The Art of Translation: An Early Persian Commentary of the Qurʾān

Alya Karame
Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Travis Zadeh
Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, USA

This article presents a description and analysis of a Persian translation and commentary of the Qurʾān, entitled Tafsīr-i munīr, by Abū Naṣr al-Ḥaddādī (d. after 400/1009),
the earliest exegetical work in Persian whose author can be identified. A manuscript of this multivolume work housed in the Topkapı Palace Museum of Istanbul offers an
important historical testament to the calligraphic development of Persian exegetical writing and the manners in which scholars and authorities sought creative ways to
visually balance the sacred Arabic text of the Qurʾān with vernacular exegetic material. The manuscript also reveals a good deal about Qurʾānic book art, as well as the development of Persian commentaries and translations, thus offering further insight into the history of the Qurʾān across the frontiers of Central Asia and Khurasan.


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