Abrogative and Abrogated.
الفصل الثالث: في معرفة أسباب النزول.
(Translation) The third section is regarding knowledge of the reasons behind Revelation.
الفصل الرابع: في بقیة مباحث هذا الباب.
(Translation) The fourth section is regarding remaining discussions of this chapter.
الفصل الخامس: في بیان المحکم والمتشابه والكنایة والتعریض والمجاز العقليّ،
(Translation) The fifth section is regarding the description of Muhkam, Mutashaabih, Kinaayah, Ta'areedh and Majaaz Aqalee (each one is used as a term in the science of Tafseer).

3 - الباب الثالث: في بيان لطائف نظم القرآن، وشرح أسلوبه البدیع، بقدر الطاقة والإمکان.
(Translation: The third chapter is describing the elegant aspects in complexities of the Qur’an and explaining its good stylish methods in accordance with power and possibility.)
Under this chapter, the author brought following four sections:
الفصل الأول: في ترتیب القرآن الكریم، وأسلوب السّور فیه.
(Translation) The first section is regarding the composition of the Noble Qur’an and the methods of the chapters (of the Qur’an) in it.
الفصل الثاني: في تقسیم السّور الی الآیات وأسلوبها الفرید.
(Translation) The second section is regarding division of chapters (of the Qur’an) up to verses and its unique method.
الفصل الثالث: في وجه التكرارفي العلوم الخمسة، وعدم الترتیب في بیانها.
(Translation) The third section is regarding the reason of repetition in the five sciences (of the Qur’an) and not being in order in its explanation.
الفصل الرّابع: في وجوه اعجاز القرآن.
(Translation) The fourth section is regarding the reasons of the miracle of the Qur’an.

4 - الباب الرابع: في بیان مناهج التفسير، وتوضیح الاختلاف الواقع في تفاسير الصّحابة والتّابعين.
(Translation: The fourth chapter deals with the methods of Tafseer and explains the differences of opinions taking place in the interpretation of Sahabah and Taabi’een (May Allah have mercy upon them).
This chapter comprises four following sections. They are:
الفصل الأول: في بیان الآثار المرویّة في تفاسیر أصحاب الحدیث ومایتعلق بها،
(Translation) The first section is regarding the description of the narrations reported in Tafa’aseer by the Muhadditheen and whatever is related to it.
الفصل الثاني: في بقیة لطائف هذا الباب.
(Translation) The second section is regarding the remaining elegant aspects of this chapter.
الفصل الثالث: في بیان غرائب القرآن الكریم.
(Translation) The third section is regarding the description of the Gharaaib (unusual verses) of the Noble Qur’an.
الفصل الرّابع: في بیان بعض العلوم الوهبیّة.
(Translation) The fourth section is regarding the description of some inspired knowledges.

5 - الباب الخامس: في ذكر جملة صالحة من شرح غریب القرآن، وأسباب النزول التي یجب حفظها علی المفسر، ويمتنع ویحرم الخوض في كتاب الله بدونها.
(Translation: The fifth chapter mentions the meaning of many difficult words in the Noble Qur’an and the reasons for revelation (of verses), which is necessary for the Mufassir to memorize it. And to analyse the Book of Allah-Holy Qur’an is forbidden and prohibited without it.)

Note: The publishers don’t publish the fifth chapter of the book, since it is not included in the syllabus of “Darse Nizaami”. It should be also noted that even the author has considered it a separate booklet and named it as “Fathul Khabeer”.

Those who Translated Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer into Arabic language:
I have mentioned earlier that the time this book was written, the Persian language was spoken, written and understood all over India easily. Then gradually, the Persian language vanished from India. Several Islamic scholars, therefore, translated this book into Arabic language for the students and scholars to benefit from it. The scholars who translated it into Arabic are:
1. Sheikh Muhammad Muneer from Damascus (Rahimahullah),
2. Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (Hafizahullah),
3. Sheikh Salman Husaini Nadvi (Hafizahullah),
4. Sheikh Ijaz Ali Amrohvi – only the topic of Al-Huruf Al-Muqatta’at– (Rahimahullah).
Note: It should be noted here that the fifth chapter was written originally in Arabic language by the author himself.

Urdu Translation of Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer:
Several Urdu translations of this book are available in the market. Few of them are mentioned here.

Maulana Saeed Ansari translated this book into Urdu language. Professor Maulana Muahmmad Rafiq also translated it into Urdu language. Maulana Yaseen Akhtar Misbahi also translated this book into Urdu. The translation of Maulana Misbahi follows the original Persian text by the author. He has also included the Arabic Translation of the book by Sheikh Muhammad Muneer at the end of his Urdu translation for publication. May Allah grant them the best reward!

Urdu Commentaries of Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer:
Several Urdu commentaries of this book have been written by different scholars. Few of them are mentioned here. “Auwnul Khabeer” was written by Hazrat Maulana Sufi Abdul Hameed Suwati. Al-Fauzul Azeem was written by Hazrat Maulana Khursheed Anwar Qasmi Faizabadi. Al-Khairul Katheer was compiled by Hazrat Maulana Mufti Muhammad Ameeen Palanpuri. May Allah reward them the best!

Hazrat Maulana Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri (Hafizahullah), Sheikhul Hadeeth of Darul Uloom, Deoband, wrote a commentary of this book in Arabic language namely, “Al-Auwn Al-Kabeer”. He also added footnotes while translating/editing its Arabic text. This book is published from several places and found easily.

Importance and Distinction of Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer:
Author of the book, Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi (1703-1762) himself wrote mentioning its value and importance in the following words:

(Translation) “When Allah granted me the understanding of His Honoured Book, I thought that I should compile and write some beneficial treatise, which benefits the friends, in a small booklet. I hope from Allah’s kindness and grace –which is infinite– that only by comprehending these principles, the wide method of comprehending the complexities of the Holy Qur’an will open for the students (of the Science of Tafseer). Even if they were to spend their entire lives studying the books of Tafseer or learning from Mufassireen, whereas such individuals are very few in this era, then too they will be unable to gain these benefits with this clarity and sequence.” (Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer Fee Usool Al-Tafseer, P: 11)

Expert of Shah Waliullahi’s Philosophy and Thought, Hazrat Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi –May Allah have mercy on him– (1872-1944) writes about importance and significance of this book in his thesis entitled: “Imam Waliullah Ki Hikmat Ka Ijmali Taaruf” (A Brief Introduction to Imam Waliullah’s Philosophy):

“I asked Hadhrat Sheikhul Hind for books on the Principles of Tafseer. He gave me “Al-Itqaan Fee Uloom Al-Qura’an”, by Hafiz Jalaaludien Abdur Rahmaan bin Abi Bakr Al-Suyoothi (RA) (911 A.H). With immense effort, I completed reading the entire book time and again; but nothing captivated me which can be regarded as the Principles of Tafseer except few pages. This was the time, when I had just completed reading the Principles of Fiqh and had authored a complete book on the Principles of Fiqh. Hadhrat Sheikhul Hind (RA) also had informed of a small booklet on the principles of Tafseer written by Shah Waliyullaah (RA), entitled as “Al-Fauzul Kabeer”.

I think it is appropriate to mention the habit of Sheikhul Hind (RA) indirectly here. He knew that Imam Fakhruddin Razi and Allamah (Masood bin Umar, D. 791 AH) Taftazani were viewed as highly respectable and dignified among the students. In comparison to them, who would pay attention to the opinions and views of Shah Waliullah and Shah Abdul Azeez (RA)! Whenever Sheikhul Hind pointed out any error of Imam Razi or Allamah Taftazani, he would say ambiguously that the opinion of critics and researchers was so and so. The student used to think that these critics and researchers might be preceding personalities before them. Later I realised that by the researchers, he used to mean Sheikhul Islam Maulana Muhammad Qasim and his teachers who ended up to Shah Waliullah.

This was the reason that Sheikhul Hind (RA) didn’t give me “Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer” but only mentioned its name. When I returned to Sindh, I found a copy of “Al-Fauzul Kabeer”. After reading the Tafseer of Imaam Raazie, I had become extremely troubled and (now) after reading the first chapter (of Al-Fauzul Kabeer) I was put at ease that I would understand the science of Tafseer, In Shaa Allah. From that day to now, I never felt the need to go further than this treatise.” (Al-Furqaan, Shah Waliyullaah Number, P: 247-248, Issue: 9-12, Volume: 7, Ramadhan-Dul Hijjah 1359 AH)

Considering this book among the renovating and revolutionary works of Shah Waliullah, Mufakkire Islam Maulana Sayed Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi –Rahimahullah– (1914-1999) writes in his book:
“Compiling “Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer” is amongst the renovating and revolutionary works of Shah Walilullah, in regard to call (the people) towards the Noble Qur’an and to create awareness in the educated people to reflect in the Qur’an and by this means to motivate the passion of reforming the Ummah. (According to my knowledge in all Islamic libraries,) this book is unique on the Principle of Tafseer.
The material on the Principles of Tafseer is rarely found in general. Some Mufassirin have written only some principles and laws in some lines in the prefaces of their Tafa’aseer to describe their methods of Tafseer. Shah Waliullah’s book: Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer Fee Usool Al-Tafseer, though a brief booklet, but it’s full with points and principles. Actually it’s written by a scholar who has the scholarly experience of the difficulties in comprehending the Noble Qur’an. This book is a precious and unique work. (Taarkh-e-Dawat-o-Azeemat 5/150-151)

Mufakkir-e-Islam further writes describing the distinction of “Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer”: “….The real distinction of this booklet is that the old diseases and weakness of the previous religions, the previous deviated nations and sects can be indicated after studying it. (Following the study of this booklet), Muslim generations, Muslim community of its respective age and several classes of Ummah will be able to see their faces in the mirror of the Qur’an. They should reckon and worry that either the illness or weakness of the previous religions and sects are creeping in them? (Taarkh-e-Dawat-o-Azeemat 5/153-154)

We can conclude that the author presented the Principles of Tafseer in good method in this booklet. It’s a great gift for the teachers and students of Tafseer. That is why it is valued and received respectfully by the learned people. It is taught and learnt lesson by lesson. It is included in the syllabus. A substitute for this booklet is not yet found. It is among the renovating works of the author. It’s the summery of the author’s Qura’anic studies. The author has presented his opinions differing from the opinions of the preceding scholars at several places in this booklet. Bearing in mind the value and importance of this booklet, the learned people have translated and added the footnotes.

1. Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer Fee Usul Al-Tafseer, Published: Maktah Al-Bushra, Karachi, Pakistan,
2. Tarjumah Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer, by: Professor Maulana Muhammad Rafiq Chaudhri, Published: Maktabah Qura’aniyaat, Lahore, Pakistan
3. Al-Khair Al-Katheer, Urdu Sharah Al-Fauz Al-Kabeer, by Mufti Muhammad Ameen Palanpuri, Published: Darul Ishaat, Karachi, Pakistan
4. Al-Furqan, Shah Waliullah Number,
5. Taarkh-e-Dawat-o-Azeemat, Published: Majlise Tahqiqaat Wa Nashriyyate Islam, Lucknow
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