Correction of “The Method,” i.e., “Minhaj al-talibin” by al-Nawawi


This manuscript comprises five volumes of a six-volume work (volume two is missing) on Islamic law. It is a practical manual for judges of the Shafi’i legal tradition. It offers principles and precedents, with few of the linguistic and other digressions often found in legal writing. The work covers many topics including treatment of prisoners of war, alcoholic drinks, and chess. The manuscript is ascribed to jurist ‘Umar ibn Raslan al-Bulqini (1324−1403), but it may have been written by another of the several scholars of his family, there being no indication of exact authorship or even title. The legal opinions in the work are based on numerous sources, but are rooted in the Kitab al-Umm (al-Umm means “the exemplar”) by Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi’i (767 or 768−820) and al-Nawawi’s Minhaj al-Talibin (a 13th century manual of Shafi’i inheritance law). This work has never been edited. The supposed author was the progenitor of a family of prominent jurists who are sometimes confused with one another in the biographical literature. He is reputed to have been the most celebrated jurist of his age, whose opinions were so constantly in demand that he did not have time to finish many of the works he began. Except for volume four, each volume is headed by a waqf (endowment) inscription by one ‘Abd al-Basit ibn Khalil al-Shafi’i. The volumes are well bound with marbled endpapers. The text is written in different scribal hands. The fourth volume was probably copied separately and at a different time. It is badly damaged by worms and tears and lacks the endowment statement.

Last updated: August 24, 2016