This book was undertaken specifically with a view toward providing the English-speaking Muslim who possesses knowledge of at least the fundamentals of Fiqh and Shariat with a reliable and authentic text book of standard Hanafi Fiqh.
The Islamic Institute of Da’wah and Research (MaJliss ud-Da’wah- Tahqeeq il Islami) was founded by Pakistan’s greatest Shaykh ul Headeeth, Maulana Mohammed Yousuf al-Banuri, may Allah illumine his resting place, in 1391-1971 as a center for scholars and thinkers from whence Islam and Islamic culture could be interpreted and promoted in the light of the needs of the present age. Among the most important goals of the Majliss are the following:
1. To present the Younger generation with publications which accurately depict Islam in all its aspects so as to protect them from the many distortions propagated by the enemies of Islam.
2. To translate important, contemporary Arabic literature on Islam into Urdu and vice-versa.
3. To translate important, works on Islam into the English language.
4. To publish thought-provoking words on Islam for the benefit of modern Muslim intellectuals and traditional Ulema alike.
At present a number of dedicated scholars are engaged at the Majliss in preparing works along the lines mentioned above in the Arabic, Urdu and English languages. To date the Majliss has published nearly thirty tiles, and the The Essential Hanafi Handbook of Fiqh is another important addition to this series.
As the translator has ably introduced the reader to both the book and its erudite author. I should like to take this opportunity to introduce the reader to the translator. Maulana Yusuf Talal Ali is an American convert to Islam. He received formal education at Jamiat ul Uloom il Islamiyyah, allama Mohammed Yousuf Banuri Town, Karachi 5 This famed institution was founded by Maulana Banuri, upon whom be the Mercy of Allah. Maulana Yusuf Talal All received the special attention of Maulana Banuri. Upon completion of his formal studies he was appointed by Shaikh Banuri to the Majliss where he translated this Book (The Essential Hanafi Handbook of Fiqh) as well as a booklet authored by the Saikh himself entitled “The Doctrine of ‘Ismat and the Position of the Sahaaba” which was also published by the Majliss. Maulana Yusuf Talal ali left the Majliss in 1978 to become the principal of Sri Lanka’s only Muslim university-college, the jamiah Naleemiah, and has only recently returned to Pakistan where he is serving as an advisor on Islamic Education at the Federal Ministry of Education in Islamabad.
Due to a number of reasons the publication of this book has been delayed a considerable amount of time. However, we at the Majliss are confident that the wait will have been insignificant in view of the value of the book itself. In conclusion, we ask Allah to guide us to that which is best for Islam and the Muslimeen and to grant us as well as readers of this book the ability to act upon the teachings of Islam. Ameen.
The translation of this book was undertaken specifically with a view toward providing the English-speaking muslim who possesses a knowledge of at least the fundamentals of Fiqh and Shariat with a reliable and authentic text book of standard Hanafi Fiqh for use in the classroom, home, or Masjid. As the number of muslim who rely on the medium of English for their knowledge of Islam increase day by day, the need for such a work has become obvious to many.
I have chosen to meet this need with a translation of Qazi Thanna Ullah’s classic Ma La Budda Minhu (That From Which There is No Escape) for a number of reasons, chief among which is the book’s general acceptance by the Ulemaa of the subcontinent as an authentic guide to the Hanafi school of Fiqh. (In addition to being the most widespread of the four schools of sunni Fiqh. Hanafi Fiqh is the system followed by nearly 90% of all European and American converts to Islam—of whom I am fortunate to be one.) Moreover, the book is concise, informative, and, perhaps most importantly of all, enlightening in its treatment of Shariat and Tariqat. In order to develop the latter theme more throughtly I have included a brief biography of the author, who was a great Sufi in addition to being a Qazi and scholar of the Shariat. Not long after Quzi Thanaa Ullah wrote the original, his friend, Hafiz Muhammad Ali wrote a modified Urdu translation of the same, entitled Rah-i-Najaat (The Road To Salvation). By error, the book was first published as the work of Shah Rafi ud-Deen; but in subsequent editions the name Hafiz Muhammad appear on the tile page. This version of the book was translated into Bengali under to same title. Then, years later, the book was again translated into Urdu from the original Persian under the title Kashf-u-Hajah (Revealing the Need).
A further sign of the book’s acceptance is the attention it received from the Hanafi Ulemaa themselves, who not only made the book a mainstay in the Arabic Madrassah ‘Dars-i-Nizaami’ syllabus, but who also wrote, in Persian and in Urdu, a number of commentaries and glosses on the text. Owing to its compactness and utility, there is no reason why the English version of the book should not come to enjoy the same popularity and acceptance the last hundred years, have been published and re-published in edition after edition.
What the reader has before him now is a modified translation of the original Persian text. While I have attempted in the work of translation to be as faithful to the original as possible, I have also made a number of changes.
This type of alteration which appears most frequently in this work is the inclusion in brackets of explanatory words and notes throughout the text. These are, for the most part, intended to clarify what might otherwise have been obscure or ambiguous passages in the original. In a few instances these bracketed notes have had to be quite lengthy to be of any value, as in the first chapter of the Book of Zakaat, the fourth chapter of the Book of Janaaza, and the eighth and fifteenth chapters of the Book of Salaat. Yet, in spite of these clarification, the average reader will often find his knowledge of the Shariat, as well as his powers of concentration, challenged on many of the pages of this book, much like the scholars of Fiqh are challenged by the texts of such advanced Hanafi works as al-Marghinari’s Hidaaya or Kashani’s Baddai us Sannai.
There are also a number of instances where I have used brakets to discuss or include matters of contemporary relevance, such as the performance of Salaat on trains and airplanes, the performance of Jumuah Salaat in prison, the consumption of shrimp and other shellfish, and visiting graveyards. At any rate, the important thing to note is that everything in brackets has been appended by the translator—and that if there are any mistakes in this book, they will be found between brackets.
Furthermore, I have deleted those parts of the text which I considered to be of little or no value to the modern reader; and while I have attempted to tone down certain passages in the text. I cannot claim to have rid the book entirely of its 18th century attitudes Admittedly, however, neither can I claim to have rid the translation of certain 20th century attitudes, Nevertheless, in a work of this nature such differences really account for very little.
Another feature of this work is its specification, in cases where more than one legal opinion has been present in the text of the original, of the opinion on which rests the Fatwaa of the later Hanafi scholars. In this I have relied almost exclusively on Ibn Abideen’s Raddul Muhtaar or the book popularly known as Shami’ If should be noted in this context that the Imams Abu Yusuf and Muhammad were the companions and two greatest students of the Imam Abu Hanifa and, as such are considered to be pillars of the hanafi school of Fiqh.
A number of other types of alteration were made for the purpose of making the text more fluid and readily understood, such as the use of numbers, titles and subtitles, and minor textual rearrangements. Finally, I have provided the reader with Glossary of Technical Arabic Terms at the end of the book.
I can only hope that what I have done will prove to be useful to the reader in his study of this book.
May Allah most High accept this effort and lead us by means of it to the Way of His Pleasure. Ameen.
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