Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi

Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī (Arabic: أبو إسحاق الشيرازي‎) was a prominent Shafi'i-Ash'ari scholar, debater and the first teacher at the Nizamiyya school in Baghdad, which was built in his honour by the vizier (minister) of the Seljuk Empire Nizam al-Mulk.[2][3][4]

Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī
أبو إسحاق الشيرازي
TitleShaykh al-Islam[1]
Born393 A.H. = 1003 A.D.
Died476 A.H. = 1083 A.D.
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interest(s)Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Usul al-Fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), Usul al-Din, 'Aqidah, Tawhid, Kalam (Islamic theology), Hadith studies
Notable work(s)Al-Ishara ila Madhhab Ahl al-Haqq
Muslim leader
SuccessorAbu Sa'd al-Mutwalli

He acquired the status of a mujtahid in the field of fiqh and usul al-fiqh. The contemporary muhaddithun (hadith specialists) also considered him as their Imam. Likewise, he was respected and enjoyed a high status among the mutakallimun (practitioners of kalam) and Sufis.

He was closely associated with the eminent Sufis of his time like Abu Nasr ibn al-Qushayri (d. 514/1120), the son of al-Qushayri (d. 465/1072).[5]

Abu Bakr al-Shashi said: "Abu Ishaq is Allah's proof on the leading scholars of the time."[6] Al-Muwaffaq al-Hanafi said: "Abu Ishaq is the Amir al-Mu'minin (Prince of the Believers) from among the fuqaha' (jurists)."[1] The Azhari scholar 'Ali Jum'a, an inheritor of al-Bajuri's teachings, calls him the "shaykh of the fuqnha' of his era."[5]


He is Shaykh al-Islam, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim b. 'Ali b. Yusuf al-Fayruzabadi al-Shirazi.


He was born in 393/1003 in Firuzabad in Persia, a town at a distance of about 35 miles from Shiraz.


He studied under various Shafi'i masters in Shiraz and Basra before coming to Baghdad. In Shiraz, he studied under Abu 'Abd Allah al-Baydawi and 'Abd al-Wahhab ibn Ramin. In Basrah, he had al-Kharzi for master. In 415 AH (1024-1025 AD), he entered Baghdad to study under Abu al-Tayyib al-Tabari.[1]


He had many students, the most famous of whom are: Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, al-Hariri of Basra, Ibn 'Aqil, Abu al-Walid al-Baji, Fakhr al-Islam Abu Bakr al-Shashi al-Qaffal (d. 507/1113), and Abu al-Qasim ibn al-Samarqandi al-Dimashqi (d. 536/1142).[7][8][9]


He authored many works, among the most famous of them are:

  • Al-Tanbih fi al-Fiqh al-Shafi'i (Arabic: التنبيه في الفقه الشافعي‎, lit. 'The Notification: in Shafi'i Jurisprudence'), one of the five most important books in Shafi'i jurisprudence, played a prominent role in the development of the Shafi'i school. Al-Nawawi wrote a commentary on it called Tashih al-Tanbih, as well as two other commentaries by Ibn al-Rif'a (d. 710/1310) and al-Zarkashi (d. 794/1392).
  • Al-Muhadhdhab fi Fiqh al-Imam al-Shafi'i [ar] (Arabic: المهذب في فقه الإمام الشافعي‎, lit. 'The Rarefaction: on the Jurisprudence of Imam al-Shafi'i'), a comprehensive manual of Islamic law according to the Shafi'i school, which took him fourteen years to produce, and which was later on explained by the Shafi'i hadith scholar al-Nawawi naming it al-Majmū' Sharh al-Muhadhdhab (Arabic: المجموع شرح المهذب‎, lit. 'The Compendium: An Exegesis of the Rarefaction'), was a recension and compilation of all the strands of Shafi'i jurisprudence.[2]

These two works are counted among the five key reference texts for the Shafi'i school, and the Muhadhdhab was considered by al-Nawawi to be one of the two most important works of this school ever produced.[10]

  • Al-Luma' fi Usul al-Fiqh [ar] (Arabic: اللمع فى أصول الفقه‎, lit. 'The Refulgence of the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence')[11], one of the earliest works in relation to Usul al-Fiqh specifically in the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence. This work was contemporaneous to major developments in post-Shafi'i usul, such as the writings of al-Juwayni, with whom he apparently differed on a number of points.
  • Al-Ishara ila Madhhab Ahl al-Haqq [ar] (Arabic: الإشارة إلى مذهب أهل الحق‎, lit. 'The Allusion to the School of the People of Truth'), a summary of Ash'ari creed with kalam proofs.
  • Tabaqat al-Fuqaha' [ar] (Arabic: طبقات الفقهاء‎, lit. 'The Classes of Jurists'), gives the lives of the jurists among the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet), and the Tabi'in (followers of the companions of the Prophet) and those of the founders of schools and their disciples.
  • Al-Nukat fi al-Masa'il al-Mukhtalaf fiha bayna al-Shafi'i wa Abi Hanifa [ar] (Arabic: النكت في المسائل المختلف فيها بين الشافعي وأبي حنيفة‎), a book in 'ilm al-khilāf (the science of juridical disagreement).
  • Al-Ma'una fi al-Jadal (Arabic: المعونة في الجدل‎, lit. 'The Assistance in Debate').[a]


He died in Baghdad in 476 AH (1083–1084 AD), and the 'Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadi (d. 487/1094) attended his funeral.[13] On his death, his pupils sat in solemn mourning in the Nizāmiya college, and after that ceremony, Muwyyad al-Mulk, son of Nizam al-Mulk, appointed Abu Sa'd al-Mutwalli to the vacant place, but when Nizām al-Mulk heard of it, he wrote to disapprove of that nomination, adding that the college should be shut up during a year, on account of Abu Ishaq's death; he then blamed the person who had undertaken to fill his place, and ordered the sheikh Abu Nasr ibn al-Sabbagh to profess in his stead.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ According to Miller, the early period of jadal (debate, argumentation or disputation) theory in legal tradition started when Abū Ishāq al-Shirāzi (d. 476/1083) wrote a book entitled al-Ma'unah fi al-Jadal. His student, Ibn 'Aqil (d. 513/1119) also followed in his footsteps by writing a jadal book entitled Kitab al-Jadal 'ala Tariqat al-Fuqah'.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Al-Dhahabi. "Siyar A'lam al-Nubala' (The Biographies of the Most Noble)". Islamweb.net.
  2. ^ a b Salim bin Samir al-Hadrami (2014). The Ship of Salvation. Translated by Abdullah Muhammad al-Marbuqi. Pustaka Tok Kenali. p. 101. ISBN 9789671221815.
  3. ^ "Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn ʿAli Shirazi". Oxford Reference.
  4. ^ "Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī". Reference Works — BrillOnline.
  5. ^ a b Aaron Spevack (2014). The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri. State University of New York Press (SUNY Press). p. 84. ISBN 9781438453712.
  6. ^ "Who was Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi?". Darul Tahqiq.
  7. ^ Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi. "مختصر فيما اختلف فيه أبو حنيفة والشافعي" (in Arabic). Google Books.
  8. ^ Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi. "كفاية النبيه شرح التنبيه في فقه الإمام الشافعي" (in Arabic). Google Books.
  9. ^ Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi. "المعونة في الجدل" (in Arabic). Google Books.
  10. ^ Norman Calder; Jawid Mojaddedi; Andrew Rippin, eds. (2003). Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature. Routledge. p. 207. ISBN 9780415240321.
  11. ^ Arabic edition and index by Eric Chaumont, Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph, LIII [1993-1994]
  12. ^ Ovamir Anjum, ed. (2018). American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 35-4. The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). p. 12.
  13. ^ Al-Zirikli. "Al-'Alam (The Notable Personalities)". shamela.ws.

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