Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim

Wajib vs. Fard

At 03:07 AM 9/21/2002, you wrote:
assalamu alaikum

wa `alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

#1  Are there any books of takhrij of hadith by hanbali muhadditheen done on
the hanbali fiqh books that are printed and available?

I remember reading one or two classical works of takhrij, but I cannot remember the specifics. The longer and more detailed books in the mathhab tend to discuss differences between various transmissions of a hadith, though they expect some familiarity with hadith al-ahkam.

Books like Al-Zayla`i's Nasb Al-Rayat or Ibn Hajar's Al-Talkhis Al-Habir are still quite useful; both authors are known for their fairness. Al-Majd Ibn Taymiyyah's Al-Muntaqa is also quite helpful.

The late Nasr Al-Din Al-Albani's Irwa Al-Ghalil is a takhrij of Manar Al-Sabil, and the Damascene `Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Mahdi has a concise and excellent takhrij on Al-`Udda.

But in the end: in light of the mathhab's emphasis on ijtihad, detailed takhrij almost sound like cheating. And al-hamdu lillah for Al-Zayla`i and Ibn Hajar!

#2  In Dalil al-talib, the word "wajib" is used for the tasmiyyah (in the
chapters on wudu, ghusl, tayammum...) and "fard" for the other obligatory
aspects.  I know that Imam Ahmad is said have used the word fard for that
which is established from the Quran and wajib for that from the sunnah. Is
the author of Dalil operating on this terminology or some other?

Hanbali books of usul al-fiqh state that the strongest opinion in the mathhab is that fard and wajib are synonymous. But books of Hanbali fiqh, or more specifically: furu` al-fiqh, do not consider the two synonymous.

Of the books I have readily available, the best discussion on this topic comes in a book by the great Hanbali Imam, Yusuf bin `Abd Al-Hadi, also well known as Ibn Al-Mibrad. What he says is that
Wajib is that which someone who intentionally omits it is unconditionally censured for. Linguistically, wajib and fard are distinct. Legally, they are synonymous according to the soundest of the two opinions transmitted from Imam Ahmad.

The second transmitted opinion is that fard is more emphatic; according to this opinion the fard is what is established using a certain proof (dalil maqtu` bihi) (Ibn Balban: and the wajib established using a probabilistic proof (dalil mathnun)), or: that the fard is that which cannot be omitted  through intention or neglect (Ibn Baban: whereas the wajib can be omitted), or: that the fard is required by the Qur'an (Ibn Balba: and the wajib is required by the sunna). (Ghayat Al-Saul, pp157-58)
This second opinion transmitted from Imam Ahmad agrees with what you wrote. However, the first opinion transmitted from Imam Ahmad is considered stronger and it is what the scholars of usul use.

But when the Hanbalis talk about fiqh, they define the fard as something which cannot be omitted--intentionally or through neglect--without invalidating the action it is a part of. This is in contrast to the wajib, which is something that when omitted through neglect, the action that it is a part of can still be valid (with details specific to each individual topic). Mar`i bin Yusuf alludes to this in Dalil Al-Talib in the very opening of the section on wudu: "tajibu fihi al-tasmiyyah, wa tasqutu sahwan, wa in dhakaraha fi ithna'ihi ibtada'a" (Saying bismillah al-rahmani al-rahim is obligatory, but it ceases [being obligatory if left] out of neglect, and if he remembers it during the wudu he restarts the wudu).

Ibn Al-Mibrad defends and explains the distinction between the definitions in usul al-fiqh and fiqh by pointing out that the definitions in usul al-fiqh are concerned with the praise and censure of actions, while the definitions in fiqh are concerned with the soundness and validity of actions. He points out that according to this, fard and wajib are synonymous in usul al-fiqh while they are distinct in fiqh. (Ghayat al-saul, p157)

This distinction between the two disciplines is not always explicitly stated. Ibn Badran in Al-Madkhal (p66) uses the strongest definition according to the discipline of usul al-fiqh without mentioning that in fiqh there is a slight difference, while in his introduction to Akhsar Al-Mukhtsarat  (p77) he does acknowledge it.

So, to wrap this up: the author of Dalil Al-Talib is using the definitions from the disciplined of fiqh, whereas the opinion from Imam Ahmad is the weaker of two transmitted opinions that fall under the discipline of usul al-fiqh.

And Allah knows best.

[Works references: Ibn Qudamah's Raudhat Al-Nathir (Maktabah Al-Kulliyaat Al-Azhariyyah) pp70-85, Ibn Balban's Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarat (Dar Al-Basha'ir Al-Isamiyyah) p77, Mar`i bin Yusuf's Dalil Al-Talib (Mus'asisah Al-Kutub Al-Thaqafiyyah) p15, Ibn Al-Mibrad's Ghayat Al-Sual (Dar Al-Basha'ir Al-Islamiyyah) pp155-58, Ibn Badran's Al-Madkhal (Dar Al-Kutub Al-`Ilmiyyah) p66]

barakAllah fikum

wa iyyakum, wa iyyahum.

wa al-salamu `alaykum