Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Major Texts of the Shafi'i Madzhab

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Shafi’i madzhab coalesced around the collected verdicts and rulings of the Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i (r.a.).  But the madzhab had many great ‘ulama who produced many great works that constitute the basis of the madzhab.  They explained, elaborated and disseminated the original verdicts of their imam and preserved the authentic views of the madzhab for later generations.

Imam al-Haramayn ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abdullah al-Juwayni (r.a.) gathered all four main fiqh books of al-qawl al-jadid, new verdicts, of the madzhab into one monumental work, Nihayat al-Mathlab.  He consolidated Imam ash-Shafi’i’s (r.a.), al-Umm and al-Imla’, Imam al-Buwaythi’s (r.a.) al-Mukhtaswar and Imam al-Muzani’s (r.a.) al-Mukhtaswar.  Imam al-Buwaythi (r.a.) and Imam al-Muzani (r.a.) were of the first generation of Imam Shafi’i’s (r.a.) disciples.

Nihayat al-Mathlab has been abridged three times by the most famous student of Imam al-Juwayni (r.a.), Hujjat al-Islam Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (r.a.).  The first abridgement is al-Basith, the second is al-Wasith and the last is called al-Wajiz.

Imam ‘Abd al-Karim ar-Rafi’i (r.a.) summarized al-Wajiz and entitled it al-Muharrar.  Imam ar-Rafi’i (r.a.) also wrote two commentaries of al-Wajiz.  One was known as either Sharh al-Kabir or Fath al-‘Aziz fi Sharh al-Wajiz and the other was called Sharh asw-Swaghir.

Imam Sharaf ibn Yahya an-Nawawi (r.a.) abridged Fath al-‘Aziz in his Rawdhat ath-Thalibin wa ‘Umdat al-Muftiyyin.  This was later further abridged by Imam ibn al-Muqri (r.a.) into Rawdh ath-Thalib.  Imam Zakariyya al-Answari (r.a.) compiled a commentary on it, Asna al-Mathalib Sharh Rawdh ath-Thalib.  Rawdh ath-Thalib was also abridged by Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Muzajjad (r.a.) as al-Ubab.  Imam ibn Hajr al-Makki al-Haytsami (r.a.) prepared a commentary on it, al-Iyab Sharh al-‘Ubab.  Imam al-Muqri abridged it second time in al-Irshad.  Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) prepared a commentary on it, Fath al-Jawad Sharh al-Irshad.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) also abridged al-Muharrar into Minhaj ath-Thalibin.  It was thereafter further abridged by Imam Zakariyya al-Answari (r.a.) into Manhaj ath-Thullab and authored a commentary on it, Fath al-Wahhab bi Sharh Manhaj ath-Thullab.  Imam al-Jawhari (r.a.) also abridged al-Manhaj and named it, an-Nahj.

Various commentaries were written on al-Minhaj.  Imam Taqi ad-Din as-Subki (r.a.) said, regarding al-Minhaj of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), “In this era, this book is the most excellent book for students and many scholars to understand the madzhab.”  There are almost one hundred commentaries of al-Minhaj.  It has been abridged, explained, annotated and compiled in the form of poetry.

There are four main commentaries of al-Minhaj.  They are Tuhfat al-Muhtaj by Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hajr al-Haytsami al-Makki (r.a.), Nihayat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj by Imam Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hamzah ar-Ramli (r.a.), Mughni al-Muhtaj ila Ma’rifat al-Ma’ani al-Fazh Sharh al-Minhaj by Imam Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khathib ash-Shirbini (r.a.), and Kanz ar-Raghibin Sharh Minhaj ath-Thalibin by Imam Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli (r.a.).

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