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Hartford Seminary

Dr. Ali Shakibai Donates 40-Volume Qur’anic Commentary to Seminary Library

A longtime friend of Hartford Seminary, Dr. Ali Shakibai, recently donated a 40-volume collection of commentary on the Qur’an to the Seminary, giving the library the first such collection in Farsi.

Called the “al-Mizan fi tafsir al-Qur’an” by Muhammad Husayn Tabataba’l, the collection is something Dr. Shakibai, a physician, brought with him from Iran and has used as a reference throughout the years. He now wants others to benefit from it.

“I’ve been gaining intellectual insights from Hartford Seminary for the last 40 years,” he said, joking that “it looks like I’m giving one volume a year.”

The collection, which Dr. Shakibai called “an ocean of knowledge,” was written by a well-known 20th century scholar who died in 1982. His commentary was published both in Arabic, at 20 volumes, and in Farsi at 40 volumes.

Prof. Mahmoud Ayoub said the books represent an important addition to the library’s collection because they are the last major commentary on the Qur’an to date.

“In [the author's] examination of the traditions, he refers to and quotes from both Sunni and Shi’a authors,” Prof. Ayoub said. “On behalf of the seminary, I would like to thank Dr. Shakibai for his generous donation.”

Seminary Librarian Steven Blackburn, pictured above with Dr. Shakibai, far left, Prof. Ayoub, center, Syed Reza, second from right, and Nicolas Mumejian, right, said he was delighted to have the volumes for the Seminary’s collection.

“This is the first and only commentary we have in Farsi on the Qur’an,” he said. “This came as a wonderful surprise.”

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