Senior Student of Knowledge

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Dec 27 11 1:31 PM

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Al-salamu '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 al-Tanbih,

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.

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Senior Student of Knowledge

Posts: 158

#1 [url]

Jul 1 12 4:56 AM


Other than Matn Abu Shuja as mentioned above are there many other mutun from the time prior to tarjeeh which are studied?  Famous mutun studied are safinatu najjah, al muqaddimah al hadramiyyah, risalatul jaamiah which are after tarjeeh of shaykayn.

It is quite amazing how and why this text, matn abu shuja, has stood the test of time.

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Senior Student of Knowledge

Posts: 158

#2 [url]

Jul 2 12 3:52 PM

Wa alaykum salam wr wb,

Pre-tarjih (meaning the tarjih of Imams Rafi’i and Nawawi) texts have been used for teaching. For example, Shabramallisi (d. 1087) would attend ‘Abd al-Ra’uf al-Munawi’s (d. 1031; a Shafi’i faqih who took from the author of Nihayat al-Muhtaj, Shams al-Din al-Ramli) classes in Mukhtasar al-Muzani. In Khulasat al-Athar, it is stated regarding Shabramallisi that,

وحضر دروس الشيخ عبد الرؤوف المناوي في مختصر المزني في المدرسة الصلاحية جوار الإمام الشافعي

Zirkili ascribed a commentary on Mukhtasar al-Muzani to Munawi as well. And another example would be Ahmad Bey al-Husayni’s (d. 1332) Murshid al-Anam which is a commentary on Imam Shafi’s Kitab al-Umm. Zirkili mentioned that this work covered the sections of worship from Kitab al-Umm in 24 volumes. Rather than being a text used in classes, this is more an extensive commentary.

These would be direct examples of works written before tarjih in the Madhhab.

Other works, take Minhaj al-Talibin for example, also find their roots linked directly back to Imam Shafi’i. If we maintain that Rafi’s Muharrar is taken from Ghazzali’s Wajiz, then Wajiz is taken through Ghazzali’s other works from Imam al-Haramayn’s Nihayat al-Matlab, which is a commentary on Mukhtasar al-Muzani, thus linked directly to Imam Shafi’i.

This is one aspect that the Madhahib maintain; the literature which represents them also has this aspect of transmission, this aspect of connection throughout the generations on back to our pious predecessors.

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