Imam al-Kawthari

“There is no jurisprudence without juridical opinion” ( fiqh bidûn ra’î).” -Ra’î in this sense is a positive term for the quality of every jurisprudent and refers to perspicuity and complete insight. This is why you find Ibn Qutayba in al-Ma`arif mentioning the fuqahâ’ under the heading, `The People of Juridical Opinion’ (ashâb al-ra’î), counting among them al-Awza`i, Sufyan al-Thawri, and Malik ibn Anas. So does the hadith master Muhammad ibn al-Harith al-Khushani in his Qudat Qurtuba refer to Malik’s companions as `The People of Juridical Opinion.’ So does the hadith master Abu al-Walid ibn al-Faradi in his Tarikh `Ulama’ al-Andalus. So does the hadith master Abu al-Walid al-Baji in his commentary on al-Malik’s Muwatta’.”3

– “What is found in the words of Ibrahim al-Nakha`i and those of his biographical layer to the effect that `the people of ra’î are the enemies of the Sunan’4 is in the sense of the ra’î that contradicts the Sunna that is transmitted concerning doctrine. They meant by it the Khawârij, the Qadariyya, the Mushabbiha, and similar innovators. They did not mean ra’î in the sense of scholarly exertion (ijtihâd) in the branches of the Law that concern legal rulings. To give this any other sense is to tamper with their wording. How can it be otherwise when al-Nakha`i himself and Ibn al-Musayyib himself are among those who express personal juridical opinion in the branches, in spite of those who cannot picture them doing so?” Ibn `Abd al-Barr mentioned the same explanation.5

* Hanin al-Mutafajji` wa Anin al-Mutawajji`, a poem on the horrors of the First World War.

* Al-Hawi fi Sira al-Imam Abi Ja`far al-Tahawi, a biography of one of the foremost authorities in the early Hanafi school in which he states:

The `Aqida Tahawiyya received several commentaries, among them that of Najm al-Din Abu Shuja` Bakbars al-Nasiri al-Baghdadi – one of Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati’s shaykhs -, that of Siraj al-Din `Umar ibn Ishaq al-Ghaznawi al-Misri, that of Mahmud ibn Ahmad ibn Mas`ud al-Qunawi, that of Sharh al-Sadr `Ali ibn Muhammad al-Adhra`i, and others. A commentary was published, authored by an unknown [“Ibn Abi al-`Izz”] spuriously affiliated with the Hanafi school, but whose handiwork proclaims his ignorance of this discipline and the fact that he is an anthropomorphist who has lost his compass.6

* Husn al-Taqadi fi Sira al-Imam Abi Yusuf al-Qadi, a biography of the second foremost Hanafi authority after Imam Abu Hanifa. Ibda’ Wujuh al-Ta`addi fi Kamil Ibn `Adi (“Exposing the Different Sides of Enmity Found in Ibn `Adi’s al-Kamil fi Du`afa’ al-Rijal“) in which al-Kawthari demonstrated the many flaws of the reports adduced by Ibn `Adi whereby Abu Hanifa was supposedly criticized by Sufyan al-Thawri, Malik, and Ibn Ma`in. Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda said in his annotations of al-Lacknawi’s al-Raf` wa al-Takmil that al-Kawthari refuted Ibn `Adi’s excesses against Abu Hanifa in three works: Ta’nib al-Khatib, al-Imta` bi Sirat al-Imamayn, and the unpublished Ibda`. Ibn `Adi shows enmity to Abu Hanifa as he reports nothing but criticism, relying entirely on weak and inauthentic reports. Al-Kawthari said in his introduction to Nasb al-Raya and in Fiqh Ahl al-`Iraq:

1″Among the defects of Ibn `Adi’s Kamil is his relentless criticism of Abu Hanifa with reports that are all from the narration of Abba’ ibn Ja`far al-Najirami, one of Ibn `Adi’s shaykhs, and the latter tries to stick what al-Najirami has directly to Abu Hanifa, and this is injustice and enmity, as is the rest of his criticism. The way to expose such cases is through the chain of transmission.”

* Al-Ifsah `an Hukm al-Ikrah fi al-Talaq wa al-Nikah (“The Eloquent Proclamation of the Ruling Concerning Forced Divorce or Marriage”).

* Ihqaq al-Haqq bi Ibtal al-Batil fi Mughith al-Khalq, a refutation of Imam al-Haramayn’s pamphlet entitled Mughith al-Khalq fi Tarjih al-Qawl al-Haqq proclaiming the superiority of the Shafi`i school to the Hanafi and Maliki schools. He followed it up with a tract titled Aqwam al-Masalik fi Bahth Riwayati Malik `an Abi Hanifa wa Riwayati Abi Hanifa `an Malik in which he cited narrations showing that Imam Malik had narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa and vice-versa – may Allah have mercy on both of them.

* Al-Imta` bi Sirat al-Imamayn al-Hasan ibn Ziyad (al-Lu’lu’i d. 204) wa Sahibihi Muhammad ibn Shuja` (al-Thalji d. 266), a biography of two great figures of the Hanafi school.

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