(30 Jun 2023) The island of Sumatra and the sultanate of Aceh played a crucial role in the spread of Islam and Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir) throughout the Malay world. A foundational name is that of ‘Abd al-Rā’ūf al-Fansūrī (ca. 1615-1693), one of the earliest Qur’anic commentators in the Malay world. His work, Tarjumān al-Mustafīd, represents the first – and for several centuries the only – complete interpretation of the Qur’an in the Malay language (Riddell 1990).
The Tarjumān al-Mustafīd, which was written in Aceh in the late 17th century, was completed with the help of ‘Abd al-Rā’ūf’s student and co-author, Bābā Dāwūd al-Rūmī (d. first half of 18th century). The Tarjumān al-Mustafīd was first printed in Istanbul in 1884, from a manuscript brought to Istanbul and presented to Sultan Abdulhamid II by Ahmad al-Fatānī (d. 1908), supervisor of the Malay printing press in Mecca.
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