Al-Kashshaf (a.k.a. ‘The Revealer; Quran Interpretation’) was written in the 12th century. It is the best known work of Al-Zamakhshari. Indeed, many linguists throughout history have attributed Al-Zamakhshari’s fame to this book. Check out Shabir Ally on, “Al-Zamakhshari, the Quran and the Crucifixion of Jesus”.

In this book, on page 271, Al-Zamakhshari cited different reports of how Eisa (as) escaped being hung on the cross (salaboo-hoo), he also gives differing views on 4:159 and says:

“”…It means that every Kitaabi must believe in Eisa, before Eisa dies, and this refers to the kitaabis of the time of his descent (not every kitaabi from today til then)..and it is narrated in the hadith that he will descend from the sky at the end of time….he will live 40 years and then he will pass away and the Muslims will pray his janaaza and bury him.”””(This hadith is in Sunan Abu Daud, #4675).

The name of this book (Al-Kashshaf) is derived from the verb kashaf ‘to uncover’. Thus, this book attempts to uncover the syntactic and semantic ambiguities of Quranic expressions. In the text, Al-Zamakhshari explained his motivation, impetus and goals for constructing it. In fact, he once admitted that he was hesitant to write this book, as he thought he might not have the skills needed to interpret the Quran appropriately. He said that whenever he was teaching his students and mentioning a Quranic verse, his students seemed to learn new meanings they have never come across before. As he continued to do that, students were more interested in Quranic interpretation than in other subject matters.

Zamakhshari on 33:40
Pages 858-859

“”And if you said: how can he (Muhammad) be the last of the prophets when Eisa is going to descend at the end of time? I say: the meaning of him being the last of the prophets is that nobody will be granted prophethood after Muhammad…and Eisa was granted prophethood before Muhammad…”



Zamakhshari on prophethood fully explained
Zamakhshari, no doubt, stated that khatam means a seal, but he has not denied that it also means last.  After stating the meaning of khatam as a seal it has been mentioned clearly – akhiru-hum la yanba’u aha-dum ba’duhu, that is, the last prophet after whom there would be no prophet. Thus in Kashshaf by Zamakhshari, although khatam means a seal, nevertheless, Khatam an-Nabiyyin according to him decidedly means the ‘Last of the Prophets’ as has been mentioned at the same place: fa-in qultakaifa kana akhirul anbiya-o; that is, if he had said so, then how is he the ‘Last of the Prophets’?  He also accepts the reading of khatam (with fatha on ta) and states distinctly: inna-hum bihi khutimu nabiyyin-fa –huwa kal khatimi wat-tabi-i ‘la-hum, that is, prophets have come to an end with him (the Holy Prophet), thus he is like a seal and signet for them. Because when a seal is set on something it means that nothing can enter therein. Whatever meaning is given to the Hadith about the Holy Prophet being the last brick of the palace of prophethood is applicable to the word seal.  Then he writes wa man zahaba ila anna al-nubuwwata mukhtasabatun la yanqatiu’…. fa huwa zindiqun yajibu qatalahu, that is, and he who holds the belief that prophethood could be acquired and has not been terminated is a heretic and deserves death.

Zamakhshari on 4:157

Todd Lawson’s book, “Christ and the Crucifixion”, he writes that Al-Zamakhshari was the first Muslim to ever challenge the “Substitution-theory” as well as the last (See Lawson, page 103). Lawson divides the past 1400 years into 3 distinct eras. Pre-Tabari Tafsir, which is 687–923, the classic and medieval tafsir’s are 923-1505, and the final category is called modern developments. It’s important to note that in the first category, the Pre-Tabari Tafsir era, all Tafsir’s gave the “substitution theory” and never questioned the grammatical prose of “Shubbiha Lahum”. The earliest translations and commentaries by Ibn Abbas and Al-Makki indicate that the proper translation is “But so it was made to appear to them”. In fact, in the “Pre-Tabari Tafsir era”, Lawson researched and quoted 13 top scholars from this era, and they all gave the same opinion about Shubbiha Lahum, i.e. that it referred to the “Substitution theory”. In conclusion, Zamakhshari was a heretic as were all Mutazalite’s, and they differed amongst themselves, however, they were in with the ruling family (the abbassids) and had Ibn Hanbal executed and continued to sway islamic opinion.

Scans from Todd Lawson
Pages 100-103
Todd Lawson’s book, “Christ and the Crucifixion

Zamakhshari on 3:55
Page 174

“””…I will save you from being killed by the Kuffar and I will postpone you to a term I have written for you….and raise you up to the sky….and it is said: that mutawafeeka means qaabiduku (I will seize you take you from the Earth, I took tawaffaaytu my money from fulaan, therefore I recieved it..”


How many times does “Shubbiha Lahum” occur in the Quran?

“””Some form of sh-b-h appears in the Quran 12 times and in 8 separate verses. 2:70, 3:7 (twice), 13:16, 2:118, 6:99 (twice), 2:25, 39:23 and 4:157. The meaning of the root varies, of course, according to the 6 different forms it assumes in these contexts.  The most frequent meaning is a function of the 3rd-form verbal usage, ‘to be similar or nearly identical to the point of confusion of true identity’ (see Lawson, page 32).””

Links and Related Essay’s

Al-Kashshaaf – Wikipedia

al-Zamakhshari – Wikipedia


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