Is Shirbini’s Commentary of Abu Shuja‘ Reliable?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Is the Shafi‘i Fiqh book “Al-Iqna‘ fi Hal Alfaz ‘Abi Shuja‘” a reliable and trustworthy book for all Sunni scholars and jurists to study?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

Al-Iqna‘ fi Hal Alfaz ‘Abi Shuja‘ by Imam Khatib Al-Shirbini, is an excellent commentary of the classical Shafi‘i primer, “Matn Al-Ghaya wa Al-Taqrib” by Imam Ahmad Ibn al Husayn al-Asfahani (Allah have mercy on them), and represents one of the renowned, reliable and trustworthy books of the rich Shafi‘i scholarly legacy.

The Primary Text – Matn Al-Ghaya wa Al-Taqrib

The classical Shafi‘i primer, Matn Al-Ghaya wa Al-Taqrib, more commonly known as Matn Abi Shuja’, was written by the erudite and pious Shafi‘i scholar from Basra, Ahmad Ibn Al-Husayn Al-Asfahani (d. 500’s AH / 1100’s CE), more famously known as Abu Shuja‘. [Bugha, Tadhhib fi Adilla Al-Ghaya wa Al-Taqrib]

His Matn Abi Shuja‘, a short introduction to the Shafi‘i School of Sacred Law, is one of the most blessed textbooks of the School–although it was written almost a millennium ago, it remains an integral part of Shafi‘i Fiqh curricula all over the world and has been the subject of dozens of commentaries and super-commentaries ever since it was written till the present age. [ibid.]

The Commentary and its Author – Al-Iqna‘ fi Hal Alfaz ‘Abi Shuja‘

The commentary, Al-Iqna‘ fi Hal Alfaz ‘Abi Shuja‘, was written by Shams Al-Din Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Shirbini Al-Khatib (d. 977AH / 1570 CE) (famously known as Al-Khatib Al-Shirbīni).

Khatib Shirbini was a student of the renowned Shaykh Al-Islam Zakariyya Al-Ansari and Imam Shihab Al-Din Al-Ramli, among others. Shirbini was a renowned Egyptian scholar deeply immersed in Shafi’i Jurisprudence, Legal Theory, Qu’ran Exegesis, and Arabic. Revered for his wisdom and piety, his contributions to Islamic scholarship left a lasting impact. [Al-A‘lam, Zirikli]

In addition to his widely-read magnum opus, “Mughni Al-Muhtaj,” he is celebrated for his well-known three-volume commentary titled “Al-Iqna‘ fi Hal Alfaz ‘Abi Shuja‘.”

This commentary is regarded as one of the finest elucidations of the renowned treatise “Matn Abi Shuja” in Shafi’i Fiqh. With a meticulous and scholarly approach, Khatib Shirbini’s commentary provides valuable explanations and critical analyses, making it an indispensable resource for students and scholars. [Jabiyy, Muqaddima Iqna‘,]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.