Arabic Grammar and Qur’ānic Exegesis in Early Islam


In this volume the author examines the origins of Arabic linguistics on the basis of the earliest Qur’ānic commentaries (1st half of the 8th century A.D.). The material used includes both edited texts and manuscript commentaries.
Various chapters analyze the exegetical methods of the early commentators (such as Muqātil and Muḥammad al-Kalbī) and their use of grammatical terminology. These data are compared with the earliest grammatical treatises (Such as Sābawayhi and Farrā’).
The material presented here constitutes an important source of evidence for the development of linguistic thinking in Islam and the origin of the grammatical schools of Basra and Kufa.
Restricted Access


EUR €119.00USD $144.00

Biographical Note

Kees Versteegh, Ph.D. (1977), is currently Professor of Arabic and Islam at the University of Nijmegen. His publications deal with the Arabic grammatical tradition and the history of Arabic dialects.

Review Quotes

' ...intéressa à la fois les spécialistes de l'exegèse coranique et les historiens de la grammaire arabe.'
C. Gilliot, Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Theologiques, 1994.
' ...nous considérons que son étude est une contribution intéressante et originale à l'histoire de l'exégèse et de la grammaire et qu'elle peut être le point de départ d'autres recherches…'
C. G., Mideo, 22.
' La collecte est assez limitée, mais on peut être assuré qu'elle est définitive. A ce résultat important s'ajoutent des conclusions secondaires particulièrement fécondes. ...[une] étude exemplaire.'
Geneviève Humbert, Studia Islamica, 1995.
' ...a fresh dimension...thanks to the newly discovered early Qur'ānic commentaries he introduces and analyzes so meticulously.'
Raphael Talmon, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 1996.
' The significance of Versteegh's book lies in throwing light on, and interpreting credibly, some of the data that will have to be reckoned with in any examination of the relationship between two major fields of study in the formative era of Islam.'
Mustansir Mir, Muslim World Book Review, 1998.


All those interested in the development of Islamic scholarship, as well as specialists in Arabic grammar and Qur’ānic exegesis.

Index Card

Collection Information