How to study Usul al-Fiqh

By Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
Extracted from Mastering Usul Fiqh in Islamic Studies Bulletin – 9 Shawwal 1434

To master usul for a person with a Hanafi background, one must first have a strong foundation in fiqh. Study Usul al-Shashi to get an in-depth understanding of the central masa’il covered in usul fiqh as well as an introduction to the core principles. Thereafter, read Manar al-Anwar along with Nur al-Anwar to understand the principles in detail along with the evidence which support and justify these rules as well as answers objections posited by the mutakillimin. This will make it easy to decipher the usul of Bazdawi, Sarakhsi, Jassas and make Talwih accessible. Now that a solid foundation in the Hanafi approach is developed, one should consolidate the learning with the reading of Husami with special attention on the Qiyas section; this will cover the topics in Taqwim al-Adillah, Tasis al-Nazar and Usul Karkhi. This should suffice for one to understand the Hanafi evidence and usul.

To advance one should study Tawdih with Talwih. This will summarise the key mutakallimin works such as Ihkam and Muntaha al-Sul along with what was covered in Manar and Husami in addition to gaining the Ash’ari insight via Talwih. This should give one scope to understand most of the books of the other Mazahib. Follow up with the study of Musallam al-Thubut with Fawatih al-Rahmut; this will suffice to understand the works of the later works of the muta’akhkhirin including Jam’ al-Jawami’ and Tahrir.

For further detail, read Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami’s article, ‘Mastering Usul Fiqh’. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 3. Available at