Al-Kaafi is one of the marvels of Islamic literature. It is from the series of literally accomplishments offered by the author, al-Imaam Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi. It is the third book in a series of four books that Ibn Qudamah wrote in order to gradually take a student of knowledge through the different levels of understanding.
‘Umdah for the elementary level
al-Muqni’ for the middle-school level
al-Kaafi for the high-school level
al-Mughni for the university level
Al-Kaafi was authored with the goal of acquainting the student with the sources of the Law, and the methodology for extrapolating rules from the revelation. It bring forth the differing opinion with their evidence and explains what is preferred.
Al-Kaafi is a blessed book that contains a huge amount of benefit for the reader even though it is only four volumes. This is the perfect level for the student of knowledge since it deals with evidence but it is not as detail as al-Mughni. It is very self-explanatory and that might explain why it has not been explained by any scholar in a separate book form, unlike al-`Umdah or al-Muqni`.
Ibn Qudamah(أبن قدامة) was a distinguished scholar of Islam. He was a pillar of the Hanbali madhhab, the author of numerous beneficial books, a staunch defender of the Sunnah and a man known for his piety. He was born in Palestine in 541 Hijri, He memorized the entire Quran at an early age, then continued to memorize by heart huge manuscripts of Islamic knowledge.
Al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir said about him:
He was the Shaikh ul Islaam, an Imaam, a Scholar, outstandingly proficient. There was not found in his time or before it by a long span of time, anyone possessing more Fiqh than him.
Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said about his books:
He generated benefit to all the Muslims on a general level, and to the scholars of the (Hanbali) Madhab on a specific level. These books spread widely and grew very popular, according to the nobility of his intention and sincerity when writing them.
- Student of Knowledge » Al-Kāfi fi fiqh al-Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal
- Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah
- Dhayl Tabaqaatil-Hanabilah’ Volume # 2 Page # 133