Al-Shafi’i’s Risala

Al-Shafi’i’s Risala
Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence,
[A5+] Hardback with Dustjacket - 380 pages.
by Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i,
Translated by Majid Khadduri,
Published by The Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge.


Back in Stock May 2024

DescriptionAl-Risala fi Usul al-Fiqh,

Written in the second Islamic century by al-Imam al-Shafi’i (d. 204AH/820 CE), may Allah be pleased with him, the founder of one of the four Sunni schools of law, this important work gives the fundamental principles of Islamic jurisprudence and its influence continues to the present day. During the early years of the spread of Islam, the exponents of Islamic legal doctrine were faced with the problems raised by ruling and administering a diverse and rapidly growing empire.

In Madina and Kufa, as well as other cities of early Muslim rule, schools of law had to be developed, but it took the genius of Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafi’i, May Allah be pleased with him, born in the year 150AH / 767CE, to establish the principles by which the various legal doctrines could be synthesised into a coherent system.

In the Risala, which laid down the basis for such a synthesis, al-Shafi’i established the overriding authority, next only to the Qur’an, of the Sunna or example of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as transmitted in the traditions.

Professor Majid Khadduri has done an admirable service in making this valuable work available in English, His excellent translation uses not only the original manuscripts of Ibn Jama’a and al-Rabi, found at Dar al-Kutub, the National Library in Cairo, but also authoritative editions published earlier in this century, namely the Bulaq and Shakir editions.

In his introduction, Professor Khadduri outlines the historical background of the Risala and gives a biography of al-Imam al-Shafi’i as well as annotated, detailed summaries of the composition, structure, substance and argument of the text. He also includes a list of transmitters of traditions, a glossary of the most important Islamic legal terms and a select bibliography. For this new edition, the index has been expanded and a small corrigenda added. 


‘One of the leading texts on Islamic fiqh. A must for the bookshelf of all conscientious Muslims.’--- Dr Darsh (Q News)




Table of Contents :

---Translator's Introduction,
------The Historical Background of the Risala,
------The Composition and Structure of the Risala,
------Substance and Argument of the Risala,
------Significance of the Risala,
------The Text of the Risala,

---Translation of Shafi’i’s Risala,
------[1]. Introduction,
------[2]. On al-Bayan [Perspicuous Declaration],
------[3]. On Legal Knowledge,
------[4]. On the Book of God,
------[5]. On the Obligation of Man to Accept the Authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,
------[6]. On the Abrogation of Divine Legislation,
------[7]. On Duties,
------[8]. On the Nature of God's Orders of Prohibition and the Prophet's, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, Orders of Prohibition,
------[9]. On Traditions,
------[10]. On Single Individual Traditions,
------[11]. On Concensus [Ijma]
------[12]. On Analogy [Qiyas],
------[13]. On Personal Reasoning [Ijtihad],
------[14]. On Juristic Preference [Istihsan]
------[15]. On Disagreement [Ikhtilaf],

---Transmitters of Traditions,
---Select Bibliography,

About Imam Shafi'i : Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris  al-Shaf'i'i was descended from the Hashimi family of the Quaraysh tribe to which the Noble Prophet Muhammad, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, belonged.

He was born in Gaza, Palestine, and was raised in Makkah, his parents' home town. He memorized the holy Qur'an while he was still a young child. When he reached fifteen, his knowledge was so thorough, Muslim Ibn Khalid Al-Zinji, the Mufti of Makkah, told him: 'O Abu Abdullah, give fatawa (religious rulings), for by Allah it is time for you to do so!

Imam Al-Shafi'i, Arabic jurist (150 AH/767 CE - 204 AH/820 CE). He was active in juridical matters and his teaching eventually led to the school of fiqh named after him. He was a man of vast knowledge and authority. Scholars gave him the honorific title 'Father of Usul Al-Fiqh" (The Patriarch of the Foundation of Islamic Jurisprudence). Imam Shafiee died in the Year 204 A.H./ 820 C.E. and  was laid to rest in Egypt.




More Shafi'i fiqh books,
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