ABOUT THE MINHAJ AL-TALIBIN:
This is a Islamic law manual based on the Sahfi'i madhab. It is a practical manual for judges of the Shafi’i legal tradition. It offers principles and precedents, with few of the linguistic and other digressions often found in legal writing. The work covers many topics. The author of this work is, Imam al-Nawawi, may God have mercy upon him, is the pillar of the madhhab among the late scholars, so what he states and deems weightier in the madhhab is relied upon, not anything else. The secret behind this is that it is a concise summary that comprises most investigations, questions, and essential rulings in a language that is succinct, easy and accurate; excellently arranged and extremely refined; and it points out the differences of opinions in the madhhab without unnecessary elaboration. The various commentaries of the minhaj that are relied upon are; Ibn Hajar’s Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, being the widely used, then Ramli’s Nihayat al-Muhtaj, then after by Fath al-Wahab and Sharh al-Saghir of Zakariyya al-Ansari, then thereafter Shirbini’s Mughni al-Muhtaj, then after Mahalli’s Kanz al-Raghibin.
ABRIDGEMENTS & COMMENTARIES:
The following are popular abridgements and commentaries on the Minhaj:
--- al-Wahhaj fi Ikhtisar al-Minhaj; Sheikh Muhammad bin Yusuf al-Andulusi (d.740 a.h)-.
--- Manhaj al-Tullab; Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari. He also wrote a commentary upon his abridgment (Manhaj al-Tullab) providing Dalil and Ta'lil and named it Fath al-Wahhab bi-Sharh Manhaj al-Tullab. Sheikhs Sulaiman al-Bujayrmi and Sulaiman al-Jamal wrote marginalia (Hawashi) upon Fath al-Wahhab. Sheikh Ahmad Shumailah mentions another Hashiyah by the name of Miftah al-Bab from Sheikh Muhammad bin Ahmad 'Abd al-Bari al-Ahdal. Several other Hawashi have been written but remain in manuscript only.Furthermore, Sheikh al-Islam's Manhaj was abridged by Sheikh al-Jawhari in his Nahj al-Talab.
Lastly, Imam al-Suyuti versified Minhaj al-Talibin in his poem entitled al-Ibtihaj ila Nadhm al-Minhaj, other versification exist by 'Abd al-Karim al-Mawsuli and other.
--- al-Bahr al-'Ajjaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj; Imam ibn 'Imad al-Aqfahsi
--- al-Dibaj fi Tawdhih al-Minhaj; Imam al-Zarkashi
--- Tashih al-Minhaj; Imam Siraj al-Din al-Bilqini
--- Durr al-Tajj fi 'Irab Muskhil al-Minhaj; Imam al-Suyuti
--- al-Bahr al-Mawwaj (14 volumes); Imam Fakhr al-Din al-
--- al-Najm al-Wahhaj fi Sharh al-Minhaj; Allamah Jamal al-Din al-Damiri
--- Sheikh Taqi al-Din bin Qadhi Shuhbah- (title not mentioned)
--- Bidayat al-Muhtaj and Irshad al-Muhtaj; The son of the aforementioned Taqi al-Din, Badr al -Din, known as Ibn Shuhbah al-Asadi
--- Hadi al-Raghibin ila Sharh Minhaj al-Talibin; Sheikh al-Islam Abu al-Fadhl 'Ajlun
--- Tuhfat al-Muhtaj bi-Sharh al-Minhaj; Imam ibn Hajar al-Haytami. The Mufta bihi work of Hadramawt, Hijaz, Sham Kurdistan, and Daghestan. Widely available, typically printed with the Hashiyahs of 'Abd al-Hamid al-Sharwani and Ibn Qasim al-'Abbadi.
--- Nihayat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj; Imam Jamal al-Din al-Ramli. The Mufta bihi work of Egypt, easier than Tuhfat al-Muhtaj to a certain degree. Widely available with it's indispensable Hashiyah by Imam Nur al-Din al-Shabramilisi. Both Tuhfah and Nihayah are the most reliable works for Fatwa in the Shafi'i Madhhab.
--- Mughni al-Muhtaj ila Ma'rifat Ma'ani Alfadh al- Minhaj; Imam al-Khatib al-Shirbini - Available through multiple publishers, considered to be the easiest commentary of Minhaj al-Talibin and ranks just under Fath al-Wahhab as the most reliable work for Fatwa in the Shafi'i Madhhab.
--- Kanz al-Raghibin Sharh Minhaj al-Talibin; Imam Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli
--- Qut al-Muhtaj; Imam Shihab al-Din al-Adhra'
--- Imam Jamal al-Din al-Asnawi - (title not mentioned)
--- Imam Badr al-Din al-Ardibili - (not mentioned)
--- Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari - (not mentioned)
--- I'anat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj; Sheikh Muhammad bin Ahmad 'Abd al-Bari al-Ahdal. The author reached the chapter dealing with divorce before passing away.
Sheikh Ahmad Shumailah mentions as a beneficial note;
Among the best commentaries mentioned are, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, for it is said that it encompasses knowledge, both implicitly and explicitly and Nihayat al-Muhtaj. Thereafter, Mughni al-Muhtaj.
Based upon Sullam al-Muta'llim al-Muhtaj by Sheikh Ahmad Shumailah al-Ahdal.
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ABOUT THIS COMMENTARY:
Along with Ibn Hajar’s Tuhfah, Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hamzah al-Ramli - famously known as “al-Shafi’i al-Saghir” - commentated on Imam Nawawi’s Minhaj al-Talibin in a work under the title Nihayat al-Muhtaj. These two works, Tuhfah and Nihayah, are the primary reference works for fatwa in the Shafi’i Madhhab. The Nihayat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj. The Mufta bihi work of Egypt, easier than Tuhfat al-Muhtaj to a certain degree. Widely available with it’s indispensable Hashiyah by Imam Nur al-Din al-Shabramilisi. Both Tuhfah and Nihayah are the most reliable works for Fatwa.
ABOUT THIS PRINT:
This edition of Nihayah is Dar Ihya al-Turath al-'Arabi 2014 edition. This print is extremely well edited and researched. It also contains beneficial notes. The editors have done the usual in referencing the statements of the author to its original sources and added some brief biographical notes about the names mentioned in the commentary. They have also explained problematic words used in the text.
ABOUT IMAM AL-NAWAWI:
He is Abu Zakaria Muhiy ad-Din Yahya Ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi, popularly known as al-Nawawi, an-Nawawi or Imam Nawawi (631–676 A.H./1234–1277), was an influential Sunni Shafi'i jurist and hadith scholar. He authored numerous and lengthy works ranging from hadith, to theology, biography, and jurisprudence. His complete name is Abu Zakaria Muhyidin Yahya ibn Sharaf ibn Marri ibn Hassan ibn Hussain ibn Muhammad ibn Juma ibn Hazm An-Nawawi. He was born at Nawa near Damascus, Syria.
Shaikh Yasin bin Yusuf Marakashi, says: "I saw Imam Nawawi at Nawa when he was a youth of ten years of age. Other boys of his age used to force him to play with them, but Imam Nawawi would always avoid the play and would remain busy with the recitation of the Noble Qur'an. When they tried to domineer and insisted on his joining their games, he bewailed and expressed his no concern over their foolish action. On observing his sagacity and profundity, a special love and affection developed in my heart for young Nawawi. I approached his teacher and urged him to take exceptional care of this lad as he was to become a great religious scholar. His teacher asked whether I was a soothsayer or an astrologer. I told him I am neither soothsayer nor an astrologer but Allah caused me to utter these words." His teacher conveyed this incident to Imam's father and he keeping in view the learning quest of his son, decided to dedicate the life of his son for the service and promotion of the cause of Islam.
Imam Nawawi joined Madrasah Rawahiyah which was affiliated with the Ummi University. Imam Nawawi says; "I studied in this institution for two years. During my stay in Madrasah Rawahiyah, I never had complete rest and lived on the limited food supplied by the institution." As a routine he used to sleep very little at night. When it became irresistible as a human being, he would lean and slumber for a while against the support of books. After a short duration he would again be hard at his scholastic pursuits. He studied in Damascus from the age of 18 and after making the pilgrimage in 1253 he settled there as a private scholar. From a young age he showed signs of great intelligence, and so his father paid for a good education. As a judge, he was much sought after for advice and adjudication of disputes.
His teachers were regarded as masters and authority of their subject field and disciplines they taught. Imam Nawawi studied Hadith, Islamic Jurisprudence, its principles, syntax and Etymology from great scholars of his time. Abu Ibrahim Ishaq bin Ahmad AI-Maghribi, Abu Muhammad Abdur-Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Fazari, Radiyuddin Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Abu Hafs Umar bin Mudar Al-Mudari, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Isa Al-Muradi, Abul-Baqa Khalid bin Yusuf An-Nablusi, Abul-Abbas Ahmad bin Salim Al-Misri, Abu Abdullah Al-Jiyani, Abul-Fath Umar bin Bandar, Abu Muhammad At-Tanukhi, Sharafuddin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad Al-Ansari, Abul-Faraj Abdur-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Maqdisi, Abul-Fada'il Sallar bin Al-Hasan Al Arbali.
His students likewise became renowned and well sought after, some of whom were; 'Ala Uddin ibn al-'Attar, Ibn Abbas Ahmad bin Ibrahim, Abul-Abbas Al-Ja'fari, Abul-Abbas Ahmad bin Farah, Rashid Ismail bin Mu'allim Al-Hanafi, Abu Abdullah Al-Hanbali, AbulAbbas Al-Wasti, Jamaluddin Sulaiman bin Omar Az-Zar'i, AbulFaraj Abdur-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Abdul-Hamid AlMaqdisi, Badr Muhammad bin Ibrahim, Shamsuddin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, Ash-Shihab Muhammad bin Abdul-Khaliq, Hibatullah Al-Barizi, Abul-Hajjaj Yusuf bin Az-Zaki.
His written works as well as published works are so many that almost all of them have been warmly received by scholars and students alike. Some of his well known and celebrated works are;
--- Al Minhaj bi Sharh Sahih Muslim شرح صحيح مسلم, making use of others before him, and is considered one of the best commentaries on Sahih Muslim. It is available online.
--- Riyadh as-Salihin رياض الصالحين, is a collection of hadith on ethics, manners, conduct, and is very popular in the Muslim world today.
--- al-Majmu' sharh al-Muhadhdhab المجموع شرح المهذب, is a comprehensive manual of Islamic law according to the Shafi'i school.
--- Minhaj al-Talibin منهاج الطالبين وعمدة المفتين في فقه الإمام الشافعي, a classical manual on Islamic Law according to Shafi'i fiqh.
--- Tahdhib al-Asma wal-Lughat تهذيب الأسماء,
--- Taqrib al-Taisir التقريب والتيسير لمعرفة سنن البشير النذير, an introduction to the study of hadith, it is an extension of Ibn al-Salah's Muqaddimah, with Suyuti's commentary "Tadrib al-Rawi" it is most popular,
--- Forty Hadiths (al-arba'in al-nawawiyya) الأربعون النووية, collection of forty (actually forty-two) fundamental traditions, frequently published along with numerous commentaries.
--- Ma Tamas ilayhi hajat al-Qari li Sahih al-Bukhari ما تمس إليه حاجة القاري لصـحيح البـخاري,
--- Tahrir al-Tanbih تحرير التنبيه,
--- Kitab al-Adhkar الأذكار المنتخبة من كلام سيد الأبرار, is a collection of supplications of prophet Muhammad.
--- al-Tibyan fi adab Hamalat al-Quran التبيان في آداب حملة القرآن,
--- Adab al-fatwa wa al-Mufti wa al-Mustafti آداب الفتوى والمفتي والمستفتي,
--- al-Tarkhis fi al-Qiyam الترخيص بالقيام لذوي الفضل والمزية من أهل الإسلام,
--- Manasik متن الإيضاح في المناسك, on Hajj rituals.
--- Sharh Sunan Abu Da'ud; الإيجاز في شرح سنن أبي داود السَّجِستاني
--- Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari
--- Mukhtasar at-Tirmidhi
--- Tabaqat ash-Shafi'iyah
--- Rawdhat al-Talibeen
--- Bustan al-`arifin
and many more works.
He died at Nawa at a relatively young age, having never married. An-Nawawi's lasting legacy is his contribution to hadith literature through his momentous works Forty Hadiths and Riyadh as-Saaliheen. According to Al-Dhahabi, Imam Nawawi's concentration and absorption in academic love gained proverbial fame. He had devoted all his time for learning and scholarship. Other than reading and writing, he spent his time contemplating on the interacted and complex issues and in finding their solutions. Shaykh Muhiyidin expresses his impression about Imam Nawawi as thus: "Imaam an-Nawawi had three distinctive commendable qualities in his person. If anybody has only one out of these three, people turn to him in abundance for guidance. First, having knowledge and its dissemination. Second, to evade completely from the worldly inclinations, and the third, inviting to all that is good (Islam) enjoining virtue and forbidding vice. Imaam an-Nawawi had all three in him."
ABOUT IMAM SHAMS AL-DIN MUHAMMED B. AHMED AL-RAMLI:
His name was Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad Shihab al-Din al Ramli born in Ramlah, a village near Manufiyyah in Egypt, in 919AH. He was the son of a famous Shafi`i faqih and mufti, Shihab al-Din Ahmad al-Ramli.
His teachers include his father;
--- Shihab al-Din Ahmed b. Hamzah al-Ramli,
--- Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari
--- al-Khatib al-Shirbini,
--- Burhan al-Din Abu Ishaw Ibrahim b. Muhammad,
--- Shihab al-Din Ahmed b. Abd al-Aziz,
and many others,
After his father’s death he became the chief Shafi’i mufti in Egypt. Such was his eminence that many came to identify him as the Mujaddid of his century. He was known as 'Little Shafi'i'.
Some of his popular works are;
--- Nihayat al-Muhtaj ila Sharh al-Minhaj;
(نهاية المحتاج شرح المنهاج)
--- al-Ghurur al-Bahiyyat fi Sharh al-Manasik; Manasik al-Hajj of Nawawi,
(الغرر البهية في شرح المناسك النوورية)
--- Ghayat al-Bayan fi Sharh Zubad Ibn Raslan;
(غاية البيان في شرح زبد ابن رسلان)
--- 'Umdat al-Rabih fi Ma'rifat al-Tariq al-Wadhih; a commentary on Hadyat al-Nasih wa Hizb al-Falah al-Najih of Ahmed al-Zahid
(عمدة الرابح في معرفة الطريق الواضح)
--- Sharh al-Bahjat al-Wardiyyah;
(شرح البهجة الوردية)
--- Sharh al-'Uqud fi'l Nahw;
(شرح العقود في النحو)
--- Sharh Matn al-Ujurrumiyyah;
(شرح متن الاجرومية)
--- Sharh Manzumat Ibn al-'Imad fi'l 'Adad;
(شرح منظومة ابن العماد في العدد)
--- Sharh al-'Ubab,
--- Sharh Idhah al-Nawawi,
--- Sharh Manzumat al-Baydhawi fi'l Nikah,
--- Hashiyat 'ala Sharh al-Tahrir; li Zakariya al-Ansari,
--- Hashiyat 'ala al-'Ubab,
He died at Cairo in 1004AH.s