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'alaykum wa rahmatullah,
Ghayat al-Taqrib is an extremely popular matn in our madhab even to this day. Why does it still continue in its phenomenal popularity, in place of more recent mutun, considering that it was written two centuries before the tarjih of al-Shaykhayn? Quite often it states views that are no longer mu'tamad. What advantages does it have over other similar pre-tarjih mutun such as al-Tanbih?
wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wa barakatuhu,
JazakAllah khayran, for
this question. It is always prudent to take time for research before reaching
definitive conclusions; thus, please kindly consider this a discussion, rather
than Q & A. I might try to, time permitting insha'Allah, research this
topic more, and kindly request that anyone who has additional information, to
please share it too. For now, I will note that:
One possible reason for why Qadi Abu Shuja's al-Ghayah wa al-Taqrib has
withstood the test of time could well be its concise composition; being written
in a few words, full of meaning. Additionally, in a way, it preceding the tarjih
efforts of Shaykhayn does not weaken the work, if considering that the
purpose of studying such a text is to develop the facility of tafaqquh.
A student will, by studying such a work, be compelled to critically assess fiqh
writing. This feature leaves the door open for a teacher to also start guiding
one in that process. Still, while tafaqquh at a beginning level may seem
over-enthusiastic to some, the material requiring critical assessment is still
not overwhelming, as the work is very much summarized. Therefore, it serves its
purpose, to allow a student to get his feet wet.
Tanbih, referring to Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi's work, also precedes the tarjih
efforts of Shaykhayn. Shirazi was from the Iraqi Ashab, his Tanbih is
taken from the Ta'liq of Abu Hamid, this detail is found in Ibn Qadi
Shuhbah's Tabaqat. I have always understood the work to be Shaykh Abu
Hamid al-Isfarayini's Ta'liq, more or less based on the significance of
Shaykh Abu Hamid's work, especially to the Iraqi Ashab. Shirazi's other work, al-Muhadhdhab,
is also noted to be based on another Iraqi's work, the Ta'liq of his
teacher Qadi Abu al-Tayyib al-Tabari. These would be some of the most important
works for the Iraqis in regards to the their contributions that received
significant attention during the era of tarjih, the era of Shaykhan.
Furthermore, Ghazzali's works, the Basit, Wasit, and Wajiz are
based on his teacher, Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni's Nihayat al-Matlab.
Both Ghazzali and Imam al-Haramayn are authorities specific to the Khurasani
tariqah. Ghazzali's works would be like Shirazi's in regards to how much
attention they received during the era of Shaykhayn.
Thus, these works, including Tanbih, set the stage for the tarjih.
Let me illustrate, in brief, what happened:
Shirazi's Muhadhdhab; Imam Nawawi commentated on it in his al-Majmu,
Shirazi's Tanbih; Imam Nawawi commentated on it in his Tashih
Ghazzali's Wajiz; Imam Rafi'i commentated on it in his Fath al-Aziz;
Fath al-Aziz is the basis for Imam Nawawi's Rawdah,
Ghazzali's Wasit; Imam Nawawi commentated on it in his Tanqih,
There is a debate on Muharrar, be an abridgement of Ghazzali's Wajiz as
is the view of some or an independent work as is the view of others; Muharrar
is the basis for Imam Nawawi's Minhaj al-Talibin.
Therefore, these works, rather the continued effort of many as captured by the pens of both Shirazi and Ghazzali, served as the primary basis for Shaykhan's efforts.
As a Shafi'i, I am pleased to consider that the works of Imam al-Haramayn, Qadi Abu
al-Tayyib al-Tabari, and Shaykh Abu Hamid are based on Mukhtasar al-Muzani.
Due to this, I feel that for the Shafiyyah (perhaps even in a sort of
sentimental way) Mukhtasar al-Muzani is one of our most significant
texts. Moreover, that the bridge between now and the era of Imam Shafi'i
himself, the bridge that preserved the Madhhab which is writing, is in fact
connected, still standing, and even allowing traffic:)
Allah knows best.