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Al-Hidayah fi Sharh Bidayat al-Mubtadi (d. 593 AH/1197 CE) (Arabic: الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي‎, al-Hidāyah fī Sharḥ Bidāyat al-Mubtadī), commonly referred to as al-Hidayah (lit. "the guidance", also spelled Hedaya[1]), is a 12th-century legal manual by Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani, which is considered to be one of the most influential compendia of Hanafi jurisprudence (fiqh).[2][3] It has been subject of numerous commentaries.[2] The book played a key role in the development of the amalgam of Islamic and British law known as Anglo-Muhammadan law.[4]

History and significance[edit]

The author, Shaykh al-Islam Burhan al-Din al-Farghani al-Marghinani (d.593AH/1197CE), was considered to be one of the most esteemed jurists of the Hanafite school.[4] Al-Hidayah is a concise commentary on al-Marghinani's own compendium al-Bidayat al-mubtadi, which was in turn based on Mukhtasar by al-Quduri and al-Shaybani's al-Jami‘ al-saghir.[5][6] The significance of al-Hidayah in the Hanafite school lay not in its intrinsic virtues, but in its role as an authoritative and convenient basis for further commentaries.[4] Thus, it constituted not a statement of the law in itself, but rather an interpretative framework for elaboration of jurisprudence in different times and places.[4]

During the era of British colonialism in South Asia, al-Hidayah played a central role in the development of the amalgam of Islamic and British law known as Anglo-Muhammadan law.[4] Since the Hanafite school was predominant on the Indian sub-continent, the book was influential there as a substrate for commentaries, and — supplemented by professorial exposition — as a textbook for law colleges (madrasas).[4][7] In the late 18th century, William Jones commissioned its translation into Persian, and this version was used by Charles Hamilton to produce an English translation.[4] The translation enabled British colonial judges to adjudicate in the name of sharia, which amounted to an unprecedented codification of Hanafi law, severed from its Arabic-language interpretative tradition.[4] This served to accomplish two goals, which had been long pursued by the British in India: firstly, it limited the judicial discretion of the qadis and the influence of muftis in the sharia system, reducing their earlier role as "middlemen" between the Islamic legal tradition and the colonial administration; and, secondly, it replaced the interpretative mechanisms of fiqh by those of English law.[4]



  • Charles Hamilton's 1791 translation into English, which was made from a Persian translation rather than from the original Arabic text.[4]
  • A new English translation of the original Arabic text by Dr Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, translated from its original Arabic text with introduction, commentary and notes was published by in 2006. This translation covers the ritual and family law sections, amounting to about 40% of the original work. The volumes on civil, contractual and criminal law were largely omitted.[8]


  • 1896 - Translation and commentary by Maulana Sayyid Amir Ali, entitled Ainul-Hidayah and published in Lucknow.[9] An edited and expanded edition was produced by Maulana Anwarul-Haq Qasimi, published in 2003 as Ainul-Hidayah Jadid.[10]
  • 1984 - Translation and commentary by Maulana Jamil Ahmad Qasimi Sakrodhawi, entitled Ashraful-Hidayah.[11]
  • 2004 - Translation and commentary by Maulana Abdul-Halim Qasimi Bastawi, entitled Ahsanul-Hidayah.[12]
  • 2008 - Translation and commentary by Maulana Samiruddin Qasimi, entitled Asmarul-Hidayah.[13]


  • 1982 - Hasan Ege[14]
  • 1990 - Ahmet Meylani[14]
  • 2014 - Hüsamettin Vanlıoğlu, Abdullah Hiçdönmez, Fatih Kalender, and Emin Ali Yüksel.


  1. ^ Charles Hamilton (trans.) The Hedaya: Commentary on the Islamic Laws (Delhi) 1994 (2nd Edition 1870)
  2. ^ a b John L. Esposito, ed. (2014). "Marghinani, Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-". The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ Dr Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee (trans.) Al-Hidayah: A classical manual of Hanafi Law Laws (Bristol) 2006
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wael B. Hallaq (2009). Sharī'a: Theory, Practice, Transformations. Cambridge University Press (Kindle edition). pp. 374–376.
  5. ^ W. Heffening. Encyclopedia of Islam, Brill, 2nd ed. "al-Marghinani", vol. 6, p. 558.
  6. ^ Knut S. Vikør: Between God and the Sultan': A History of Islamic Law. 2005, p.162, note.45
  7. ^ Robert W. Hefner; Muhammad Qasim Zaman: Schooling Islam, 2007, S.63 f.: „has served for centuries […] the cornerstone of legal studies in South Asian madrasas“.
  8. ^ Outpost Commentary: Burhan al-Din al-Farghani Al-Marghinani, Dr Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Al-Hiddayah, The Guidance (Bristol: Amal Press, 2006)
  9. ^ Sayyid Amīr ‘Alī (n.d.). ‘Ainul-Hidāyah عین الہدایہ. Lucknow: Munshi Newal Kishore.
  10. ^ Sayyid Amīr ‘Alī; Anwārul-Haq Qāsimī (2003). ‘Ainul-Hidāyah Jadīd عین الہدایہ جدید. Karachi: Dārul-Ishā‘at.
  11. ^ Jamīl Aḥmad Sakroḍhawī (2006) [1984?]. Ashraful-Hidāyah اشرف الہدایہ. Karachi: Dārul-Ishā‘at.
  12. ^ ‘Abdul-Ḥalīm Qāsimī Bastawī (n.d.) [2004?]. Aḥsanul-Hidāyah احسن الہدایہ. Lahore: Maktabah-yi Raḥmānīyah.
  13. ^ S̱amīruddīn Qāsimī (2008). As̱mārul-Hidāyah اثمار الہدایہ.
  14. ^ a b Yaran, Rahmi (1998–1999). "Hidaye Tercümeleri". M. Ü. İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi (16–17): 173–193.