Mukhtasar al-Quduri

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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.

    An Introduction to Al-Mukhtasar

    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 Al-Binayah, and Hafiz Kamal al-Din Ibn al-Humam
    in Fath al-Qadir.  It has been said that Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah,
    the Hanbali scholar, used Al-Mukhtasar as his primary reference
    for the Hanafi school’s positions.  Upto this day, the book enjoys
    a wide acclaim, still forming a part of the teaching curriculum in many
    traditional madaris, and with prominent and accomplished contemporary
    scholars continuing to recommend and approve it as a teaching text.

    Advice of Caution

    Despite the undisputed respectability of Al-Mukhtasar,
    we should bear in mind that perfection belongs only to Allah.  While
    the book is, on the whole, free from serious blunders, the author in some
    places will present a verdict which may not be the soundest position on
    the issue under examination.  In some such places, I have inserted
    the more authentic view within brackets or braces, while in others I have
    left al-Quduri’s text unchanged.  Al-Quduri often mentions differing
    views on an issue, and in these cases, it should be borne in mind that
    the mere fact that a scholar has given a particular verdict does not mean
    it may be legitimately followed.  Sometimes, even a reputed scholar
    may have made a mistake, or not been in possession of all the evidence.
    Hence, wherever al-Quduri presents more than one view on a matter, further
    investigation is needed to determine which is the authentic or more authentic
    view — which is to be followed. Another point to be borne in mind is that
    al-Quduri generally does not distinguish between unrestricted permissibility
    and validity (but with an accompanying sin), and similarly between impermissibility
    and that prohibition which invalidates the deed in question, and between
    desirability and obligation.

    In view of the preceding points, the translation
    presented on this web-site is not meant to be a final authority; but is
    intended merely as a quick-reference resource.  As for studying from
    and verifying its content, this is best done through studying the text
    with a qualified and dependable scholar, and/or referring to one of the
    reputable commentaries such as `Abd al-Ghaniyy al-Ghunaymi’s Al-Lubab
    fi Sharh al-Kitab
    , as well as to other dependable books of the madhhab.
    Such studying is also essential to ensure one does not misunderstand any
    of the text.

    Finally, it should be noted that I have often re-arranged
    Quduri’s text — sometimes liberally — in order to fit into the particular
    logical / intuitive framework that I feel comfortable with.  I have
    also added many sub-headings which the author himself did not have, my
    aim again being to present the information in an easily-digestible form.

    [NOTE : Some of the above information (especially the biographical
    notes) has been taken from the preface to the edition of Mukhtasar al-Quduri
    edited by Shaykh Kamil Muhammad Muhammad `Uwaydah, Dar al-Kutub al-`Ilmiyyah,
    Beirut, 1997/1417.
    ]

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