Hanafi law in Asia

Husami al-Din Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Akhsikathi. Al-Husami [Al-Muntakhab fi Usul al-Madhhab].

Uzbekistan or China, [1385 CE =] 787 H.

Tall 4to (185 x 264 mm). 229 ff., first 4 ff. of text have been added at a later date. Arabic manuscript on paper, with commentary text artfully arranged in margins. Black naskh script with sini characteristics, in 7 lines. Full 19th century red leather with earlier gilt-stamped leather laid onto front and rear covers.


A celebrated 14th century textbook of Hanafi law, immensely popular in India and Central Asia, and likely copied in Ming Dynasty China or in what is now Uzbekistan. Commonly known simply as "al-Husami", this influential manuscript on Muslim jurisprudence was penned by a scribe named Ghani bin Mir bin Muhammad less than 150 years after the author's death, making this a very early copy.

As his name suggests, Husami ibn Muhammad al-Akhsikathi (d. 1247 CE) was a specialist in Muslim law from the city Akhsikath. Now abandoned after centuries of decline and a devastating earthquake, in the High Medieval period Akhsikath was an important political and religious center in the Fergana Valley, later home to the likes of Babur (1483-1530 CE), founder of the Mughal Empire.

Al-Hurami has spawned numerous commentaries studied across India and Central Asia, where its popularity was entwined with that of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, one of the four major schools of Muslim law. That the manuscript has Uzbek and potentially Chinese connections is thus sensible in this context: Hanafi was the most popular school of thought in much of Central Asia and certainly among Muslims in Ming Dynasty China, where the Gedimu school of Islam had early on adopted Hanafi for its legal interpretations. The late Uzbek ownership inscription on the first leaf reinforces its Asian connections.


With an ownership inscription in Uzbek on the first leaf, dated 1342 H (1923 CE).


Covers worn. Paper evenly browned throughout; marginal paper repairs and dampstains throughout; a handful of these affect the text, but it remains quite bold and legible throughout.


GAL I, 381.

Stock Code: BN#63758 Tags: , , ,