The author of Manazil al-Sa’ireen, Imam Abu Isma'il al-Harawi said:
أنا حنبلي. ما حييت فإن أموت
فوصيتي للناس أن يتحنبل
"I am a Hanbali as long as I live, and when I die,
My legacy to the people is to become Hanbalis."
Many wonder why the followers of the Hanbali Madhab have always been fewer than the followers of rest of the madhaib. Some even claim that the small following is indicative of the weakness of the Madhab.
However, the truth is quite to the contrary, as one of the Hanbalis said:
يَقُولُونَ فِي أَصْحَابِ أَحْمَدَ قِلَّةٌ
فَقُلْتُ لَهُمْ: إِنَّ الكِرَامَ قَلِيلٌ
They say of the followers of Ahmad: How few they are!
Thus I said to them: Surely the noble ones are always few!
Imam al-Qurtubi reported: Umar ibn Al-Khattab heard a man saying,
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي مِنَ الْقَلِيلِ
“O Allah, make me among the few.”
Umar said, “What is this supplication?” The man said, “I refer to the saying of Allah the Exalted: And few of my servants are grateful.” (34:13) Umar said, “All of the people know better than you, O Umar!”
Imam Ahmad: His Life
His lineage meets the Prophet’s at Mizar Ibn Ma’ad Ibn Adnan. This makes the Imam an Adnani Arab from the tribe of the Quraysh.
Imam Ahmad was orphaned around 1-3 years of age. His grandfather was the Governor for the Umayyid Caliphate and later for the Abbasid Caliphate at the border of modern day Iran and Turkmenistan. Imam Ahmad was born and died in Baghdad which was the seat of the Caliphate. He was born 20 Rabi al-Awwal 164 AH. He passed away on Friday, 10 Rabi al-Awwal 241 AH at the age of 77 years. His mother’s name was Safiyyah Bint Maymunah Bint Abdul Malik al-Shaybani.
He lived through 8 Abbasid Caliphs. Al-Mahdi, Al-Hadi, Harun Ar-Rasheed, Al-Ameen, Al-Ma’mun, Al-Mu’tasim, Al-Wathiq, Al-Mutawakkil. Imam Ahmad suffered under the rule of Al-Ma’mun, Al-Mu’tasim and Al-Wathiq. His persecution was brought to an end by Al-Mutawakkil.
Imam Ahmad married twice but it needs to be noted that he didn’t marry till he reached the age of 40 because he wanted to free his mind and heart for knowledge. His first wife was Abbasa Bint al-Fadl who was the mother of his first child, Saleh. She passed away during his lifetime. Imam Ahmad said that they were married for 30 years and they didn’t have an argument. When his wife passed away, he got married the next day. Later he married Raihanah from whom he had Abdullah.
Imam Ahmad had a concubine by the name Husn. From her he had al-Hassan, Muhammad, Saeed and Zaynab. Imam Ahmad died at the age of 77, yet this woman gave birth to Saeed, 50 days before the Imam passed away.
Imam Ahmad studied under the scholars of Baghdad. He started studying Hadith at the age of 16 (~179 AH). This was the same year Imam Malik passed away. Hammad Ibn Zayd, the Imam of Basra also passed away in the same year. Then he travelled to Kufa, Basra, Makkah, Madinah, Yemen, Shaam, Northern Iraq.
Imam Ahmad is an Imam in Hadith as well as an Imam in the Sunnah. Sunnah here means the Aqeedah of the Ahlus Sunnah. Such was his stature that he is called Imam of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah. He was also an Imam in Fiqh. His being an Imam of Hadith and Sunnah is a matter of ijma without any contradiction.
There are a few unworthy people who raise a question on his position as an Imam of Fiqh. Their words are disregarded but are responded to accordingly to put the matter to rest. Not his students, but rather his teachers who were known fuqaha bestowed the title of faqeeh upon Imam Ahmad. Rather he is at the forefront of fiqh and not a mere muhaddith as some claim. Their false understanding arises because whenever Imam Ahmad was asked a question, he would narrate a chain of narration with a Hadith. He wouldn’t answer except that he had a chain of narration to back his answer.
It is said the Imam Ahmad had memorized a million ahadith with their respective chains. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim says the number is more. Abdullah ibn Ahmad, his son, said: “I heard Ar-Razi say: ‘Your father memorised a million hadith, which I rehearsed with him according to the topic.’ ”
Imam Ahmad made Hajj 5 times in his life. Ibn al-Jawzi said of these 3 times was on foot. His son Abdullah reports that Imam Ahmad walked on foot to Yemen. Such was the Ikhlas and effort put in by this giant.
Other teachers include Yahya al-Kattan, Abdul Rahman al-Mahdi, Ibn Ulayyah, Ibn Harun and many others.
Imam al-Shafi`i said, “I left Baghdad and did not leave behind me anyone more virtuous, more learned, more knowledgeable than Ahmad ibn Hanbal.”
Imam Ahmad’s son, Saleh narrates that his father wrote over a million ahadith. From the Imam’s way of teaching was that he would teach and narrate only from written sources so as to avoid any mistakes and be accurate in the narrations.
Imam Abu Dawud says that the classes of Imam Ahmad were circles and gatherings of the Akhirah. There were no discussions of the dunya.
From some of his students include:
Imam Bukhari [Author of Sahih al-Bukhari]
Imam Muslim [Author of Sahih Muslim]
Imam Abu Dawud [Author of Sunan Abi Dawud]
Imam at-Tirmidhi [Author of Jami’ at-Tirmidhi]
When Imam Bukhari completed his Sahih, he chose Imam Ahmad to review it for him.
Ali Ibn al-Madini said, “Truly, Allah reinforced this Religion with Abu Bakr al-Siddiq the day of the Great Apostasy (al-Ridda), and He reinforced it with Ahmad ibn Hanbal the day of the Inquisition (al-Mihna).”
The Usul of the Madhab are 5:
There are 5 that are agreed upon and the rest differed upon:
a. Ijma of the Sahaba
b. Unopposed opinion of a Sahabi
c. Either choose the stronger opinion that is closer to Quran and Sunnah or list all
4. Weak/Mursal Hadith - All Hasan (IT)
6. Istishab (Presumption of Continuity)
7. al-Masalih al-Mursalah (Consideration of Public Interest
8. Saad adh-Dharai (Blocking The Means To Evil)
The Quran and Sunnah reign supreme in the Madhab. As per Hanbali Usul, the Sunnah cannot abrogate an Ayah of the Quran. The Quran is stronger and the Ahadith are a level below that.
Next are the sahaba and their ijma. The sahaba are best placed to explain the Qur’an and Sunnah for they lived the Sunnah and the Quran was revealed among them. The Hanbali Madhab gives preference to the text narrated by the companion over the fatwa of the companion if there is conflict or contradiction between the two. This is when there is a difference of opinion between the sahaba.
Next level is to check if there is any of the narrations has been abrogated.
Next level is to give preference to one narration over the other.
Out of all these Imam Ahmad would prefer using those which were the most authentic or had the strongest isnad. If there is a difference between narrations, then the Hanabila turn to Ikhtilaf al-Haal (Differences because of Circumstances). They say that the differences occurred because of the different scenarios and there is no inherent contradiction.
If nothing can be found from the Quran, Sunnah or the Statements of the Sahaba, then Imam Ahmad would prefer these narrations over using qiyas or ijtihad. Hanabila use weak ahadith and not false or rejected (matrook) ahadith. What is meant here are those ahadith which are not very weak meaning not munkar or mawdu. There shouldn’t be anything else which may overpower this narration. Ex: A stronger narration. hadiths which Ahmad accepted were not necessarily matrook (rejected). Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah stated that all the ahadith that Imam Ahamd used were in reality all hasan (reliable) ahadith. Before the time of Imam at-Tirmidhi, ahadith were either graded as sahih (authentic) or dhaeef (weak), and the weak included hasan (acceptable) and matrook (rejected) ahadith. The category of hasan, as we know it, was introduced by Imam at-Tirmidhi and later adopted by the scholars of Hadith. So a lot has to do with the use of terminology as well. Why is this an important distinction to make?
Observe carefully. Among the Imams who acted upon these ahadith were some of the giants in the field of Hadith like Imam Ahmad and his student, Imam Abu Dawud etc. They used weak hadith and they were absolutely aware of the status and the rulings attached to a certain hadith. Other scholars from the salaf also used mursal hadith as evidence. Even Imam Shafi'i who is said to have rejected the mursal hadith accepted the Marasil of Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyab.
To summarize, Imam Ahmad used to act upon 2 types of weak hadith:
1. A weak hadith which on its own may not be a proof, but it is supported by an external evidence or principle that supports its meaning,
2. A weak report which comes very close to the level of Hasan but still falls slightly below it.
There must be some sort of evidence to aid or back this weak hadith which is under consideration. Imam Ahmad preferred the qiyas of the earlier generations in comparison to later opinions. Ijma is accepted also but we see Imam Ahmad not actively pushing it for he was afraid people would use the opinion of the majority of the scholars and pass it off as an ijma.
As per Sheikh Dr.Faris bin Falih al-Khazraji, the origins of Hanbali Usul revolve around the following classical works:
1. Tahdhib al-Ajwiba of Ibn Hamid (d. 403 AH)
2. Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh of Ibn Shihab al-Ukbari (d. 428 AH)
3. Al-'Uddah of al-Qadhi Abu Ya'la (d. 458 AH)
4. Al-Tamhid of al-Khalwadhani (d. 510 AH)
5. Al-Wadih of Ibn 'Aqeel (d. 513 AH)
6. Rawdat al-Nadhir of Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH)
Development of The Hanbali Madhab
Level 1: المتقدمون – The Earliest Period
From the death of Imam Ahmad in 241 AH to the death of Sheikh Hassan Ibn Hamid in 403 AH.
Abu Muhammad al Barbahari (319 AH)
Abu Bakr al Ajurri (320 AH) – Author of Kitab al Shari’ah
Abul Qasim al-Khiraqi (334 AH) – Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi is the book Imam Ibn Qudamah explained in his al-Mughni
‘Abdurrahman Ibn Abi Hatim al Razi (d. 337)
al-Hassan Ibn Hamid al-Baghdadi al-Warraq (403 AH) – Abu Ya’la’s teacher
Level 2: المتوسطون – The Middle Period
This period ranges from 403AH to 884AH
Abu Isma’il al Harawi (481 AH) – Author of Manazil al-Sa’irin
Abu al-Khattab Al Kalwadzani (510 AH)
Abu al-Wafa Ibn Aqeel (513 AH)
Abdul Qadir al Jilani (561 AH)
Abul Faraj ‘Abdurrhaman Ibn al-Jawzi (597 AH)
Taqi ad-Din ‘Abdul Ghani al Maqdisi (600 AH)
Muwaffaq ad-Din Abdullah Ibn Qudammah (620 AH)
Abul Barakat Majd ad-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (653 AH)
Najm al-Dīn Aḥmad bin Ḥamdān al-Ḥarrānī (695 AH)
Najm al-Din al-Tufi (716 AH)
Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH)
Shams al-Din Ibn Muflih al Maqdisi (763 AH) – Author of Adab al-Shar’iyyah, Kitab Usul al-Fiqh, Kitab al-Furu'
Zaynuddin Ibn Rajab (795 AH) – Author of al Jami’, Fath al Bari, Lata’if al-Ma’arif
Burhan ad-Din Ibn Muflih (884 AH) – Author of al Mubdi fi Sharh Mughni
Burhan ad-Din Ibn Muflih (884 AH) is the great grandson of the famous student of Ibn Taymiyyah, Shams al-Din Muhammad Ibn Muflih (763 AH), the author of al-Furū'. Burhan al-Din marks the last of the middle period of the Madhab. Anyone who died before 884AH would be from tha period. Ala'addin al-Mardawi who was his contemporary is counted among the Muta'akhirun instead of the Mutawassitun as he died in the year 885AH. What a difference a year makes.
Level 3: المتأخرون – The Later Period
This period ranges from 885 AH till date.
Ala'addin al-Mardawi (885AH) - Author of al-Insaf
Sharaf al Din Musa al Hajjawi (968 AH) – Author of Zaad al-Mustaqni, Al-Iqna’ li Talibi-l Intifa
Ibn al Najjar al Futuhi (980 AH) – Author of Muntaha al- Iradat
Mar’i Ibn Yusuf al-Karmi (1033 AH) – Author of Ghayatul Muntaha, Dalil al Talib
Mansur Ibn Yunus al Bahuti (1051 AH) – Author of Rawdatul Murbi, Sharhul Muntaha, Hāshiyah Al-Iqna’
Shams al-Din Muhammed bin Ahmed bin Salim As-Saffarini (1188 AH) - Author of Lawami' Al-Anwar Al-Bahayyah
Abdul Qadir Ibn Badran Ad-Dumi (1317 AH) - Author of Al-Madkhal ila Madhhab al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Scholars like Ibn Badran, Bakr Abu Zaid etc differ on the classification but this is the basic skeleton of the figure heads.
Ibn Muflih's al-Furu' is good for knowing the different positions. Ala'addin al-Mardawi is famously known as al-Murajjih (the one who gives the correct answer), al-Musahhih (the one who corrects matters), al-Munaqqih (the one who investigates and examines). He is the foremost specialist of this period. He set the foundation of the madhab for the next 500-700 years. al-Insaf not only mentions the different reports but it clarifies the Madhab and guides to the stronger positions within the madhab. This is after his meta-analysis of 140 books of the Hanbali madhab.
The Timeline of the Madhab
Imam Ahmad didn’t author a book of fiqh. Why? He wanted the focus to remain on the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger. The Imam wasn’t a person who sought fame and also maybe because he was prevented from teaching for a large period of time.
Abu Bakr al-Marroodhi (275 AH) is one of the main transmitters. One of the most notable of his students was Abu Bakr al-Khallal (310 AH). The Hanbali Madhab has a lot of scholars named Abu Bakr. These two students of Imam al-Marroodhi did immense service to the magnum opus of their teacher, Ghulam al-Khallal’s Zaad al-Musafir is one of the oldest books of fiqh in the madhab.
Al-Khallal was a student of five of Imam Ahmad’s direct students, including his son Abdullah.
Imam al-Khallal’s student was Abu Bakr Abdul Aziz who was famously known as Ghulam al-Khallal (363 AH). Umar Ibn Hussain al-Khiraqi (334 AH) is another of Imam Khallal’s significant student. His Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi which covers over 2300 legal issues is the most taken served of book in the madhab. Ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi said in al-Durr al-Naqi that his teacher ‘Izz al-Din al-Misri said, ‘The Mukhtasar of al-Khiraqi has 300 commentaries written on it. The greatest commentary is Ibn Qudamah’s al-Mughni. The way al-Khiraqi ordered the chapters in his Mukhtasar was the same way al-Muzani (the student of al-Shafi’i) ordered the chapters in his Mukhtasar.
The Ghulam of al-Khallal wrote in his copy of the book, ‘In his Mukhtasar, Al-Khiraqi disagreed with me in 60 legal issues.’ He didn’t mention which ones. Ibn Abi Ya’la says in al-Tabaqat: “I looked into the differences between the two (the opinions of Ghulam al-Khallal and al-Khiraqi) and found that it was 98.”
The students of Imam Ahmad put together the opinions that they had recorded from Imam Ahmad. Imam Abu Bakr al-Khallal collects all these different opinions and fatawa from the different students with their chains of narration and compiles them in a 20 volume book called, Al-Jami’.
Abul Qasim al-Khiraqi took this book and rearranged them in the order of the Matn of a Fiqh book. This was called Mukhtasar al-Khiraqi. This was the first Hanbali book of Fiqh. Al-Khiraqi was the first Hanbali to be buried in Damascus.
An interesting anecdote is narrated from Ghulam al-Khallal. He told his family to prepare for his janazah for the coming Friday. His family inquired how he could say that. He told them that his teacher al-Khallal died on Friday and he was 78 years old. His teacher al-Marroodhi died on a Friday and he was 78 years old. His teacher Imam Ahmad died on a Friday and he was 78 years of age. Interestingly, he indeed died that Friday himself at the age of 78.
al-Hassan Ibn Hamid al-Baghdadi al-Warraq (403 AH) was the student of Ghulam al-Khallal and the teacher of al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la. He marks the end of the first level of the Hanbali scholars and his student marks the beginning of the middle level of the Hanbali scholars.
Abu Ya’la had two famous students of which one is famous within the madhab and the other is famous even outside the madhab. Abu al-Khattab Al Kalwadzani (510 AH) is famous within the madhab. The other student was Ibn Aqeel (513 AH) who was an encyclopedia who was a verifier for the madhab. He wrote the commentary on Alfiyyah Ibn Malik in Nahw as well. One point to note is that in terms of Aqeedah his positions were not always in line with that of Imam Ahmad.
One of Abu Ya’la’s students Abul Khattab al-Kalwazani authored al-Intisar and al-Hidayah. al-Hidayah become the relied upon (Mu’tamad) book of the Madhab. He was of the teachers of Abdul Qadir al-Jeylani. Other scholars of this period include, Abu Ismail al-Harawi, Abu Wafa Ibn Aqeel, Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi.
Abu al-Khattab and Ibn Aqeel were both teachers of Abdul Qadir al-Jeylani (561 AH). Ibn Qudamah was 19 or 20 years old when Abdul Qadir died and he had managed to study from him for 50 days. He had come from Damascus to study along with his cousin Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi. Abdul Ghani collected the information of the narrators of the 6 Books of Hadith. Another important figure in the same period, but slightly younger to Abdul Qadir was Ibn al-Jawzi (597 AH). The two young scholars from Damascus then went to study with Ibn al-Jawzi after the death of Abdul Qadir. All the scholars mentioned till here were from Baghdad.
Of the teachers of Imam Ibn Qudamah, 3 female Shaykhas stand out in particular. Khadijah an-Nahrawaniyyah, Shuhdah al-Katibah, and Nafeesa al-Bazzaza.
To add a bit to Imam Ibn Qudamah; he was, Abu Muhammad, `Abdullah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Qudamah (Ibn Miqdaam Ibn Nasr Ibn Abdillaah Ibn Hudhayfah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ya’qoob Ibn al-Qasim Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Ismail Ibn Yahya Ibn Muhammad Ibn Salim Ibn `Abdillaah Ibn `Umar Ibn al-Khattaab al-Qurashi; al-Maqdisi; al-Jammaa`ili, then ad-Dimashqi; as-Saalihi.
He authored and laid out a curriculum for the Hanbali Madhab:
1. al-Umdah: Basic primer with one textual proof.
2. al-Muqni': he most famous of the 2 narrations/opinions from Imam Ahmad and that which is the most correct opinion attributed to the Imam.
3. al-Kafi: More opinions are presented here with the evidences of the madhab.
4. al-Mughni: Differences of opinion within and outside the madhab including the other madhaib.
Sheikh Abd Al-Qadir Ibn Badran suggested the following curriculum:
1. Ibn Balban’s Akhsar al-Mukhtasarat or al-Bahuti’s Al-ʿUmdah.
2. Marʿi bin Yusuf’s Dalil al-Talib or Ibn Qudamah’s Al-ʿUmdah.
3. Al-Bahuti’s Al-Raudh Al-Murbiʿ.
4. Al-Bahuti’s Sharh Al-Muntaha.
5. Everything written before al-Hajjawi.
Imam al-Dhahabi quotes, Imam ’Izz al-Din Abd al-Salam, ”Out of all the Islamic books for knowledge, I’ve not seen any equal to the Muhalla of Ibn Hazim or the Mughni of al-Sheikh Muwaffaq al-Din.”
Ibn Qudamah purified Imam al-Ghazali’s al-Mustasfa from all its weaknesses in his Rawdatun Nadhir. One who has studied these 5 books is an alim who is at the level of ijtihad. Sharafuddin Musa al-Hajjawi summarized al-Muqni’ called Zaad al-Mustaqni’. Sheikh Ibn al-Uthaymeen has a 20 volume caommentary titled, Sharh al-Mumti’ explaining this book.
Another major scholar of this period was Majduddin Ibn Taymiyyah (650AH), the grandfather of Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. He was a leading scholar who authored an explanation of al-Hidayah called al-Muharrar. It is said that when Muwaffaq and al-Majd agree on something then that is undoubtedly the madhab. When the Hanabila say “Shaykhan” then they are referring to Ibn Qudamah and Majduddin Ibn Taymiyyah. In reality, people relied so much on these 2, that people forgot the works of the scholars before them.
Taymiyyah was the name of a girl who became a scholar and matriarch of the illustrious Taymiyyah family. al-Fakhr Ibn Taymiyah (622AH), who was the uncle of al-Majd, was the first heavy-weight of the Taymiyyah family. al-Majd himself learnt under him.
Aal Taymiyyah left Harran 668AH to Damascus. al-Majd had already died in 652 AH (before the fall of Baghdad) and Ahmad was just 6-7 years old at the time migrating with his father Abdul Haleem.
650 AH was a good year to die as in 655 AH, Baghdad succumbed to the onslaught of the Tartars. Baghdad which had been the seat of the Khilafa for nearly 500 years was never the same again. In 661 AH the famous Ibn Taymiyyah (728 AH), the grandson of al-Majd was born. In 668 AH, the Taymiyyah family migrated from Harran to Damascus. Taqiuddin Ibn Taymiyyah studied with the nephew of Imam Ibn Qudamah, Ibn Abi Umar in Damascus. From this we see, Sheikhul Islam took the Hanbali madhab from the 2 main giants in the Madhab:
Chain 1: Ibn Taymiyyah from Shihab al-Din Abd al-Halim Ibn Taymiyyah from Abu al-Barkat Majd ad-Din Ibn Taymiyyah
Chain 2: Ibn Taymiyyah from Ibn Abi Umar Qudamah from Muwaffaq ad-Din Abu Muhammad Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi
Sheikhul Islam explained books of his grandfather Majd ad-Din (Sharh al-Muharrar) and Muwaffaq ad-Din (Sharh Umdatul Fiqh). He practiced Ijtihad in his application but when he authored the books, he stuck to the principles of the Madhab. Taqiuddin Ibn Taymiyyah called to going back to the works and sayings of Imam Ahmad. His students include giants like Ibn al-Qayyim (751 AH), Ibn Abdul Hadi (744 AH), at-Tufi, Ibn Muflih (763 AH), Ibn Rajab (795 AH), Ibn Kathir, ad-Dahabi etc.
Ibn Muflih authored an important book called al-Furu’ which contains within it all the previous works of the madhab.
In this period, many books on Usul al-Fiqh were authored. The madhab spread to Sham and other places. The final relied upon work of this period was whatever Ibn Muflih mentioned in his al-Furu’.
It became difficult for the madhab to survive in Baghdad with the growing influence of the Shia. This pushed the Hanabila to move West towards al-Sham. Palestine primarily became the hub of the madhab and later followed by Damascus. The madhab continued to be dominated by scholars from Damascus and Jerusalem. From the time of Ibn al-Najjar and al-Buhuti the Egyptians started taking in. The madhab never left al-Sham completely for Egypt. They still had a significant presence.
He authored the famous, al-Insaf which was the commentary of al-Muqni’. He brought in this book all that came before him and then brings the correct position of the madhab. Anything that which he authenticated becomes the Madhab. Ibn Najjar and Musa al-Hajjawi served the works of Imam al-Mardawi. All those who come after this, rely upon 2 works. Ibn Qudamah’s al-Muqni’ and al-Mardawi’s Tanqih al-Mushbih’ fi Tahrir al-Muqni’. In this book al-Mardawi clarifies the differences of opinion and other matters which were mentioned in al-Muqni’.
Sharafuddin Musa al-Hajjawi (968 AH) who was a Mufti in Damascus complied these both together in al-Iqna. Ibn Najjar al-Futuhi (980 AH) who was a Qadhi in Egypt compiled Muntaha al-Iradat which did the same service to the above 2 works.
Imam Mansur al-Buhuti is called the explainer of the Madhab. He wrote commentaries and explanations of the books. al-Muqni’ is very authoritative in the madhab. Nearly everything that comes later in the madhab is in one way or the other related to it. This is till we had al-Iqna and Muntaha al-Iradat.
When it comes to larger books, Al-Iqna` and Munataha Al-Iradat and their commentaries are relied upon. Mari’ bin Yusuf has combined the two books in Ghayat Al-Muntaha, in the process reconciling the minor differences between them. Al-`Alama Al-Safarini when upon his death bed told his students: “You must study Al-Iqna` and Al-Muntaha, and whenever they differ you should refer to Ghayat Al-Muntaha.”
al-Iqna and al-Iradat till date have become the main and relied upon manuals for judiciary etc. The wording in al-Iqna is easier to understand in comparison. If there is any difference between the 2, then scholars give preference to Muntaha al-Iradat. After this period scholars either explained these books, combined between them or summarized them etc. al-Futuhi himself has an explanation of al-Iradat.
Imam al-Buhuti (1051 AH) explained al-Iqna in Kashaf al-Qina and explained Muntaha al-Iradat in Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat. Imam Mar`i bin Yusuf combined the two books in Ghayat Al-Muntaha.
The 2 main books that the Hanabilah depend on for judgements today are:
1. al-Iqna’ by Imam Musa al-Hajjawi
2. Muntaha al-Iradat by Imam Ibn Najjar
Zaad al-Mustaqni is the summary of al-Muqni. Became very famous and also a part of the curriculum in many schools. Daleel al-Talib is like a summary of Muntaha al-Iradat. This was explained in Manar as-Sabeel. The evidences in Manar as-Sabeel were authenticated and put together by Sheikh al-Albani in Irwah al-Ghaleel. What al-Iqna and al-Iradat agree upon, then this is the final position of the Madhab.
Why did no one explain Zaad besides Imam Mansur al-Buhuti? The scholars say: If Sheikh Mansur al-Buhuti explains a book, no Hanbali after him dares to explain it.
- He explained Zaad, and no one after him explained it.
- He explained al-Muntaha, and no one after him explained it.
- He explained al-Iqna’, and no one after him explained it.