How to Study the Hanafi Madhab

14 Jun

What follows are my own suggestions for studying the furu’ of the Hanafi school, based on my own experiences and consulting with scholars. These works are studied after mastering the basics of ‘ibada through works such as Nur al-Idah by al-Shurunbulali (d.994) with its commentary, Maraqi al-Falah, by the same author.

Mukhtasar al-Quduri by al-Quduri (d.428)

This blessed text is usually the first one studied that covers the full spectrum of fiqh. In al-Sham, it is almost always studied alongside its commentary, al-Lubab, by Abd-al-Ghani al-Maydani, a student of Ibn Abidin. The benefit of this commentary is that it is late (post-Ibn ‘Abidin) and thus incorporates much of the refinement and tarjih of the later period. It is also very clear and easy to read, even without a teacher. 

al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli (d.683)

This text is invariably studied with its commentary, al-Ikhtiyar li Ta’lil al-Mukhtar, by the same author. The commentary was the high school text for Hanafis at al-Azhar schools during the 20th Century. It mentions the differences between Abu Hanifah and his three major disciples Abu Yusuf, Muhammad al-Shaybani, and al-Zufar, as well as Imam al-Shafi’i. It also mentions the reasoning and evidence behind the chosen position. Some consider it to be somewhat of an abridgement of al-Hidayah.

Multaqa al-Abhur by Ibrahim al-Halabi (d.956)

This very useful text combines the masa’il (legal issues) of the four most reliable texts according to the later scholars: Mukhtasar al-Quduri, al-Mukhtar by al-Mawsuli, Kanz al-Daqa’iq by al-Nasafi (d.710), and al-Wiqayah by Burhan al-Shari’ah (d.673). As such, it suffices instead of separately studying the later two, even with their respected commentaries. It also uses very clear language and points to the relied-upon position, and thus is usually studied without commentary, though teachers and students may want to refer to the commentaries of al-Haskafi and Shaykh Zada. Multaqa al-Abhur was extrememly popular in Ottoman times and is the most numerous fiqh text (of all the schools) in manuscript.

al-Hidayah by al-Marghinani (d.593)

This is perhaps the most famous Hanafi text, and for good reason. It mentions evidences and differences with others, especially the Shafi’is. It must be studied with Fath al-Qadir, the commentary of Ibn al-Humam (d.861). One should also be careful to source-reference the hadiths with the takhrij works of Ibn Hajar and al-Zayla’i. One should also be careful with the transmissions from al-Shafi’i, as sometimes these are inaccurate. Nevertheless, both text and commentary train one in becoming a faqih in a way in which most texts are incapable.

Radd al-Muhtar by Ibn ‘Abidin (d. 1252)

Popularly known as Hashiyat Ibn ‘Abidin among Arabs and Shami in India, this gloss on al-Haskafi’s al-Durr al-Mukhtar (itself a commentary on Tanwir al-Absar) is still taught cover to cover in Syria (or at least was when I was last there in 2007). It is an encycloaedia of Hanafi fiqh, of which no Hanafi can do without.

Bada’i al-Sana’i by al-Kasani (d.587)

This is a wonderful text that is very clear, with evidences and differences, and has less quyud than many later texts. It is often referenced by non-Hanafis, who hold it in high regard.

I’la al-Sunan by Dhafar Ahmad al-Uthmani al-Thanawi

This monumental contemporary work is a commentary on just over 6,000 narrations which form the basis of Hanafi fiqh. It also includes the Hanafi approach to ‘ulum al-hadith and usul al-fiqh.


Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Books, Fiqh


40 responses to “How to Study the Hanafi Madhab

  1. Waleed

    June 14, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Just like to add how amazing your posts are. ALhamduliLLAH i stumbled across this great site! Your research seems vast, makes me wonder what your specialisation is! ALLAH accept us all for service of deen and Ilm

    • Al-Asiri

      June 15, 2015 at 7:04 am

      Ameen on your du’a! And alhamdu lillah that you are finding benefit from the posts.

  2. Bilal Ali

    June 17, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Reblogged this on at-Tahawi.

  3. A Soul Blossoming in Nature

    June 17, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Please also post download links to all the books. Please?

    • Al-Asiri

      June 17, 2015 at 5:35 am

      I am tied up with Ramadan preparations now. The books are widely available online at sites such as A simple google search in Arabic should find them. Also, Shamela has them all. I will try in future in sha Allah to link all the books but this will take time.

  4. muhammad

    June 23, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    i personally feel in these ages we also need to study the hanafi hadith related kutub such as ilam ul inaam(sheikh itr) umdat ul qari(allamah ayni) fath ul mulhim(mufti taqi) ilaa us sunan (sheikh uthmani) mirqaat (qari) ect… as the days of people asking for daleel has come jazakALLAH

    • Al-Asiri

      June 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Don’t forget Mulla Ali Qari’s Fath Bab al-Inayah too. However, whilst I think that we must study masa’il with evidences, I feel that just as important is the study of usul. Hanafis have a very unique approach to usul which leads different conclusions. Once you understand the usul, you can understand how the madhab really works as well as its relationship with Hadith.

      Two excellent books written by Hanafis on this are Qawa’id fi Ulum al-Hadith by al-Uthmani and Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Ikhtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha by Awwamah, both of which I am informed have finally been translated into English. These two are real gems in defending Hanafi usul and should be required reading for any serious Hanafi.

  5. Waleed

    July 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Post by mufti Husain Kadodia regarding the indo pak way of teaching, specifically why Al Mukhtar is absent from the syllabus.

    “The reasons for are very simple.
    I realised them, when I met a top Iraqi Hanafi Alim and stayed with him for over a week, discussing our syllabus’s approaches to fiqh etc.

    They start of with Quduri, just only reading the text. The reasoning behind the rulings, ilal etc are not discussed.
    They then teach al-Ikhtiyar, followed by Hidayah.

    In our Madrasah’s, Nur al-Idah teaches Ibadat in Detail, while Quduri teaches the balance. When studying Quduri, the Hawashi on the book are used extensively, through which the teacher teachers the ilal, reasoning, clears up contradictions between masail etc. So in reality, the teacher is given the student whatever is to be found in al-ikhtiyar and more so in al-Mukhtar.

    Now teaching ikhtiyar would be a waste of time, so they move onto any of the following:
    – Kanz
    – Sharh Wiqayah
    – Sharh Nuqayah (Fath bab al-Inayah)

    The first two have really detailed hawashi, esp. Sharh Wiqayah whose hashiyah is full of adillah and tahqiq.
    The third is full of proof, for every mas’alah, mainly from properly referenced ahadith.

    So these three are a step up on al-ikhtiyar, making the jump to Hidayah much smaller, especially due to the texts of some of them being very similar to those of hidayah.

    Another reason for ikhtiyar beign taught there is the text is flowing, easy to read and understand, while our Madaris prefer harder texts that build up the ability to decipher ibarat.

    Lastly, Mukhtar and its Sharh weren’t used much by the Mutaqadimin, with Sharh Wiqayah and Kanz having over a hundreds commentaries written on each of them, while you would only find a handful on Mukhtar and al-Ikhtiyar.

    A few other reasons as well, yet these should do.”

    • Al-Asiri

      July 9, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Kanz and Sharh al-Wiqayah are not really studied much by Arab Hanafis (in Syria and Egypt).

      Nur al-Idah is studied in both Syria and Egypt, as is al-Quduri (more so in Syria than in Egypt, to my knowledge).

      Al-Ikhtiyar has the added benefit of clearly indicating internal and external differences, especially as Syria and Egypt are predominantly Shafi’i). It was the high school text at al-Azhar for this reason.

      I prefer Multaqa al-Abhur to both Kanz and Sharh al-Wiqayah, for the reasons listed above. I feel it is a great text that is sadly neglected in India.

      • Waleed

        July 9, 2015 at 9:56 am

        i believe Shaykh Anwar shah Kashmiri RA actually replaced one of those two books with Multaqa in a madrasah situated in Dabhel, as well as replacing shashi with ta’sees al nadhr and adding alfiyyah as opposed to the cryptic nahw books that used to be present (kafiyah and sharh jami), Suppose it could depend on intention of teaching. Kanz has many commentaries and the other also, though probably not that many in print for sharh wiqayah. If a student is acquainted with teh books, he may be prepared for further research, although a true researcher would get himself acquainted anyhow. On the flip side, Your curriculum would be awesome for getting a good understanding of the school passed on to the students in-class, as opposed to getting them ready for research they may or may not do

      • Al-Asiri

        July 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        The thing is that these texts are all vehicles towards getting to al-Hidayah and beyond (Ibn Abidin, Kasani, etc.) and Multaqa covers all the masa’il. Ask yourself, how much of the shuruh on Kanz actually gets presented to the student? I’m not downplaying Kanz, I just feel that one should be more efficient. Kanz and its commentaries shouldn’t be the place for extensive research. That’s for Fath al-Qadir, Ibn Abidin, Bada’i, Zahir al-Riwayah, etc.

      • Waleed

        July 10, 2015 at 10:03 am

        Yes I understand what you mean. By the way, about shami, are you aware of anywhere still teaching it? I believe dr Salah Abu ‘l Hajj does in his markaz. Also, what background do you have, if I may ask and if you don’t mind. You seem to have an insight in different madhabs.

      • Al-Asiri

        July 10, 2015 at 11:01 am

        Shami was still being taught cover to cover by shaykh Abd al-Razzaq when I was last in Damascus in 2007. I don’t know if any of his successors still do so, although it’s not unlikely.

        Alhamdu lillah I have studied the four madhabs and am a student of each. In Ibadah I am generally Shafi’i with some Hanbali elements, but in ahwal al-shakhsiyyah, mu’amalat, and jinayat I follow Hanafi or Maliki fiqh.

      • Waleed

        July 12, 2015 at 8:18 pm

        did you study them comparatively or individually? I am assuming the latter.

      • Al-Asiri

        July 13, 2015 at 2:53 am

        I studied them individually, each on their own terms.

      • Waleed

        July 12, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        Also, where do you think Fath Bab al inayah would fit in, if at all, in a class setting. Or do you opine it is best done for mutala’ah on the student’s own time.?

      • Al-Asiri

        July 13, 2015 at 2:57 am

        I feel it is best served if read by the student alongside or after al-Ikhtiyar. In your case, I’d read it alongside Kanz. Your teachers can guide you in this regard.

      • Waleed

        August 4, 2015 at 1:55 am

        About Kanz and wiqayah, I just realized that neither is actually taught in full, which lends support to your view of teaching multaqa, as the language is probably clearer and it joins the masail in one book. The closest syllabus to yours I’ve seen is DU bury, which is virtually the same except for the fact that they go straight from ikhtoyar to Al Hidayah. I’ve also seen some madaris go straight from qudoori to Hidayah. On that note, I’d like to ask, would you think that both ikhtiyar and multaqa, or substitutes at the same level for that matter like Kanz and wiqayah, must be studied before al Hidayah? Does it make sense to skip the former and go straight to multaqa then al hidayah, or going straight from al ikhtiyar to al hidayah? Also, what is your proposed curriculum for usool. I am assuming you don’t recommend going straight to shashi before a previous intro to usool, what with the explanation needed in understanding it. And how would one progress, both in terms of contemporary and classical texts. I realize that a true answer would take an article, but if you could mention it shortly as I don’t wish to bother you with an article request.
        Sorry to be a bother


      • Al-Asiri

        August 4, 2015 at 5:58 am

        Wa ‘alaykum salam wa rahmatullah,

        DU Bury has a fantatic reputation as the leading DU in the West (excluding SA) and has produced some great graduates, some of whom are my friends.

        It could be possible to go to al-Hidayah after al-Ikhtiyar, though I would prefer Multaqa as a bridge. It all depends on the quality of teacher and/or the aptitude of the student. The curriculum I have recommended is based on what I personally feel is best, based on my experience and discussions with others. Others are likely to have other views.

        Hanafi usul would require another article. It is critical to understand distinctive Hanafi principles such as ta’mim al-adilla and the qiyas from this. In general, the earlier works to the sixth century are quite excellent, especially when one considers their istinbat.

      • Walpat

        September 17, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        If multaqa is taught, would it be imperative that ikhtuyar is also? What do you think of if majma al bshrayn is also taught in place of the other two, as suggested by bro adeeb? Bearing in mind that hidayah is also covered with adillah and ilal?

      • Al-Asiri

        September 29, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        It is not imperative, simply a suggestion. Majma’ has the virtue of covering pretty much all the masa’il you’ll have to deal with on a regularity, so understanding its contents suffices for a great many of other texts.

  6. Adeeb Shums

    July 20, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Salam alaykum, you mention you have studied each school individually according to their own terms. How far have you reached (to name a text, for example, till al-Hidaya) in your study?

    • Al-Asiri

      July 20, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Wa ‘alaykum salam. I do not usually mention details of my studies unless sincerely requested or when teaching, because it can lead to boasting, personality cults argumentation, and other ills – may Allah protect us! The best test of a man or woman’s learning is peer recognition and the quality of their output, be that writings or students.

      I also follow Ahmad b. Hanbal’s advice to keep a low profile till one reaches a degree of maturity after the age of forty. This allows one to develop and mature outside of the public eye, whilst being known within scholarly circles. And even then, Ahmad’s biggest regret in later life was the fame that had attached itself to him.

      Nevertheless, the following are the most advanced texts of each school that I have formally studied around the world over the last two decades:

      Hanafi – Bida’i al-Sana’i
      Shafi’i – Mughni al-Muhtaj
      Hanbali – Sharh al-Mumti’/Hashiyat Ibn Qasim
      Maliki – the books of Shaqfah and al-Ghiryani

      • Adeeb Shums

        July 25, 2015 at 3:22 am

        al-salamu alaykum,

        Thank you for your response. My question was not to gossip about your studies and teachers or to think negatively about you but to know the ladder from which you climbed to write this post. I have some additions about this post. As follows:

        – To omit the “Crown of the Hanafis” – al-Hidaya – for a moment, which text would you replace it with for formal study had al-Hidaya not have existed?

        – Any of the above matns’ commentaries are up to the student to pick and reference it with in his revision time. Thus, many times a lot of exposure is not there of these shuruh. It is for a short period only.

        – I think it is vital in the Hanafi circles to train the student to refer back to the original sources of the school in both furu’ and usul rather to just get satisfied with I’la al-Sunan or Radd al-Muhtar/al-Hidaya as a response.

      • Al-Asiri

        July 25, 2015 at 7:36 am

        Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullah,

        As al-Hidayah is usually covered with Ibn al-Hammam, I would opt for Bada’i. It is an excellent book and could be studied after Halabi.

        I wholeheartedly agree about connecting with the source works. One of my teaching approaches is to set research assignments of certain masa’il whereby students are able to ascertain the degree of success in which, for example, al-Quduri, has transmitted Imam Muhammad’s books. Why and how was x transmitted? Why was y left out? This is very important but is rarely discussed.

      • Adeeb Shums

        August 20, 2015 at 8:57 pm

        al-salamu alaykum,
        What do you think of replacing Mukhtasar al-Quduri or al-Mukhtar with Majma’ al-Bahrayn – since it would be like Multaqa al-Abhur… One of the teachers had recommended that once a Hanafi student reaches entry advance level or upper intermediate, he should read works of fatawa and rasa’il to strengthen his knowledge and expand it.

      • Al-Asiri

        August 25, 2015 at 9:33 am

        Wa ‘alaykum salam,

        Reading fatawa and rasa’il is very beneficial. In fact, these are often the means for new masa’il entering the corpus via their incorporation into subsequent shuruh and mutun. One tip to which I advise is to trace these masa’il to their sources and ask certain questions as to why this mas’ala was incorporated and not another one. From whom do the majority of new masa’il come?

        Majma’ al-Bahrayn could replace al-Mukhtasar and/or al-Mukhtar. It all boils down to the aptitude of the student and teacher. Bear in mind that these mutun and shuruh are means rather than ends in and of themselves. More important is a great teacher and a sharp intellect on behalf of the student.

  7. Waleed

    August 12, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Salam shaykh .

    Hope you are well. Would you recommend any contemporary works, either in place of any of the aforementioned works or alongside them, as you said for sharh Nuqayah to be read with Kanz/Halabi?

    • Al-Asiri

      August 12, 2015 at 6:38 am

      Wa alaykum salam and may this reach you in good health. To be honest, although there are a few contemporary works, I haven’t been impressed with them to the extent that I have with contemporary Maliki and Shafi’i works. Perhaps the best is shaykh Wahba al-Zuhayli’s book, may Allah have mercy on him.

      • Waleed

        August 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        Is it teh one named Al Fiqh al Hanafi al Muyassar? How do you view shaykh Ghawji’s book, al Kafi?

    • Adeeb Shums

      August 30, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      I would not say al-Kafi would be the best to teach in a cirriculum that consists other texts superior to it. Although, it would be a welcomed translation in the English language.

      • Al-Asiri

        September 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

        To be frank I haven’t spent time enough with it in order to make a fair judgement.

      • Waleed

        September 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        Sorry do you know of this sharh? Stumbled upon it while looking for multaqa pdf, stll looking btw. Please help if you have it

  8. saalik90

    September 8, 2015 at 3:17 am


    Have you looked at Kitab al Hujjah of Imam Muhammad. Do they represent the relied upon views of the Hanafi School?

    also how about Munyah al Musalli is that considered a reliable work in the madhab?

    BarakAllahu feekum

  9. Waleed

    October 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Have you got any suggested madkhal works to the madhab?

  10. m7ia

    April 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    We are all looking forward to an article about how to study Hanafi Usul ya Shaykh! Barak Allahu fikum

    • Al-Asiri

      April 3, 2016 at 8:14 am

      It’s in the pipeline in sha Allah. We’ve been very busy since the Autumn but things are settling somewhat in the buildup to Ramadan.

  11. J mohammed

    January 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I would like to study the Hanifa mahdab

    • Al-Asiri

      February 28, 2017 at 5:26 am

      It is a beautiful madhab. We pray that you succeed in your studies!


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