Preference of Verdicts in the Shafi'i Madzhab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from Safinat an-Naja’ by Shaykh Salim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Samir al-Hadhrami ash-Shafi’i (r.a.).

On the issue of tarjih, preference, in the Shafi’i madzhab, the Shafi’iyyah generally look at the fatawa of Imam Abu al-Qasim ‘Abd al-Karim ibn Muhammad ar-Rafi’i al-Qazwini (r.a.) and Imam Abu Zakariyyah Yahya ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi (r.a.).  This is the unanimous view of the ‘ulama of the madzhab.  If these two a’immah differ, the rulings of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) are given preference.

If the works of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) differ, in general, the order of preference is as follows: at-Tahqiq, al-Majmu’, at-Tanqih, ar-Rawdhah, al-Minhaj and his fatawa, Sharh Swahih Muslim, and finally, Taswhih at-Tanbih and its nukat, margin notes.

The verdicts and rulings in which his books are unanimous will be given preference over those in which only some of his books are unanimous.  The rulings discussed under its relevant chapters are given preference over those that are mentioned in passing in other chapters.

The above mentioned books hold an authoritative position in the madzhab.  However, if there is difference opinion, preference is given to at-Tuhfah of Imam ibn Hajr al-Haytsami (r.a.) and an-Nihayah of Imam Shams ad-Din ar-Ramli (r.a.).  After these works, preference is given to Sharh asw-Swaghir ‘ala al-Bahjah and then, Fath al-Wahhab bi Sharh Manhaj ath-Thullab, both of them by Shaykh Zakariyyah al-Answari (r.a.).  Finally, preference is then given to Sharh al-Imam al-Khathib ash-Shirbini and Sharh al-Imam al-Mahalli.

Among the books of Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.), the order of merit is at-Tuhfah, Fath al-Jawad, and al-Imdad.  The fatawa, legal opinions, and Sharh al-‘Ubab have the same merit.  However, preference is given to the commentary, instead of the legal opinions.

The order of merit among the hawashi, marginal notes, is Hashiyah ‘ala Sharh al-Manhaj by Imam ‘Ali az-Ziyadi (r.a.), then Imam ibn Qasim al-‘Abbadi (r.a.) on at-Tuhfah, then Shaykh ‘Umayrah (r.a.) on al-Mahalli, and then the verdicts of Shaykh ‘Ali ash-Shabramillisi (r.a.) on an-Nihayah.  Thereafter, Hashiyah al-Halabi, Hashiyah ash-Shawbari,  and then, Hashiyah al-‘Anani.  Their opinions are only taken if they do not differ with the original verdicts.


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