USUL AL FIQH AFTER AL IMAM AL SHAFI'I
Al Imam al Shafi'i's Risalah dominated studies in Islamic jurisprudence from the
moment it appeared. Indeed, as a result of it, the scholars divided into two
groups. One group, the majority of Ahl al
Hadith, accepted it, and used it in support of al Shafi'i's school
of legal thought. The other group, however, rejected most of what it contained,
and attempted to refute whatever of al Imam al Shafi'i's work contradicted
their own methods and practice before it had the chance to influence people.
The members of this group were taken almost exclusively from the Ahl al Ra'i, all of whom were in complete
disagreement with nearly all that al Imam al Shafi'i had written.
Ibn al Nadim mentioned books which were written in
the field of Usul al Fiqh after
the Risalah, including al Nasikh wa al Mansukh and al Sunnah by al Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d
233 AH). Al Sunnah, however, is
more a book on Tawhid and basic
Islamic beliefs "Aqa'id"
than of jurisprudence. There are two versions of this work in print; the longer
version is the one printed in Makkah in 1349 AH, of which there are manuscript
copies in the Dar al Kutub and Zahiriyyah libraries in Egypt and Damascus
respectively. A smaller version, printed in Cairo without a date, deals with
the fundamental beliefs of the Sunni Orthodoxy, or "Ahl al Sunnah".
Al Imam Ahmad also wrote Ta'at al Rasul "Obedience to the
Messenger". Ibn Qayyim quotes from it often in his book, I'lam al Muwaqqi'in, and it seems that he
possessed a copy of it. Nonetheless, I have looked for this book in many
places, but have always been unable to find it. From the quoted passages in Ibn
Qayyim's book, it is apparent that the book was indeed an important one on the
subject of jurisprudence, and the methodology of dealing with the Sunnah. It
may have been lost after Ibn Qayyim's time, or bound into another book, or the
title page lost so that it may only be found after much searching.
The sources also mention that Dawud al Zahiri (d
270 AH) wrote al Ijma'
"Consensus", Ibtal al Taqlid
"On the Abolition of Imitation", Khabar
al Wahid "On the Single-Individual Narration", al Khabar al Mujib "On the
Obligating Narration", al Khusus wa al
'Umum "On the Particular and the General", al Mufassar wa al Mujmal "The
Succinct and the Detailed", al Kafi fi
Muqabalat al Muttalibi, i.e. al Imam al Shafi'i, "0n the
Encounter with al Shafi'i", Mas'alatan
Khalafa Fihima al Shafi'i "Two Issues on which He Differed
with al Imam al Shafi'i".
During this period, the 'Ulama' who accepted the school of thought of al Imam Abu
Hanifah devoted their attention to the study of Shafi'i's Risalah, both in order to refute what
they disagreed with, and to derive their own source-methodology and principles
of jurisprudence from the case law Fatawa
of al Imam Abu Hanifah.
In this vein, the Hanafi scholars produced several
works. 'Isa ibn Abban (d 220 Ah) wrote Khabar
al Wahid, Ithbat al Qiyas, "Validating Analogical
Deduction", and Ijtihad al Ra'i,
"The Exercise of legal Reasoning".
Al Barza'i (d 317) wrote Masa'il al Khilaf "Issues of
Disagreement", of which there is a 236-page copy in the Zaytunah Library
in Tunis, number 1619.
Abu Ja'far al Tahawi (d 321) wrote Ikhtilaf al Fuqaha' "Disagreement of
the Jurists", which was summarized by Abu Bakr al Jassas (d 37O). There is
a copy of this hook in Cairo. For more details, refer to the Index of Ma'had al Makhtutat (1/329).55
Al Karabisi al Najafi (d 322) wrote al Furuq "Differences", of
which there are manuscripts in the Ahmad III and Fayd Allah libraries in
Several untitled works on jurisprudence were also
attributed to Ibn Sama'ah (d 233).56
Al Kannani (d 289) wrote al Hujjah fi al Radd 'Ala al Shafi'i,
"The Evidence in Refutation of Imam Shafi'i".
'Ali ibn Musa al Qummi, the Hanafi (d 305) wrote Ma Khalafa Fihi al Shafi'i al 'Iraqiyin Fi Ahkam al
Qur'an "Instances in which al Shafi'i Opposed the Iraqis in
the Legal Interpretation of the Qur'an", Ithbat al Qiyas, al Ijtihad and Khabar al Wahid.
Abu al Hasan al Karkhi (d 340) wrote his well-known
hook al Usul "The
Sources", which was printed with a collection of other books in Cairo (no
Abu Sahl al Nawbakhti (d. circa 93 AH), who
belonged to the Imamiyah, wrote
Naqd Risalat al Shafi'i "A
Critique of al Shafi'i's Risalah",
Ibtal al Qiyas
"Invalidating al Qiyas",
and al Radd 'Ala Ibn al Rawandi Fi Ba'd
Ara'ihi al Usuliyah ("Refutation of Certain of Ibn al
Rawandi's Legal Opinions"). Ibn Junayd (d 347), who belonged to the
Zaydiyyah group, wrote al Faskh 'Ala Man
Ajaza al Naskh lima Tamma Shar'uhu wa Jalla Naf'uhu "The
Nullification of those who Permitted Abrogation on Laws already Promulgated and
Proved Beneficial", and al Ifham li
Usul al Ahkam "Understanding Juristic Principles".
The adherents of al Imam al Shafi'i's school of
legal thought produced the following works:-
Abu Thawr (d 240) wrote Ikhtilaf al Fuqaha' "Disagreement of the Jurists".
Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Nasr al Marwazi (d 294)
also wrote a book on the same subject.
Abu Abbas ibn Surayj (d 305) wrote a hook refuting
both 'Isa ibn Abban and Muhammad ibn Dawud al Zahiri on matters in which they
differed with al Imam al Shafi'i.
Ibrahim ibn Ahmad al Marwazi (d 340) wrote Al Umum wa al Khusus "The General
and the Particular" and Al Fusul fi
Ma'rifat al Usul57
"Chapters About Knowledge of Legal Source-Methodology".
Some of these scholars devoted their attention to
producing commentaries on al Shafi'i's al Risalah;
like Abu Bakr al Sayrafi (d 330), Abu al Walid al Nisaburi (d 365 or 363), Abu
Bakr al Jawzaqi (d 388) and Abu Muhammad al Juwayni, the father of the famed
Imam al Haramayn, teacher to al Imam al Ghazzali.
Commentaries on the Risalah are also attributed to five other scholars, namely:
Abu Zayd al Jazuli, Yusuf ibn 'Umar, Jamal al Din al Afqahsi, Ibn Fakihani, and
Abu al Qasim 'Isa ibn Naji. None of these commentaries, from which the scholars
used to quote until after the seventh century, have come to light in modern
Shaykh Mustafa 'Abd al Razzaq58
mentioned that the public library in Paris held a copy of al Juwayni's commentary
on the Risalah, and quoted some
parts of it. I, myself, have tried to locate this manuscript in Paris; but
failed. Perhaps it had been placed with other books under a different heading
or title. Probably, the only way to find it is to sift through all the
manuscripts. That, however, is a daunting task, as the researcher would need to
spend a great deal of time on the undertaking.
DEVELOPMENTS IN USUL AL
FIQH AFTER AL IMAM AL SHAFI'I
What we have mentioned so far can hardly be
regarded as development, as it mainly revolves around criticizing, supporting
or commenting on the Risalah,
and really goes no further than that. Once the discipline had been established,
this state of affairs obtained until about the beginning of the fifth century
AH, when what could be considered as significant development in the field began
to take place.
During this period, al Qadi al Baqillani (d 402)
and al Qadi 'Abd al Jabbar al Hamadani (d 415) undertook to re-write the whole
subject of the practice and principles of Shari'ah Source Methodology, or al Usul.
In his book al
Bahr, al Zarkashi wrote: "... the two judges, the Qadi of Ahl al Sunnah, Abu Bakr Tayyib al
Baqillani, and the Qadi of the Mu'tazilah,
'Abd al Jabbar, came and expanded upon what had been written, clarified what
had previously been little more than indications, provided detail to what had
been mentioned in a general way, and removed ambiguities."
Al Qadi al Baqillani earned the title Shaykh al Usuliyyin59
"Master of the Scholars of al Usul",
after he wrote al Taqrib wa al Irshad
"Clarification and Guidance". This hook has been lost for centuries;
though it may yet turn up in one collection of manuscripts or another. In any
case, the scholars of al Usul
continued quoting from it until the ninth century AH.
For his part, al Qadi 'Abd al Jabbar wrote a book
entitled either al 'Ahd
"The Covenant" or al 'Amad
"The Pillars" and wrote his own commentary on it.
Imam al Haramayn (d 478 AH) summarized al
Baqillani's al Taqrib wa al Irshad,
in a book entitled al Talkhis
"The Summarizing" or al
Mulakhkhas "The Summary", of which some pages are
preserved in some manuscript collections. Later scholars of jurisprudence
transmitted many of al Baqillani's ideas from this work.
Imam al Haramayn patterned his own book on al Usul, al Burhan "The Proof", on al Baqillani's al Taqrib, in that it included all fields
of jurisprudence, was free in its method, and followed whatever evidence was
He disagreed with his teachers, al Imam al Ash'ari and al Imam al Shafi'i, on
so many issues that many of his fellow scholars from the al Shafi'i school of
legal thought rejected his commentary and did not give it the attention it
deserved, even though they transmitted a great deal from it in their own books.
Two Maliki scholars, al Imam Abu 'Abd Allah al
Maziri (d 536 AH) and Abu al Hasan al Abyari (d 616), wrote commentaries on al Burhan; and a third Maliki scholar,
Abu Yahya, combined the two commentaries. Still, all three of these scholars
dealt harshly, if not somewhat unfairly, with Imam al Haramayn because of what
they considered to be his audacity in refuting al Imam al Ash'ari on matters
where he disagreed with him, and in refuting al Imam Malik on the question of al Masalih al Mursalah. Imam al Haramayn
added introductions to al Imam al Shafi'i's book which dealt with matters not
found in the Risalah. He began
by discussing the knowledge of those sources and concepts which anyone who
wishes to study any science in depth must have. He explained that the sources
of Usul al Fiqh were 'Ilm al Kalam "Scholastic
Theology", Arabic language and Fiqh.
Then he dealt with legal judgements, duties, and competence, discussing in
detail issues pertaining to various sciences, and explaining those which could
be understood by reason, and which by religion. All the above matters formed an
introduction to a discussion of the term al
Bayan, "perspicuous declaration", the subject with which
al Imam al Shafi'i began the Risalah.
It is quite apparent, however, when we see how Imam
al Haramayn dealt with the subject of al
Bayan, and with other of the subjects mentioned in the Risalah, that Imam al Haramayn defined
the terms, including al Bayan,
more precisely than al Imam al Shafi'i had done. He defined it, explained its
essence, mentioned disagreements concerning it, and set forth its different
categories. He also dealt with another matter which al Imam al Shafi'i had not
dealt with, Ta'khir al Bayan ila Waqt al
Hajah "Deferment of al
Bayan until the time when it is Needed", and disagreements
concerning it. Then, in discussing the different categories of al Bayan, he reiterated the five
categories which al Imam al Shafi'i had mentioned, advocated Abu Bakr Dawud al
Zahiri's comments on the subject, and then mentioned the other categories of al Bayan which some jurists had
Imam al Haramayn held the opinion that al Bayan meant "evidence", of
which there are two types: 'Aqli
"rational" and Sam'i
"received". The basis for "received" evidence is the
miraculous Qur'an; so that the closer the evidence is to the Qur'an, the more
precedence it has. Hence the order of priority in "received" evidence
is: the Qur'an, the Sunnah, al Ijma' Khabar
al Wahid, al Qiyas.
Then he dealt with languages, and explained that
the scholars of jurisprudence have dealt with linguistic matters which the
scholars of Arabic had omitted, such as Awamir
"prohibitions", and al 'Umum wa
al Khusus "the General and the Specific" which Imam al
Shafi'i had dealt with.
In the course of this linguistic discussion, he
mentioned some of al Baqillani's ideas, which clearly indicates that al
Baqillani had already made these additions to al Imam al Shafi'i's methods.
When al Imam al Ghazzali was the student of Imam al
Haramayn it was only natural that he be influenced by him. In fact, al Imam al
Ghazzali wrote four books on the subject of al
Usul. The first of these works was al Mankhul "The Sifted", a medium-sized volume
written as though for beginners or intermediate level students of al Usul. Of the second book nothing is
known except that it was referred to in al
and that its title was Tahdhib al Usul
"On the Refinement of Usul". The third book is entitled Shifa' 'al Ghalil fi Bayan al Shibh wa al Mukhayyal
wa Masalik al Ta'lil, and was edited and published in Baghdad in
1390/1971. Al Imam al Ghazzali's Encyclopedia of Shariah Source Methodology,
his fourth book on the subject, and his last word, was al Mustasfa, which has been printed
several times in Egypt and elsewhere. Indeed, this is the work he wrote after
coming out of his period of meditation and seclusion62.
Al Imam al Ghazzali began his book with an
introduction in which he covered nearly all of Aristotelian logic, a subject in
which he had always been deeply interested. Then he wrote about the Hadd "Prescribed Punishment",
about the conditions that must be satisfied before it can be applied, and about
the different types of Hudud.
He then discussed the Dalil
"Evidence" and its various types.
At this point in the book, al Imam al Ghazzali
proceeds to discuss the four poles of his work, headings under which everything
in the field of al Usul is
covered, and which his teacher, Imam al Haramayn, and predecessors, such as al
Baqilani, were most concerned with. As his teacher had his own opinions that
differed from those of al Imams al Shafi'i and al Ash'ari, so also did al Imam
al Ghazzali hold opinions which differed from those of his predecessors.
Likewise, among al Imam al Ghazzali's contemporaries there were those who
accepted his views and those who did not.
These were the most important developments made by
the followers of al Imam al Shafi'i in the field of Usul.
The second group to contribute to the development
of the discipline were the Mu'tazilah.
After al Qadi Abd al Jabbar had written his book, al Amad or al 'Ahd, and written a full commentary on it, he
recorded some of his opinions on al Usul
in his encyclopedia, some parts of which have been found and printed under the
title al Mughni. The
seventeenth volume of this encyclopedia was devoted to studies in al Usul.
As Imam al Haramayn concerned himself with the book
of al Baqillani, so Abu al Husayn al Basri al Mu'taziuli (d 435 AH) concerned
himself with the books of al Qadi 'Abd al Jabbar, and wrote a commentary on al Amad/al 'Ahd. When he felt that this
commentary was too long, he summarized it in his well-known book al Mu'tamad
"The Reliable", which is in print and widely available.
During this period, al Shaykh Abu Ishaq al Shirazi
(d 476 AH) wrote his two books. al Lam'
"The Bright Light" and al
Tabsirah "Enlightenment", both of which are in print.
Al Qadi Abu Yahya al Farra' al Hanbali wrote a book
on Usul entitled al 'Uddah fi Usul al Fiqh
"The Tools of Usul al Fiqh",
which was edited and published in Saudi Arabia in 1400/1980.
Ibn 'Aqil al Baghdadi, another Hanbali scholar,
wrote al Wadih Fi al Usul
"What is Clear in Usul".
Abu al Khattab wrote his well-known book, al Tamhid "The Preface", which
was recently edited and published in Makkah.
Among the books written by scholars of the Maliki
school of legal thought at that time was 'Uyun
al Adillah Fi Masa'il al Khilaf Bayna Fuqaha' al Amsar
"Profusion of Evidence or Controversial Issues Among the Jurists of the
New Muslim Settlements", by Ibn al Qassar al Baghdadi (d 398 AH), of which
there is a copy at Qarawiyin University in Fez.63
Al Shirazi considered this to be the best book by any Maliki scholar on the subject of juristic
differences. Ibn al Qassar also wrote Muqaddimah
fi Usul al Fiqh "Introduction to Usul al Fiqh", of which there is a copy at the Azhar
The books of the Shafi'iyah,
Hanabilah, Malikiyah and Mu'tazilah all followed a similar pattern
in the order of their chapters and the treatment of their subject matter.
Eventually, this pattern became known as "the method of the Mutakallimun."
THE ROLE OF THE FOLLOWERS
OF ABU HANIFAH IN THE WRITING OF AL USUL
Some historians of Usul al Fiqh have suggested that al Qadi Abu Yusuf and
Muhammad ibn al Hasan wrote about jurisprudence,64
but this claim has not been proven.
The author of Kashf
quoted 'Ala' al Din's saying from Mizan al
Usul "Usul in the Balance":
"Know that Usul al Fiqh is a branch of Usul al Din; and that the composition of
any book must of necessity be influenced by the author's beliefs. Therefore, as
most of the writers on Usul al Fiqh
belong to the Mu'tazilah who
differ from us in basic principles, or to Ahl
al Hadith who differ from us in questions of detail, we cannot rely
on their books.
Our (Hanafi) scholars' books, however, are of two types. The first type is of
books that were written in a very precise fashion, because their authors knew
both the principles and their application. Examples of this type are: Ma'khadh al Shar' "The Approach of
the Shari'ah" and al Jadal
"Argument" by Abu Mansur al Maturidi (d 333 AH).
"The second type of book dealt very carefully with the meanings of words
and were well-arranged, owing to the concern of their authors with deriving
detailed solutions from the explicit meanings of narrations. They were not,
however, skillful in dealing with the finer points of al Usul or questions of pure reason. The
result was that the writers of the second type produced opinions in some cases
agreeing with those with whom we differed. Yet, books of the first type lost
currency either because they were difficult to understand or because scholars
lacked the resolution to undertake such works."
There is much that could be said about how
accurately this statement depicts the development of Hanafi studies of al Usul,
even if it was made by a Hanafi. The statement does, nonetheless, come close to
reality in explaining the role of the Hanafi
yah in the development of Usul
al Fiqh. In the first period, these scholars concentrated, even
before al Imam al Maturidi, on discussing the issues brought up by al Imam al
Shafi'i in his Risalah, as 'Isa
ibn Abban and others did.
During the following period, one of the most
prominent writers of al Usul
was Abu al Hasan al Karkhi (d 340 AH). His book on al Usul consists of a limited number of pages that were
printed with Abu Zayd al Dabusi's book, Ta'sis
al Nazar "Establishing Opinion", which has been published
in several editions in Cairo.
Then, Abu Bakr al Jassas (d 370 AH) wrote his work,
Al Fusul Fi al Usul as an
introduction to his Ahkam al Qur'an "Legal
Interpretations of the Qur'an"66.
Al Fusul has been researched
and edited for a doctoral thesis, and was published recently in Kuwait.
True development of the Hanafiyah writing on the subject of al Usul. may be considered to have begun
with al Imam Abu Zayd al Dabusi (d 340) who wrote two important books on the
subject: Taqwim al Adillah
"Appraising Evidence", all or some of which has been researched and
edited, but which has not yet been printed, and Ta'sis al Nazar67.
Abu Zayd made use of the work on al Usul
done by his predecessors, especially that of Al Karkhi and Al Jassas, but with
the difference that he expanded the field and explained it in greater detail;
he also made brief reference to the points on which the Hanafiyah agreed and disagreed with
others on matters of Usul.
Abu Zayd was followed by Fakhr al Islam al Bazdawi
(d 482), who wrote the well-known Kanz al
Wusul Ila Ma'rifat al Usul "A Treasury On Attaining Knowledge
of the Usul", in which he
dealt with Usul in general.
Later Hanafiyah scholars took
great interest in the book and wrote many commentaries on it; the best and most
important of which was Kashf al Asrar
"Secrets Uncovered" by 'Abd al Aziz al Bukhari (d 830). This commentary
has been published in several editions in both Istanbul and Egypt.
Likewise, Shams al A'immah al Sarkhasi (d 423 AH)
wrote Usul al Sarkhasi, which
has been printed in two volumes in Egypt. This book is considered to be in many
ways an alternate reading of al Dabusi's Taqwim
al Adillah. The Hanafiyah scholars of al Usul took great interest in the books of al Bazdawi and
al Sarkhasi, and concerned themselves with teaching and commenting upon them
for a long time.
From the above it should be clear that the
development of Usul al Fiqh, as
a specialized discipline, had been completed, and that its issues and academic
parameters had been defined by the fifth century AH. Indeed, by that century,
the scholars of every school of legal thought had recorded their own
interpretations and understanding of Usul
THE METHODS OF THE
FOLLOWERS OF AL IMAM AL SHAFI'I OR, THE "MUTAKALLIMUN", AND THOSE OF
Writings on the subject of al Usul generally followed one of two
methods. The first was al Shafi'i's method, or the method of the Mutakallimun.
This was the method followed by the Shafi'iyah,
the Malikiyah, Hanabilah and
and it was known as the "method of the Mutakallimun"
because the authors of books written according to this method used to introduce
them with discussions of theological and philosophical issues, such as al Hasan and al Qabih "The Good and the Reprehensible', Hukm al Ashya' Qabl al Shar' "The
Legal Status of Matters Prior to the Revelation of Shari'ah", Shukr al Mun'im "The Necessity of
Gratitude to the Bestower", and al
Hakim "The Possessor of Sovereignty". A further reason
for its being labeled "the method of the Mutakallimun" was the use of the deductive method in
defining the principles of source methodology, in ascertaining the validity of
those principles, and in refuting those whose opinions differed without paying
much attention to the issues and details which stem from the application of
THE METHOD OF THE
HANAFI SCHOLARS OF AL USUL
The Hanafi method of writing on al Usul involved defining the principles
of Usul from the details of
legal issues with which their earliest predecessors had already dealt. Thus,
the basis for their studies of al Usul
was derived from the details of previously settled legal issues, and not the
other way round. Therefore, one who studies Usul
al Fiqh according to this method will gather the details of issues
concerning which the Hanafi Imams have already given Fatawa, and then analyze them. Through
his analysis he will decide the basis on which these Fatawa were given.
Shah Wali Allah of Delhi commented:
"I found that some
of them claimed the differences between Abu Hanifah and al Shafi'i were founded
on the Usul mentioned in al
Bazdawi's book and elsewhere. But the truth is that most of these Usul were themselves derived from the
differing legal pronouncement of the Imams. My opinion of the matter is that
such principles of al Usul as
the rules which say that the specific "al
Khass" is obvious "Mubayyan",
and does not need to be followed by a declaration "Bayan"; that the addition of details
to a text constitutes abrogation "Naskh";
that the comprehensive "al 'Amm"
is definitive "Qat'i"
like the specific "al Khass";
that mere numbers of narrations may not be taken as a factor in according
preference Tarjih to one
opinion or another; that the Hadith of one who is not a Faqih need not necessarily be adopted in
cases where there can be no resort to reason; that there is no legitimacy to
the notion of progressing from a precondition "Shart" or description "Wasf" to a legal deduction; that the imperative "al Amr" in a text always indicates
legal obligation "Wujub";
and so on, all of these are examples of principles inferred from the judgements
of the Imams. Indeed, there are no sound narrations to suggest that Abu Hanifah
or his two companions, Muhammad and Abu Yusuf, adhered to any of these
principles of source methodology. As such, then, these principles deserve no
more to be preserved and defended, as al Bazdawi and the others did, than the
opposing principles do."69
THE SCIENCE OF USUL AL
FIQH DURING THE SIXTH CENTURY AH AND THE FOLLOWING PERIOD
Following the consolidation of the subject matter
of this discipline, according to the method of the Mutakallimun, in four major works: al 'Ahd, al Mu'tamad, al Burhan and al Mustasfa,
two great scholars from among the Mutakallimun
summarized these four books in works of their own.
The first was al Imam Fakhr al Din al Razi (d 606
AH), who summarized them in his book al
Mahsul "The Sum and Substance", which I had the honour of
researching and editing. This work has been printed in six volumes by Imam
Muhammad ibn Sa'ud University, and is now being reprinted.
The second was al Imam Sayf al Din al Amidi (d 631
AH), who summarized these four books in his al
Ihkam Fi Usul al Ahkam "Precision in the Source Methodology of
Law", which has been published in Riyadh, Cairo and elsewhere.
These two books are lengthier and certainly easier
to read and understand than others. Of the two, al Mahsul is written in clearer language, and is more
detailed in its explanations. Many glosses and commentaries have been written
on these two books. Taj al Din al Armawi (d 656) summarized al Mahsul in his book al Hasil "The Outcome", which
was researched and edited for a doctoral thesis at al Azhar University, but has
not yet been published.
Al Imam al Razi himself also summarized it in a
book entitled al Muntakhab
"Selections", which one scholar has researched and edited.
Al Qadi al Baydawi (d 685) summarized al Hasil in his book Minhaj al Wusul Ila 'Ilm al Usul
"The Way of Mastering the Science of Source Methodology"; but his
summary was so abbreviated that the result is like a riddle, very difficult to
understand. Thus, many scholars undertook to produce commentaries on the book.
Among such commentaries, the best is that of al Isnawi (d 772), which is
entitled Nihayat al Su'l
"An End to Questioning" This book occupied the attention of the
scholars in the field for a long time, and the Shafi'iyah scholars al Al Azhar are still devoted to it.
Al Amidi's book, al
Ihkam "Precision" was summarized by Ibn al Hajib (d 646)
of the Maliki legal school in his book Muntaha
al Su'l wa al Aml Fi 'Ilmay al Usul wa al Jadal "The Ultimate
in the Sciences of Jurisprudence and Argumentation", which is well-known
among the followers of al Imam Malik.
The best available commentary on this work is that
of 'Udad al Din (d 756), for which several glosses and commentaries have been
All of these books were written following the
method of the Mutakallimun,
defining the principles, basing evidence upon them, and seeking to refute by
means of these those who held opposing views, until one of the two groups
scholars of al Usul were
likewise occupied in studying the books of al Bazdawi and al Sarkhasi. This
situation remained the same until the end of the sixth century and the
beginning of the seventh century AH, when the scholars of at Usul began using a new method. This
method involved combining the methods of the Mutakallimun
and the Hanafiyah scholars so
as to produce books which combined the Usul
of the two groups.
Following this method, Muzaffar al Din al Sa'ati (d
694) wrote Bad'i al Nizam al Jam'i Bayna
Kitabay al Bazdawi wa al Ihkam. This book is one which is readily
available in print.
Sadr al Shari'ah (d 747) wrote Tanqih al Usul "Refining al Usul", in which he summarized al Mahsul, Usul al Bazdawi and Mukhtasar ibn al Hajib. He then wrote a
commentary on his own book entitled al
Tawdih "Clarification", to which al Taftazani (d 792)
added a marginal commentary entitled al
Talwih. All three books, al
Tanqih, al Tawdih and al Talwih
are available in print.
Among the Shafi'iyah
scholars, Taj al Din al Subki wrote his famous book, Jam' al Jawami' "The Compilation of
the Comprehensive". In the introduction, he mentioned that he had compiled
his work from one hundred different books on al
Usul. Many scholars wrote commentaries and added footnotes to al
Subki's book. Of these, perhaps the most important and most widely-available
commentary is Sharh al Jalal al Muhalli,
which remains even today the basis for studies in al Usul, especially for the Shafi'iyah scholars.
Badr al Din al Zarkashi (d 794) also wrote a
commentary, entitled Tashnif al Masami'
"To Please the Ears", part of which was printed in Cairo with footnotes
by al Shaykh al Muti'i (d 1354). One of the students at Imam Muhammad ibn Sa'ud
University has researched and edited part of this book recently for his
Al Zarkashi also wrote al Bahr al Muhit "The Vast Ocean", in which he
collected the submissions of scholars of al Usul from over one hundred books. A
student has stared to research and edit this book, under our supervision, for
his doctoral thesis, and has already completed one volume and made it ready for
Among the Hanabilah,
Ibn Qudamah (d 620) wrote Rawdat al Nazir
wa Jannat al Manazir, in which he summarized al Ghazzali's al Mustasfa, and added to it other useful
material on matters in which the Hanabilah
disagreed with others. This book has been printed several times, and the Hanabilah took great interest in it, to
the extent that they ignored nearly all other books.
Sulayman al Tufi (d 716) summarized this work, and
then commented upon his summary in two volumes.
Among the Malikiyah,
al Qarrafi (d 684) wrote Tanqih al Fusul fi
Ikhtisar al Mahsul "Refining Chapters in Summary of the Mahsul". Al Qarrafi also wrote a
commentary on al Mahsul in a
large volume entitled Nafa'is al Usul
"Treasures of the Usul",
part of which has been researched and edited under our supervision in Riyadh.