ABOUT THIS BOOOK:
For centuries, Abu Shuja al-Asfahani’s legal primer Matn al-Ghayat wa-l-Taqrib 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:
ABOUT THIS COMMENTARY:
This book is a modern commentary of the popular Matn al-Ghayah wa'l Taqrib, popularly known as Matn Abu Shuja'. This modern commentary by Shaykh Isma'il al-Majdhub daughter is well written and has well grounded introduction sections to preceding each chapter. In this volume she relies heavily on Shirbini, Hisni, Bujayrimi and Bajuri's commentaries when it comes to the accuracy of the text. In the rare places that Qadi Abu Shuja' mentions the masa'il that aren't the official point of view, she has left them out and inserted notes explaining to the contrary. Same thing goes for masa'il that are scientifically or factually incorrect but inserted notes so as to explain the issues. Each masa'alah has its dalil accompanied so as to supply evidence. If there are for example various opinions in one Masa'alah she chose the most relied upon, or the mu'tamad and has not reproduced various different views. In some occassions she brings the opinions of other schools because it is widely covered topic or hot debated and deduces their evidences thereafter assessing how the Shafi'is have different conclusion.
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!