Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
A Small Reading List
T he following is a list of Hanbali books limited to the subjects of fiqh
and usul al-fiqh. The question keeps coming up of what books people should
obtain if they want to have a decent Hanbali section in their reference
library. What follows is just my personal preference, based on my own
limited experience and knowledge. By Allah's leave, I will explain the
merits of some of the books. Books tend to be listed in order of importance
for actual study of the mathab.
First, some basic books used for study:
Akhsar al-mukhtasirat -- most basic rulings in the mathab. The
Dar Al-Basha'ir print includes marginal notes from Sheikh `Abd Al-Qadir Ibn
Badran, which are quite useful.
Dalil Al-Talib -- much more detailed than the above, while still
being very easy to read. This is the basis for fatwa in Sham. This is one
of the more important books for students, because of its two primary
commentaries: Nail Al-Ma'arib and Manar Al-Sabil. The
first commentary focuses on giving examples and more fiqh issues; the
second gives basic commentary and evidence for almost all of the rulings.
Both commentaries are very easy to read. There is a hashiya on Nail
Al-Ma'arib titled Hashiyat Al-Lubadi, which is quite helpful.
These commentaries are fairly late, and they are standard books for a
Al-`Udda Sharh Al-`Umdat -- the classical commentary on
Al-Muwaffiq's basic text for beginners. The commentary introduces the
student to alternative positions in the mathab, their evidence (dalil), how
the evidence works (wajh al-istidlal), and the underlying cause that is
used for analogical reasoning (ta`lil). This typically read after getting
decent familiarity and mastery of Nail Al-Ma'arib.
Al-Raudh Al-Murbi` -- the basic introductory, mufta bihi primer
used in the Gulf. Quite excellent; there's a lot more in it than you'd
expect, given it's small size. Not typically read in Sham.
Ghayat Al-Muntaha -- the encyclopedia of rulings. Doesn't include
evidence of ta`lil; it's just ruling, after ruling, after ruling. And
unlike many other Hanbali books: it's really, really concise and sometimes
difficult reading. This isn't necessarily basic, but this used to be part
of the Hanbali syllabus here.
Al-Mughni -- perhaps the most famous Hanbali book among
non-Hanbalis. It includes opinions of the Four schools, in addition to the
early mathabs that became extinct. The books gives the various opinions;
the Companions, Tabi`in, and Imams (Allah be well pleased with them all)
who took which opinions; the evidence; and a very brief discussion of the
evidence. It's easy to read, but you need some familiarity with usul and
Al-Insaf fi ma`rifat al-rajih min al-khilaf -- one of the better
references for knowing the various opinions within the mathab and which
scholars took them. Includes evidence and lots of commentary. A must have,
but unfortunately very difficult to get these days.
Kashshaf Al-Qina` -- lots of commentary, lots of evidence, but
not a lot of different opinions internal or external to the mathab.
Al-Furu` -- Ibn Muflih weaves together the opinions of Ibn
Taymiyyah and the mathab.
Al-Muharrar -- for each issue it says whether there are multiple
opinions, without saying with one is used for fatwa.
Sharh Al-Waraqat -- the very basics. Expected reading.
Ghayat Al-Sul -- much more detailed; gives differences of opinion
among the scholars of usul, and gives the position of the late
Al-Madhkhal 'Ila Mathab Al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal -- more than
just usul al-fiqh: usul al-mathab. Yes: this book gets read.
Raudhat Al-Nathir -- an abbriged and Hanbali-ized version of Imam
Al-Ghazali's classic work Al-Mustasfa. Al-Muwaffiq even included
the introduction on mantiq. The late Sheikh `Abd Al-Qadir ibn Badran has a
commentary on this book which is highly recommended. And, al-hamdu lillah,
it is fairly easy to find. It still gets read.
Muswada 'Ali Tayymiyah -- notes dealing with usul written by
three scholars from consecutive generations from the well known family.
Unfortunately, there's no index.