Based on the notes of the author’s in-depth lectures on the Holy Qur’an delivered across India and Pakistan in the cities of Qadian, Rabwah, Dalhousie and Quetta, this commentary was the first of its kind to provide a fresh explanation of the verses of the Holy Qur’an in light of modern-day knowledge and discovery. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra) mesmerises readers by synthesising and integrating insights from multiple disciplines including theology, jurisprudence, politics, history, anthropology, philosophy, geography, sociology, and lexicography, demonstrating his vast knowledge and understanding of both hidden and temporal realities. His work is not merely an addition to the classical commentaries; rather, it offers a novel approach to the study of exegetical commentaries and the science of comparative religions, paving a new way in this field of research.
His Holiness recounts that he was taught the meanings of the verses and chapters of the Holy Qur’an by God Almighty Himself, through direct revelations, dreams and divine inspirations. Aspects covered include the unique order in which the Holy Qur’an’s chapters are arranged, the inter-relation of every verse and chapter; the connection of the different themes with one another; and the fact that every word has been purposefully arranged in a most precise, logical and perfect manner. The commentary also makes eschatological references such as the suggestion that the chapter Al-Kahf and the latter chapters of the Holy Qur’an relate to the present time. It mentions the objections of orientalists and missionaries to certain Qur’anic verses and then refutes them all powerfully. He also sheds light on certain critics’ ignorance of Arabic linguistics as well as their underlying biases or prejudices that may cloud their judgements.
However, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) does not dismiss the indefensible errors committed by some eminent Muslim exegetes and theologians either. For instance, he provides a powerful rebuttal to the absurd theory of abrogation they attribute to the Holy Qur’an. He also unravels the many conundrums caused by some Muslim theologians who have inserted into their commentaries such traditions quoting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) which are from fabricated and questionable sources. Indeed, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) says that their insertion into exegetical work made the Holy Qur’an become an object of heavy criticism. He deals with this sensitive issue in such a manner that absolves the Holy Qur’an from the objections of the non-Muslim critics. Furthermore, he expands on the principle that one portion of the Holy Qur’an serves as an explanation for the other and that, in order to understand one verse, it is crucial for the reader to reflect upon the meanings given in another verse relating to the same topic. Studying the verses in light of the sayings of the Holy Prophet (as) and the writings of the Promised Messiah (as) opens the doors to acquiring the treasures of the verities of the Holy Qur’an.
The ten volumes of At-Tafsir Al-Kabir were written over a period of around 20 years, spanning approximately 6000 pages in the Urdu language. Even then, this exegesis does not cover all chapters of the Holy Qur’an; At-Tafsir Al-Kabir includes the chapters from Surah Al-Fatihah to Surah Al-Baqarah (the first two chapters), then from Surah Yunus to Surah Al-Ankabut (chapters 10-29) and then with a gap in publication, it covers Surah Al-Naba’ to Surah Al-Nas (chapters 78-114). The current Urdu font size in these volumes is quite small but if a more conventional font size is used then these pages might even exceed 10,000 to 12,000 pages!