Authorized books in shafi’i fiqh school

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Authorized Books in Shafi’i Madhhab
Compiled by Abdullah al-Marbuqi

The main aspect in the foundation of the madhhab is the verdict of the Imam. The ulama and the books constitute the basis and source of strength of the madhhab. The ulama explain and elaborate the original verdict of the imam and disseminate them while the books preserve and ensure that the authentic views of the madhhab are transmitted to a later generation.

Imam al-Haramain Abd al-Malik ibn Abdullah al-Juwayni (478 H) has gathered all four main fiqh books of al-qawl al-jadīd (new verdict) of al-Imam al-Shafi’i (204 H) namely al-Umm, al-Imla, al-Mukhtasar by al-Imam al-Buwayti (231 H) and al-Mukhtasar by al-Imam al-Muzani (264 H) in one book entitled Nihayat al-Matlab.

This book of Imam al-Haramain has been abridged three times by his student, Hujjat al-Islam al-Imam al-Ghazali (505 H). The first abridgment is al-Basit, al-Wasit the second and finally al-Wajiz. Al-Imam al-Rafi’i (623 H) summarized al-Wajiz and entitled it al-Muharrar. Al-Imam al-Rafi’i also had written a commentary of al-Wajiz in two books namely Sharh al-kabir or Fath al-Aziz fi sharh al-Wajīz and Sharh al-Saghir.

Al-Imām al-Nawawī (676 H) abridged Fath al-Aziz in his book, Raudat al-Tālibīn wa Umdat al-Muftin. This was later abridged by Ibn al-Muqrī (837 H) in Raud al-Talib and Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Ansārī (925 H) compiled a commentary on it, naming it Asna al-Matālib sharh Raud al-Tālib. Beside ar-Raud, Raudah al-Tālibīn also has been abridged by al-Imām Ahmad ibn Umar al-Muzajjad (930 H) in the book entitled, al-Ubab and al-Imām Ibn Hajar al-Makkī prepared a commentary named al-Ī’āb sharh al-Ubāb. Al-Sharaf al-Muqrī Sāhib al-Raud abridged it second time in a book entitled al-Irshād. A commentary on it was prepared by al-Imām Ibn Hajar al-Makkī named Fath al-jawād sharh al-Irshād.

Al-Imām al-Nawawī had abridged al-Muharrar and entitled it Minhāj al-
Tālibīn. It was thereafter abridged by Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī in his book Manhaj al-Tullab and he authored a commentary on it namely Fath al-Wahhāb bi sharh Manhaj al-Tullab. Al-Imām al-Jauharī abridged al-Manhaj and named it al-Nahj.

Tarjīh (preference) in the madhhab rests upon the verdicts of al-Shaykhayn; al-Imām al-Rāfi’ī and al-Imām al-Nawawī. This is the unanimous view of muhaqqiqs (researchers) of the madhhab. If these two Imāms have a difference opinion, the verdict of al-Imām al-Nawawī will be given preference over the verdict of al-Imām al-Rafi’ī.

If the writings of al-Imām al-Nawawī differ, generally the the order of what will be given preference to is (1) al-Tahqīq, (2) al-Majmū, (3) al-Tanqīh, (4) al-Raudah, (5) al-Minhāj and his fatāwā (legal verdicts), (6) Sharh Muslim, and finally (7) Tashīh al-Tanbīh and its nukāt (marginal note). The view on which of his books are unanimous will be given preference over the view on which only a few of his books are unanimous. The view discussed under its relevant chapter is given preference over that which is discussed in another chapter.

Al-Imām al-Subkī (765 H) mentioned regarding al-Minhaj of al-Imām al-Nawawī, “In this era, this book is the most excellent book for students and many scholars to understand the madhhab.” There are almost one hundred commentaries of the al-Minhāj. It has been abridged, explained, annotated and versified (compiled in the form of poetry). The four main commentaries of al-Minhaj are (1) Tuhfat al-muhtāj by al-Imām Ahmad ibn Alī ibn Hajar al-Haytamī al-Makkī (974 H), (2) Nihāyat al-muhtāj ilā sharh al-Minhāj by al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Hamzah al-Ramlī (1004 H), (3) Mughnī al-muhtāj ilā ma’rifat al-ma’āni alfāz sharh al-Minhāj by al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khātib al-Shirbīnī (977 H) and (4) Kanz al-rāghibīn sharh Minhāj al-Tālibīn by al-Imām Jalāl al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahallī (864 H).

The above mentioned books hold an authoritative position in the madhhab. However, if there is difference opinion, preference is given to al-Tuhfah of al-Imām Ibn Hajar al-Haytamī and al-Nihayah of al-Imām Shams al-Dīn al-Ramlī. Thereafter, preference is given to Sharh al-Saghīr alā al-Bahjah and then, Fath al-Wahhāb bi sharh Manhaj al-Tullāb both by Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Ansārī. Finally, preference is given to Sharh al-Imām al-Khātib al-Shirbīnī and Sharh al-Imām al-Mahallī.

Among the books of al-Imām Ibn Hajar, the order of merit is al-Tuhfah, Fath al-Jawād, al-Imdād, the fatāwā (legal opinions) and sharh al-Ubāb have the same merit, however, giving preference to the commentary is better.

The order of merit among the Hawāshī (marginal notes) is Hāshiyah alā Sharh al-Manhaj by al-Imām Alī al-Ziyādī (1024 H) then Ibn Qasim al-Abbādī (994 H) on al-Tuhfah, then Shaykh Umairah (957 H) marginal note on al-Mahallī, then the verdict of Shaykh Alī al-Shabramillisī (1087 H) on al-Nihāyah. Thereafter, Hāshiyah al-Halabī, al-Shaubarī, al-Anānī. Their opinions are taken if they do not differ with the original standpoint.

This entry was posted in Featured, The Madhhab and Its Usul on September 2, 2009 by
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