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A Ray of the Qur’ān: Selected Essays of Sayyed Mahmoud Taleghani, Volume II

Sūrah al-Baqarah/2:144-286

Edited By Mariam Agah

The main theme of A Ray of the Qur’ān is reflected in Sayyed Mahmoud Taleghani's unique and all-encompassing approach of using root definitions of key Qur’ānic terms as the basis for his illumination of the Qur’ān. Taleghani's  method mirrors his thesis that drawing on the light of the Qur’ān along with authentic prophetic tradition, sound theological argument, and a grasp of ethics, science, and human history reveals the observable interconnectedness in nature that exists on an individual and societal level and is constantly evolving as unified creation of one Creator.

The relationship of humanity to the rest of creation as discussed in A Ray of the Qur’ān elicits individual and societal human responsibility to know, care for, preserve, and promote both human society and all of nature in a just, fair, and morally balanced manner. Taleghani holds that the creator of the physical world and its human inhabitants lovingly and justly offers a blueprint and manual for action, and central to that is the Qur’ān. Nonetheless, according to Taleghani’s own humble estimation, his work should not be described as an interpretation, explanation or explication but an effort to allow glimpses of divine guidance to shine on minds and hearts.

A Ray of the Qur’ān will shift the academic discourse around studies of Islam and the Qur’ān, including within Islamic institutions. It offers a compelling and unique approach to theology, comparative religious studies, ethics, environmental studies, and Arabic studies.


“This is a very different approach to writing commentary on the Qur’ān from those written by classical or contemporary traditional scholars in the Shi‘a world. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that it was written mostly during prison time by one of the most eminent religious scholars of the twentieth century Iran who was also a relentless political activist, an advocate for justice and a champion of political freedom.
The years he spent in prison brought him in close contact with political activists of diverse orientation all united in their opposition to the Pahlavi regime. As a result, A Ray of the Qur’ān is also a window to the social and political history of Iran in the twentieth century.
This is a very original and important book, and a welcome addition to the contemporary scholarship in the field of Islamic Studies in general and Qur’ānic Studies in particular. The translator’s labor of love must be acknowledged and congratulated for providing the readers of English language with this special work.” —Mohammad H. Faghfoory, Professor and Director, Graduate Program in Islamic Studies, George Washington University

“English-language scholarship in Qur’ān studies owes a debt of gratitude to the translator and the publisher for making available one of the most important contemporary commentaries of the Qur’ān. Four decades after the passing of the author Al-Sayyid Mahmoud Taleghani (RA), the translation makes this authentic voice of human liberation accessible to a wide audience. It is not possible to overstate the importance of this translation of the invaluable, awe-inspiring and cogent contribution to understanding the causes of and solutions to the problems of human societies. The commentary represents a distinctive and eloquent voice of consciousness that was enlightened by the Qur’ān, which he taught must be understood by every generation in light of its own realities. Based on his commentary alone, if not his personal struggles, a persuasive case can be made that Taleghani could well be considered among the first Muslim liberation theologists of the twentieth century.” —Abbas Mirakhor, Retired Professor of Economics and Finance