Knowledge, Worship & Society

Knowledge and education develops the mindsets of individuals, which in turn contributes to the shaping of the wider society.

The opinions that Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal singled out from al-Shāfiʿī in pilgrimage


This article consists of two sections: (i) an introduction to solitary opinions (mufrad pl. mufradāt) in the Ḥanbalī school, and (ii) a translation of the chapter of pilgrimage from Aḥmad al-Damanhūrī’s (d. 1192/1788) Al-Fatḥ al-rabbānī bi-mufradāt ibn Ḥanbal al-Shaybānī[1] – a concise manual which lists the legal opinions that Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal singled out from al-Shāfiʿī.


Solitary opinions (mufrad pl. mufradāt) are unique juristic views, which one of the four Imams, namely Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 150/767), Mālik (d. 179/796), al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820) and Aḥmad (d. 241/855) upheld within their juristic schools. These well-established legal opinions were not shared by any of the other Imams.[2] Based on the aforementioned definition, the legal opinions in the English translation of al-Damanhūrī’s manual are not totally unique to the Ḥanbalī school only; rather they are legal opinions, which Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal singled out from his teacher, al-Shāfiʿī. Aḥmad al-Damanhūrī stipulated this objective in his introduction to the manual. He also specified that he would only cite the reliable opinions of the two law schools when mentioning their differences.[3] Al-Damanhūrī was a highly reputable scholar, who mastered the four law schools. He was given license to issue legal verdicts according to the four law schools from his respected teachers; he was even given the agnomen ‘al-Madhāhibī’ – follower of all the law schools. Continue reading “The opinions that Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal singled out from al-Shāfiʿī in pilgrimage”


An epitome of Ḥanbalī substantive law: a new translation


In October 2013, I posted about a Ḥanbalī law manual, Kitāb furūʾ al-fiqh of Ibn al-Mabrad. I informed the readers about a forthcoming rendition of the manual in the near future. Finally, after four years, the translation is finally ready! It can be purchased here. I would like to thank the readers for being patient with me. Although the translation was completed in Yemen, 2011, committments kept me busy from refining the initial rendition.

What does this work include?

It is a translation of Yūsuf b. ʿAbd al-Hādī’s (d. 909/1503) Ḥanbalī law manual, Kitāb furūʿ al-fiqh. The purpose of this rendition is to present the main aspects of Islamic law in a simple and modern manner. The manual at hand is considered to be the shortest law manual in the Ḥanbalī school. The translation covers the articles of law pertaining to the aspects of worship (ʿibādāt) and social dealings (muʿāmalāt). The appendix contains a translation of the chapters of fasting and devotional seclusion from Ibn Qudāma’s (d. 620/1223) Ḥanbalī law manual, al-Muqniʿ. A rendition of Ibn ʿAqīl’s (d. 513/1119) treatise on Islamic manners, Fuṣūl al-ādāb wa makārim al-akhlāq al-mashrūʿa, has been included to compliment the articles of law.


This particular translation is very timely as we are witnessing a resurgence in the study of the madhhab traditions, with the hearts of people drawn toward the authenticity and richness contained in the classical Islamic tradition.

 Dr. Mustafa Baig

Lecturer in Islamic Studies, University of Exeter



Leader of the early-generation Ḥanbalīs: Ibn Ḥāmid (d. 403/1012)


[Round City, Baghdad, 762 CE]

Ibn Ḥāmid was considered to be from among the early-generation Ḥanbalī scholars, an era which stretched between 241/845 and 403/1012. This era was commonly termed as the ‘documentation and progression phase’ (dawr al-naql wa al-namū) of the Ḥanbalī school.[1] During this phase the Ḥanbalī school is believed to have consolidated and crystallised into a law school. The early-generation Ḥanbalī scholars were engaged in gathering Aḥmad’s responsa (masāʾil), editing it, and authoring encyclopaedic compilations (al-kutub al-jāmiʿa). The emergence of concise law manuals (mutūn), works on Ḥanbalī legal theory, and biographical dictionaries (ṭabaqāt) also appeared during this great era. Besides producing crucial materials for the law school, the scholars began to propagate the Ḥanbalī school through teaching and education, which started with the study circles of al-Khallāl and others in al-Mahdī mosque, Baghdad. Continue reading “Leader of the early-generation Ḥanbalīs: Ibn Ḥāmid (d. 403/1012)”

Early journeys to Medina University

2017-06-17 18.11.57

Dr. Shuaib Hasan was speaking about his epic journey to join the Islamic University of Medina. He was one of its early graduates.

He was twenty years old when he was accepted as a student. He and another seventeen other students made the journey together to study at the Islamic University of Medina. They were the first batch of students from Pakistan. He was the youngest out of them.

They had to make the journey by sea using a big ship known as ‘Safina Hujjaj’ – a ship which normally carried upto 5000 pilgrims back and forth between Karachi and Jeddah during the pilgrimage season. He mentioned that travelling by plane was very rare those days (in the 60’s). Their journey by sea took approximately over a week or so. Continue reading “Early journeys to Medina University”

ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Maqdisī and The Aḥādīth al-aḥkām genre


The ‘law-related narrations’ genre (aḥādīth al-aḥkām)

Concise law manuals (mutūn) were generally authored for people aspiring to be jurists and judges. The authors of these works did not include passages of the Qurʾān or Prophetic traditions as supportive materials for the articles of law presented in the manuals. One of the primary reasons for the keeping law manual concise was so that the rulings can be memorised effortlessly. To keep it concise, the evidences from the Qurʾān, Prophetic narrations, and other sources of law were left out on purpose. The evidences for the law articles would normally be included in larger works such as commentaries; each ruling would be presented and reasoned in great depth in the commentaries.

The ‘law-related narrations’ literature had a slightly different function to the concise manuals; it was primarily written as references and teaching tools for scholars of law. The main evidences for articles of law would be presented in a systemic and easy manner for citation. The concise manuals and the ‘law-related narrations’ genre went hand-in-hand for classical jurists and law students. The manuals were studied and memorised to master the rulings for a particular law school, whereas the evidences for the laws were presented to justify the rulings through an established source, namely, the Prophetic traditions. A person aspiring to be a judge or a prolific jurist would be required to know the legal rulings as well as its supporting evidences. Continue reading “ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Maqdisī and The Aḥādīth al-aḥkām genre”

ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Maqdisī (d. 600/1203): The Ḥanbalī Muhaddith


[Nablus, 1865]

Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi was born in Nablus, Palestine and passed away in Egypt on the 24th of Rabi al-Awwal 600/1203, aged sixty. Most of biographers of discussed the life of Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi in great length and detail. Ibn Rajab (d. 795/1392?) dedicated over thirty pages in his biographical dictionary, making it probably one of the lengthiest entries. Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi was a celebrated sixth century hadith scholar and cousin of the great Hanbali jurist, Ibn Qudama (d. 620/1223). Continue reading “ʿAbd al-Ghanī al-Maqdisī (d. 600/1203): The Ḥanbalī Muhaddith”

Ibn Balban al-Hanbali: a remarkable scholar


Ibn Balban al-Hanbali (d. 1083/1672) was a latter-generation Hanbali scholar. He was born in Damascus and spent most of his life there as a resident scholar teaching and training others.

His biographers considered him to be a person of knowledge; he was always engaged in education and training. Besides being an intellectual, he was a righteous worshipper who had little to do with the world, an ascetic. Ibn Balban was an individual that combined between knowledge and worship. Continue reading “Ibn Balban al-Hanbali: a remarkable scholar”

The Black Stone: when it was once missing

Al-Khiraqi in his law manual (Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi), described the rituals of pilgrimage for entering Mecca and The Sacred Mosque.


He states in his book: “Then, the person approaches the black stone. If the black stone is there, the person touches and kisses it.”

This sentence indicates that at one point, the black stone did not remain in its well-know place. The commentators of al-Khairaqi’s manual indicated to this subtle point.

For instance al-Zarkashi commented: “The phrase, ‘if the black stone is there’ means: if it was in its original place, then the pilgrims approaches the black stone. However, if the black stone was not there (which happened to be case during al-Khiraqi’s lifetime) then, the pilgrims simply stand opposite its place, touches the corner of the Ka’ba, doing what he can.” Continue reading “The Black Stone: when it was once missing”

Having good thoughts of God in times of trial & affliction

Usool al-Fiqh: Its Definition by Ibn al-'Uthaymeen

M. Asad

Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari relates that he heard Allah’s Messenger say three days before his death:

“None of you should ever die except while assuming the best about Allah.”[1]

As Muslims, we should always assume the best about our Lord. As long as we are striving to engage in good deeds, we should expect the best outcome. We should expect that Allah will accept our good deeds; and from His grace, He will forgive us and bless us to live this life, until its conclusion, upon faith. Having good positive thoughts about Allah may become difficult at times of trials and afflictions. Many times trials come in succession – one after another or many come at the same time, simultaneously. During these times the heart feels broken, shattered and constricted. Continue reading “Having good thoughts of God in times of trial & affliction”

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