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An Introduction to Zaad al-Mustaqni’
A translation of Zaad Al-Mustaqni`(Summary of Fiqh from the Muqni’ of Imam Al Muwaffaq Ibn Qudama) with one predominant opinion, with additional notes taken from Al-Raud Al-Murbi` and other sources.
About the Book:
This is a summary of fiqh from the Muqni‘ of Imam al-Muwaffaq, Abu Muhammad (`Abd Allah bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Qudama al-Maqdasi; May Allah immerse him in His mercy and give back to us from his blessings) following one opinion: the most superior in the madhab of Ahmad (bin Hanbal al-Shaybani). The Author has removed issues (masa‘il) that rarely occur and has added what is relied upon, since aspirations have lowered and reasons which preoccupy from reaching the goal are numerous. In spite of its small size, what it does include frees need of lengthiness.
The great Hanbali scholar Imam Muwaffiq Al-Din Ibn Qudammah Al-Maqdisi developed a program taking students from the very beginning of their studies to the very end: from having no specialized knowledge in the fiqh to being a mujtahid. His program consisted of a series of books, moving the student toward the grand goal in stages.
The first book is Al-`Umdah, a basic manual of fiqh for beginners. It covers the basic rulings that every Hanbali needs. The book gave only the predominant opinion for each position. While Al-Muwaffiq did not concentrate on evidence, he did tend to begin each section with a hadith that the student can use for figuring out many of the unmentioned branch issues.
The second book is Al-Muqni`, which added to the above by mentioning different opinions for a given issue without telling the student which is the predominant opinion, and by adding some additional branch issues.
The third book is Al-Kafi, which introduces evidence for the positions in the madhab.
The fourth book is Raudhat Al-Nathir, a book in usul al-fiqh. It is a condensed version of Imam Al-Ghazali‘s Al-Mustasfa, but instead of championing the Shafi`i usul it champions the Hanbali.
The fifth and final book is Al-Mughni, which builds on the previous works by adding opinions from the other madhabs from the Companions and early Imams (Allah be well pleased with them) whether still followed or extinct, the opinions within the madhab with a particular emphasis on what is transmitted from the Imam, the evidence for all of these various positions, and then a defense of the predominant position in Ibn Qudammah‘s opinion. The book is also full of minute branch issues.
So, this was the program that Al-Muwaffiq set down, and these are some of the many books he authored. In today‘s circumstances it is very easy to scoff at his a program and consider it far fetched, but it did indeed produce a good number of Hanbali mujtahids, and his final book Al-Mughni has been praised by Hanbalis and non-Hanbalis alike; it an Imam Al-Nawawi‘s Al-Majmu`a are two of the more essential books of fiqh muqarin. The Shafi`i mujtahid imam Al-`Izz bin `Abd Al-Salam held back from giving verdicts until obtaining a copy of Al-Mughni.
The madhab did not end with Ibn Qudammah, and some opinions on rulings have changed. One of the later scholars, `Ali Al-Hijawi, took Ibn Qudammah‘s Al-Muqni` and reduced it to the predominant position in the madhab, removed extraneous issues, and added some things that were necessary. His book is known as Zad Al-Mustaqni`; it was greatly accepted, and some scholars said that whoever has memorized Al-Zaad is fit to be a judge. While the book is indeed short, it gives the basics for the Hanbali madhab, including some things not even found in books twice its length. Later on Al-Bahuti wrote a commentary on the text titled Al-Raud Al-Murbi`, which added explanations, evidence, ta`lil, and some additional rulings. Today Al-Raud is the more popular teaching manual in the Gulf area, while Nail Al-Ma‘arib is preferred in Sham.
And this is how we arrive our text here: a translation of Zad Al-Mustaqni` with additional notes taken from Al-Raud Al-Murbi` and other sources.