Imam Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabari was born in 224 AH and died in 310 AH, at the age of eighty-six, in the region of Tabaristan.
His Tafseer, entitled Jaami’ al-Bayaan fi Ta’weel Aayi-‘l-Qur’aan, is one of the best and greatest of Tafseers. . Abu Haamid al-Isfaraayini said: If a traveller were to travel to China in order to obtain it, that would not be too much (Tabaqaat al-Mufassireen by al-Dawoodi, 2/106). Ibn Khuzaymah said: I have read it from beginning to end and I do not know of anyone on the face of the earth who is more knowledgeable than Ibn Jareer (Siyar A’laam al-Nubala’, 14/273). Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: With regard to the Tafseers that are in circulation among the people, the most sound of them is the Tafseer of Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabari, for he mentions the views of the salaf with proven isnaads, and there is no bid’ah (innovation) in it, and he does not transmit reports from dubious sources such as Muqaatil ibn Bukayr and al-Kalbi (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 13/358). He also said in Muqaddimah fi Usool al-Tafseer (p. 35), concerning the Tafseer of Ibn Jareer: He relied on the views of three generations of mufassireen among the salaf, namely the Sahaabah, the Taabi’een, and the followers of the Taabi’een, and he quotes their opinions with isnaads going back to them. This is an important feature of his book which is not present in many of the books of Tafseer that are in circulation among us. But this feature does not matter to many ordinary Muslims who are not able to research isnaads and distinguish sound isnaads from weak ones; all they want is to know whether an isnaad is sound or weak by means of a clear and brief statement to that effect. When he has finished quoting their opinions, he states which he thinks is most likely to be correct, then he describes how he reached that conclusion.
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