In this thesis, I analyze the Sunni Ash’ari response to the Mu’tazilite Qurʾan commentary al- Kashshāf written by al-Zamakhsharī (d.538/1144), and the significant role of the gloss commentary (hashiyā) in highlighting the theological debates between Ash’ari and Mu’tazilite scholars. Alongside the main commentary, this thesis demonstrates the pivotal role of the hashiyā in Islamic studies through its intersection with theology and philology, uncovering active debates on the critical interpretations of the text by exegetes. Al-Kashshāf is the most commented text in the tafsir genre despite its Mu’tazilite influence, mostly receiving criticisms from conservative Sunni scholars. The first Ash’ari scholar to critique al-Kashshāf was ibn al- Munayyir (d. 683/1284), a prominent judge from Alexandria well-known for his mastery of Islamic jurisprudence, Arabic rhetoric, and Quran exegesis. While ibn al-Munayyir’s gloss commentary criticizes Mu’tazilite content in al-Kashshāf, he praises the text from a grammatical and rhetoric perspective. Hence, the thesis argues that ibn al-Munayyir only refutes al- Zamakhsharī on theological matters; in other matters, (grammar, rhetoric syntax, prophetic tradition) both authors agree with each other and interpret verses according to the exegetical tools employed in the tafsir genre. Therefore, a deep analysis of the debate in al-Kashshāf enables us to gain a more holistic understanding of the genre and appreciate its intersection with other fields of Islamic science. This thesis demonstrates the importance of the gloss commentary in tafsir studies, and how it can only be analyzed thoroughly by considering its connection with Islamic jurisprudence, Hadith, and theology.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date

Winter 1-31-2023

Submission Date


First Advisor

Mohamed Serag

Second Advisor

Ahmed Khan

Third Advisor

Abdulrahman Salem

Committee Member 1

Mohamed Serag

Committee Member 2

Ahmed Khan

Committee Member 3

Abdulrahman Salem


86 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item

Available for download on Friday, January 10, 2025