Monday, September 06, 2004

Imam al-Nasafi-The Unforgotten Author

Abu al-Barakat, Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Mahmud al-Nasafi is known as 'hafiz al-deen'. He was born in the village of 'Nasaf' from the area of 'ma wara' al-nahr' known as 'saghd'. His home town 'Nasaf' was also known as 'Nakhshab'. A famous author, righteous and great Hanafi faqih, al-Nasafi studied under the prominent scholars of his era, such as Muhammad bin Abd al-Sattar Karwari known as 'the sun amongst the scholars', Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali Hameed al-Din Aziz and Badr al-Din Khawahir Zadah.

Did Imam al-Nasafi narrate the Ziyadat from Itabi?

The author of Jawahir Mudhee'ah mentioned that al-Nasafi took fiqh from Karwari and narrated the Ziyadat from Ahmad bin Utbi. Mulla Ali Qari concurs on this view. However, Kafawi mentions that it is not possible that al-Nasafi narrated the Ziyadat from Utbi since Utbi died in 589h and al-Nasafi died in 710h or 711h.

His status amongst the jurists

Ibn Kamal Pasha considered him a jurist of the sixth rank i.e. from those jurists who have authority to isolate the weak reports from the stronger ones. Others have however upheld that al-Nasafi was one step away from absolut ijtihad, namely, a 'mujtahid fi al-madhab'. Not just that, they considered him the final mujtahid in the madhab. In his commentary on the Musallam al-Thubut and on Tahreer al-Usul, Bahr al-Ulum mentions that the latter opinion is not correct thus not reliable.

His year of death

There is controvesy on this issue amongst the scholars. Shaykh Qawwam al-Din Ittifaqi, Mulla Ali Qari and the author of Kashf al-Zunun have held that al-Nasafi died in 701h. Allamah Qasim bin Qutlubugha held that he died after 710h [in his book entitled: al-Asl fi bayani al-wasl wa al-fasl]. Hamawi upheld that he died in 711h on a Fridayh night. Furthermore, Ittiqani mentioned that he passed away in a place called 'Ayzaj' and was buried in 'al-Jalal'. And Allah knows best.

His works
Imam Nasafi composed many works that are until today taught and studied worldwide. The renowned Dars-e-Nizami course has always contributed to the indespensible works of Nasafi. Here is a list of some of them;

1- al-Wafi, and its commentary al-Kafi in the branches of law 'furu'

2- Kanz al-Daqa'iq. This work proves to be an excellent contribution of Nasafi to fiqh. It is originally an abridgement of his 'al-Wafi'.

3- Matn al-Manar. Again, an undoubtedly comprehensive book unforgotten in Usul al-fiqh.

4- Kashf al-Asrar. His personal commentary on the Manar.

5- Sharh Muntakhab al-Hussami. A commentary on the famous text in Usul al-Fiqh.

6- Musaffa, his commentary on sharh Manzumah Nasafiyah

7- al-Mustasfa sharh al-Fiqh al-Na'fi

8- Sharh al-Fiqh al-Nafi'

9- I'timad al-I'tiqad, his commentary on al-Umdah

10- Fadha'il al-A'mal

11- Tafseer Madarik al-Tanzeel.

Did he compose a commentary on al-Hidaya?

The author of Kashf al-Zunun listed al-Nasafi to have written a commetary on the famous 'al-Hidayah' in the Hanafi school. Taqiy al-Din, in his Tabaqat, mentioned that Bakht ibn Shahnah stated, it is not known whether al-Nasafi has a commentary on al-Hidayah. Moreover, Allamah Ittiqani, in Gayat al-Bayan, mentioned that Imam al-Nasafi did intend to write a commentary on al-Hidaya but Taj al-Sharee'ah requested that he shouldn't. This is why he then composed the book al-Wafi similar to al-Hidaya and then wrote a commentary to it entitled 'al-Kafi'.

His discipline in Kanz al-Daqa'iq

Imam al-Nasafi sticks to two main points in this work;

1- sticking to the issues of the Zahir al-Riwayah,
2- and not surpassing the 'mufta biha' sayngs of the three imams i.e. Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani.

However, there are some sayings in the Kanz that are not from the Zahir al-Riwayah and are not from the 'mufta bihi' of the three imams. But, how is it exactly possible to find out that such and such issue is not from the Zahir al-Riwayah or the verdicts f the imams? A contemporary scholar, Muhammad Haneef Gangohi has collected those particular issues in the opening of his commentary on the Kanz entitled: 'Ma'din al-Haqa'iq'.

The commentaries on Kanz al-Daqa'iq

Over the centuries, many scholars such as Aiyni, Halbi, Kiramni and others have commented on the Kanz but the exposition, clarity and comprehensivenss of Ibn Nujaym's 'al-Bahr al-Ra'iq' is unique in this area.

A list of commentaries on the Kanz:

1- al-Bahr al-Ra'iq, Zayn al-Abideen, known as Ibn Nujaym, d.970h
2- Tabyeen al-Haqa'iq, Uthman bin Ali al-Zayla'i, d.743h
3- Ramz al-Haqa'iq, Badr al-Din al-Ayni, d.855h
4- al-Matlab al-Fa'iq, Badr al-Din Isa al-Diri
5- al-Nahr al-Fa'iq, Siraj al-Din, known as Ibn Nujaym, d.1005h
6- Mustakhlis al-Haqa'iq, Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Qari
7- al-Fawa'id fi Halli al-Masa'ili wa al-Qawa'id, Mustafa bin Bali, known as Bali Zadah
8- Fat'h Masaliki al-Ramz fi Sharhi Manasiki al-Kanz, Abdurahman Isa al-Umri
9- Sharh al-Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Mulla Miskeen
10-Sharh al-Kanz, Ibn Shahnah al-Halabi, d.921h
11- Sharh al-Kanz, al-Khitab bin Abi al-Qasim al-Qurrah Hasari, d.730h
12- Sharh al-Kanz, Shams al-Din Hasari
13- Sharh al-Kanz, Zayn al-Abideen al-Ayni, d.864h
14- Sharh al-Kanz, Ibn Ganim al-Maqdisi, d.1004h
15- Sharh al-Kanz, Qawam al-Din Kirmani, d.748h
16- Sharh al-Kanz, Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Umar al-Salihi, d.950h
17- Sharh al-Kanz, Muhammad bin Ahmad bin Dhiya al-Makki, d.858h
18- Hashiyah Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui Nanutwi, d.1312h
19- Multaqit al-Daqa'iq, Abu al-Ma'arif Muhhamd Inanyatullah shah
20- Hashiyah Kanz al-Daqa'iq, Muhmmad I'zaz Ali, d.1374h
21- Zaheer al-Haqa'iq, Zaheer Ahmad Sahwani, d.1361h (urdu)
22- Ma'din al-Haqa'iq, Muhammad Haneef (urdu)
23- Persion translation by Shah Ahlullah, abrother of waliyullah al-Dehlvi.
24-Tuhfat al-Ajam fi Fiqhi al-Imami al-A'zam, Muhammad Sultan Khan (urdu)
25- Ahsan al-Masa'il, Muhammd Ahsan Siddiqui (urdu)
26- Zaheer al-Haqa'iq, Zaheer Ahmad Zaheeri Sahswani (urdu)
27- Mi'yar al-Haqa'iq, Dhiya al-Din Muhammad al-Husayni (persian)

May Allah reward Imam al-Nasafi for each and every letter he has contributed to deen, ameen. And raise the ranks of those who conveyed to us knowledge of the deen.

A list of commentaries on Imam al-Nasafi's renowned text in Usul al-Fiqh, 'al-Manar' will be added shortly, God-willing.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi