Günümüze ulaşan ilk eser olması hasebiyle Mukâtil b. Süleyman’ın el-Vücûh ve’n-Nezâir’i bir milat kabul edildiği takdirde, vücûh ve nezâirle ilgili eserlerin oldukça erken bir dönemden itibaren telif edildiği söylenebilir. Konuyla ilgili birçok eser telif edilmiş olmasına karşın, İbnü’l-Cevzî’den önceki müellifler vücûh ve nezâire dair herhangi bir tanım yapmamıştır. İbnü’l-Cevzî “vücûh ve nezâir”i, “bir kelimeden Kur’an’ın farklı yerlerinde farklı anlamlar kastedilmesi” diye tarif etmiş, devamında “nezâirin lafızlarda, vücûhun ise manalarda bulunduğu”nu söylemiştir. Bu tarif klasik dönemde İbn Teymiye, Zerkeşî, Süyûtî ve Taşköprîzâde tarafından eleştirilmiştir. Söz konusu eleştiriler nedeniyle olsa gerek, Kâtip Çelebî ve muhtemel başka istisnalar dışında, İbnü’l-Cevzî’nin tanımını benimseyen yok gibidir. Son dönemde de çeşitli eleştiriler yöneltilmekle birlikte, İbnü’l-Cevzî’nin tanımı bazı araştırmacılar tarafından benimsenmiş, bunun en uygun nezâir tanımı olduğu öne sürülmüştür. Fakat İbnü’l-Cevzî’nin tarifi konuyla ilgili eserlerin muhteva ve üslûbü açısından bazı sorunlar taşımaktadır. Makalede İbnü’l-Cevzî’nin nezâir anlayışının, vücûh-nezâir literatürünün üslûbu çerçevesinde değerlendirilmesi ve sorunlu yönlerinin ortaya konulması amaçlanmaktadır. Bu kapsamda sekiz eser çerçevesinde ve “maraz” lafzı örneğinde vücûh ve nezâir literatürünün üslûbu tanıtılacak, bu sayede İbnü’l-Cevzî’nin tarifinin tahlili yapılacaktır. Böylece ilgili eserlerin muhteva ve üslûbuna en yakın anlayışın tespitine katkı sunulması hedeflenmektedir.
The oldest surviving work on al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir is Mukātil ibn Sulayman’s (d. 150/767) work. Consequent to being the oldest surviving work on this subject, if Mukātil ibn Sulayman’s al-Wujūh wa’l-Naẓāir is accepted as a milestone, it could be said that works on “al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir” date back to the early period of Islam. Except for the work of al-Hakīm al-Tirmidhī (d. 320/932) named Tahsīl al-Naẓāiri'l-Qur’ān, in the works written about al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir, wujūh refers to “the words in the Qur’an that signifies two or more meanings”. As for al-naẓāir, it is equivalent to “other instances where the words used for different meanings in the Qur’an is mentioned or repeated with any of these meanings.”
In the light of study and review of the literature on al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir, as well as the opinions expressed on the subject, we think that it would be appropriate to understand these terms (al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir), in the way it has been stated above. Although, it is observed that different definitions are made especially regarding al-naẓāir. The fact that the authors before Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597/1201) did not define al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir can be regarded as the most important reason for these different definitions. In addition, it is possible to say that there are other reasons for the emergence of different definitions.
Ibn al-Jawzī, who defines “al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir” as “the words signifying different meanings in different parts of the Qur’an”, at the end of his definition, he used an expression implies that “al-naẓāir refers to the words while al-wujūh refers to the meanings”. This definition was criticized in the classical era by scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328), al-Zarkashī (d. 794/1392), al-Suyūtī (d. 911/1505) and Tashkoprīzāde (d. 968/1561). Indeed, Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition has some problems from the point of the content and methodology of the works related to the subject. The fact that Ibn al-Jawzī’s conception of al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir, was not adopted by many in the classical era, in exception of Kātip Celebī (d. 1067/1657), could be explained by the criticisms of the scholars mentioned and his definition’s incompatibility with the content of the literature in question. Ibn al-Jawzī’s conception has also been criticized by some scholars and researchers of the modern era. However, in recent years, there have been some who have adopted and reintroduced the definition.
Despite being severally criticized both in the past and today, the adoption and defence of Ibn al-Jawzī’s conception of al-naẓāir in some recent studies shows that the previous criticisms did not fully realize their goal or were not understood. Thus, this situation necessitates addressing the issue in detail in a separate study.
It is a fact that Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition does not fully reflect the reality, therefore it has been subject to various criticisms, and this definition has not received much acceptance in the historical process. In fact, it does not even carry weight like another definition that describes al-naẓāir as synonymy. Therefore, it can be thought that this definition is not worth being discussed, and that rather than incorrectness of Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition, there should be more emphasis on the one that defines al-naẓāir as synonymy. In spite of that, addressing the problem of defining al-naẓāir as synonymy is not included among the main objectives of this studies because the definition is fast losing effect and its incorrectness is being accepted. Moreover, its inconsistence with the content of the literature has been discussed in many other studies. However, the fact that some researchers who published some works about al-wujūh wa’l-naẓāir, stated Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition as the only definition in their introductory chapter, or in cases where even if they stated other definitions, their preference for Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition, is the clearest indicator of the confusion on this subject. Also, the fact that some new research have made a great deal of effort to prove Ibn al-Jawzī’s definition as correct, necessitated appraisal of Ibn al-Jawzī’s conception of al-naẓāir specially.