Sharḥ: The Tradition of Commentary in Malay-Jawi Literature is an attempt to investigate deeper the wealth of commentaries that have for centuries nourished the spirit of knowledge among the people of this part of the world. It will serve as an analytical study on the sharḥ of Malay-Jāwī works, in so doing opening up many doors for further study in this area. Plus, it will answer the polemic of whether the sharḥ works in Malay-Jāwī literature, or even in general, were merely dormant and did not in any way contribute to the growth of knowledge, learning and culture of Islām and Malay scholarship in particular. By definition, sharḥ points to the extensive area of explanation signifying the usage of the term in a wide sphere of knowledge. Sharḥ in general is deep-rooted in the Qur’ān and hadīth as sources, exemplified in the sharḥ of the Prophet and continually applied by the later generations, to the extent that sharḥ connotes the interpretation of the correct and true teachings of Islām.
We have been exposed to the sharḥ tradition during its early formation, where it is proven that the writing of sharḥ had already commenced right after the creation of the text. It seems that the leading figures in all fields of knowledge were very much influenced by the notion of sharḥ, be it in their own works or their successors’. By virtue of this tradition, one could observe the teachings of Islām penetrating into all segments of society, from high-level figures to the general public through the existence of large, voluminous works and condensed, summarized works, which are all geared towards the goals of elucidation, elaboration and commentary. Based on the foregoing aims and goals of the study, it is hoped that it will serve as one of the main references for examining and analyzing the significant legacy of our past scholars towards the tradition of knowledge, learning and scholarship and the production of sharḥ literature in particular, thereby becoming a reference in Malay studies especially with regard to Malay culture and civilization.