Monthly Archives: December 2014

How to Study the Maliki Madhab

These works are studied after completing the basic works Mukhtasar al-Akhdari, al-Ashmawi, al-‘Izziyah (esp. Marriage and Commerce), and Murshid al-Mu’in. The main text is studied, with the chief commentaries and marginal notes used as reference by the teacher and students.

al-Risalat al-Fiqhiyah by Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (310-386)

This text has the distinction of being continuously taught for over a thousand years. One unique feature is that the author often uses hadiths to construct the wording of the text. It is the second most popular Maliki matn in the manuscript tradition, boasting 238 known copies. The teacher may choose from one of the following commentaries:

  • Hashiyat al-‘Adawi
  • al-Thamr al-Dani by al-Azhari
  • Kifayat al-Talib al-Rabbani by al-Manufi (d. 939)
  • Sharh Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq (d. 889) with Hashiyat Fath al-Rabbai by al-Bannani (d. 1194)

Aqrab al-Masalik by Ahmad al-Dardir al-‘Adawi (d. 1201)

Sidi Ahmad al-Dardir abridged this text from al-Khalil’s Mukhtasar, leaving out the differences of opinion, and clarifying some difficult passages. In that sense it is somewhat similar to Minhaj al-Tullab in the Shafi’I madhab. It serves as an excellent preparation for Khalil. The teacher may use either of the following commentaries:

  • Sharh al-Saghir and/or al-Sawi’s (d.1241) hashiyat Bughyat al-Salik li-Aqrab al-Masalik
  • Tabyin al-Masalik li-Tadrib al-Salik by Muhammad al-Shaybani al-Shanqiti

Mukhtasar Khalil b. Ishaq al-Jundi (d. 776)

The Mukhtasar of Sidi Khalil has an unrivalled position in the later Maliki School and is the mu’tamad and mufti bihi text today. It is still memorized in Mauritania. Its popularity is attested to by 348 manuscript copies, making it the most popular non-Hanafi fiqh text in the pre-modern period. It uses unique phrases to indicate differences of opinion among major authorities of the School: ‘fiha’ for Sahnun’s Mudawwana; ‘al-ikhtiyar’ for al-Lakhmi; ‘al-tarjih’ for Ibn Yunis; ‘al-zahir’ for Ibn Rushd, etc.

However, the text is pregnant in meaning and difficult in expression. Therefore, it invariably is studied with commentary. Teachers would refer to a variety of the countless commentaries such as al-Zarqani, al-Bayan wa al-Taklil, and al-Hattab’s magnificent Mawahib al-Jalil. Students, on the other hand, may refer to the following:

  • Sharh al-Kabir by Ahmad al- Dardir (d. 1201) – the mu’tamad sharh in the madhab, with hashiyyat al-Dasuqi (d. 1230)
  • Nasihat al-Murabit by Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin al-Shanqiti (d.1325) is an excellent work, popular in Mauritania

One modern work which has found great popularity and acceptance among contemporary Malikis is al-Fiqh al-Maliki fi Thawbihi al-Jadid by Muhammad Bashir Shaqfah. It is based on the major commentaries of Mukhtasar al-Khalil and is thus a reliable summary of the mashur of the school, with the added bonus of mentioning evidences. Most Malikis agree that is incredibly accurate in transmitting the relied upon views of the school. It is studied in the UAE in the Shari’ah colleges after being commissioned by Shaykh Zayed in the late 1960s. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf also studied from this text during his study there. It should ideally be studied alongside Sharh al-Saghir with references made to Sharh al-Kabir (for the fiqh) and al-Ma’una with al-Ishraf by Qadi Ibn Abd al-Wahab (for the evidences).

Two other modern works which are great, in my view, are Fiqh al-Maliki wa Adilatihi by al-Habib b. Tahir (which is a tahdhib and ta’dil for Sharh al-Saghir) and al-Ghiryani’s Mudawwanat al-Fiqh al-Maliki wa Adilatihi (which is based on Mawahib al-Jalil, the large works of Ibn Rushd and other expansive Maliki works).

Reference works:

  • al-Kafi by Ibn Abd al-Barr
  • al-Talqin by Qadi Abd al-Wahab
  • al-Ma’una by Qadi Abd al-Wahab
  • al-Ishraf by Qadi Abd al-Wahab
  • al-Dhakhirah by al-Qarafi
  • al-Qawanin al-Fiqhiyyah by Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi (abridged it seems from Bidayat al-Mujtahid)
  • Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Ibn Rushd (abridged from Ibn Abd al-Barr’s al-Istidhkar)

Works on al-Mudawwanah:

  • al-Lakhmi, Ali b. Muhammad al-Rabi’i al-Qayrawani (d. 478) – al-Tabsirah (ta’liqa)
  • Ibn Yunus – al-Jami’ (sharh)
  • Ibn Rushd al-Jadd (d.520) – al-Muqadimat al-Mumahhidat (a sharh)
  • Al-Baradhi’i – al-Tahdhib (mukhtasar)

Works on al-‘Utbiyah:

  • Ibn Rushd al-Jadd – al-Bayan wa al-Tahsil (sharh)

The rank of sources of Malik’s statements

  • al-Mudawannah al-Kubra by Suhnun
  • al-Muwatta’ in its various transmissions
  • al-‘Utbiyyah or al-Mustakhrajah by al-‘Utbi
  • al-Mawwaziyyah by Ibn ul-Mawwaz
  • al-Wadihah by Ibn Habib (no longer extant but available in sections of al-Nawadir wa al-Ziyadat and other works)

How to find the mashur in the Maliki school

This is a simplified generalization. Nevertheless, it highlights the importance of al-Mudawwanah, which takes precedence over the various transmissions of al-Muwatta’.

  1. Ibn al-Qasim’s narrations from Malik in al-Mudawwanah
  2. Others’ narrations from Malik in the Mudawwanah
  3. Ibn al-Qasim’s opinions in the Mudawwanah
  4. Others’ opinions in the Mudawwanah
  5. Ibn al-Qasim’s narrations from Malik outside the Mudawwanah
  6. Others’ narrations from Malik outside the Mudawwanah
  7. Ibn al-Qasim’s opinions outside the Mudawwanah
  8. The opinions of the major scholars of the madhab outside the Mudawwanah

The importance of the Mudawwana is that it’s a collection of what Ibn Al Qasim learned in the last 20 years of Imam Malik’s life, which means it’s the final ijtihad of Imam Malik.

For development beyond the Mudawwana, one looks at the different historical schools of the madhab, which formed in the generation of Malik’s students. I must add that is is traditionally said that only four schools developed, but the reality is that it was at least six, if one counts the offshoots as independent schools.

The Egyptians were most authoritative because their leaders were senior students of Malik: Ibn Wahb, Ibn al-Qasim, Ashab, and Ibn Abd al-Hakim. They were strong advocates of Malik and preferred Madinan amal over ahad hadith.

The Madinans are next in precedence because of the blessing of Madinah. Mutraf and Ibn Majshun were from there, as well as Ibn Nafi’. They were unique in that they apparently preferred ahad hadith over Madinan amal.

The Maghribis (North-West Africans) are next in precedence because they developed they preserved Madhab quite extensively. However, as they held full dominance in their lands, with no opposition, they gave little attention to evidences. There was no need to justify positions beyond what what mashur. The notables of this school were Sahnun, Asad b. Furat, Ali b. Ziyad, Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, and al-Lakhmi.

The Andalucians tended to mix the hadith approach of the Madinans with the mashur approach of the Egyptians and Maghribis. This perhaps might have resulted from the presence of other schools in Spain such as those of al-Awza’i and al-Zahiri. As such, Spain produced such figures as Yahya b. Yahya al-Laythi, Ibn Abd al-Barr, al-Baji, Ibn Rushd, and Ibn Habib.

The Sicilian school was somewhat of an extension of the Maghribi school and boasted such luminaries as Ibn Yunus and al-Maziri.

The Iraqis are ranked last, although Qadi Abd al-Wahab is seen to have a similar strength to Ibn Rushd with the latter scholars of the madhab. The Iraqi school is said to have been somewhat of an extension of the Madinan school. As a result of being in Iraq, where all the other schools were present, the Iraqis tended to focus on evidence to defend the school in debates with others. Ibn al-Jullab and al-Abhari are other notables of this school.


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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in Fiqh


Ascertaining Popularity through Manuscript Numbers

A book’s importance and acceptance can be ascertained partly by the number of extant manuscripts (such as those listed in al-Fahris al-Shamil) and number of commentaries and glosses (listed in Jami’ al-Shuruh wa al-Hawashi) it has. Such data paints an interesting picture. One clear indication is the clear popularity of Hanafi works, especially those promoted by the Ottomans.

What follows is an ongoing project (updated as of December 2014) to list the numbers of manuscripts and commentaries of the major works of the Islamic Canon.

The Major Tafasir in Chronological Order (number of known manuscripts in brackets)

  1. Ibn Abbas (95)
  2. al-Tustari (7)
  3. al-Tabari (106)
  4. Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi (174)
  5. al-Tha’labi (125)[1]
  6. al-Wahidi (Asbab 67; al-Basit 24 [unpublished]; al-Wajiz 97 [Dar al-Qalam]; al-Wasit 118 [DKI])[2]
  7. al-Baghawi (571)
  8. al-Nasafi (111)
  9. al-Zamakshari (886) with Hashiyah al-Tibi (Futuh al-Ghayb)[3]
  10. Ibn Atiyyah (109)
  11. Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir (55)
  12. al-Razi (452) – based on al-Basit by al-Wahidi
  13. al-Qurtubi (268)[4]
  14. al-Baydawi[5] (1391+ almost 2,000 hawashi) – based on al-Zamakshari, al-Razi, and al-Raghib
  15. al-Nasafi (147)
  16. Ibn Juzayy (34)
  17. al-Khazin (326)
  18. Abu Hayyan (133) – the apex of grammatical tafsir, extensively engages with al-Kashaf
  19. al-Samim al-Halabi – al-Durr al-Masun (119)[6]; Umdat al-Hufaz (22)[7]
  20. Ibn Kathir (67)
  21. al-Mahalli/al-Suyuti –  al-Jalalayn (627) – based on al-Wajiz by al-Wahidi
  22. al-Tha’alabi (35)
  23. al-Suyuti – al-Durr al-Manthur[8] (267)
  24. al-Khatib al-Shirbini al-Siraj al-Munir (111)
  25. Abu al-Su’ud (454)
  26. al-Shawkani (8)
  27. al-Alusi (18)

Ahkam al-Quran

  1. al-Shafi’i, Ahkam al-Quran (3)
  2. al-Jassas – Ahkam al-Quran (50)
  3. al-Bayhaqi – Ahkam al-Quran (3)
  4. Ilkiya al-Harasi al-Shafi’i al-Baghdadi[9] – Ahkam al-Quran (1)
  5. Ibn al-Arabi – Ahkam al-Quran (20)
  6. al-Suyuti – al-Iklil fi Istinbat al-Tanzil (37)

Ulum al-Quran

  1. al-Zarkashi – al-Burhan (11)
  2. al-Suyuti – al-Itqan (220)

[1] Al-Tha’labi was the pioneer of theology in tafsir, whose ideas were taken up in al-Wahidi’s al-Basit (which itself was the basis for al-Razi). It perfected and popularized the encyclopedic approach of al-Tabari.

[2] al-Wahidi was the pioneer of philological tafsir and al-Ghazali advises in the Ihya to study both al-Wajiz and al-Wasit for tafsir

[3] Included in the Imperial Ottoman curriculum of Sulayman and Abu al-Su’ud

[4] Included in the Imperial Ottoman curriculum of Sulayman and Abu al-Su’ud

[5] Included in the Imperial Ottoman curriculum of Sulayman and Abu al-Su’ud

[6] A student of Abu Hayyan who based his tafsir on his teacher’s work with i’rab and engagement with al-Kashaf

[7] A lexical work covering the vocabulary of the Quran

[8] Included in the Imperial Ottoman curriculum of Sulayman and Abu al-Su’ud

[9] An associate of al-Ghazali who later became head of the Nizamiyyah in Baghdad

Top Fiqh Texts (number in bold indicates number of known manuscripts; brackets for al-Fahris al-Shamil details)

  1. Multaqa al-Abhur by Ibrahim al-Halabi [d.956] (10:273) 634
  2. al-Hidayah by al-Marghinani (11:367) 610
  3. Sharh al-Wiqaya (5:661) 592
  4. Mukhtasar al-Quduri [d.428] (9:305) 566
  5. Kanz al-Daqa’iq by al-Nasafi [d.710] (8:400) 457
  6. al-Bahr al-Ra’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq by Ibn Nujaym (2:10) 362
  7. Mukhtasar Khalil (9:223) 348
  8. Sharh al-Zarqani ‘ala Khalil (3:406) 346
  9. Tabayin al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq by al-Zayla’i (2:242) 342
  10. Fath al-Wahhab 325
  11. al-Durr al-Mukhtar by al-Haskafi (4:27) 323
  12. al-Iqna by al-Khatib al-Shirbini 321
  13. al-Bayan wa al-Taklil ‘ala al-Khalil (5:412) 313
  14. al-Wiqayah by Burhan al-Shari’ah [d.673] (11:562) 305
  15. al-‘Inaya fi Sharh al-Hidayah (6:300) 296
  16. al-Qawl al-Mukhtar (i.e. Fath al-Qarib) (8:178) 272
  17. Tuhfat al-Tullab (2:388) 257
  18. Fath al-Qadir Sharh al-Hidayah by Ibn al-Humam (7:291) 244
  19. Rumz al-Haqa’iq Sharh Kanz (243)
  20. Ibn Abi Zayd – al-Risalah (4:329) 238
  21. Kifayat al-Talib al-Rabbani (8:246) 217
  22. Minhaj al-Talibin 202
  23. al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsili [d.683] 199

Most popular Shafi’i Works

  • Fath al-Wahhab 325
  • al-Iqna by al-Khatib al-Shirbini 321
  • al-Qawl al-Mukhtar (i.e. Fath al-Qarib) (8:178) 272
  • Tuhfat al-Tullab (2:388) 257
  • Minhaj al-Talibin 202
  • Tuhfah al-Muhtaj 178 plus 16 hawashi
  • Nihayah al-Muhtaj 165 plus 5 hawashi
  • Rawdat al-Talibin 146
  • Fath al-Aziz (7:268) 126

Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi

  • al-Tanbih (2:804) 31
  • al-Muhadhab (10:696) 22


  • al-Mustasfa (9:611) 33
  • al-Wasit (11:540) 33
  • al-Wajiz (11:518) 26
  • al-Basit (2:121) 17


  • Fath al-Aziz (7:268) 126
  • al-Muharrar (9:149) 88


  • Rawdat al-Talibin 146
  • al-Majmu 35
  • al-Tahrir (al-Tanbih) 15
  • al-Manasik 11
  • Tashih al-Tanbih 3
  • al-Tahqiq 3

Minhaj al-Talibin 202

  • Tuhfah al-Muhtaj 178 plus 16 hawashi
  • Nihayah al-Muhtaj 165 plus 5 hawashi
  • Kanz al-Raghibin (8:424) 114 plus 12 hawashi
  • Mughni al-Muhtaj 24

Zakariyah al-Ansari

  • Fath al-Wahhab Sharh Manhaj al-Tullab (3:1942) 325 with 22 hawashi
  • Tuhfat al-Tullab Sharh Tahrir Tanqih al-Lubab (2:388) 257 plus 5 hawashi (al-Sharqawi)
  • Asna al-Mutalib 86 plus 1 hashiya
  • Manhaj al-Tullab 72 plus 4 hawashi
  • al-Ghurar al-Bahiyah (6:421) 39 plus 2 hashiyatayn
  • Tahrir Tanqiq al-Lubab (2:313) 17

Abi Shuja

  • al-Iqna 321 plus 15 hawashi
  • al-Qawl al-Mukhtar (Fath al-Qarib) 272 plus 17 hawashi
  • Ghayat al-Ikhtisar 91 (6:353)
  • Hashiyat al-Barmawi (Fath al-Qarib) 83
  • Kifayat al-Akhyar 53 plus 1 hashiya
  • Hashiyat al-Qalyubi (Fath al-Qarib) 52
  • Hashiyat al-Bujayrami (al-Iqana) 20

Works of the Muta’akhirin (post al-Nawawi/al-Rafa’i)

  • Hashiyat al-Sharqawi ‘ala Tuhfat al-Tullab (3:356) 75
  • al-Minhaj al-Qawim 61 plus 8 hawashi
  • Ibn al-Wardi – al-Buhjah Nazm al-Hawi al-Saghir (2:159) 36
  • Ibn al-Muqri – al-Irshad 34
  • Umdat al-Salik 30 plus 7 shuruh (Jami’ al-Shuruh 2:1235) plus 1 new sharh
  • al-Qazwini – al-Hawi al-Saghir (3:724) 27
  • al-Ramli – Fath al-Rahman 21
  • al-Ramli – Ghayat al-Bayan fi Sharh Zubad (6:366) 20
  • Ibn Hajar – al-Iy’ab Sharh al-‘Ubab 16
  • Ibn al-Muqri – al-Rawd al-Talib 15
  • Fath al-Mu’in 11 plus 3 hawashi
  • Ibn Hajar – Fath al-Jawad 11
  • Ibn Hajar – al-Imdad 7
  • Ba Fadl – al-Muqaddimah al-Hadramiyah 7
  • al-Mawahib al-Samad 6
  • a-Risalat al-Jami’ah 2


  • Nur al-Idah 116
  • Maraqi al-Falah (9:427) 88
  • al-Mukhtar 199
  • Majma’ al-Anhur by Zada (9:74) 108 on Multaqa al-Abhur


  • Murshid al-Mu’in 66
  • Aqrab al-Masalik (1:621) 22
  • Sharh al-Saghir (5:220) 110


  • al-Mughni 53
  • Dalil al-Talib 14

Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Books, History