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Uzbekistan: a land multifarious geniuses. ABU-L-BARAKAT AN-NASAFI (1232-1310)

The full name of this genius who lived in the 8th century was Hafiz ad-din Abu-l-Barakat Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Majmud an-Nasafi. In the book “Al-Mavsua al-arabiya al-muyassara” written by Muhammad Shafiq Girbal, his birth date is shown to be 1232. Although his scientific activity was fruitful, little is known about his personal life. However, it is possible to get some information about his personality and viewpoints from the sources mentioned below. They are:

  1. “Al-Favaid al-bahiya fi tarajim al-Hanafiya” (Beirut, 1998)
    by Abdulhay al-Laknavi;
  2. “Kashf az-zunun” (“Alam” publishing house, 1993) by
    Mullah Katib Chelebi;
  3. “Al-Javahir al-muziyya fi tabaqat al-Hanafiya” (Cairo, 1989) by Abu Muhammad Abdulqadir ibn Muhammad al-Qurashi;
  4. “At-Tafsir va-l-Mufassirun” (Cairo, 1995) by Muhammad Husain az-Zahabi;
  5. “Dirasat fi ulum al-Qur’an” (Beirut, 1983) by Amir Abdulaziz;
  6. “Tabaqat al-mufassirin” (Beirut, 2002) by Shams ad-din Muhammad ibn Ali ad-Davudi and some other books written by Abu-l-Barakat himself.

In the process of his becoming a highly estimated and appreci­ated scholar of his time, much was done by his teachers and tutors. One of such respectable teachers of Abu-l-Barakat an-Nasafi was a well-known scholar of his time Abu-l-Vajd Shams al-Aimma Muhammad al-Kardari. He taught the promising scholar such subjects as tafsir, law and kalam. In his turn, Abu-l-Vajd Shams al-Aimma Muhammad al-Kardari had been taught by the author of the book “Hidaya” Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani and the author of the book “Fatava Qazikhan” Fakhr ad-din Qazikhan, etc.

According to the information at our disposal, one of the first people who had spread the science of law was Abu Zayd ad-Dabusi. After him, Abu-l-Vajd Shams al-Aimma Muhammad al-Kardari was recognized in the science as the person who had reanimated this subject as a science. Perhaps because of this act, hundreds of lawyers were educated in Maveraunnahr. The scholar al-Kardari died on June 18, 1244/646 A.H. on the 9th day of the month Muharram on Friday.

Abu-l-Barakat an-Nasafi had some more teachers and masters such as Hamid ad-din az-Zarir Ali ibn Muhammad Ali ar-Ramishi and Badr ad-din Khavahirzada Muhammad ibn Mahmud ibn Abdulkarim. Having absorbed the knowledge and science from such well-known teachers and masters, Abu-l-Barakat received the ho­noured title of “Hafiz ad-din” (defender of the religion). There were two nominees to that honourable title at that time. The second one was a scholar Hafiz ad-din Abu-1-Fadl Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Kabir al-Bukhari. Both of these scholars were taught by a genius master ar-Kardari.

A number of scientific works created by Abu-l-Barakat an-Nasafi in different branches of Islamic law such as tafsir, law and kalam are appreciated by the experts and students as a precious and rare source in the above-mentioned branches of science and studied attentively by the researchers. Among those sources we can mention such books as “Kanz ad-daqaiq” (A Treasure of Delicate Questions), “Al-Vafi” (Full) and its commentaries “Al-Kafi” (Satisfactory). The experts consider that his book “Kanz ad-daqaiq” is the second best book in the field of law after “Hidaya” by Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani.

The urgent problems of the Islamic law such as prayer, fasting, hajj, punishment as well as the ideas promoted by different scholars as Abu Hanifa, Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad, Imam Zufar and Imam ash-Shafi’i on these matters and Hadiths are mentioned in “Kanz ad-daqaiq”. The book was translated into Persian by Nas-rullah ibn Muhammad al-Kermani. The Urdu version of the book was prepared by Ahlullah ibn Sheikh Abdurahim. Moreover, the manuscript of the book has several times been copied and published by different publishers.

As a precious and rare original source “Kanz ad-daqaiq” was commented on by different authors. Imam Fakhruddin Usman ibn Ali az-Zaylai’s “Tabyin al-haqaiq lima fihi ma intaza’a min ad-daqaiq” (Description of reality of problems taken from “Ad-daqaiq”), Zayn al-Abidin ibn Najm al-Misri’s (died in 970/1562-1563) “Al-Bar ar-raiq fi sharh Kanz ad-daqaiq” (Transparent sea of commentaries of “Kanz ad-daqaiq”) are some of the most famous samples of them.

Another most precious and appreciated source written by Abu-l-Barakat in the field of law is his book “Al-Vafi” (Full). This book is so invaluable that most experts put it alongside with “Hidaya” by Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani. Such an approach to this book may be found in Katib Chelebi’s book “Kashf az-zunun” (Settlement of Hesitations). According to the opinion put forward by Katib Chelebi, Abu-l-Barakat an-Nasafi decided to write commentaries on “Hidaya” by Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani but one of the leading specialists in law of that time Taj ash-Shariah persuaded him not to do so. Then Abu-l-Barakat an-Nasafi attempted to write his book on law “Al-Vafi” and its commentary “Al-Kafi”. With this, he satisfied himself as if he had commented on “Hidaya”. This work has incomparable authority among books written on the Islamic law.

Davronbek Maqsudov
Candidate of Historical Sciences

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