Category Archives: Fiqh

The Book of Hajj (from The Hadrami Primer)

Hajj is almost upon us, and it is advisable to review the fiqh of Hajj every year before it starts. What follows is a translation and commentary from al-Muqaddimah al-Hadramiyyah by A. S. Gorin, from a manuscript that will be published in future in sha Allah. The importance of the text has been explained elsewhere in previous posts. In short, it is one of the most important teaching primers of the post-Shaykhayn period of the Shafi’i school, and has attracted a number of important commentaries and glosses. It is still studied accross the Indian Ocean basin and further beyond in Syria and Kurdistan.


H: Ibn Hajar’s commentary from al-Manhaj al-Qawim

T: al-Tarmasi’s gloss on Ibn Hajar’s commentary

B: Ba’Ishn’s commentary from Bushra al-Karim

A: The translator’s commentary

The Book of Hajj and ‘Umrah

They (A: i.e. Hajj and ‘Umrah) are both obligatory. The preconditions for their obligation are:

  1. Islam;
  2. freedom;
  3. legal responsibility;
  4. and ability.

(A: Ability) has five sub conditions:

  1. Availability of provisions and containers; enough for going and returning;
  2. Availability of a vehicle (A: including riding animals and mounts) for one who has two stages between him and Makkah; or a carriage for one who cannot sit on a mount, and for a woman with a partner. A vehicle is not a condition for the one who has less than two stages between him and Makkah whilst able to walk. It is a condition that the aforementioned is in excess of one’s debt, provision for those one must provide for till returning, housing and a servant if needed.
  3. The route is safe.
  4. Presence of food and water in expected places, wherefrom one can purchase with a reasonable price according to place and time. [A: This includes] the feed for one’s riding animal at every stage. Hajj is not obligatory on the woman, unless her husband goes with her, or an unmarriageable kin or trustworthy women.
  5. Ability to remain mounted on the vehicle without great difficulty. Hajj is not obligatory on a blind man unless he finds a guide.

Whoever cannot perform Hajj himself, it is obligatory on him to find one to deputise for him, if he has enough money and finds one who will obey him; except if the distance between him and Makkah is less than the distance for shortening prayer, in which case it is binding on him to perform, in person.

On the Timing of Hajj and Umrah

One may enter the state of pilgrim sanctity for Umrah at any time. [A: However, for] Hajj [A: entering pilgrim sanctity must be done] in its [A: set] months. These are: Shawwal, Dhu al-Qa’dah and the first ten [A:days] of Dhu al-Hijjah. If one enters the pilgrim sanctity for Hajj outside these times, it is considered Umrah. Whoever is in Makkah enters the state of pilgrim sanctity for Hajj from it; and for Umrah from the closest area of al-Hil (A: at Masjid al-Tan’im, known as Masjid A’isha locally).

A non-Makkan must enter the state pilgrim sanctity for Hajj and Umrah from the designated sites. These are:

For (A: people coming from) Tihamah of Yemen: Yalamlam;

for (A: people coming from) Najd: Qarn;

for the people of Iraq: Dhatu ‘Irq;

for the people of Syria, Egypt and North Africa: al-Juhfah (A: near Rabigh);

and for the people of al-Madinah: Dhu al-Hulayfah.

One who passes by the designated sites, intending the rites, then later enters a state of pilgrim sanctity must sacrifice if he does not return to the set site before starting any of the rites. Entering the state of pilgrim sanctity at the designated site is better than from one’s town (H: as this follows the Sunnah).

On the Integrals of Hajj and Umrah

There are five integrals for Hajj:

  1. entering a state of pilgrim sanctity;
  2. standing at Arafah;
  3. circumambulation around the Ka’ba;
  4. traversing between al-Safa and al-Marwa;
  5. shaving one’s hair;

There are four integrals for Umrah:

  1. entering a state of pilgrim sanctity;
  2. circumambulation around the Ka’ba;
  3. traversing between al-Safa and al-Marwa;
  4. shaving one’s hair;

On Pilgrim Sanctity

Pilgrim sanctity is the intention for doing Hajj or Umrah or both. It is considered an absolute state of pilgrim sanctity, which one may change as one wishes (H: to Hajj, Umrah, or both). It is recommended to utter the intention, saying: “I intend Hajj, or Umrah, and I enter a state of pilgrim sanctity for it for Allah, the Exalted.” If one performs Hajj or Umrah on behalf of another, one says: “I intend Hajj or Umrah on behalf of so-and-so, and I enter a state of pilgrim sanctity for it Allah, the Exalted.”

It is recommended to chant the talbiyah with the intention, and to proliferate it, raising one’s voice if male, except on the first instance where one chants quietly.

The talbiyah’s form is: “Ever at Your service, O Allah, ever at Your service. Ever at Your service, You have no partner, ever at Your service. Indeed, All praise, blessings and dominion are Yours. You have no partner.”

One repeats it thrice, and then sends salutations on the Prophet, followed by asking Allah for His pleasure and Paradise, seeking refuge from the Fire. Then, one supplicates for whatsoever one likes. If one in a state of pilgrim sanctity, or another, sees something which delights or displeases one, one says [H: sorrowfully], “Ever at Your service, indeed the (real) life is the life of the Hereafter.”

On Recommended Acts Connected to the Rites

It is recommended to perform a ritual bath for entering a state of pilgrim sanctity, entering Makka, standing at Arafah and Muzdalifah, and stoning on the Appointed Days.

It is recommended to perfume one’s body for pilgrim sanctity, but not one’s clothing, and to wear a mantle and wraparound which are new, or [H: if unavailable] washed, and sandals.

It is recommended to perform two units of prayer, after which one enters into a state of pilgrim sanctity, facing the qiblah at the beginning of one’s commencement.

It is recommended to enter Makkah before the standing [H: at ‘Ararah], and to enter from the north, during the day, walking bare-foot. It is recommended to perform the arrival circumambulation if one is performing Hajj, or Joining, and enters Makkah before the Standing.

On Obligations and Recommended Acts in Circumambulation

The eight obligations of circumambulation are:

  1. Covering one’s nakedness;
  2. purity from ritual impurity;
  3. purity from physical impurity;
  4. keeping the Ka’ba to one’s left;
  5. beginning at the Black Stone;
  6. aligning with it [H: i.e. some of the Black Stone] with all of one’s body;
  7. performing circumambulation even times;
  8. and to be inside the Mosque and outside the Ka’ba, buttress and Hijr.

The recommended acts are:

  1. walking;
  2. greeting the Stone, kissing it and placing one’s forehead on it;
  3. greeting the Yemeni Corner;
  4. reciting the appropriate invocations (however it is not recommended for women to greet and kiss [A: the Black Stone] except in private);
  5. jogging for men in the first three cycles of circumambulation, only if this is followed by walking;
  6. bearing one’s right shoulder [H: only for males];
  7. proximity to the Ka’ba;
  8. performing the cycles in succession;
  9. and performing two units of prayer after it;

On Travering between al-Safa and al-Marwa

The four obligations of traversing are:

  1. beginning the first with al-Safa;
  2. beginning the second with al-Marwah;
  3. walking between them seven times;
  4. and that it is performed after the integral of circumambulation or arrival.

Its recommended acts are:

  1. rising a full height on al-Safa and al-Marwah [H: for males];
  2. reciting the relevant invocations;
  3. supplicating thrice after each time;
  4. and walking at the beginning and end, but running in the middle, the place to do so being well-known [A: signified by green lights].

On Standing at Arafah

The obligation of standing is to be present on the plain of Arafah for a moment, after the zenith on the Day of Arafah; even if passing through or sleeping, on the condition that one is sane. The time [A: to do so] remains till dawn.

Its recommended acts are:

  1. combining the night with the day;
  2. reciting tahlil, takbir, talbiyah, tasbih, Qur’an, salutations upon the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and to cry profusely with these;
  3. facing the Qiblah;
  4. ritual purity;
  5. veiling;
  6. coming out in the Sun;
  7. approaching the rocks for men;
  8. approaching the margins for women;
  9. combining between the two daytime prayers for the traveller;
  10. and delaying al-Maghrib to al-Isha for the traveller to combine them at Muzdalifah.

On Shaving the head

The minimal shaving is to remove three hairs. It is recommended to delay it after stoning the Aqabah pillar, and to begin with the right side of the head, facing the Qiblah, encompassing the whole head for men, and shortening for women.

On the Obligations of Hajj

The six obligations of Hajj are:

  1. staying overnight at Muzdalifah, being there for an hour after the second half of the night (not being obligatory on one who has a valid legal excuse);
  2. stoning the Aqabah Pillar seven times;
  3. stoning the Three Pillars on the Appointed Days, each one seven times,
  4. staying overnight in Mina during the three nights [A: of the Appointed Days], or the first two nights if one wants to exit during the first exit on the second day;
  5. being in a state of pilgrim sanctity from the designated sites;
  6. and performing the farewell circumambulation.

On Staying Overnight and Stoning

It is recommended to stay at the Sacred Grove roofless mosque in Muzdalifah, and to take the pebbles for stoning at Aqabah from there. One stops chanting the talbiyah at the beginning of stoning the Aqabah pillar. It is recommended to say takbir with every [H: throwing of a] pebble.

The time for shaving, stoning the Aqabah pillar, and going-forth circumambulation enters after midnight on the night of sacrifice, and the stoning extends to the end of the Appointed Days. The shaving and circumambulation remain absolutely.

It is recommended to initiate the going-forth circumambulation after stoning the Aqabah pillar. One enters Makkah, performs a circumambulation, and walks between al-Safa and al-Marwa if not performed before, and returns to Mina to stay overnight for the nights of the Appointed Days. One stones the three pillars every day of the Appointed Days after the zenith – each one with seven pebbles.

It is a condition of throwing the seven pebbles that they are thrown one at a time [B: so if one throws the seven together all at once it is only considered one throwing].

[A: it is also a condition that] the stoning is done in sequence on each of the Appointed Days [H: starting with the First Pillar near Masjid al-Khayf, followed by the Medial Pillar, and then the Aqabah Pillar – any other sequence is not considered stoning].

[A: it is also a condition] that [H: the stoning] is done between midday and sunset [H: during the Appointed Days, though this view [A: that it is a condition rather than the best time] is weak [T: following Ibn al-Muqri’s view in Rawd al-Talib. Shaykh al-Islam commented on this in Asna al-Mutalib that this follows al-Isnawi’s view and the consideration of al-Rafi’i in al-Sharh al-Saghir. However, the correct view is that [A: stoning after sunset] is permissible as al-Ghazali stated in al-Wajiz, following a statement of al-Shafi’i and supported by Ibn al-Sabbagh in al-Shamil, Ibn al-Salah, and al-Nawawi in al-Manasik. However, it is impermissible to stone before midday].

[A: it is also a condition] that the stoning is done with stones [H: even if a precious stone, ironstone, crystal, onyx, gold, or silver.]

[A: it is also a condition] that the stoning is done by throwing [H: as it is not sufficient to place to stones on the pillars.]

[A: it is also a condition] that the stoning be done with one’s hands [H: not with, for example, a bow, one’s feet, a slingshot, or with one’s mouth.]

[H: Among] the recommended acts [T: of stoning the pillars] is that it be done with stones the size of beans.

Whoever leaves stoning the Aqabah Pillar or some of the Appointed Days, can rectify it in the remaining performance.

Whoever wants to exit Mina on the second day of the Appointed Days, then it is permissible [H: with no blame, as Allah says, ‘whoever hastens [his departure] on the second day, there is no sin upon him.’ [2:203]].

On Release from Hajj

There are two releases from Hajj. The first occurs with any two of the following three:

  1. stoning at Aqabah;
  2. shaving [H: by removing at least three hairs];
  3. and the going-forth circumambulation.

The second release is achieved with the third [A: i.e. the going-forth circumambulation].

With the first [H: release], all the prohibited acts become permissible except marriage [H: i.e. intercourse], its contract, and foreplay with desire.

With the second release, the remainder [H: are permitted [T: i.e intercourse, foreplay, and marriage contract]].

On the Ways of Performing the Rites

The two rituals [B: i.e. Hajj and Umrah] can be performed [A: together] in [T: only three ways]:

The best is ifrad, if one can do Umrah in the [A: same] year of Hajj, and that is performing Hajj followed by Umrah [H: because the narrations about it are greater].

Then, tamattu’, which is performing Umrah followed by Hajj.

Then, qiran, which is entering a state of pilgrim sanctity simultaneously for both, or [T: entering a state of pilgrim sanctity for] Umrah [H: alone, even if before the Hajj months] then entering a state of pilgrim sanctity for Hajj before the [H: legislated] circumambulation.

One performing tamattu’ must [A: sacrifice] blood with four preconditions:

  1. that one is not from the people of the Sanctuary, and no further from the Sanctuary than the distance permitted for shortening prayer;
  2. entering a state of pilgrim sanctity for Umrah in the months of Hajj;
  3. performed in one year;
  4. and that one does not return to a designated site.

One performing qiran must [A: sacrifice] blood with two preconditions:

  1. that one is not from the people of the Sanctuary;
  2. and that one does not return to a designated site, after entering Makka.

On The Bloods

The [A: sacrificial] blood for [A: committing any of the following]:

  1. tamattu’;
  2. qiran;
  3. not entering a state of pilgrim sanctity from a designated site;
  4. not stoning;
  5. and not staying overnight stay in Muzdalifah and Mina

is a shāh [A: a yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat].

If one is unable [H: to sacrifice, such as not finding an animal which fits the description], one fasts ten days – three during Hajj and seven when one returns to one’s homeland.

On Prohibitions in Pilgrim Sanctity

The following six categories are prohibited during a state of pilgrim sanctity:

  1. It is prohibited for a man to cover his head, or a part of it, and to wear a sewn garment on his body or limb; and for a woman it is prohibited to veil her face or to wear gloves.
  2. Perfuming one’s body or clothes.
  3. Oiling the hair of one’s head or beard.
  4. Removing one’s hair or nails.

If one wears [T: in pilgrim sanctity what one is prohibited to wear, as in the first category], or perfumes [T: as in the second category], or oils one’s hair [T: as in the third category], or touches [A: anyone] with desire, or masturbates [H: with one’s own hand or another’s] and ejaculates, deliberately, knowing and out of choice; then one is obliged [H: to sacrifice blood, in contrast to one who does these forgetfully or in ignorance].

If one removes three or more nails in succession [T: as in the fourth category]; or three or more hairs in succession, even if forgetfully, then one is obliged [A: to slaughter] a sacrificial animal [A: which are discussed below], or feed six paupers, each one with half a sa’, or fast three days.

For every hair or nail [A: removed, one must give a pauper] one mudd, or fast one day. For every two hairs or two nails [A: removed, one must give] two mudds or [A: Fast] two days.

  1. Intercourse: If one has intercourse, deliberately, knowing and out of choice before the first release for Hajj or before finishing Umrah; one’s rites are void and it becomes obligatory to complete and make them up immediately, as well as sacrificing a camel [A: discussed below]. If unable, [A: one must sacrifice] a cow; if unable, seven shāhs [A: yearling sheep or two-year-old goats]; if unable, [A: one must feed the paupers of the Sanctuary with] food of the same value as a camel; if unable, one must fast the number of mudds [A: i.e. one must fast a day for each mudd of food that the value of a camel buys].
  2. Hunting an edible [A: for Muslims] wild [H: beast], or that which is [A: cross] bred from it and another. This is also prohibited inside the Sanctuary on the permissible. It is [A: also] prohibited to cut the moist plants of the Sanctuary and to uproot them, except for cymbopogon [A; lemongrass], thorn plants [H: even if not in one’s path], animal feed, medicine [H: such as colocynth], and crops [H: such as wheat and barley]. It is forbidden to uproot dry grass, but not to cut it.

If one destroys wild game which has its counterpart from cattle, then [A: one must sacrifice] its counterpart [H: in appearance, not in value]. If it does not have a counterpart, one must [A: sacrifice] its value. [A: The value of] an ostrich is a camel; [A: the value of] wild cattle and zebras is a cow; [A: the value of] deer is a shāh [A: a yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat]; [A: the value of] a pigeon is a shāh [A: a yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat].

One has the choice in [A: animals which have a] counterpart between slaughtering its counterpart in the Sanctuary and giving it in charity [H: to the Sanctuary’s paupers]; or giving in charity food of the same value of that counterpart; or fasting the number of mudds [A: one fasts a day for each mudd of food the counterpart buys].

With regards to animals which have no counterpart, like locusts, one has the choice between giving in charity food of the same value of that animal, and fasting the number of mudds [A: one fasts a day for each mudd of food that it buys].

[A: One is obliged] in [A: destroying] a large tree [A: to sacrifice] a yearling cow, and [A: one is obliged] in [A: destroying] a small tree, [H: according to custom, which is] like a seventh [H: approximately] of the large tree, [A: to sacrifice] a shāh [A: a yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat].

One has the choice between slaughtering, giving its value in food, or fasting the number of mudds [A: one fasts a day for each mudd of food that it buys].

[A: One is obliged] in [A: destroying] a very small tree to give its value in food as charity or to fast the number of mudds [A: one fasts a day for each mudd of food that it buys].

On Preventions of Hajj

It is permissible for: parents to prevent their non-Makkan child from entering into a state of pilgrim sanctity for a voluntary Hajj or Umrah, but not for an obligatory [A: Hajj or Umrah]; a husband to prevent his wife from an obligatory and recommended [A: Hajj or Umrah]; and a master to prevent his slave from the obligatory or recommended [A: Hajj or Umrah]. If they [H: i.e. a child, wife, or slave] enter a state of pilgrim sanctity without their [H: i.e. parents, husbands, or masters] permission, they must exit from it.

One who is prevented, or unable to complete, Hajj or Umrah, is released by slaughtering that which suffices as a sacrificial animal, then shaving [A: by cutting at least three hairs], whilst combining of the intention of exiting the state of pilgrim sanctity with these [A: two] acts [H: i.e. sacrificing and shaving]. Whoever is unable to slaughter, feeds [A: paupers] with [A: food equivalent to] the value of a shāh [A: a yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat]. If one is unable, one fasts the number of mudds [A: one fasts a day for each mudd of food that a shāh buys]. A slave is released only with the intention and shaving, and is not obliged to make-up [A: the Hajj or Umrah].

It is permissible to make a condition of release from pilgrim sanctity if one’s provisions become exhausted, or for illness, or another reason.

One who misses standing at Arafah is released by circumambulation, traversing, and shaving. [A: In addition, one must] must make it up, and sacrifice blood like the blood of one doing tamattu’ [A: i.e. a shah, which is yearling sheep or a two-year-old goat]. One slaughters this in the make-up Hajj.

Every obligatory blood must be slaughtered in the Sanctuary, except the blood resulting from impediments. The best place in Hajj is Mina, and the best place in Umrah is on al-Marwah, at any time one wishes, and given to paupers.

On Sacrificial Animals

It [T: i.e. sacrificing [A: during Hajj]] is emphatically recommended. It does not become obligatory except through an oath, or by saying, ‘This is a sacrificial animal,’ or ‘I have made this a sacrificial animal.’

None will suffice except camels, cows, and sheep or goats. The best is a camel, then a cow, then a sheep, then a goat, then a part of a camel. Seven shāhs [A: yearling sheep or two-year-old goats] are better than one camel. The best [H: in terms of colour] is white, then yellow, then tawny, then black-and-white, then black, and then red.

The condition for a camel is that it is five complete years; for a cow or goat that it is two complete years; and for a sheep that it is one complete year.

The animal should not be scabrous, even if a little; with an extreme limp; malnourished; crazy; blind or one-eyed; ill in any way which corrupts the meat; nor must any of its ear be cut off, even if minimal; nor its tongue; nor its udder; nor its rear; nor the outer side of its haunch; nor should all its teeth have gone.

One should intend the sacrifice at the time of slaughtering or before it.

The time for slaughtering begins after sunrise on the Day of Sacrifice, plus the lapse of a time period equal to two units of prayer and two light sermons. This [A: slaughtering period] extends till the end of the Appointed Days.

It is obligatory to give part of its raw meat as charity [H: if it is a voluntary sacrifice]. It is impermissible to sell any of it. An animal sacrificed as an oath must be completely given away in charity. It is detested [H: that one intending sacrifice] removes any of its hair or any other part [H: such as nails and the rest of its body] in the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah until one sacrifices.

On Cutting a New-born’s Hair and Sacrificing on His Behalf

Sacrificing upon shaving a new-born’s hair is [H: emphatically] recommended like the sacrifice of Hajj. Its timing is from birth until attaining puberty. Thereafter, one may perform it for one’s self.

It is best performed on the seventh day [H: from birth, including the birth day]. If one does not slaughter on it, then [A: sacrifice] on the fourteenth day. If not, then the twenty-first day.

The most complete [A: sacrifice] is two shāhs [A: yearling sheep or two-year-old goats] for a male. One should not break it’s [A: i.e. the sacrificial animal] bones [H: where possible], and should give it away in charity cooked, with sweets. Sending it [H: to the paupers instead of calling them to it] is more complete.

It is recommended to shave the new-born’s head after the slaughtering; and to give in charity it’s weight [H: i.e. the hair of the head] in gold, then in silver; and to rub the infant’s gums with dates or something sweet. It is detested to wipe blood on his [H: i.e. the new-born] head, but there is nothing wrong with saffron.

On Prohibitions Relating to Hair and Similar Matters

It is prohibited to:

  1. dye one’s grey hairs black;
  2. put extensions into one’s hair;
  3. make gaps between one’s teeth;
  4. get a tattoo;
  5. and for a man to have henna without need.




Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Books, Fiqh


How to Study the Hanbali Madhab


What follows is a curriculum for training in the Hanbali madhab based on my own experience and consultation with scholars in Arabia. Whilst there are a number of books to choose from, the following provides the best overview of the madhab, in my view.

Dalil al-Talib by Mar’i b. Yusuf (d.1033)

This text is still taught in mosques in Saudi Arabia, and students refer to Manar al-Sabil for evidences alongside Irwa’ al-Ghalil for takhrij by al-Albani. It is very clear and has quite a bit of detail not found in other books of a similar size. There is an easy audio commentary available online by Muhammad Ba-Jabir. This should be one’s starting place.

Zad al-Mustaqni’ by al-Hijjawi (d.968)

This splendid text is still widely taught here in Saudi Arabia and is based on al-Muqni’ by Ibn Qudamah. There is an easy audio commentary available online by Muhammad Ba-Jabir. Zad al-Mustaqni’ should be studied with al-Rawdh al-Murbi’ by Imam Mansur al-Bahuti (d.1051) whilst referring to the relatively recent (but excellent) hashiyat Ibn al-Qasim. Ibn ‘Uthaymin also has a brief hashiyah on it too. Recent commentaries have been written based on recorded audio classes conducted in Saudi Arabia by Ibn ‘Uthaymin and Muhammad Mukhtar al-Shanqiti, which are excellent, but do not reach the level of learning of al-Bahuti – the undisputed Imam of the Hanbalis of his time and a shaykh at al-Azhar in its golden age.

Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat by al-Bahuti (d.1051)

This is most likely the last book covered by students cover to cover with a teacher in private classes. It is a clear commentary on Ibn al-Najjar’s Muntaha al-Iradat, which clarifies the mu’tamad in the madhab, and has an ample amount of what a student needs. Traditionally, it was a reference for fatawa and one still finds it referenced in contemporary rulings.

al-Mughni by Ibn Qudama (d.620)

Al-Mughni is not really covered with a teacher anymore and is more of a personal reference. I have listed it as the last book here to cover for the standing that it has and the great benefit that studying it brings. Al-Mughni is Ibn Qudamah’s commentary on Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi, which is itself based upon the work of al-Khallal, the most active second generation Hanbali. Al-Khallal collected Imam Ahmad’s responses to legal questions from his immediate students in one book. This was then abridged by al-Khiraqi and commented upon by Ibn Qudamah in the suitably named al-Mughni (the Enricher). It was the final book in a curriculum designed by Ibn Qudamah to take one from beginner to master jurist, and has proved to be very popular among scholars of other madhabs, particularly the Shafi’is, of whom Ibn ‘Abd al-Salam, al-Dhahabi, and al-Nawawi among others, held in in high regard. This book is not the final word in the madhab, but it does train one in fiqh in a way that other books do not.


There are a number of reference works which any Hanbali should have, however the following are perhaps the most essential.

Kashf al-Qina’ by al-Bahuti (d.1051) is the go to place for finding the mu’tamad position in the madhab.

al-Furu’ wa al-Tashih by Ibn Muflih (d.763) is a refreshing and influential approach to determining the soundest views.

al-Adab al-Shari’ah also by Ibn al-Muflih is an excellent book on contextualising fiqh

al-Insaf fi Ma’rifat al-Rajih min al-Ikhtilaf by al-Mardawi (d.885) is the encyclopedia of internal Hanbali differences, with the strongest view being highlighted.


Posted by on June 14, 2015 in Books, Fiqh


How to Study the Hanafi Madhab

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


The Fiqh of Fasting (from al-Muqaddimah al-Hadramiyyah)

Ramadan is almost upon us, and it is advisable to review the fiqh of fasting every year before it starts. What follows is a translation and commentary from al-Muqaddimah of Hadramiyyah by A. S. Gorin. The importance of the text, formally known as al-Masa’il al-Ta’lim, in the post-Shaykhayn period of the Shafi’i school is well attested and it has attracted a number of important commentaries and glosses. It is still studied accross the Indian Ocean basin and further beyond in Syria and Kurdistan.


H: Ibn Hajar’s commentary from al-Minhaj al-Qawim

T: al-Tarmasi’s gloss on Ibn Hajar’s commentary

B: Ba’Ishn’s commentary from Bushra al-Karim

A: The translator’s commentary

The Book of Fasting

Fasting Ramadan becomes obligatory upon the completion of the thirty days of Sha’ban, or by the sighting of the crescent moon by a trustworthy man.

If the crescent moon is sighted within a locality, then fasting is obligatory upon those who share the same moonrise.

The validity of one’s fast rests on the following preconditions:

The first is the intention to fast for each day. It is obligatory to initiate the intention before the beginning of the fast for an obligatory fast, unlike a supererogatory fast in which the intention can be performed before the zenith. It is obligatory to specify the type of fast, but not the obligation for an obligatory fast.

The second is abstaining from deliberate intercourse, and from masturbation.

The third is abstaining from vomiting deliberately. It is harmless if one vomits without choice.

The fourth is abstaining from any substance entering one’s body cavity (such as through one’s auris interna or lactiferous duct) on the condition that it enters through an open passage. It is harmless if anything enters via one’s pores (such as oil, kohl, or whilst washing). If one eats or drinks out of forgetfulness or ignorance then one’s fast is not invalidated, whether the quantity consumed is large or small. The ignorant is unexcused unless he is new to Islam, or has been raised in a barren land far away from scholars.

One’s fast is not invalidated by dust from the road (even if one deliberately opens one’s mouth), nor by swallowing one’s own clean saliva, (even if one sticks out one’s tongue with saliva on it).

One’s fast is invalidated by:

  1. swallowing saliva with whatever is between one’s teeth, due to the ability to desorb it;
  2. swallowing phlegm;
  3. water, with which one rinses one’s mouth, reaching one’s body cavity, if one is excessive in doing this for other than removing an impurity; or without excessiveness if one rinses for cooling; or as a fourth rinse; or without need;
  4. it becoming clear that one’s eating is during the day, but (one’s fast is not invalidated) by eating under duress.

The fifth, sixth and seventh conditions are Islam; purity from menstruation and post-natal bleeding; and sanity for the entire duration of daytime. It is harmless if one is unconscious or drunk, as long as one is awake for at least a moment during the daytime.

It is invalid to fast during:

  1. the two Eid days;
  2. the Appointed Days [A: the three days after Eid al-Adha];
  3. the second half of Sha’ban except if it is one’s habit, an oath, make-up, or atonement, or by joining the second half with that which was before it (i.e. by fasting the entire month).

On the Preconditions Which Obligate Fasting

The preconditions which obligate fasting Ramadan upon a person are:

  1. sanity;
  2. post-puberty;
  3. Islam;
  4. and physical ability.

A child is ordered to fast at the age of seven, and is hit for leaving it at the age of ten, if he is physically able.

On Valid Excuses for Breaking One’s Fast

It is permissible to break one’s fast due to:

  1. an illness that permits ablution with earth (tayammum);
  2. fear of severe harm;
  3. overwhelming hunger or thirst;
  4. travelling a long distance on a permissible journey, except if the journey begins after dawn.

Fasting during travel is better if one incurs no harm therein.

If a child becomes pubescent, or a traveller returns home, or an ill person recovers, whilst they are fasting, then it is forbidden for them to break their fast. Otherwise (if they are not fasting upon the occurrence of these events), it is recommended that they abstain.

All who break their fast for a valid excuse or otherwise are obliged to make-up their fast after they are able, except for:

  1. a child;
  2. one insane;
  3. and an original disbeliever.

It is recommended to make-up the fast in succession and as soon as possible. It is obligatory (to do so) if the fast was broken without a valid excuse.

It is obligatory to abstain in Ramadan [H: for the remainder of the day, due to the sanctity of the time] for:

  1. one who left the intention;
  2. one who broke his fast therein;
  3. and on the day of doubt, if it becomes clear that it is actually the first day of Ramadan (in which case it is also obligatory to make up that day immediately)

On the Recommendations of Fasting

It is recommended to:

  1. hasten to break one’s fast if sunset is certain;
  2. break one’s fast with three [H: preferably rutab i.e. moist, ripe] dates; if incapable, then one date; if incapable, then water;
  3. say [upon breaking fast]: “O Allah! For You I have fasted and with Your provision I have broken my fast;”
  4. provide food and drink for others who are fasting;
  5. eat with others who are fasting;
  6. have a predawn meal and delay it for as long as there is no doubt;
  7. and perform the ritual bath, if obliged, before dawn.

It is highly emphasized that one abandon lying and backbiting whilst fasting. It is also recommended to leave [H: permissible] desires. If another abuses one, one should remember [H: in one’s heart] that one is fasting.

It is recommended that one abandon:

  1. cupping;
  2. chewing;
  3. tasting food;
  4. kissing and caressing, which are forbidden if one is afraid of ejaculation;
  5. and brushing one’s teeth after the zenith.

It is [T: emphatically] recommended in Ramadan to be particularly generous to one’s dependants; and to show excellence [B: in one’s speech, deeds, and wealth] to relatives and neighbours; and to increase in charity, recitation, collective study of the Quran, and spiritual retreat (especially) in the last ten days, which contains the Night of Decree wherein one says, “O Allah! Indeed You pardon, and love to pardon, so pardon me!”

If one sees the Night of Decree one [H: regretfully] conceals it [T: by not mentioning it to others, as al-Subki said seeing it is a miracle and miracles should be concealed by the agreement of the People of the Path, and not revealed except for a legitimate purpose] and one should enliven its night [H: with worship] and likewise its day like it’s night.

It is impermissible to extend one’s fast into the night.

On Expiation Due to Intercourse

Expiation is obligatory upon whoever corrupts a fast of Ramadan with sexual intercourse, even if in another’s rear or with a beast.

[A: Expiation is] not [A: obligatory] upon:

  1. the [A: participating] woman;
  2. one who engaged in intercourse forgetfully or under compulsion;
  3. whoever corrupts a fast besides that of Ramadan;
  4. one who breaks the fast with other than intercourse;
  5. a traveller or an ill person, even if they commit forbidden intercourse;
  6. nor on one who thinks it is night, but it becomes apparent that it is actually daytime.

The expiation is to free a believing slave, free from any defects that prevent work. If one cannot find [A: a slave to free, as in our times], then one must fast two consecutive months. If one is incapable, then one must feed sixty needy people; each one with a mudd (see appendix on weights and measurements).

The expiation is removed if one is suddenly afflicted with madness or death during that daytime, but not by illness, travel or difficulty [A: in carrying out the expiation].

There is expiation for each that that was corrupted.

On Compensation

It is obligatory to give a mudd of the local staple diet to be distributed to the poor and needy, for every day, to be taken from the inheritance of the one who dies and has yet to make up an [B: obligatory] fast of Ramadan or other [H: such as an oath or expiation], whilst he had the possibility to make it up [H: yet did not] or he transgressed with his breaking of the fast [H: even if he did not have the possibility to make it up]. Alternatively, a relative can fast on his behalf, or to whom the heir or the deceased has given permission.

It is also obligatory, [A: to distribute to poor and needy] a mudd, upon:

  1. whoever is unable to fast due to old age or a [A: chronic] illness which unlikely to be cured;
  2. on a pregnant or breast-feeding women, if they broke their fast fearing for the child, with the make-up;
  3. one who broke fast to save an animal on the brink of destruction;
  4. and one who delayed making-up till the next Ramadan without a valid excuse.

On Voluntary Fasts

Voluntary fasting is recommended; and consists of three types:

  1. Those which recur annually: fasting of the day of ‘Arafa (for other than the pilgrim or traveler); the ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah; the tenth, ninth and the eleventh days of al-Muharram; and six days of Shawwal – which are recommended to be consecutive and connected to the Eid.
  2. Those which recur monthly: the white days, which are the 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month; and the black days, which are the 28th and the two following it.
  3. Those which recur weekly: Monday and Thursday.

It is recommended to fast the Sacred Months: Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, al-Muharram and Rajab; as is fasting Sha’ban [A: which is not a Sacred Month]. The best is al-Muharram, then the remaining sacred months, then Sha’ban. It is detested to single out [A: for fasting] Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

The [T: absolutely] best of all fasting is to fast one day and not fast the next day [A: and so on.]


The Book of Spiritual Retreat

Spiritual retreat is emphatically recommended. It has seven preconditions:

  1. Islam;
  2. sanity;
  3. purity from menses and post-natal bleeding;
  4. that one is not in a state of major ritual impurity;
  5. that one remain [B: still] for more than the period of repose in prayer [A: i.e. a moment];
  6. that it is done in a mosque, preferably a congregation mosque,
  7. and that one intends spiritual retreat.

It is obligatory to intend the obligation if one swore an oath [A: to go into spiritual retreat]. [B: In such a case one says, ‘I intend the obligation of spiritual retreat].

One should renew one’s intention when exiting [H: the mosque, even if to attend to a need], if one did not intend to return [B: but returns and wants to perform spiritual retreat again, because the second spiritual retreat is new and requires a new intention, [H: in contrast to one who intended to return]].

If one has specified a period [A: in the oath], then one renews [B: the obligatory intention] if one exits for other than attending to one’s need.

If one is performing [H: spiritual retreat] consecutively, one renews it if exiting for something which cuts the continuity [T: such as insanity, intoxication, or unconsciousness [H: in contrast to what does not cut the continuity, such as fulfilling one’s need or eating.]]

If one specifies in one’s oath a [A: particular] mosque, one may spiritually retreat in another, except [A: if one specifies] the Three Mosques [H: i.e. al-Masjid al-Haram [A: in Makkah]; al-Masjid al-Madinah [A: i.e. al-Nabawi]; and al-Masjid al-Aqsa [A: in Jerusalem.]]

It is forbidden [H: for a woman or slave to perform spiritual retreat] without the permission of the husband or master [H: but permissible if they go to a mosque with them].

On the Invalidators of Spiritual Retreat

Spiritual retreat is nullified by:

  1. intercourse;
  2. foreplay [H: and masturbation] if it results in ejaculation;
  3. insanity;
  4. loss of consciousness;
  5. major ritual impurity;
  6. apostasy;
  7. and intoxication.

If one makes an oath to spiritually retreat for a consecutive period, one must do it.

The consecutiveness is broken by:

  1. intoxication;
  2. disbelief;
  3. intentionally engaging in intercourse;
  4. and intentionally exiting the mosque.

[A: Consecutiveness is] not [A: broken by leaving the mosque for]:

  1. relieving one’s self;
  2. eating [H: even if possible in the mosque];
  3. drinking [H: and doing obligatory ablution], if water is absent in the mosque [H: in contrast to when water is available in the mosque [T: in which case leaving breaks the consecutiveness]];
  4. illness, if it becomes difficult for one to remain in it, or one fears polluting it (and similar in this is insanity and loss of consciousness);
  5. and being forced – without right – to exit.

Menstruation does not break [T: the continuity of the spiritual retreat] if the period of purity is not wide.

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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Books, Fiqh



A’zami on Calder

On Calder’s Organically Grown Text with Emphasis on Muwatta of Malik by Shaykh Muṣtafā al-A’ẓamī. Note that Norman Calder is considered one of the most important modern Orientalists and his work is still referenced and studied at tertiary level. He was a professor at Manchester University and died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 47. 

1. Abstract:

Norman Calder’s work: “Studies in Early Muslim Jurisprudence” was published by Oxford University Press in 1993.

He has studied six legal texts of three Muslim legal schools, These are:

1. Mudawwana of Sahnun

2. Muwatta of Malik

3. Some Hanafi text

4. The Kitab al-Umm of Shafi’i

5. The Mukhtasar of Muzani

6. Kital-al-Kharaj of Abu Yusuf

He started with Malik; then Hanafi and afterwards the Shafi’i school of law. In his conviction he proved that not only these six books, no, but all the Islamic Arabic literature which claim to be of the 1st., 2nd. and early 3rd. centuries have all gone through organic growth and a multi-level redactional process.

For his research of the above topic he has chosen the secular historians discipline and invites Muslim scholars to “participate more widely in the game and in the rules ….” (p. viii). Due to the time limitation, I will discuss only the case of Muwatta, with special reference to the ‘cat hadith’ which has been used by Calder to prove that this hadith was invented after the completion of Mudawwana, after 250 A.H. and was endorsed into Muwatta of Malik (d. 179 A.H.). This is an essential basis for his theory that all early Islamic text is organically grown text.

1.1 Methodology Used by Muslim Scholars:

It is fundamental to every area of research, in any topic, that one has to understand the text, and to understand the text one has to follow the rules governing the subject.

The following is a very brief explanation of the method used by early Muslim scholars in collecting and transmitting information.

All Muslims, not just to speak of Muslim scholars, believe the Qur’an is of divine origin revealed to the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s This Book imposes on Muslims, both as individuals and collectively, and the State to follow the orders and manners of the Prophet s.a.w s. (For details see On Schacht’s pp 5-25). The Prophet’s orders were put into practice. His statements and deeds were put into practice, memorised and written down. In a very literal sense several thousand booklets containing the sayings and deeds of the Prophet s.a.w.s. were in the hands of scholars in the first and early second century Higra. (for details see: Studies in Early Hadith Literature by Azami, pp 34-182).

To ensure the purity of the text two methods were applied, for two different stages:

1. The disclosure of the sources. In the final stage the source must lead to the person who had direct contact to the highest authority to whom the statement belonged.

2. A continuous chain of the middle authority must be preserved.

3. Everyone who has taken part in transforming the knowledge must be trustworthy, which means: he must possess the following moral and academic qualities; must be a Muslim, madure, not tell a lie not suffer from any mental disqualification, must be of righteous conduct with the literary accuracy (Hadith Methodology by Azami, pp 58-59).

1.2 Preservation of the Book:

The second stage: when the materials were collected in booklets or books big or small, it was not pemissible for anyone to obtain a copy of any book and utilize it. The book must be obtained through recognised legitimate methods, such as reading to the author, or having it read by him etc. (see Hadith Methodology by al-Azami, pp 16-22 for details).

1.3 Reading Certificate: Its Main Achievements:

After completion of the reading a certificate was given, and a note was written by the trustworthy scholars, many times signed by the teacher himself explaining who had taken part in learning this particular book, and therefore, who had the right to teach it. After receiving the book through proper channels the scholar was not entitled to teach the book, for example Sahih of Bukhari, from any edition of Bukhari. It had to be the same copy for which he had the reading certificate, or another copy made from the same copy, and thoroughly revised after copying etc. and thus, this scholar became a part of the chain of the book.

These certificates were surrounded by lines so no one could add any further names. If a man’s name was written between the lines, or with a different pen or ink then he was accused and defamed. These certificates sometimes ran to one or two hundred pages with different handwritings and dates. (see Ibn Maja, Taimur Pasha – Cairo).

1.4 Rare Examples of Adding External Material in the Body of a Book:

Most of the people who listened to ahadith and copied them out had their own books. Students felt at liberty to include additional material even in a fixed text to clarify some obscure word, or thei own opinion or some such thing. As any additional material would have a completely different isnad or the name of the inserter, there was no danger of spoiling the the text. In Appendix IV of Studies of Early Hadith Literature by al-Azami, there appears a very explicit and clear example of this sort, where the copyist has added two lines even before completing the sentences. There is another example of Abu Sa’id, the transmitter of the book Al-Muhaddar, where he adds two lines. There is clear evidence of this nature in Sahih of al-Bukhari, where al-Firabri adds extraneous material, giving his isnad, (for details see Studies in Early Hadith Literature pp. 204-205).

Because the sources were known, and the isnads of the books were known, a comparison of the texts narrated by different scholars showed if there had been any variations due to human error, or deliberate mischief.

Khatib al-Baghdadi (392-463) quotes in his book, Tarikh, a case of a Hanbali judge who added two ahadith in the musnad of Ibn Hanbal which contains some 28,000 hadith, who was later caught. A memorandum was written and was signed by different scholars. We have the work of Imam Malik, the Muwatta, which has been edited in the sixth and seventh centuries Hijra using almost dozens of the manuscripts from the third to the sixth century.

This is a very brief and cursory sketch of Muslim scholars method in learning, teaching, accepting and rejecting these materials.

2. Western Methodological Approach to the Study of Islam:

The methodology outlined in Part 1 is completely unacceptable to the western mind. As examples, let us consider; the Albert Einstein memorial lecture by J. Wonbrough in 1986, titled “Res Ipsa Loquitur, History and Nemesis”. Then there was an article by J. Koren and Yahuda D. Nevo from Midereshet Ben Gurion, Israel, (Der Islam 1991) titled “Methodological Approaches to Islamic Studies”. These learned scholars discuss the different approaches at work.

These are:

– The traditional approach: This does not mean the Muslim scholars traditional approach. Not at all, it actually refers to all the Western scholars who utilize Islamic sources, hoping to find some- where some facts in the pile of rubbish and distortions (lies), which is totally unacceptable to these above mentioned scholars.

– The “revisionist approach”: Here, they discuss the approach of Wansbrough, and the situation for Wansbrough is so bad that he had little hope of finding anything concrete. Then, they discuss their own approach, that is the ultra revisionist approach. Some of the findings of this highly sophisticated method are:

Muslims did not conquer Syria nor did they conquer Palestine etc. they did not defeat the Romans. It was a peaceful transfer of control from Byzantine to the Arabs (p. 101). Perhaps we may add, it was given to the Arabs on a silver plate!

Another finding is that “archaelogical work has revealed no traces of Jewish settlements at Medinah, Xaybar, or Wadi Qurra” (p. 102) ` Even the very Kaba at Mecca is doubtful. The early sketch of Kaba in Jahili literature shows center cubic buildings in Nageb and not in Mecca. (p. 103)

However, new players are coming into the field, marching with Goldzihar, J. Schacht, Patricia Crone, Yahuda Nova and Wansbrough etc.

Talking about the dog and its effect on the purity of water, he says “The text has grown organically.”

In analysing the text of Mudawwana, Dr Calder points to the development of legal thought in generalisation, of what constitutes the water unfit for purification purposes.

“It is clear that the dog emerged as a problem……..Presumably the law developed that wild animals………rendered water unfit for purification. In this context, the dog (domestic, not wild) is not a problem, and Malik is seen to state, at Paragraph 2.1 just that: dogs do not render water unfit for purposes of purification. However, it came to be felt that the category of animals which rendered water unfit was the category of carrion-eating or predatory animals. According to this interpretation, the dog was a problem and the question presented itself why, being a carrion-eater, the dog did not render water impure? This problem is what is expressed throughout 2.2.a,b and c. First, Ibn al- Qasm states that Malik did not treat the dog like other animals of the same kind…..” (p.7)

The question which Sahnun asks at 2.3 relates to a Prophetic hadith which will be discussed in Chapter 2, Section V of these studies. The reply ascribed to malik indicates that he knows the hadith but he “does not know the truth about it”. The series of comments thereafter indicate how the emergence of the notion that Prophetic hadith are authoritive disrupted the natural development of legal thought and drafting technique.

Malik first suggests a category distinction (dogs are members of the household) which within the developing system might have sufficed. He then apparently concedes some force to the hadith but continues to argue against it on moral and practical grounds.” (p.8)

“There was a considerable resistance in the implication of the hadith referred to (not cited) in the text.” (p.8)

Norman Calder did not close the case of the dog in Mudawwana, where he has found a ruling of Malik “as minor concessions to the anti-dog lobby ……..” (p.15). He dicovers a way to fight against the dog hadith ascribed to the Prophet in Muwatta, with so many far reaching consequences, he quotes from Muwatta the following hadith:

Yahya from Malik, from Ishaq b. “Abdallah b. Abi Talha, from Humayda bint Abi Ubayda ibn Farwa, from Kabsha bint Ka’b b. Malik, daughter-in- law of (the Companion) Abu Qatada.

1. She said that Abu Qatada came in one day and she poured out for him his water for ablutions. A cat arrived, desiring to drink at the water, and Abu Qatada tilted the vessel to let it drink.

2. She said that Abu Qatada, on seeing her watching him said, Are you surprised? Yes, she replied. He said, The Prophet of God said, They are not polluting (najis); they are amongst those (animals) which are always around you, both male ones and female ones (innama hiya min al-tawwafin ‘alayhum aw al-tawwafat).

3. Yahya said, Malik said, There is no harm in it except when some polluting filth can be seen on its mouth (p.25).

Calder commenting on the hadith of the cat’s lapping of the water says: “In the text of the Mudawwana, it was possible to detect that a juristic problem arose when the condemnation of predatory (wild) animals as conveyors of pollution was generalised to cover also the household dog (and cat). The response, initially casuistic, and focused on the dog, took the form of a category explanation based on the assertion that household animals costituted a category relevantly different frm pedatory (wild) animals. There was, however, embarassment in the face of a Prophetic hadith, alluded to but not cited in the Mudawwana, which proposed an extreme condemnation of dogs as particularly polluting. This hadith about the cat is clearly a response to the same problem. It is charmingly circumstantial, it avoids the contentious dog, and yet it points firmly towards the fact that the cat here is to be seen as representative of a category, namely that of animals which are habitually around human beings. It is clear that this represents a juristic advance on the situation reflected in the Mudawwana in two respects. First, and simply, it makes a clear statement of a category distinction and thereby transcends some of the confusion that has crept into the Mudawwana. And secondly, it responds to a Prophetic hadith in the only form in which an authoritative response could be made, namely in the form of another Prophetic hadith. It is inconceivable that this hadith could have been made available by Malik, in or before 179, with the backing of Prophetic authority and in a situation where Prophetic authority counted, and yet not have affected the text of the Mudawwana, which exhibits after all not only a need for authority on this matter but also a broad concern to gather all relevant material. The elevation of Prophetic authority is a marginal feature of the Mudawwana; it was the continued development and ultimate ascendancy of this principle- after the completion of the Mudawwana- that led to the emergence and formulation of this hadith, and its incorporation into a canonical work assiciated with the city of Cordoba.” (p.24-26)

His concluding remark is: “It is a fitting and reasonable conclusion that the familar Muwatta’ in the rescension of Yahya was a product of Spanish Cordoba during that period when Baqi and Ibn Waddah were introducing, with the backing of the court, reforms of which the central component was a stressing of hadith at the expense of ra’y. It is a book specifically designed to reformulate the Maliki system of law in formal subordination to Prophetic authority. Such a need can hardly have been recognized in Spain prior to the period of political influence of Baqi b. Makhlad and it is to that period that the Muwatta’ should be dated, i.e. c270.” (p.37)

2.1 General Remarks:

2.2 No attention for suitable material for research:

Dr Calder does not pay any serious attention to the different natures of these two books. The Mudawwana belongs completely to the Maliki school, while Muwatta’ has two types of material; one is the Prophetic traditions; and the other of the Companions and the late authorities. This is the heritage for all Muslims, without confining it to a certain school. we find that those materials, specially the Prophetic traditions from Muwatta’ have been transmitted and acted upon in the light of their juristic thinking, in every rival school, so to say, such as Hanafi, Shafi’ and hanbali. Mudawwana however is a school text. It’s main purpose is to collect the legal opinions of the school, mainly Malik.

2.3 Over generalisation:

Dr Calder studies a portion of a single chapter out of some 3000 chapter and imposes his speculative findings on the whole Muslim literature of three hundren years. Let us have a look at Shaibani’s work. One finds in his work Athar, Muwatta’ and Radda’ala Ahl Il Madina, quite good numbers of Prophetic traditions. Compare it with the al-Jami al-Kabir by the same author, that has almost none. This is a very fundamental issue for the research in any field, to choose the right material. From criminal novels one cannot compile a book on the criminal law. Yet, Dr. Calder seems to have tried to do just that.


He does not utilize the materials published on the subject for half a century. Either he does not know them or disregards them as being worthless. Neither does he pay any attention to Schacht critiques, such as “On Schacht’s Origin…..” by al-Azami.

If we look at the case in a little detail on his own terms:

Malik is one of the luckies persons in Islamic history. We still have a record of the name of 1300 of his students, and among them there have been more than 100 students who had transmitted his work, Muwatta, whose locality has been distributed from modern Afghanistan in the east to Portugal in the west; Turkey in the north and to Yemen in the south. In the fourth and fifth century many scholars such as Daraqutni, and Jauhri had written a book describing the differences in some fifteen versions of Muwatta. The work of Daraqutni has been published some forty years ago, other works are still on the shelves. However, still we have the following recession of Muwatta Malik:

1. Muwatta Yahya al-Laithi from Qordoba, Spain, died 234. This has been continuously published many times in 150 years.

2. Muwatta Shaibani, from Kufa, Iraq, died in 188 AH, and it has been constantly published for more than one hundred years.

3. Muwatta Ibn Ziyad of Tunisia, died 183 AH, (a part of it was discovered and published) before 100 AH.

4. Muwatta al-Qa’nabi in Basra, Iraq, died 221. A part of this work has survived and was published in 1392/1972.

5. Muwatta in recession of Abu Mu’ab al-Zuhri, died in Madina 150-242AH. First published in 1412/1992.

6. Muwatta in recession of AbdulRahman b. Qasim, 132-191 AH, from Palestine, later on he lived in Egypt and died there. The hadith material has been re-arranged by al-Qabisi (died 403 AH), which was published 1400/1980 in Qatar.

7. Muwatta in recession of Hadathani from Anbar, Iraq, died 240 AH, which was published in 1990 in Beirut.

8. Muwatta Abdul-Rahim b. Khalid of Iskandaria, died 163 AH, (some 15 years before Malik). One papyrus sheet has been discovered, and published by Nabia Abbot in 1967 in Chicago University Publications.

9. Muwatta in recession of Ibn Bukair, 134-231 AH, in Egypt. A somplified version of this work was published in Algeria in 1907. (This has not been seen by al-Azami.)

10.Musannaf of Abul-Razzaq al-Aan’ani, died 126-211). A Yaminite scholar and student of Malik. Printed in Beirut 1390/1970.

Going through these different versions of Muwatta regarding the “cat hadith” the following result comes out: This particular hadith has been quoted by:

1. Muw. Yahya al-Laithi Vol I, pp.22-23, Cordoba, Spain, (d.234)

2. Muw. Shaibani No 90 p.54, Kufa, Iraq (d.188)

3. Muw. Ibn Qasim No. 123, p. 176, from Eqypt (d.191)

4. Muw. al-Qanabi pp.45-46

5. Muw. Abu Mus’ab al-Zuhri No.54, Vol I, p.25, Madina, Arabian Peninsula (d.242)

6. Muw. Hadathani No.28 p.55, from Afghanistan, died in Iraq 240.

7. Muw. Ibn Bukair Folio No.6B-7a (al-Azhar) from Egypt, (d.231)

8. Mus. AbdulRazzaq, Vol I, p.101, A Yaminite, died in Yemen in 211 AH.

If we analyse these versions we find they belong to Afghanistan, Iraq, Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, Egypt and Spain.

Now, we are facing a problem. Two of the students of Malik who record this hadith in their books died almost within a decade after Malik, a third on 211 AH. Five out of eight died between 230-240. If this hadith was fabricated after Malik’s death (179 AH) or even much better, after 250 AH, after the completion of the Mudawwana, then one has to solve the problem of a dead man’s communication! And how they were able to insert this material, or whether it was done by their legal appointees who carried out this type of activity if they deemed it necessary.

One may say that the works Nos. 5-7 were not available to Dr Calder, but what about 1-4? What about 1 and 2 which have even been mentioned in the bibliography, and have been used by Dr Calder!

To promote a theory, he discredits all Muslim scholarship for three hundred years by (apparently) concealing the evidence at his disposal which is intellectual dishonesty.

To say that the situation in Islam is not now markedly different from that which has been gradually uncovered in the long history of academic inquiry that began with J. Wellhausen’s critical approach to the Old Testament (p.viii) is an absurd statement.

The difference between Islamic literature and rabbinic literature is between day and night. Let me propose a suggestion. Muslim scholars have used something very similar to the law of witness in discussing the historical problem. this is a procedure well established and recognized in courts all over the world. Let us use this method on the New as well as on the Old Testament. If this method were to be used not a single sentence could be proved to be authentic. Even the existence of many big figures would be difficult to prove.

It is not the academic research which leads to the denial of the Muslim victories in Syria and Palestine, or denial of the Jewish settlement in the Arabian Peninsula and denial of all Islamic literature and its validity for three centuries, it is no more than a hidden political agenda which comes in the guise of academic research.

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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Fiqh


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


The Famous Five

Al-Nawawi (631-676) mentioned, in Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat, that the five most important texts in the Shafi’i school up to his time were (chronologically):

  • Mukhtasar al-Muzani (175-264)
  • al-Tanbih by al-Shirazi (393-476)
  • al-Muhadhab by al-Shirazi
  • al-Wajiz by al-Ghazali (450-505)
  • al-Wasit by al-Ghazali

He adds that they were widely known and available across all the domains of the Middle East, being popular with both students and scholars, especially in the absence of a comprehensive compilation that could replace all these aforementioned books. What is significant about these textbooks is that they are summaries of the two historical schools, namely the Iraqis (represented by al-Shirazi) and the Khurasanis (represented by al-Ghazali).

Some thoughts: Mukhtasar al-Muzani played a central role in the early transmission of the school. Indeed, for a long time researchers believed that it was the very first mukhtasar written in any madhab. Recent research now indicates that honour belongs to Abd Allah b. Abd al-Hakam of the Malikis a couple of decades earlier. Nevertheless, the mukhtasar was commented upon by many prominent Ashab al-Wujuh, climaxing in the magnificent Nihayat al-Matlab of Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni (419-477) of the Khurasani Tariqah.

Nihayat al-Matlab (i.e. Sharh Mukhtasar al-Muzani) was abridged several times by al-Juwayni’s brilliant student, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, two of which became significant: al-Wajiz, and al-Basit. These twin texts became the focus of the Khurasanis with their more rational approach and al-Ghazali became pivotal in summarising and transmitting the madhab’s Khurasani tariqah.

Mukhtasar al-Muzani also indirectly spawned Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi’s works. Al-Tanbih was abridged from Abu Hamid al-Marwazi’s (d.376) Ta’liqah on Mukhtasar al-Muzani, whilst Al-Muhadhab was drawn from the Ta’liqah of Mukhtasar al-Muzani by Abu Tayyib al-Tabari (d.450). Al-Shirazi’s works became the focus of the Iraqis with their more traditional approach and al-Shirazi became pivotal in transmitting the madhab’s Iraqi tariqah.

By al-Nawawi’s time, these four works of al-Shirazi and al-Ghazali were very much in vogue. This was largely down to the Shafi’i madrasa building policies of Nizam al-Mulk (408-485), Nur al-Din al-Zanki (511-565), and Salah al-Din al-Ayubi (532-589). The first and greatest of these institutes for the training of Shafi’i jurists was the Nizamiyyah of Baghdad, which was built in 457. The first professor was, of course, Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi. This institute was followed by the Nizamiyyah of Naysabur with Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni as its professor. Al-Ghazali received his advanced training with al-Juwayni at this very institute and later taught at both the Nizamiyyah of Baghdad and later the Nizamiyyah of Naysabur. Thus, the great Shafi’i texts of the fifth Hijri century (al-Tanbih, al-Muhadhab, Nihayat al-Matlab, and its abridgements al-Wajiz and al-Wasit) were written and taught to students who then assumed teaching positions across the Nizamiyyah network from Syria through Iraq all the way to Khurasan.

When Nur al-Din peacefully conquered Damascus in 549, he found 11 privately endowed religious institutions – 5 Shafi’i madrasas, 5 Hanafi madrasas, and a Sufi khanaqah. Inspired by the model of Nizam al-Mulk, he stepped up the madrasa building process as part of the Sunni Revival to counter Ismaili Shi’ism (i.e Fatimid Egypt) and raise religious awareness among the masses in preparation for the fight with the Crusaders. By the end of his reign he had added 11 madrasas to Damascus, hundreds more elsewhere, and imported teachers from Iraq who brought with them the works of al-Shirazi and al-Ghazali. By the end of the Ayubid Damascus, when the Mongols conquered it in 658, there were 92 madrasas in Damascus alone.

The great centres of learning in Iraq, centred in Baghdad, and Khurasan, centred in Naysabur, were absolutely demolished by the devastating Mongol destruction. Thus Syria, and later Egypt under the Mamluks, inherited the legacy of these schools. This was the environment in which al-Nawawi trained and taught. It also gives us a context as to why and how the four aforementioned texts become so popular by al-Nawawi’s time.

Al-Nawawi himself engaged with each these texts directly or indirectly in Tashih al-Tanbih, al-Majmu’, Rawdat al-Talibin, and al-Tanqih. Indeed, al-Nawawi’s remark about the absence of a compilation that would suffice other books is telling. He himself attempted such a compliation in al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhab, but unfortunately died after completing only the first quarter.

One could see al-Nawawi’s later career as an attempt to refine the school in an easy to navigate curriculum, whilst still maintaining a connection to Mukhtasar al-MuzaniMinhaj al-Talibin to compliment Rawdat al-Talibin; al-Tahqiq to compliment al-Majmu’. Minhaj al-Talibin is indirectly spawned from Mukhtasar al-Muzani via al-Ghazali’s abridgement of it in al-Khulasah, which was the basis of al-Rafi’i’s (d.623) al-Muharrar, the mother book of Minhaj al-Talibin. Rawdat al-Talibin’s connection to Mukhtasar al-Muzani is via al-Juwayni’s sharh Nihayat al-Matlab, which was abridged by al-Ghazali in al-Wajiz, which in turn was commented upon by al-Rafi’i in Fath al-Aziz, the mother book of al-Rawdah.

By the late Mamluk Sultanate the original ‘five works’ indeed did lose favour to Minhaj al-Talibin and a number of works based upon two abridgements upon Fath al-Aziz Sharh al-Wajiz by al-Rafi’i.

The first of these is al-Hawi al-Saghir by al-Qazwini (d.665), which spawned Nazm al-Bahjah by Ibn al-Wardi (d.749) and al-Irshad by Ibn al-Maqri (d.837). Nazm al-Bahjah was commentated upon by Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyah al-Ansari (d.926) in al-Ghurar al-Bahjah. Al-Irshad was commentated upon twice by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d.974) in al-Imadad, which was expanded in Fath al-Jawad.

The second abridgement of Fath al-Aziz to draw much attention in late Mamluk Egypt was al-Nawawi’s Rawdat al-Talibin. Ibn al-Muqri abridged it in Rawd al-Talib, which was commentated upon by al-Ansari in Asna al-Mutalib. Ibn Hajar also wrote an abridgement of Rawd al-Talib called al-Na’im. Al-Suyuti (d.911) abridged Rawdat al-Talibin in al-Ghunya. Al-Muzajjad (d.930) also abridged Rawdat al-Talibin in al-‘Ubab, which also attracted commentaries by Ibn Hajar and al-Ramli.

However, no works subsequent of al-Nawawi have reached the status of his primary works. He easily supplanted the Famous Five and summarised the entire spectrum of the classical Shafi’i school. Ibn Kathir commented in al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah that had al-Majmu Sharh al-Muhadhab been completed, it would have been the best book ever written in the fiqh of any madhab. Why so? Because it extensively engages with revelation and the juristic disputes in understanding it.


Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Books, Fiqh, History