[www.shafiifiqh.com]: Introduction to Usul al-Fiqh II: Al-Risalah and Its Commentaries

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Al-Risālah of Al-Imām Al-Shāfiʿī

The praise of al-muhaqqiq al-shaykh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir to Imam al-Shafiʿī radiyaLlahu ‘anhu.

هذا كتاب (الرسالة) للشافعيوكفى الشافعي مدحا أنه الشافعي

وكفى (الرسالة) تقريظا أنها تأليف الشافعي

وكفاني فخرا أن أنشر بين الناس علم الشافعي

This is the risalah of al-Shafi’i

It is sufficed as a praise for al-Shafi’i that he is al-Shafi’i

It is sufficed for al-Risalah as an eulogy that it is a writing of al-Shafi’i

It is sufficed for me as an honour that I am spreading among people the knowledge of al-Shafi’i .

Imam al-Shafiʿī rahimahuLlah ta’ala wrote al-Risalah twice, (1) The old Risalah, and (2) The new Risalah. The old Risalah is the one that Imam al-Shafiʿī rahimahuLlahu ta’ala wrote in response to the request of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Mahdi. The new al-Risalah was authored after he completed most of the books in al-Umm.

The preferred opinion is that Imam al-Shafiʿī dictated the new Risalah to Imam al-Rabiʿ. Only two copies of the original al-Risalah are found, the copy of Imam al-Rabīʿ and Ibn Jamāʿah. Among those who heard al-Risālah from the copy of Imam al-Rabīʿ are al-Ḥāfiẓ al-Ḥumaydī ṣāḥib al-Jamʿ bayn al-Ṣaḥihayn, al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Mākūlā, al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn ʿAsākir, al-Ḥāfiẓ ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Rahāwī and others. (Muqaddimah of al-Risalah by Shaykh Aḥmad Muḥammad Shākir)

Imam al-Shafiʿī ‘s Risalah dominated studies in Islamic jurisprudence from the moment it appeared. As a result of it, the scholars divided into two groups. One group, the majority of Ahl al-Ḥadīth, accepted it, and used it in support of Imam al-Shafiʿī’s madhhab.

Some of these scholars devoted their attention to producing commentaries on al-Shafiʿī ‘s al-Risalah:

  1. Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah (SWT) al-Ṣayrafi (330 H) It is said that he is the most knowledgeable on usul after Imam al-Shafi’ī. His commentary was mentioned in the Kashf al-Zunun, Tabaqat al-Shafiʿiyyah and khutbah of al-Bahr by al-Zarkashi.
  2. Abu al-Walid al-Naisābūrī Ḥasān ibn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Qurashī (349 H). He is the student of Imam Ibn Surayj and the teacher of al-Ḥākim Abū ʿAbdillah and the author of al-Mustakhraj ʿala Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. His commentary was mentioned by Kashf al-Zunun al-Zarkashi. He passed away on Fridah, 5 Rabīʿ al-awwal 349 H.
  3. Al-Qaffal al-kabīr al-Shāshī Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn Ismaʿīl. He was born on 291 H and passed away in the year 365 H. He commentary was mentioned by al-Zarkashī, Kashf al-Zunun and al-Ṭabaqāt.
  4. Al-Imām al-Ḥāfiẓ Abu Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullah al-Shaybānī al-Jūzaqi al-Naisābūrī (388 H). He is the student of Imam al-Aṣam and Abū Nuʿaym and the teacher of al-Ḥākim Abū ʿAbdillah and the author of al-Musnad ʿala Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim. His commentary was mentioned by Kashf al-Zunun.
  5. Abu Muhammad ʿAbdullah ibn Yūsuf al-Juwayni, the father of the famed Imam al-Haramayn; teacher of al-Imam al-Ghazzali.

None of these commentaries, from which the scholars used to quote until after the seventh century, have come to light in modern times.

References:

Islamic Jurisprudence by Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani.

Al-Wajīz fī uṣūl al-tashrīʿi al-Islāmī, Dr. Muḥammad Hasan Hītū

Al-Risālah with the tahqiq of Shaykh Aḥmad Muhammad Shākir.

Salah 'ala al-Nabi

Introduction to Usul al-Fiqh II: Al-Risalah and Its Commentaries

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