In the Presence of the Sublime Qur’an A Commentary on Part 30 [chapters 78-114] by Abdolali Bazargan (trans. Mohammad Fani and Amir Douraghy; ed. Hamid Mavani) (Laguna Hills, CA: Payam, 2016. 476 pages.)

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Andrew C. Smith



This volume represents an especially modern viewpoint with regard to understanding
the Qur’an and its message, while also being firmly embedded in
traditional approaches and methods for its interpretation. The commentary
consists of a number of lectures originally given in Persian by Abdolali
Bazargan as a weekly lecture series in Irvine, CA. These lectures, a portion
of which have been translated and edited into this single volume, were initially
presented to groups of lay Muslims interested in the general theme of “becoming
acquainted with the Qur’an” (p. xiv).
The author, Abdolali Bazargan, is part of the laity himself: an architect
by profession. While not having been fully trained in the traditional sciences
98 The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 34:2
of Qur’anic interpretation, his strong interest in Qur’anic exegesis (according
to the editor) has led him to spend “the last 55 years researching it and writing
20 books in the field of Qur’anic sciences” (p. xiv). This volume is thus a lay
commentary on the Qur’an’s “short surahs,” namely al-Fātiḥah and the last
juz’ (chapters 78-114). Although no specific argument or thesis holds the entirety
of the work together, it nevertheless stands as a representative sample
of modern (educated) Muslim engagement with the text of the Qur’an and its
ramifications for their lived religious tradition, particularly in the modern
world ...

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