Dar Ul Thaqafah
Subtle Allusions (Latāif al-ishārāt) is a line-by-line Arabic Qurānic commentary by the scholar and Sufi master Abū l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī (d.465/1074), who was also the author of the influential and widely read handbook on Sufism known as the Risāla. Qushayrī believed, like other Sufis, that the Qurān has layers upon layers of meaning, and that the attempt to reduce these layers to definitive interpretations demonstrates the limitations of the intellect rather than fidelity to the text. He suggested instead that the meaning of the Qurān is something to be discovered on an ongoing basis by individuals who are deeply engaged in reflection and other spiritual practices. Qushayrī demonstrates this kind of interpretation in the Latāif with his own and other Sufis' comments and meditations on the entire Qurān, not just the passages that would seem to be particularly conducive to a more interiorized or mystical reading. The commentary is noteworthy for its literary quality.
Although Qushayrī sometimes writes as the religious scholar he was, he also uses poetry, metaphors, and word play to make his points. It is a literary form of exegesis that is learned, flexible and elegant. The translation here is based on the Arabic printed edition of the Latāif edited by Ibrāhīm Basyūnī, with reference to two additional manuscript sources. Part I includes Qushayrī's extensive commentary on sūras 1 through 4.