Usul al-Fiqh is a science that deals with Islamic jurisprudence and encompasses knowledge and skills required of Muslim jurists in deducing rulings. It elaborates the correct methodology, sources of guidance and approach that is required to be followed in the process. These requirements and etiquette set standards for an answer, hukm or fatwa being sound, valid and acceptable to follow, minimising the potential for errors. If the correct methodology of Usul Al-Fiqh is not followed, it results in misguidance and deviant ideologies. Just as rules of grammar protect those who follow them from mistakes in expressions, jurisprudence sets standards for interpreting legal texts and making legal arguments which, when followed correctly, protect from making mistakes in arriving at legal rulings.
Imam al-Juwayni, in Al-Waraqat, gives a primer on basics of Usul al-Fiqh with regards to what it encompasses, the rules for interpreting Quran and Sunnah and tools that are available for mujtahids to utilise in their interpretation of sacred texts and deducing rulings. Commentary aims to elaborate key concepts mentioned in this book while keeping in consideration that this book is intended for beginners and those who have just started their journey to learn the wonderful field of Usul al-Fiqh.
COMMENTARIES ON THE WARAQAT:
The Waraqat is one of those basic textbooks in Islamic sciences that has enjoyed many commentaries from variety of schools of thought. Some of the best well known works are;
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Firkah (d. 690); A shafi'i rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam al-Sa'd al-Taftazani (d. 791); a Hanafi rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli (d. 864); A shafi'i rendition.
--- al-Anjam al-Zahirat 'ala Hall Alfaz al-Waraqat; by Imam Shams al-Din al-Mardini (d.871); A shafi'i rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam al-Kamaliyyah (d. 874); A shafi'i rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Zayn al-Din al-Qasim b. Qutlubugha (d. 879); A Hanafi rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Ibn Malak (d. 885); A Hanafi rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Ibn Zakariya al-Talmisani (d. 900); a Maliki rendition.
--- Qurrat al-'Ayn li Sharh Waraqat Imam al-Haramayn; by Imam Abi Abd Allah Muhammad al-Hattabi (d. 954); A Maliki rendition.
--- Ghayat al-Ma'mun fi Sharh Waraqat al-Usul; by Imam Shihab al-Din Ahmed al-Ramli (d. 957); a Shafi'i rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Ibn Qasim al-'Abbadi (d. 992); a Shafi'i rendition.
--- Sharh al-Waraqat; by Imam Muhammad al-Murabit al-Dala'i (d. 1088) a Maliki rendition.
SOME OF THE VERSIFICATIONS: MANZUMAT
Some of those who have written or versified the Waraqat are;
--- Nazm al-Waraqat; by Imam Kamal al-Din Muhammad Ibn Abi Sharif (d. 907),
--- Nazm al-Waraqat; by Imam Sharaf al-Din Yahya b. Musa al-'Imriti (d. 988),
--- Nazm al-Waraqat; Imam Ibn al-Mufadhal al-Yamani (d. 1058),
--- Nazm al-Waraqat; by Shaykh Muhammad Sayyidi al-Mukhtar (d. 1244),
--- Nazm al-Waraqat; by Shaykh Maa' al-'Aynayn al-Shinqiti (d. 1328).
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ABOUT THIS COMMENTARY:
Ghayat al-Ma'mul fi Sharah Waraqat al-Usul by Imam Shihab al-Din al-Ramli (the Father) has extensively explained this work which makes this very valuable considering how this science has been developed since the days of the original work. This is widely used commentary both by scholars and others.
ABOUT THIS PRINT:
This print is Shaykh Uthman Usuli thesis wherein he researched and wrote extensive annotations on this famous commentary. It contains the biographical background of both authors and their times. He has also an extensive work on editing this book thereby mentioning the authors preference in relation to the other works in the same science, he also left no stone unturned in verifying and making sure all statements were traced to their original point of reference.
ABOUT IMAM AL-HARAMAYN AL-JUWAYNI:
He is Imam al-Haramayn Dhia' ul-Din Abd al-Malik ibn Yusuf al-Juwayni al-Shafi'i born in 17 February 1028 / 419 AH and said to have died on 19 August 1085 / 478 AH. He was a Persian Sunni Shafi'i jurist and mutakallim theologian. His name is commonly abbreviated as Al-Juwayni; he is also commonly referred to as Imam al Haramayn, meaning "leading master of the two holy cities", that is, Mecca and Medina. Al-Juwayni was born in a village on the outskirts of Naysabur called Bushtaniqan in modern day Iran. Al-Juwayni was a prominent Muslim scholar known for his gifted intellect in Islamic legal matters. Al-Juwayni was born into a family of legal study. His father, Abu Muhammad 'Abdallah b. Yusuf al-Juwayni, was a well-known master of Law in the Shafi′i community as well as a Shafi'i teacher and his older brother, Abu al-Hassan 'Ali al-Juwayni, was a Sufi teacher of Hadith.
Al-Juwayni grew up in Naysabur, an intellectually thriving area drawing scholars to it. Naturally, Juwayni did not have to search far for his education. At the time, the teachings of the Shafi'i school were closely linked to the Ash'ari theology which al-Juwayni decided to study for several years after the death of his father. He took over for his father at this point and began his teaching career at only 19 years of age. The Seljuks, at the time, were moving quickly in their conquest of eastern Iran and Tughril Beg became the first sultan. Tughril Beg was a Mutazili-Hanafi adherent and at the time, the Ash'arite theological camp and the Hanafi school of legal thought shared a hostile relationship based in differences of opinion regarding doctrine and when Tughril Beg was named wazir in Nishapur, he forbid al-Juwayni to practice or teach the Ash'ari theological perspective.
Al-Juwayni travelled to Mecca and Medina in search of an interim home. He taught and studied there in Hijaz for four years. During this time, al-Juwayni became hugely popularised. He gained a large following and was invited back to Nishapur by the founder of the Shafi'i Madrasa, Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk. Upon his return, Juwayni was appointed to teach the doctrine of the Ash'ari school at the Nizamiyya Madrasa until he died in 1085CE. Al-Juwayni spent his life studying and producing influential treatises in Muslim government; it is suspected that most of his works came out of this period after his return from Mecca and Medina.
Al-Juwayni was the teacher of one of the most influential scholars in the Islamic tradition, namely Imam al-Ghazzali. It was said that he said al-Ghazzali was his greatest achievement and also his diminished status for having produced to great of a pupil. Some of al-Juwaynis popular works are;
--- Kitab al-Irshad ila Qawati' al-Adilla fi Usul al-I'tiqad, also known as; al-Irshad al-'Aqida al-Nizamiyya:
کتاب الارشاد علی قواطع الادله فی اصول الاعتقاد
In this book; "guidebook to conclusive proofs for the principles of belief" helps to illustrate his doctrine. It is intended to outline exactly what has been proven, what can be proven and how those things can be proven. He focuses much of his attention on God and the fundamental Islamic principle that God is the only and all-powerful creator. He explains that we are often caught up in a temporally contingent existence, lost in continuity but that we should realise God's ability to interrupt this continuity at any time. Al-Juwayni focuses a similar amount of attention on legal methodology and is particularly concerned with the methods for discerning difficult debates. He explains abrogation, for example, in great detail.
--- Ghiyath al-Umam
--- Mughith al-Khalq
--- Nihaya al-Matlab fi Diraya al-Madhhab ("The End of the Quest in the Knowledge of the [Shafi'i] School"), his magnum opus, which Ibn 'Asakir said had no precedent in Islam.
--- Mukhtasar al-Nihaya.
ABOUT IMAM SHIHAB AL-DIN AHMED AL-RAMLI:
He is the Imam, ‘Alim, Sheikh of Islam, the scholar’s scholar of his time, Shihab al Din, Abu al-‘Abbas, Ahmad bin Ahmad bin Hamzah al Ramli, al-Munufi, al Misri, al-Ansari al Shafi’I, known as al-Shihab al Ramli. He (may Allah Ta ‘Ala have mercy on Him) grew up in Allah Most High’s worship and obedience. Since His childhood, He tirelessly sought knowledge and worked very hard to attain it. No one among his peers could bear such persistence and hard work. He adhered to piety, scrupulousness, abstinence and humility.
He read Hadith, Fiqh, its principles, grammar, rhetoric and literature. His rank elevated and his prestige rose. None of his contemporaries achieved what He attained. So much so that His Sheikh, Sheikh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari, permitted him to modify his writings both during his lifetime and after his death and he did not permit anyone else to do this. Sheikh al-Islam used to say to him, “Correct what you see in my books that needs correcting and edit whatever needs to be edited and ascribe it to me.”
Al Shihab al-Din adjusted several passages of Sharh al Bahjah and Sharh al Rawd while Shiekh al Islam was alive. A group of his teachers authorized him to give fatwa and to teach. He undertook general lessons and his standing became widely known. His praise led him do widespread fame and his students came from everywhere.
Al Shihab al-Din had a sharp intellect and a pertinent understanding. He read the Quran excessively. He spoke the truth openly and didn’t fear to condemn a sin. He commanded the good and forbade evil and didn’t fear the tyranny of the oppressors.
Al Shihab al-Din may Allah Most High have mercy on Him, served himself out of humbleness. No one was able to buy any of his needs from the market place until he became old and weak. From the subtleties of character was his reverence for his teachers during their lifetime and after their death. He venerated and honored them so much so that when he’d see any of his teacher, Burhan al Din bin Abi Shareef’s companions or the companions of Shiekh al-Islam, he’d honor them saying ,”when I look at any of his companions, it is as if I am looking at the Sheikh.” Al Imam al Shihab al Din had the good fortune of studying with the greatest scholars of his time who where lights in the various sciences. Their radiance remained luminous, illuminating the students of sacred knowledge and knowledge of Allah over the course of time.
Some of his teachers include;
Al Imam Ibn ‘Awjan, Al Imam Jalal al Din al Suyuti, Al Imam Burhan al Din ibn abi Shareef, Sheikh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari, Al Imam al Hafidh Shams al Din al Sakhawi, Al Imam Khalid al Azhari,
As for al Shihab al Din’s students, they are too many to count. Students traveled from east to west for study with him. He was the Sheikh al Shuyukh of the period of consolidation in the Shafi’I madhhab. It came to the point where he’d become leader of the Islamic sciences. Almost all of the Shafi’I scholars (of the later Shafi’is) were either his students or the students of his students.
The most prominent of his students are;
Al Imam Rajab al Ya’furi, Al Imam Shams al Din al Taniki, Al Imam Shams al Din al ‘Alqami, Al Imam ‘Abd Wahhab al Sha’rani, Al Imam ibn Hajar al Haytami, Al Imam Shams al Din Khatib al Shirbini, Al Imam Nur al Din al Nasafi, Sheikh al Islam Shihab al Din al Ghazzi, Al Imam Burhan al Din al ‘Alqami, Al Imam ibn Qasim al ‘Abbadi, Al Imam Shams al Din al Ramli, Al Imam Nur al Din al Maqdisi, Al Imam Badr al Din al Karkhi, Al Imam Ibrahim al Halabi, Al Imam Nur al Din al Zayadi, Al Imam Nur al Din al Tandatay.
With his extensive knowledge in the various fields of Islamic sciences, He did not leave lengthy works, rather all of his works are beneficial short works and the bulk of these works are in the science of Fiqh. His works include commentaries of the following;
--- Zahid’s Muqaddimah, commonly known as Sittin Masa’alah, by Imam Abul ‘Abbas Ahmad al Zahid.
--- Asna al Mutalib sharh Rawd al Talib by Sheikh al Islam.
--- Sharh Tahrir Tanqih al Lubab by Sheikh al Islam.
--- al Ajurumiyyah
--- Zubdat al Ulum
--- Baydhawi’s versification regarding marriage,
--- Ghayat al Ma’mul sharh Waraqat al Usul by Imam al Haramayn.
--- Ibn ‘Imad’s versification entitled “Fath al Jawad”.
--- Zubad ibn Rislan entitled “Fath al Rahman.”
--- Tasliyah al Ka’ib bi faqd al Habib
A work regarding the conditions of the follower and Imam and the Conditions of Ablution. Two Fatwa works, one gathered by His student, Imam Khatib al Shirbini and the other by His son, Shams al Din al Ramli.
Allah Most High gave al Shihab al Din a long life. As He aged, he was still abstinent from this world and very humble. He occupied himself with knowledge by way of teaching, giving formal legal rulings, writing and commanding good and forbidding evil. He remained this way until he passed away and went on to the mercy of al Rahman in the beginning of Jumada al Akhir in the year 957.h. When news spread of His death, people gathered from everywhere, hearts filled with sadness and eyes filled with tears. On the day of Jumu’ah, the people prayed his funeral prayer at al Azhar. Al Azhar was so crowded that day that many people had to pray to funeral prayer in other places.
May Allah Most High have mercy upon Him.
Portions extracted from His biography in the introduction of Fath al Rahman bi sharh Zubad ibn Rislan. (taken from: Tuhfat al-Tullab blog.)