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Brief Biography of Imam al-Quduri. He is Abu’l-Hasan Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ja`far ibn Hamdan al-Quduri al-Baghdadi, the Hanafi jurist, born 362 AH. Al-Quduri is an ascription to the selling of pots (qudur). Abu’l-Hasan al-Quduri took his knowledge of fiqh from Abu `Abdillah Muhammad ibn al-Jurjani, from Abu Bakr al-Razi, from Abu’l-Hasan al-Karkhi, from Abu Sa`id al-Barda`i from `Ali al-Daqqaq, from Abu Sahl Musa ibn Nasr al-Razi, from Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani, from Abu Hanifah, from Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, from Ibrahim al-Nakha`i, from `Alqamah, from `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and his Household and grant them all peace). Al-Quduri was one of the ashab al-tarjih (jurists who weighed and analyzed the strengths of differing verdicts in the madhhab). The leadership of the Hanafis in `Iraq came to rest with him, and his renown rose. His mention recurs in the well-known Hanafi books al-Hidayah and al-Khulasah. He died on 15th Rajab 428 AH in Baghdad, and was buried in his home, but was later transported and buried beside Abu Bakr al-Khawarizmi, another Hanafi jurist.
He authored: al-Mukhtasar, the fiqh summary bearing his name. Sharh Mukhtasar al-Karkhi, al-Tajrid, in seven volumes, encompassing the disagreed issues between the Hanafis and Shafi`is. al-Taqrib, also in issues of disagreement, a summary which he compiled for his son, and other works.
Perhaps al-Quduri’s most famous work, Al-Mukhtasar is also known as al-Kitab. The number of issues it addresses is 12,500, spanning the entire spectrum of fiqh, for the book covers not only matters of worship, but also business transactions, personal relations and penal and judicial matters. Abu `Ali al-Shashi said about the book, “Whoever memorizes this book is the best accomplished of our associates in memorization, and whoever understands it is the best accomplished of our associates in understanding.” As is common with fiqh summary texts (mutun, singular : matn), the book generally does not make a point of providing evidences and derivations of the regulations. The bases and reasonings behind the verdicts presented can be pursued in more advanced books of the madhhab, and also require some knowledge of usul al-fiqh. The traditional method of learning is for young people to first study (and often memorize) a basic matn, then later go back and study each issue in more detail, and/or along with the evidences. It is related that when al-Quduri wrote this book, he carried it with him to the Ka`bah, and hung it from its curtains. He asked Allah the Exalted to bless him in it, and this prayer was apparently fulfilled. The book is recognized and respected as a reliable book of the school, and has had various commentaries written on it. Along with Muhammad ibn al-Hasan’s Al-Jami` al-Saghir, it formed the nucleus of al-Marghinani’s widely-renowned Al-Hidayah – which itself was commentated on by numerous scholars, among the more famous of them Hafiz Badr al-Din al-`Ayni (the author of the commentary on al-Bukhari `Umdat al-Qari) in…