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Tafsir (تفسير, tafsīr, "interpretation") is the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. An author of tafsīr is a mufassir مفسر. The tafsir of the Qur'an as a collective, in all of their various forms, constitute one of the essential pieces of Islamic religious teaching and practice. The practice of tafsir began within the second Islamic century (the 8th century in the common era) and continues up to the present day. Islam is thus somewhat unique amongst the large world religions in that as a religion it continues to produce a type of sacred literature to the present day..
The number of tafsirs is massive. One of the most respected and widely used tafsir is that of ibn Kathir, which uses hadith to explain the meanings of Qur'an verses (as the Qur'an is largely without context). Other highly respected the tafsir of Tabari, the tafsir of Qurtubi, the tafsir of Baghawi, and the Tafsir of the Jalalayn (of the two Jalals, Jalal Ud-Din al-Mahalli and Jalal Ud-Din As-Suyuti . Tafsirs continue to be produced to the modern period, with some of them more famous being that of Al-Wasit in the 19th century and of Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century.