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Tamhid al-qawa'id (book)

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Tamhid al-qawa'id
Author Al-Shahid al-Thani
Original title تَمْهیدُ الْقَواعِدِ الاُصولیّة و الْعَرَبیّة لتَفریعِ الأحْکامِ الشَرعیّة
Subject Jurisprudence, Principles of jurisprudence
Genre Figh, Arabic literature
Publisher The Islamic Propagation Office of seminary of Qom

Tamhīd al-qawāʿid al-usūlīyya wa l-ʿarabiyya li-tafrīʿ al-aḥkām al-sharʿīyya (Arabic: تَمهید القَواعِد الاصولیة و العَربیة لتَفریع الأحکام الشَرعیة ) is a book about principles of jurisprudence and Arabic language, written by al-Shahid al-Thani (d. 965/1558). The book has for long been of great interest to Shi'a scholars and jurists, and since it is one of the few books of such concern by Shi'a scholars, many interpretations and annotations have been written about it.

Motivation of Writing

In the introduction, the author has stated that due to the importance of principles of jurisprudence and Arabic literature as preliminary knowledge to learning Islamic jurisprudence, and thus a jurist needs them necessarily to deduce Islamic rules from the Qur'an and hadith, he wrote this book and divided it into two parts: the first part contains 100 principles of jurisprudence and the second part contains 100 rules of Arabic literature. In addition to the principles and rules, he also has provided the judicial examples of those principles and rules in brief.

As Agha Buzurg Tihrani has said, when the author observed the two books of al-Tamhid (about the principles of jurisprudence) and al-Kawkab al-durri (about the rules of Arabic literature) by Usnawi al-Shafi'i, he resolved to write a book containing both rules. And therefore, despite what it has in common with the book al-Qawa'id wa l-fawa'id by al-Shahid al-Awwal (the First Martyr), it is not a summary of the latter and they are independent works.

Importance

Comparing this book to other books in this field, it appears that the author had fully known the weaknesses of those works, such as: not keeping with the discourse and posing unrelated subjects, undue lengthening, and putting issues unconcerned with the principles and rules. The author, therefore, has skillfully avoided such disadvantages.

He has briefly proposed some judicial consequences of the principles, and same as what he did in his book al-Rawda al-bahiyya, he has argued the way they are derived from the principles in some cases, preparing the learner for inference of Islamic laws.

Concerning the hadith, he has confined himself to Sunni hadiths of their content which Shi'a narrations have approved.

Content and Chapters

The book is written based on Twelver Shi'a jurisprudence and was apparently the first book compiled in such style in Shi'a jurisprudence. In addition to referring to the Qur'an and hadith, the author has widely mentioned the opinion of Sunni jurisprudence and literature scholars, hence the book could be called a comparative study.

In the first part, as well as the opinions of Shi'a scholars, such as al-Sharif al-Murtada, al-Shaykh al-Tusi in his book Tahdhib al-ahkam, al-'Allama al-Hilli in his book Mukhtalaf al-shi'a and Muntaha al-matlab and etc. the views of many Sunni authors of usul al-fiqh are mentioned, such as al-Fakhr al-Razi, al-Amidi, Ibn Hajib, al-Ghazzali, al-Baydawi, and al-Zamakhshari.

Likewise in the second part, theories of great Arabic literature scholars and philologists, such as al-Kisa'i, Sibawayh, Abu Hayyan, Ibn Malik, Ibn Hisham, al-Akhfash, and al-Zamakhshari, are quoted or cited as evidence.

Structure

Each part of the book is divided into some "purposes" and each "purpose" (Arabic:المقصد) has subheadings in which the rules and principles are discussed. Besides, there are some incidental topics titled as "introduction" (muqaddima), "problem" (mas'ala), or "benefit" (fa'ida).

Topics discussed in the first part are as: decree (religious decree, principles of decree), the Qur'an and Sunna (words, direct speech and metaphor, commands and prohibitions, general and specific, ambiguity and clarity, verbs, and statements), consensus, analogy, dissented proofs, Equalities and Preferences, inference of religious laws (Ijtihad), and the issue of religious decrees (Ifta').

Topics discussed in the second part are as: nouns (statements, pronouns, clauses, titles, derived words, infinitives, etc.), verbs, prepositions, objects (exception, numbers, epithet, emphasis, cause and effect, etc.).

List of Contents

After writing the book, which was finished on Friday Muharram 1, 958/January 9, 1551, a comprehensive and technical list of content was added to the book by al-Shahid al-Thani on Tuesday, Rajab 8, 960/ 1553 to make an easy access to different parts of the book. The list has an innovative style and is ordered as the chapters of jurisprudence resources.

Publication

Tamhid al-qawa'id (combined with the book al-Dhikra by al-Shahid al-Awwal) was first published in Iran by Mulla 'Ali Akbar Hamadani in 1272/1855. In 1416/1995 an annotated edition was published in Qom, Iran.

Commentaries

A great number of scholars have written commentaries and annotations on this book, such as; Sayyed Mirza 'Askari, 'Ali b. Muhammad b. Hasan b. Zayn al-Din (a descendant of the author), Shahverdi Tabrizi, Mirza Muhammad Tunekaboni, and Mirza 'Abdullah Afandi, the author of Riad al-ulama.

References