Compiled by Abul Layth
The following biography of Imam Abul Hasan Al-Mahamili (المحاملي) is my abridged summation of the introduction of Dr. Abdul Karim Al-’Umari (ghafar Allahu lahu) of Al-Lubab fi Fiqh Ash-Shafi’i. His commentary and notes of the Lubab of Imam Abul Hasan Mahamili is the best published, to my knowledge. For more detail regarding Imam Abul Hasan’s life please refer to his work, or to the Tabaqaat of the Shafi’i scholars such as Ibn As-Subki, Ibn Kathir, Adh-Dhahabi, Ibn Shahbah and others.
His full name:
Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Qasim ibn Isma’il ibn Muhammad ibn Isma’il ibn Sa’id ibn Aban Ad-Dabbi Al Mahaamili, the Baghdadian, the Shafi’i, his kunya being Abul-Hasan. ((See Tabaqat Ash-Shafi’yyah for Imam Al-Isnawi as well as Tabaqat Ash-Shafi’iyyah for Ibn Kathir ))
His being named “Ad-Dabbi” with an “a or fat-ha” is an ascription to ضَبَّة ابن أدّ بن طابخة بن إلياس بن مضر who was the head of the large and well-known arab tribe Bani Dabbah ((See Imam As-Sam’ani’s Al-Ansaab ))
As for his name being “Mahaamili” then it is because of the place near Baghdad that he lived that was called المَحَامِل (Al-Mahaamil). It was a place where those travelling to Makkah would stop and gather their travelling requirements etc.
“The Baghdadian“: He was born, raised, lived and died in Baghdad (and its surrounding areas).
“The Shafi’i“: An ascription to the legal guild of Muhammad ibn Idris Ash-Shafi’i. He was an Imam of the Shafi’is within Baghdad during his era. He was given this ascription by his fellow Shafi’is for the many works that he wrote on Shafi’i law, some we shall name momentarily. ((See the Tabaqat Ash-Shafi’iyya of Ibn As-Salah, Ibn Qadi Shahba, and As-Subki ))
Imam Al-Mahamili was born in the year 368 A.H. and died in the year 415 A.H, in a time when Baghdad was becoming the center for religious studies for the Muslim empire. It was here that Imam Al-Mahamili studied beneath the jurists of his time, sitting in the Universities of knowledge. His family, according to his biographers, was complete with jurists, grammarians, judges, and Imams. His grandfather and grandmother Umm Al-Waahid were both scholars. His brother, paternal and maternal uncles, father, and even mother were jurists and masters of hadith ((see Taarikh Al-Baghdad ))
From his foremost masters, other than his family, was:
الشيخ أبو حامد أحمد بن أبي طاهر محمد بن أحمد الإسفراييني
The Shaykh, Abu Haamid Ahmad ibn Abi Tahir Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Isfra’ini, who was known as “Shaykh of the Shafi’is in all of ‘Iraq” (d. 406 A.H). The scholars of his era agreed to his mastery of hadith and law and declared him impeccably trustworthy in Hadith ((see Tarikh Al-Baghdad ))
الإمام علي بن عبد الرحمن البكائي، أبو الحسن بن أبي السري الكوفي
The Imam ‘Ali ibn Abdur-Rahman Al-Bkaa’i, Abul Hasan ibn Abi As-Surri Al-Kufi. He was known as one of the major Imams of Kufah ‘Iraq. (d. 376 A.H) ((Ibid ))
الشيخ الحافظ محمد بن المظفر بن موسى البغدادي
The Shaykh, The master of hadith (Hafith) Muhammad ibn Al-Muthaffir ibn Musa Al-Baghdadi. He was from the foremost in Hadith within ‘Iraq and declared impeccably thiqah by the Imams of his time.
Students of this great Muhaddith included Imam Ad-Daraqutni, Imam Al-Burqani, and Imam Al-Khallal.
Some of His Students:
The most famous of his students is Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ali ibn Thabit, well known as Imam Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi الخطيب البغدادي. He was born in 392 A.H (died 463) and is known to this day as one of the greatest Imams in hadith, fiqh, and history.
Another of his famous students was القاضي علي بن المحسن بن علي التنوخي، أبو القاسم البغدادي The judge, ‘Ali ibn Al-Muhsin ibn ‘Ali At-Tunukhi, Abul-Qasim Al-Baghdadi. (D 447 A.H).
Another of his students that became prolific in the Shafi’i school was محمود بن الحسن بن محمد، أبو حاتم القزويني الشافعي، Mahmud ibn Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad, known as Abu Hatim Al-Qazwini Ash-Shafi’i, who was the Shaykh of Imam Ash-Shirazi who wrote the well known Al-Muhaththab المهذب . The Shaykh wrote Tajrid At-Tajrid, and Al-Hayl, both works in the school. He died 440 A.H.
Imam Abul Hasan Al-Mahamili wrote several well received books that were well known in his time; Al-Lubab fi Fiqh Ash-Shafi’i – a primer, Al-Awsat – referred to by Ibn Kathir in his Bidaya, Qadi As-Safadi in Al-Wafi, and Ibn Al-Khallikan in his Wifaayat. He also wrote a well known work amongst the early Shafi’is titled : التجريد في الفروع At-Tajrid fil Furu’ a compilation of rulings in fiqh. His student Abu Hatim Al-Qazwiniy expanded upon it with his Tajrid At-Tajrid.
Many scholars quoted Imam Al-Mahamili’s At-Tajrid, the foremost of them being Imam An-Nawawi (radiya Allahu Anhu), the second Imam Ash-Shafi’i. He quoted him in many issues of the law within the Majmu’.
Some of his other works:
Imam Abul Hasan Al-Mahamili died in the year 415 A.H. according to the majority of his biographers. However Imam Abu Is-haq Ash-Shirazi states in his “Tabaqat Al-Fuqaha’” that he died “in 414 or 415″ though he seems to be the only to hold this view.
Imam Adh-Dhahabi said of him in his Siyar Al-’Alam An-Nubala’:
“The major Imam, a Shaykh of the Shafi’is, of the most knowledgable, his understanding of the law was astonishing, he was intelligent, and his knowledge vast.”
Similar was stated by Imam Al-Yafi’i ((In Miraatul Janaan 3/29 )), Ibn Qadi Shahba, Ibn As-Subki, Ibn Al-’Imad and others.
May Allah bless him with the loftiest of places in Jannah. Amin!
Note: We have quoted Imam Abul-Hasan Al-Mahamili in the SeekingIlm Salah Fiqh Series. We did so due to the ease of his work “Al-Lubab Fi Fiqh Ash-Shafi’i” and its ready availability.