Sarakhsi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the 11th-century Hanafi scholar. For Al-Kindi's pupil, see Ahmad ibn al-Tayyib al-Sarakhsi.

Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abi Sahl Abu Bakr al-Sarakhsi (Persian: محمد بن احمد سرخسی‎) was an important jurist, or Islamic scholar of the Hanafi school. He was traditionally known as Shams al-A'imma ("the sun of the leaders").[1]

Background Information[edit]

Al-Sarakhsi was from Transoxiana.[2] He died sometime around 490/1096,[3] although there is some debate on the exact year of his death.[4] Not much is known about his early life,[4] though some clues are found in his works. It is said that al-Sarakhsi was imprisoned due to his opinion on a juristic matter concerning a ruler; he criticized the king by questioning the validity of his marriage to a slave woman.[4] He spent around fifteen years in prison.[4] While he was imprisoned he wrote the Mabsut[5] and some of his other most important works.[4] He is known for his remarkable memory,[4] (he was able to recall many texts when he was held in prison) as well as his intelligence. Al-Sarakhsi’s opinions on law have been widely cited and he has been thought of as a distinctive writer.[6] His main works are the Usul al-Fiqh, the Kitab al-Mabsut, and the Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir.

Important Works[edit]

Al-Sarakhsi's most important works are

  • Usul al-Fiqh, Kairo 1372 / 1953
  • Kitab al-Mabsut, Beirut 1406 / 1986 and
  • Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir.

Usul al-Fiqh[edit]

This work deals with Islamic jurisprudence and the exercise of ra’y in systematic reasoning and juristic preference.[4] To write this work, al-Sarakhsi incorporated information from many different sources, including Abu’l-Hasan al-Karkhi, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Shashi, al-Djassas, Abū ʿAbdullāh Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafiʿī and major works from the other law traditions.[7]

Kitab al-Mabsut[edit]

Al-Sarakhsi’s Mabsut is a furu, spread over 30 volumes, which commentates on the work Mukhtasar, which was written by Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Marwazi.[8] The Mukhtasar summarizes some of the foundational texts of the Hanafi school, which were written by Muhammad al-Shaybani.[9] Al-Shaybani was a companion of Imam Abū Ḥanīfah, the founder of the Hanafi school. In his Mabsut, Al-Sarakhsi reworks many of the concepts from al-Shaybani’s works. He organized his work around points of dispute (ikhtilaf) and incorporated more information from the Hanafi school, as well as other schools of law.[10] The Mabsut is well-organized, covers topics comprehensively, explores points of dispute thoroughly, and manipulates hermeneutical argument well.[11] These factors make the Mabsut a very influential piece of juristic literature; it was an important work of furu in the Hanafi school until the 19th century.[12] “Its significance in later times is reflected in the statement of the 15th-century Hanafi jurist, ‘Ala' al-Din al-Tarabulusi (d. 1440): ‘Whoever memorizes al-Mabsut and the doctrine of the ancient scholars becomes thereby a mujtahid.’"[13] Al-Sarakhsi deals with many themes in his Mabsut, these include juristic preference, the legality of doing activities with illegally obtained objects, zakat (alms tax, one of the Five Pillars of Islam) and land reclamation.
In the Mabsut he defines the doctrine of istihasn, or juristic preference, as the "abandonment of the opinion to which reasoning by the doctrine of …systematic reasoning would lead, in favor of a different opinion support by stronger evidence and adapted to what is accommodating to the people. Thereby, Sarakhsi neither undermines the importance of the exercise of the doctrine of systematic reasoning nor rejects it in any sense."[4] In addition, al-Sarakhsi deals with the dilemma of doing a legal activity with an illegally obtained object. The fact that the object was obtained illegally does not mean that the legal activity becomes illegal.[14] Al-Sarakhsi also deals with issues concerning zakat in the Mabsut. For example, if the collector comes and a person denies that something is taxable, he does not have to pay the tax on that item, since it is a duty to God. This is explained in the following passage from the Mabsut, which is quoted in Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature, by Norman Calder, Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin:

"He then swears that this is so. He is believed in all cases. This is because he is responsible for zakat duties that are
obligatory on him. Zakat is an act of worship purely for the sake of God, and the word of a responsible person is always
acceptable in regard to acts of worship that are obligatory as being due to God." [15]


Al-Sarakhsi also mentions the views of Abu Hanifa on land reclamation. This passage is from al-Sarakhsi’s Mabsut, as quoted by Sherman A. Jackson:

“‘In the view of Abu Hanifa, God show him mercy, reclaimed land becomes the property of one who restores it only after he
receives permission from the Imam’… Al-Sarakhsi goes on to explain Abu Hanifa’s reasoning. Abu Hanifa relied on the statement of
the Prophet ‘A person may have only that which his Imam is content with giving him.’ This statement even if it is general, [is
for him probative] since he maintains that statements universally accepted as general take precedence over those that are
specific. Then the Prophet said, ‘… except desolate plots of land; for these belong to God, His messenger then to you.’ Now, that
which has been designated as God's and His messenger's falls under the jurisdiction of the Imam. It is thus not permissible for
anyone to act independently regarding such things without the latter's permission, just as is maintained in the case of the one-
fifth portion of booty.... And the Prophet's statement, ‘Whoever reclaims a desolate plot of land ...’ merely clarifies the fact-
which we accept-that the means by which one gains ownership over restored land is reclamation, after he obtains permission from
the Imam. The Imam's permission remains a necessary precondition in all of this.” [13]

Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir[edit]

This work is a commentary on the Kitab al-Siyar al-kabir of al-Shaybani.[16] It demonstrates the role of juristic preference in sharia law.[4] The Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir shows the same widespread coverage, the development of rules and careful consideration of hermeneutical argument that is seen in the Mabsut.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Norman Calder, Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, Andrew Rippin, ed. and tr., Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature (Routledge, 2003), p. 210.
  2. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C. E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  3. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 8 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kassim, Husain. Sarakhsi- Hugo Grotius of the Muslims: The Doctrine of Juristic Preference and the Concepts of Treaties and Mutal Relations. San Francisco: Austin and Winfield Publishers, 1994.
  5. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  6. ^ Calder, Norman. "Exploring God's Law: Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Sahl al-Sarakhsi on zakat." In Law and the Islamic world past and present, by Christopher Toll and Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen. Copenhagen: Bianco Lunos Bogtrykkeri A/S, 1995.
  7. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 8 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  8. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  9. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 8 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  10. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  11. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 8 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  12. ^ Calder, Norman. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  13. ^ a b Jackson, Sherman A. "From Prophetic Actions to Constitutional Theory: A Novel Chapter in Medieval Muslim." International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1993: 71-90.
  14. ^ Mallat, Chibli. The renewal of Islamic Law: Muhammad Baqer as-Sadr, Najaf and the Shi'i International. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  15. ^ Calder, Norman, Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin. Classical Islam: A sourcebook of Religious Literature. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  16. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  17. ^ Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 08 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>

Sources[edit]

  • Calder, N. "al-Sarakhsi", Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Abu Sahl Abu Bakr, Shams al- A’imma. Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; and W.P.Heinrichs. Brill, 2011. Brill Online. Yale University. 8 February 2011 <http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-6620>
  • Calder, Norman. "Exploring God's Law: Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi Sahl al-Sarakhsi on zakat." In Law and the Islamic world past and present, by Christopher Toll and Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen. Copenhagen: Bianco Lunos Bogtrykkeri A/S, 1995.
  • Calder, Norman, Jawid Ahmad Mojaddedi, and Andrew Rippin. Classical Islam: A sourcebook of Religious Literature. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Jackson, Sherman A. "From Prophetic Actions to Constitutional Theory: A Novel Chapter in Medieval Muslim." International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, 1993: 71-90.
  • Kassim, Husain. Sarakhsi- Hugo Grotius of the Muslims: The Doctrine of Juristic Preference and the Concepts of Treaties and Mutal Relations. San Francisco: Austin and Winfield Publishers, 1994.
  • Mallat, Chibli. The renewal of Islamic Law: Muhammad Baqer as-Sadr, Najaf and the Shi'i International. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

See also[edit]