“Minhāj al-ṭālibīn.” The Zealous Believers’ Guide. A Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence According to the Shafiʻi Rite


Islam was known in Indonesia from the eighth century, but it appears to have taken hold in the 13th century, first in Sumatra and then across the archipelago. During the Dutch colonial period, civil servant L.W.C. Van den Berg (1845‒1927), who was known as a scholar of indigenous languages and advisor on Islamic law, proposed that Islamic law should be binding upon the indigenous Muslims of Indonesia. In support of that end, he translated into French Minhāj al-ṭālibīn by Imam al-Nawawi (1233‒77), a highly influential manual of Shafiʻi inheritance law, in the version presented here in French and Arabic. Van den Berg explains his approach, stating: “I tried to remain as faithful as possible to the Arabic original, but sometimes had to paraphrase as a literal translation would have been obscure to any reader.” The work is in three volumes and was published in Batavia (present-day Jakarta) by the Government Printing Office in 1882‒83. Matters discussed in volume one include purity, prayer, funeral rites, taxes, youth, the Hajj, and trade. Volume two covers many types of financial transactions and the rules involved in a variety of different interactions with society, including succession, the correct disposition of assets in wills, and divorce. The issues in volume three include binding oaths, attacks on persons, blood price, resistance to authority, apostasy, fornication, other crimes, and the administration of justice.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Government Printing Office, Jakarta

Title in Original Language

Minhāj al-ṭālibīn. Le guide des zélés croyants. Manuel de jurisprudence musulmane selon le rite de chafi'i

Type of Item

Physical Description

3 volumes ; 28 centimeters

Last updated: June 16, 2016