Sadr al-Shariah (al-Asghar) - d. 747

Background

He is Ubayd Allah b. Mas’ud b. Mahmud1 b. Ahmad b. Ubayd Allah b. Ibrahim2 b. Ahmad al-Mahbubi al-Bukhari.

Generally, when Sadr al-Shari’ah is said, it refers to him. He is also called Sadr al-Shariah al-Asghar. The term Asghar (trans. Jr) or Thani (trans. II) is sometimes added after his title to differentiate him from his great grandfather Ahmad b. Ubayd Allah3 who is also known as Sadr al-Shariah but with the suffix of al-Akbar (trans. Sr) or al-Awwal (trans. I).

His lineage reaches the Ansari Sahabi, Ubadah b. Samit, (may Allah be pleased with him) via Mahbub b. Walid b. Ubadah b. Samit4 and hence the family name of Mahbubi. He was born into a family with a long line of reputable and accomplished scholars. His father was Jamal al-Din Mas’ud. His grandfather was the great scholar Taj al-Shariah Mahmud, the author of the authoritative book on the Hanafi fiqh entitled Wiqayah. His great grandfather was Sadr al-Shariah al-Akbar, the author of Talqih al-‘Uqul.

Due to the names and titles in his lineage being somewhat similar and repetitive such as the multiple occurrences of Ubayd Allah, Mahmud, Ahmad and Sadr al-Shariah, many biographers, including Haji Khalifa, have made errors in stating the proper lineage which in turn leads to difficulty in identification. Allm. Abdul Hayy Lacknawi discusses the issue in detail in Fawa’id al-Bahiyyah.

His date of birth is not recorded in the well known bio-dictionaries. He died on 747 AH (1346 CE) and was buried in Bukhara.

Character

The fuqaha consider him reliable5. He is mentioned with esteem and respect by authoritative scholars when referenced in their work. The style of his writing hint that he was a person who had attention to detail and was cautious in nature. He seems to avoid waste and opts to convey messages succinctly. His genre of writing suggest a deep loyalty to the tradition, affinity to preserve the Din and protect it from convolution.

Education

Sadr al-Shari'ah al-Asghar studied under his father Jamal al-Din Mas'ud as well as his grand father Taj al-Shariah Mahmud, the author of Wiqayah which is reported to have been written so that Sadr al-Shariah himself could memorise the core edicts in Hidayah. Both these works are now considered the standard text in the Hanafi fiqh. His educational pedigree in the Hanafi fiqh goes sequentially from Taj al-Shariah Mahbubi to his father Sadr al-Shariah al-Akbar Mahbubi to his father Jamal al-Din Ubayd Allah Mahbubi to Mufti Imam Zadah to Imad al-Din to his father Shams al-A'immah Zaranjari to Shams al-A'immah Sarakhsi to Shams al-A'immah Hulwani to Abu Ali Nasafi to Muhammad b. Fadl to Sabzmuni to Abu Abd Allah b. Abi Ja'dh al-Kabir to his father to Imam Muhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani.

His expertise expanded to many fields including Hadith, Fiqh, Usul, Aqa'id, logic, grammar, rhetoric poetry. He researched assiduously and wrote meticulously6. His knowledge was vast and incisive through which he was able to summarise many important and difficult topics succinctly. Allm. Abd al-Hayy Lacknawi7 writes that all the works of Sadr al-Shariah are accepted by the reliable scholars amongst the fuqaha. As such he is frequently referenced in later authoritative works.

His works include Ta'dil al-Ulum, Washshah, Nuqayah, Tanqih and its commentary Tawdih. The last three are of particular note. Nuqayah (a summary of Wiqayah) is a classic and is deemed one of the matn (authoritative texts) in the Hanafi Fiqh. Mulla Ali Qari has written an excellent commentary upon it entitled, Fath Bab al-'Inayah. Similarly, Tanqih with Tawdih which summarises the Hanafi and the Mutakallim approaches in Usul Fiqh is also a classic and authoritative text in that genre. Allamah Taftazani has written a notable commentary upon it entitled, Talwih.

Bibliography: al-Jawahir al-Mudhiyyah, al-Tabqat al-Sunniyah, Taj al-Tarajim, Kashf al-Zunun, Fawaid al-Bahiyyah, al-A’lam li al-Ziraqli

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
11 Shawwal 1433
20 August 2013

  • 1. Some have erroneous declared the name here to be Umar instead of Mahmud
  • 2. Some have erroneously declared the name here to be Mahmud instead of Ibrahim
  • 3. I have seen some state the date of death to be 630 AH but no source have been stated
  • 4. Sayyid Mutadha al-Husayni in Fawaid al-Bahiyyah (p. 110). The entire lineage is stated as Ubayd Allah b. Mas’ud b. Taj al-Shari’ah Mahmud b. Sadr al-Shariah Akbar Ahmad b. Jamal al-Din Abi Makarim Ubayd Allah b. Ibrahim b. Ahmad b. Abd al-Malik b. Umayr b. Abd al-Aziz b. Muhammad b. Ja’far b. Khalf b. Harun b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Mahbub b. Walid b. Ubadah b. Samit
  • 5. Lacknawi, Abd al-Hayy. Faw’id al-Bahiyyah p. 112
  • 6. Allm. Qasim b. Qutlubgha. Taj al-Tarajim
  • 7. Faw’id al-Bahiyyah p. 112
Cite: 

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2013). Sadr al-Shariah (al-Asghar) - d. 747. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Number 4. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/130820501