- Study one of the relied-upon works of the Shafi’i madhab cover-to-cover in Arabic
- Gain first-hand exposure to the sharia principles of the Shafi’i maddhab
- See how a classical text is explained by a teacher trained in the maddhab
- Part 1 of the course covers the authors introduction, key terminology in the school, and the chapter of purity
- Students must be proficient in Arabic and have a background in Shafi’i fiqh
About the Course
This course shall cover the famous Shafi’i work of fiqh Minhaj al-Talibin by Imam Nawawi. The book is well known and widely studied, being accepted as the most relied-upon work in the Shafi’i school. Students shall read the entirety of the Minhaj with Dr. Muhammad Said al-Mujahed over a series of courses.
Muhammad Said al-Mujahed shall read the text and explain the rulings using commentary from the various relied-upon commentaries on the illustrious work. The course shall focus on exposing students to depth and development of the Shafi’i school as well as the skills needed to read technical works relied-upon for fatwa.
The course shall be taught entirely in Arabic. Being directly based on the Arabic text itself, the course is an ideal opportunity for students to develop the fiqh-specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills necessary to directly access old legal texts.
The is conducted entirely in Arabic and assumes students can read and understand the language with the level of proficiency required to attend a class, take notes, ask questions, and read a text in Arabic.
Study of such a work usually presupposes a strong background in Shafi’i fiqh, and a good awareness of legal methodology.
- The author’s introduction
- Terminology of the School
- What breaks wudu
- Wiping on Footgear
- Types of filth
- Dry ablution
The course will consist of weekly Live Sessions.
Why is this course so special?
This course is being taught directly in Arabic. No translations, no secondary sources – here students shall read from the actual Arabic commentary of a classical work of fiqh with a qualified teacher. This presents a level of exposure to the science of fiqh, and the Shafi’i school of law, that is simply beyond the reach of a course being taught in English.
Why? Simply because working with the actual Arabic words themselves, and not with a translator’s explanatory rendition, is the only way students can get a feel for what it means for the vocabulary of a text to be specific to that science (the science of fiqh in this case); and how even within the science of fiqh the same vocabulary can mean entirely different things across the different schools and across different times. Reading the text directly in Arabic therefore offers a window of insight into this crucial dimension of understanding, and correctly interpreting, the legacy of scholarship we have been left with.
Studying directly in Arabic to get a direct feel for the scholarly tradition of Islam. This is the real thing.
Who is Imam Nawawi?
The great scholar, hadith master, biographer, lexicologist, and saintly mystic Imam Nawawi is perhaps best known for his hadith books Riyadh al-Saliheen (The Gardens of the Righteous), Kitab al-Adhkar (Book of Remembrance), and his eighteen-volume Sharh Sahih Muslim (Commentary on the Sahih Muslim). Imam Nawawi was one of the foremost students and intellectual heirs of Imam al-Shafi’i, and in the Shafi’i school his texts are referenced more often than the early works of Imam al-Shafi’i himself.
He was famed for his devotion to knowledge and learning, his great erudition, his simplicity, his unattachment to this world and Godfearingness. He would only sleep when overcome with fatigue and once said of himself: “I spent two years without lying on the ground [to sleep] on my side.” Some narrations state that apart from his books, his only worldly possessions were his turban and long gown. He was extremely scrupulous about only eating of the completely halal - he would refuse to eat even ordinarily permissible foods since he was never sure about whether the source of income that was used to produce it was halal in the Damascus of his day and age.
The Imam died at the age of only 45 years. But so great was the baraka that Allah placed in his time, that in his short lifespan he became one of the leading scholars of Damascus and published classical works of enduring value that have remained among the best books of the umma in their genre to this day.
Why this book?
As Ibn Khaldun tells us in his Muqaddima, the Islamic sciences reached their peak of maturity and refinement in the seventh century: the finest works in creed, legal methodology, hadith science, grammar and fiqh were written and thereafter the scholars relied upon these works for fatwa, teaching and training. Minhaj al-Talibin is the ‘case in point’ in the Shafi’i school: after four centuries of development, the legacy of Imam al-Shafi’i had reached its apex and needed the careful hands of a sincere, erudite jurist who not only had a more than comprehensive grasp of the school, but also had deep learning in the sharia disciplines, not least hadith. This person was Imam Nawawi.
Besides other works like is 28-volume Compendium, his much celebrated commentary on Sahih Muslim, and other authoritative works, Imam Nawawi wrote a brief study manual that was to be the pilgrimage of all commentaries and muftis till this present moment.
Why is Traditional Learning key to understanding such classical texts?
Studying under a qualified teacher who can explain the text and its technical vocabulary to the students, and give students the correct context for the different positions that exist in a maddhab, is the only way to access the classical texts of the various sciences without falling into misinterpretation.
This technical knowledge – the specific details and the greater context of all the different positions that exist in a maddhab – is not found in the texts themselves. The texts of the tradition are written by specialists, who assume that the reader shall already be familiar with the technicalities. This knowledge can only be taken from people who have directly sat with teachers of the tradition and thereby learnt how the tradition works and is applied. This knowledge is the key to correctly understanding the tradition of our deen. This is traditional knowledge.
And it is not found by reading on one’s own. One must therefore learn from the scholars of the tradition.