Shafi’i Madhhab:Books of Authority and their preference(Tarjih)&Mujthahids
Books of Authority and their preference(Tarjih)& Mujthahids in Shafi’i Madhhab: (1) BOOKS OF AUTHORITY:
The main aspect in the foundation of the Shafi’i Madhhab is the verdict of the al-Imām Shafi’i (d.204.AH). The Ulamā and their books constitute the basis and source of strength of the madhhab. The Ulamā explain and elaborate the original verdict of the Imām and disseminate them while in the books are preserved the authentic views of the madhhab , which are transmitted to a later generation. Imām al-ḥarāmain ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Abdullah al-Juwaynī (478 H) has gathered all four main fiqh books of al-qawl al-jadīd (new verdict) of al-Imām al-Shāfi’ī (204 H) namely al-Umm, al-Imla’, al-Mukhtaṣar by al-Imām al-Buwaiṭī (231 H) and al-Mukhtaṣar by al-Imām al-Muzānī (264 H) in one book entitled Nihāyat al-Maṭlab. This book of Imām al-ḥarāmain has been abridged three times by his student, Hujjat al-Islām al-Imām al-Ghazālī (505 H). The first abridgement is al-Basīt, al-Wasīt the second and finally al-Wajīz. Al-Imām al-Rāfi’ī (623 H) summarized al-Wajīz and entitled it al-Muḥarrar. Al-Imām al-Rāfi’ī also had writen a commentary of al-Wajiz in two books namely Sharh al-kabir or Fath al-‘Aziz fi sharh al-Wajīz and Sharh al-ṣaghīr.Al-Imām al-Nawawī (676 H) abridged Fath al-‘Aziz in his book, Rauḍat al-ṭālibīn wa ‘umdat al-muftiyyīn. This was later abridged by Ibn al-Muqrī (837 H) in Rauḍ al-ṭalib and Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī (925 H) compiled a commentary on it, naming it Asna al-maṭālib sharh Rauḍ al-ṭālib. Beside ar-Rauḍ, Rauḍah al-ṭālibīn also has been abridged by al-Imām Aḥmad ibn Umar al-Muzajjad (930 H) in the bookentitled, al-‘Ubab and al-Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī prepared a commentary named al-Ī’āb sharh al-Ubāb. Al-Sharaf al-Muqrī ṣāḥib al-Rauḍ abridged it second time in a book entitled al-Irshād. A commentary on it was prepared by al-Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-Makkī named Fath al-jawād sharh al-Irshād. Al-Imām al-Nawawī had abridged al-Muharrar and entitled it Minhāj al-ṭālibīn. It was thereafter abridged by Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī in his book Manhaj al-ṭullab and he authored a commentary on it namely Fath al-Wahhāb bi sharḥ Manhaj al-ṭullab. Al-Imām al-Jauharī abridged al-Manhaj and named it al-Nahj. (2) Tarjīḥ (preference) in the Shafi’i madhhab: It 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-Majmūʿ, (3) al-Tanqīḥ, (4) al-Rauḍah, (5) al-Minhāj and his fatāwā (legal verdicts), (7) Sharh Muslim, and finally (8) Taṣḥīḥ 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 discused under its relevant chapter is given preference over that which is discussed in another chapter. Al-Imām al-Subkī (d.756 .AH) 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 compiled in the form of poetry. The four main commentaries of al-Minhaj are (1) Tuḥfat al-muhtāj by al-Imām Aḥmad ibn Alī ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī al-Makkī (974 H), (2) Nihāyat al-muhtāj ilā sharh al-Minhāj by al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Hamzah al-Ramlī (1004 H), (3) Mughnī al-muhtāj ilā ma’rifat al-ma’āni alfāẓ sharh al-Minhāj by al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmadal-Khāṭib al-Shirbīnī (977 H) and (4) Kanz al-rāghibīn sharh Minhāj al-ṭālibīn by al-Imām Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Maḥallī (864 H). The above mentioned books hold an authoritative position in the madhhab. However, if there is difference opinion, preference is given to al-Tuḥfah of al-Imām Ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī and al-Nihayah of al-Imām Shams al-Dīn al-Ramlī. Thereafter, preference is given to Sharh al-ṣaghīr ‘alā al-Bahjah and then, Fath al-Wahhāb bi sharh Manhaj al-ṭullāb both by Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī. Finally, preference is given to Sharh al-Imām al-Khāṭib al-Shirbīnī and Sharh al-Imām al-Maḥallī. Among the books of al-Imām Ibn Ḥajar, the order of merit is al-Tuḥfah, Fatḥ 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 ḥawāshī (marginal notes) is ḥāshiyah ‘alā Sharh al-Manhaj by al-Imām’Alī al-Ziyādī (1024 H) then Ibn Qasim al-‘Abbādī (994 H) on al-Tuḥfah, then Shaykh ‘Umairah (957 H) marginal note on al-Maḥallī, then the verdict of Shaykh Alī al-Shabramillisī (1087 H) on al-Nihāyah. Thereafter, Ḥāshiyah al-Halabī, al-Shaubarī, al-‘Anānī. Their opinions are taken if they do not differ with the original standpoint. [Adapted from:Safīnat al-najā’: Arabic and English. Sālim ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Samīr al-Haḍramī al-Shāfi’ī. ( The Ship of Salvation: A classic manual of Islāmic Doctrine and Jurisprudence In Arabic with English text, commentary and appendices.Edited and translated by: ‘Abdullah Muḥammad al-Marbūqī al-Shāfi’ī. Shah Alam, Selangor.)]
Mujthahids in Shafi’i madhhab:
There are five levels of the rank of Mujtahid according to the Shafi'i madhhab.
#1_Mujtahid mutlaq (absolute),e.g. Imam al-Shafi'I (RA).
#2_ Mujtahid muntasib (affiliated jurist)
Imam Tajudheen Subki(rah) gives, e.g. Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Mundhir, Muhammad Ibn Jarir and Muhammad ibn Nasr, (Tabaqat al-Shafi'iyyah al-Kubra).
Hazrat Shah Waliyullah Dehlavi(Rah) wrote in his 'al-Insaf': "All the early disciples of Imam Safi'i (Rah) were independent affiliated(sub) Mujthahids. None of them did blind Taqlid of Imam. The rules of Taqlid and Taqreej based on it was formulated by Imam(Abul Abbas Ahmed) Ibn Surayj(rah)(d.306.Baghdad) and his disciples followed in his path. Therefore he was counted among the the Mujaddids prophesied in Hadith" [so al-Imām al-Buwaiṭī (231 H) and al-Imām al-Muzānī (264 H) were such Independent but sub-mujthahids of Shafi'i school.Imam Ibn Surayj(rah),is in #3 Mujtahid al-madhhab]
#3_Mujtahid al-madhhab, e.g. al-Anmati, al-Istikhri , Ibn Abi Hurairah, and al-Sairafi,Ibn Surayj /Imam Ghazali,Abu Ishaq Shirazi ,Imam al Haramayn(ra)etc
Iam Abu'l-Abbas Ibn Surayj was born in Baghdad in 249/863. According to al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (Tarikh 4:287) he began early to hear Hadith, but he's known best as a jurist, belonging to the Madhab of al-Shafi'i. al-Dhahabi (Siyar 14:275) says that he learnt Fiqh from Abu'l-Qasim al-Anmati (d.281/893), who is known as the ustadh (teacher) of Ibn Surayj. al-Anmati is said to have learnt the jurisprudence of al-Shafi'i, from the latter’s two famous students al-Rabi' and al-Muzani, in Egypt. Ibn Surayj learnt also from a certain Abu'l-Hasan al-Mundhiri, author of a book on Ijma', according to al-'Abbadi (Tabaqat 21:51), and one report says that he attended lectures by the great sufi al-Junayd al baghdadi(qs) (d.298/911) (al-Khatib, Tarikh7:243).
Imam Ibn Hajar al Hythami (rah) wrote in his 'Tuhfatul Muhtaj': "Imam ibn Surayj is included in Mujtahid al-madhhab. Imam Ibn Salah(rah) had written that Imam Ghazali,Imam al-Haramayn,and Imam Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi are also included in this category.Yet Ibn Rif'at had expressed them not to be. [Tuhfa vol.10.p109]
#4_Mujtahid al-fatwa wa al-tarjih,e.g. al-Mawardi, Abu Tayyib, al-Tabari, al-Ruyani, al-Rafi'i and An-Nawawi(rah)
#5_Al-Hafiz li l-madhhab and the Mufti.
Most of the later scholars, like al-Imām Aḥmad ibn Alī ibn Ḥajar al-Haytamī al-Makkī (974 H), al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Hamzah al-Ramlī (1004 H), al-Imām Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmadal-Khāṭib al-Shirbīnī (977 H) ,al-Imām Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Maḥallī (864 H),al-Imam Jalāl al-Dīn as-Sutyuti(d.911 H),al-Imam Shakh Zainudheen Maqdum al Malibari (d.998 H)etc
THE REASONS FOR VARIOUS POSITIONS WITHIN ONE SCHOOL LEVELS OF SCHOLARS
[ From Reliance,by Nuh Keller]
Salih Mu'adhdhin: To clarify the reason for scholarly disagreement within one legal school, we may say that scholars divide each school into various levels, the most important of which (N: after the Imam) may be characterized as follows:
1) the first level, composed of those qualified to do ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) within the school, deploying it according to the general methodological principles established by their Imams, and who transmit the words of the Imam, such scholars being called colleagues, including men like Muzani; 2) the second level, composed of those qualified to do ijithad on particular legal questions that were not discussed by the Imam of the school, including such scholars as ImamGhazali; 3) the third level, composed of those qualified to do textual exegesis, and who because of their comprehensive mastery of the works of the school, specializing in interpreting the positions of their Imams that require details and explanation to be properly understood, and in specifying the precise meaning of rulings which might otherwise be understood equivocally; including such scholars as theImam of the Two Sanctuaries, Juwayni; 4) and the fourth level, which is composed of those qualified to weigh various scholarlypositions and judge which is the soundest, evaluating their Imams' position in terms of the reliability of the narrators of the channels of transmission of the opinion from the Imam, or in terms of the understanding shown in treating particular legal questions; and who may then say which is the stronger or more suitable position; this level including such men as the TwoSheikhs- Rafi'i and Nawawi(rah).
In is apparent from the foregoing that scholarly differences may occur at each of the levels; in the deductions of the colleagues and their ijtihad within the general methodological principles of the school, in judging one position of the Imam of the school to be sounder than another of his positions, or in judging one position's channel of transmission to be sounder than another's; all of which take place according to the evidence available to the particular scholar and his understanding of the Imam's words.