ABOUT THE BOOK:
For centuries, Abu Shuja al-Asfahani’s legal primer Matn al-Ghayat wa-l-Taqrib (The Ultimate Conspectus) has been a standard text for introducing students of the Shafi'i school of Islamic law to the full range of basic legal issues. Students will often start their studies by reading it from a basic commentary with their instructor. Many students will read it again from more advanced commentaries as they progress in their mastery of the subject. This work is considered one of the most useful and widely studied Shafi’i primers in the Muslim world today. Several commentaries have been written on it which can be found here:
The commentary at hand is perhaps one of the earliest commentaries on record. Ibn Daqiq's commentary is evidence based commentary that specifially focuses on the various arguments and points made by the scholars of the school, be they the founder of the school, his companions and or those who formulated the school.
"His commentary provides evidence for most of the issues given in the book. He frequently presents alternative opinions within the school, differentiating between the opinions of Imam al-Shāfi‘ī (a “qaul”), and the opinions of the “colleagues” (the “aṣḥāb”) – early major Shāfi‘ī scholars (a “wajh”). Occasionally, he presents parallel paths of transmitted alternative opinions within the school (each path is a “ṭarīq,” which combine to form “ṭuruq”). There are even a few places where Imam al-Shāfi‘ī gives different answers to similar issues, and each of those answers will be transferred to the other and an additional opinion will then be extracted."
--- Shaykh Musa Furber.
ABOUT THIS PRINT:
This two volume work is from doctoral thesis which contains extensive amount of editorial work, be they additional notes or that of referencing statements and Ahadith mentioned by the commentator. This print also contains extensive study of the author, his times and academic endeavours. An additional research of the importance of the text explained is added as well as that of its author; Qadi Abu Shuja'.
ABOUT IBN DAQIQ AL-'ID:
He is the Imam, the Mujaddid, the Mujtahid, Shaykh al-Islam Muhammad b. 'Ali ibn Wahab b. Muti' b. Abi Ta'at al-Manfaluti, al-Qusi, at-Thabaji, al-Misri ash-Shafi'i (al-Maliki), from the progeny of the great companion Bahaz b. Hakim al-Qusheyri. He was born in Sha'ban in the year of 625 Hijri. He was born in to a household of knowledge, his father was much visited and frequented by Scholars and laymen alike for his knowledge, wisdom, God-Consciousness and his conduct. His mother was a celebrated scholar as well who was also the daughter of another celebrated scholar as-Salah Taqiyudeen Mudhafar b. 'Abd Allah popularly known as al-Muqtarih. Ibn Daqiq al-'Id's father mentioned when his son was born (which was while on route for Hajj), he carried him around the Ka'bah for the Tawaf and prayed that Allah make his son one of those given knowledge that he practiced.
He initially studied with his father memorising the Qur'an then went further to study the Maliki Madhab as well as the Shafi'i. He then travelled for Hadith knowledge in Egypt, Sham, and the Hijaz. In Egypt he studied with Sultan al-'Ulama al-'Izz ibn 'Abd as-Salam and others. He became popular amongst his teachers while he was alive and gained much famed career while he was young. Some of his popular teachers were: al-Mundhiri, al-'Izz Ibn 'Abd as-Salam, Ibn al-Muqayyir. His students were accounted among the best of his time, such as: Najmudeen b. ar-Rifa'at, 'Ala'udeen al-Baji, Ibn Sayyid an-Nas, adh-Dhahabi and many others.
Some of his work include:
--- al-Imam fi Ma'rifat Ahadith al-Ahkam: A work on Hadith designed as a fiqh manual with extensive coverage of the problematic nature of certain transmissions, its applications, as well its authenticity.
--- al-Ilmam bi Ahadith al-Ahkam: Designed originally for study circles to ease the student in to fiqh.
--- Ihkamul Ahkam Sharh 'Umdat al-Ahkam: Commentary on the popular Fiqhul Hadith work.
--- Sharh Mukhtasar Ibn al-Hajib fil Fiqh: An extensive and well celebrated fiqh Maliki manual.
He passed away on a Friday in Safar 702 Hijri, in Egypt. His burial was performed on a Saturday which was attending by extreme multitude of people, of all walks of life.
ABOUT QADI ABU SHUJA':
He was the Qadi (judge), Imam, scholar of high repute, the ascetic (zahid), a tenacious Faqih(jurist), a righteous and humble ruler (wazir). All such characteristics have been attributed to him by his contemporaries and biographers throughout the ages, such as in the Tabaqat Ash-Shafi’yyah of Qadi ibn Shuhbah, the Tabaqat of As-Subki, and within the many works of the scholars that are commentaries and supra-commentaries upon his famous”Ghayat At-Taqrib”.
His agnomen (kunya) is Abu Shuja’ as well as Abu Tayyib. His full name is Shihabud-Din Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn [and it reads Al-Hasan in some works] ibn Aḥmad al-Aṣfahānī. Al-Hafith Abu Tahir As-Silafi once reported a hadith from him in his Mu’jam As-Safr up to Uthman ibn ‘Affan (radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet Muhammad said, “Whomever builds a masjid for Allah the mighty and majestic…Allah will build something like it for him in Jannah!”
Abu Tahir As-Silafi [died 576 A.H] said after reporting this narration,
“This Qadi Abi Shuja’ is from the most impeccable men of his time! He studied and taught the school of Imam Ash-Shafi’i for 40 years in Basrah. He mentioned this [hadith] to me around 500 A..H. and he lived for an extremely long time after that. I asked him about when he was born and he told me 434 A.H. in Basrah, and that his father was born in ‘Abadaan and his grandfather was from Asbahan.”
His biographers mention that when he was the Wazir (vizier), he was just and cared for justice for all. While being a wazir, he would not leave his house until he prayed and recited much of the Qur’an. After retiring from his position of wazir, he traveled to Medinah and became an ascetic, divorcing the needs of this world. He became the custodian, cleaning and arranging the Masjid of the Prophet Muhammad until he died! Imam Al-Bayjuri in his Hashiyah states that Imam Abi Shuja’ died in 488 A.H. and that his grave is near the grave of the Ibrahim, the son of the Prophet Muhammad at Al-Baqi’. This date was also professed by Ibn Al-Athir as well. However, 488 is disputed by the witnessing of Abu Tahir As-Silafi of the the Qadi at 500 A.H.! [See معجم البلدان ج4/ص74 and طبقات الشافعية الكبرى ج6/ص15]
Sidi Omar Qureshi in his class on the Matn of Abi Shuja’ stated that Abi Shuja’ died in 593 A.H. putting his lifespan at nearly 160 years old! He accepts this opinion though states that some say he died in 488 A.H. Al-Azhar University, has his death at 593 as well Allah Knows best the truth of his death!
Qadi Abi Shuja’s most renown work is known as Mukhtasar Abi Shuja’ or Ghayat Al-Ikhtisar and also Ghayat At-Taqrib (also called the Matn of Abi Shuja’). This work is considered one of the most useful and widely studied Shafi’i primers in the Muslim world today. Several commentaries have been written on it and we shall mention these later. Another famous work he wrote was the commentary upon Imam Al-Mawaardi’s Al-Iqna’.
The Matn (Ghayat At-Taqrib) & Its Versification and Commentaries
The Matn of Abi Shuja’ has also been versified, so the student can memorize it with ease. The most famous of versifications is Sharaf al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-ʿAmrīṭī’s (989H) versification in 1225 (and in some 1220) lines, entitled Nihāyat al-tadrīb fī naẓm Ghāyat al-taqrīb (نهاية التدريب في نظم غاية التقريب).
You can download it from ShafiiFiqh.com by clicking the following link:
نهاية التدريب في نظم غاية التقريب [download id="13" format="1"]
Less popular attempts for versification include but are not limited to works by:
- Aḥmad al-Ibshīṭī (883H)
- ‘Abd al-Qādir ibn al-Muẓaffar (892H)
- Nashr al-Shuʿā ʿalā Matn Abī Shujāʿ, by al-Dusarī (931H)
- Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd al-Sallam (931H)
The versification has a commentary Tuḥfat al-Ḥabīb by Shaykh al-Fashanī.
Commentaries and meta-commentaries upon Ghayat At-Taqrib of Abi Shuja’:
al-Iqnā‘, Aḥmad bin Muḥammad (931H), with its meta-commentary Tashnīf al-Asmā’ bi Ḥalli Alfāẓ Abī Shujā‘, by Aḥmad bin Muḥammad (931H).
Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Abī Shujā‘, by Aḥmad al-Akhṣāṣī (889H)
Tuḥfạt al-Ḥabib, by Ibn Daqīq al-‘Īd (702H)
Kifāyat al-Akhyār, by Taqiyud Din al-Husnī (829H) : [download id="5"]
Al-Nihāyah fī Sharḥ al-Ghāyah, by Walī al-Dīn al-Baṣīr (972H)
Al-Iqnā‘ fī Ḥall Alfāẓ Abī Shujā‘, by Muḥammad al-Khaṭīb al-Shirbīnī (977H). It has numerous meta-commentaries:
Taqrīrāt, by al-Bājūrī (1277H) and Shaykh ‘Iwaḍ
Fatḥ al-Qarīb al-Mujīb, by Ibn Qāsim al-Ghazzī (918H).
It has numerous meta-commentaries:
Qūt al-Ḥabīb al-Gharib, by al-Nawawī al-Jāwī
We ask Allah to bless the efforts and works of Qadi Abi Shuja’ and make them a light for the Ummah until the hour. Amin!