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Uzbekistan: a land multifarious geniuses. BURKHAN AD-DIN MARGHINANI (Part 3)

In the preface of “Bidayatu-l-mubtadi”, he wrote the following lines: “When I was a young specialist in the field of law, I used to think of a small laconic book with a wide content covering all the problems of law and legal matters. In the course of stepping the stages of life, I came across the book “Al-Mukhtasar” by Al-Quduri and found it to be the most precious, small and meaningful book. I also witnessed the fact that the scholars around called the old and young to study and learn the essence of “Al-Jamiu-s-saghiyr”. At that moment I decided to unite both of the above-mentioned books into one unit. I tried not to come out of their framework and titled my book as “Bidayatu-l-mubtadi” (The beginner’s first book). If I happen to be able to comment on this book, I will title it as ” Kif ayatu -1 – muntahi” “.

In order to realize his intention to write a commentary on “Bidayatu-l-mubtadi” which he had mentioned in its preface and taking into consideration the smallness of the book, Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani wrote a commentary and titled it as “Kifayatu-1­muntahi” (A book that satisfies the finishers). However, the author was not satisfied with this book, because the thickness of the manual was not always easy to carry for the students studying law. There­fore, in accord with his intention and the advice of his colleagues, the author began to compile a middle-sized commentary on the book “Bidayatu-l-mubtahi”. It was in 573 on Wednesday of the month Zul-qa’da that he began to write this tremendous work. As was witnessed by a scholar Sheikh Akmal ad-din, it was not easy for him to carry out this sacred task which took 13 years of his life. The author mobilized all of his power and ability and resources of his knowledge. According to the statement mentioned by Abdulhay Laknavi, during the period of writing the book (for 13 years) Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani tried to keep fast. When he was offered food by a servant, he used to give it to his students and he himself kept fasting. Because he knew that fasting gives a person spiritual courage and helps to concentrate.

Why was it so difficult to write another four-volume commentaiy when there was a multi-volume commentary? Why did the author have to spend on it so much time (13 years)?

The answer to these important questions lies in the following lines.

First of all, there were thousands of unsettled subjective questions dealing with the legal matters to be solved. They were taken from the above-mentioned works of Imam Muhammad ash Shaybani and al-Quduri in a shortened form. Among them, there were questions having to do with the everyday life of the common people and the others were dealing with the development of stale and government. From this point of view, the author had to study the questions standing before him very attentively and classify them by dividing them into the most urgent problems and the common questions. These tasks demanded a great amount of knowledge, patience, effort, all-sided investigations and observations of each question under discussion.

Secondly, as Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani lived in the fifth stage (i.e. the stage of mukharrijs) of the six periods (the periods of the Prophet (saas), sahabas, tabi’is, mujtahids, mukharrijs and muqallids) that the science of law had to pass, it was not easy for him to cover all the legal materials produced by the representatives of the four previous periods and he did not have an authority to express his own vision on these legal matters independently. Because during the 9th-10th centuries it was prohibited to change the Islamic laws and nobody could express their views on Islamic law without the support of the authoritative figures in this field. There was a commonly accepted rule that the lawyers of the lower level could only comment on and describe the features of the laws established previously by the leading experts of the Islamic law. However, Muhammad Abdulhay Laknavi classified the acknowledged lawyers ol the Hanafian order into six groups in his famous book “Al-l’avaid al-bahiya” and mentioned the name of the author of “Hidaya” and al-Quduri as “Ashabu-t-tarjiyh”, i.e. the experts who had the right to express their own views on the essence of some articles of the legal code of that time.

Under these conditions, there were a great number of articles, legends, visions and personal viewpoints of specialists on different legal matters of life before Burhan ad-din al-Marghinani which he Lad to study attentively and classify in accord with the existing situation taking into consideration each case to be settled from the point of justice. Furthermore, legal matters were treated and explained differently by different lawyers that needed to be brought In logical agreement.

Abdulhakim Shar’i Juzjani
Doctor of Law

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