Islamic Studies (Islamabad) 1:3 (1962


translated into English with an Introduction.
Baltimore. 1961. pp. 376.


The Johns Hopkins Press.

2. ghalil I. Semaan, ASH-SH
- AFI'I's RIS ALAH: BASIC IDEAS. with English translation of the Chapters on an-N&i& wa-al-Mansiia. Sh. Muhammad Ashraf.
Lahore, 1961 : pp. x i i t 69.



By a coincidence. both of these works deal with al-Sefi'i's Risiilah, the work
which. for the first time, formulated the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence a t the
turn of the third century A.H. The second of the two works offers a brief
Introduction. mainly consisting of a life-sketch of a l - a a f i ' i , a summary or the
"Basic ideas" of t h e Risalah and a translation of the Chapter on abrogation
in the Risiilah. The brief Preface laments the unobjective and prejudicial
character of many Western studies of Islam. especially in the past. The c o m ~ l a i n t
in itself is true but one fails t o see its connection with the body of the work and
one cannot help feeling that i t is probably made t o ensure the sympathy of the
Muslims. Whlle the Introduction, giving a general survey of the basic concepts
of the Risiilah. is useful for a general reader. i t is obvious that i t does not emanate
from the pen of a mature scholar: no attempt has been made t o present the various
elements of this fundamental work as a legal &trine. The quality of the translation is also not satisfactory and wherever the two translations differ. as they do
s o not infrequently. Khadduri's translation i s always better. One would also
have liked t o know why, among all the doctrines of the Risiilah, the one
concerned with the question of abrogation was singled out for translation. Let
us hope, however, t h a t Khalil Semaan will give us in future a comprehensive
work on the Risdlah of al-ShBfi'i.
prof. Majid Khadduri's translation is a much mors mature and scholarly work.
The translation is accompanied by foot-notes explaining technical terms and
tracing references of Hadz&s etc. t o later collections. The translator has,
however, based his work on Ahmad a g k i r ' s edition of the text (Cairo. 1358/1940)
without any textual emendations and has contented himself with the admission
that the text needs t o be critically edited (p. 52). On the translation some
comments will be offered presently.
The method adopted in the description of a l - a l f i ' i s life in the Introduction
is n o t satisfactory. Little attempt has been made a t a crltical appraisal of traditional reports about a l - a a f i ' i and especially his relation t o the Iraqi school and
particularly al-aaybsni-reports which abound in contradictions. Instead of
resolving contradictions. we have mere reports prefaced by "some authorities
state". "most authorities believe", "some authorities stress", etc. (see particularly
pp. 12-13), Did al-aaybiini really intercede on behalf of the captive al-a8fi.i
before the Caliph 7 If so. are the stories of a subsequent public conflict between
the two quite cred~ble? If these stories cannot command much credence and if

© Dr Muhammad Hamidullah Library, IIU, Islamabad.