How to Study the Hanbali Madhab From Beginner to Advanced

The first thing to do when a student wants to study Hanbali fiqh in a serious manner is to find a teacher. There is no way getting around this condition. It does not matter how many books, commentaries, or lectures you listen to, if you are not engaging with the texts of the school directly with a teacher to guide you through them, then there is a strong possibility of making serious flaws and having numerous misunderstandings. If you do not know where to find one in your area, then reach out to groups like المدرسة الحنبلية. They offer inexpensive Hanbali classes online in Arabic and English. They will work with you to find a suitable time insha’Allah.

The following is a list of books suggested by our teacher Sh. Yusuf bin Sadiq Al-Hanbali to take the student from a beginner to an advanced level in the Hanbali school. As an added benefit, he also provides some suggestions on what supplements to study under each level. Again, it is being assumed that the person already has a teacher that he/she is studying the following books with:

Beginner Level – أخصر المختصرات

This is a beginner level text in the school. As a supplement, use the sharh كشف المخدرات شرح أخصر المختصرات. The sharh provides additional details that are not mentioned in the text of أخصر المختصرات because it was designed to be quite brief. This will give the student a good fundamental grounding in the school.

You can also view my fiqh notes on this book here. I would also suggest Sh. Bajabir’s commentary on the book which is really good and helpful for beginners.

Intermediate Level – دليل الطالب

This is an intermediate level text in the school. As a supplement, the student should depend on حاشية ابن عوض which is far better than منار السبيل and نيل المآرب. In fact, it is the best written explanation for دليل الطالب.

Intermediate-Advanced Level – الروض المربع

This is an intermediate to advanced level text in the school. It is an explanation of the book زاد المستقنع, which is taught widely in the Arabian peninsula. However, if you study الروض المربع, there is no need to return to زاد المستقنع. As a supplement at this level, the following books are suggested:

This last book is very beneficial because it delves into justifications and clarifications behind the issues.

Advanced Level – منتهى الإرادات

This last book was not commented on much by Sh. Yusuf so I am borrowing a comment on it from another article. This is most likely the last book covered by students cover to cover with a teacher in private classes. It is studied with its sharh شرح منتهى الإرادات.

However, Sh. Yusuf did point out that the teacher who teaches this book would need to review the following books before lessons on this advanced level text:

  • حاشية البهوتي على المنتهى
  • حاشية البهوتي على الإقناع
  • حاشية الخلوتي على المنتهى
  • حاشية الخلوتي على الإقناع
  • حاشية ابن قائد على المنتهى
  • حاشية ابن فيروز على الروض المربع
  • دقائق أولي النهى للبهوتي
  • معونة أولي النهى لابن النجار
  • كشاف القناع شرح الإقناع
  • حاشية ابن حميد على شرح البهوتي
  • مطالب أولي النهى شرح غاية المنتهى وحاشية الشطي
  • بغية أولي النهى شرح غاية المنتهى
  • حاشية ابن عوض على هداية الراغب شرح عمدة الطالب
  • شرح الزركشي على مختصر الخرقي
  • المبدع شرح المقنع
  • تصحيح الفروع للمرداوي

Advanced Quran Study: Notes on Sh. Salman ibn Nasir’s Course

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to take a course via zoom with Sh. Salman ibn Nasir at The Legacy Institute. He delved into the topic of usool al-tafseer, or the methodology of tafseer with a special focus on the different classical books of tafseer. It was a very beneficial course and I am sharing my complete notes here so others may benefit as well.

Please note that I did not write down everything Sh. Salman said but only that which I personally found beneficial and useful. There were many other great points discussed in the course as well but I did not include them in the notes. I also did not translate many Arabic terms but left them in transliteration form because the course assumed that students were already familiar with the words.

Finally, here is a brief biography of Sh. Salman ibn Nasir:

Salman ibn Nasir was born and raised in Mobile, AL in the United States, but hails from a Pakistani origin. Around the time he was finishing high school, he also began his personal studies of the Arabic language and the Islamic sciences. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the University of South Alabama, he decided to go abroad to further his studies of Islam.

He enrolled in Umm al-Qura University in the holy city of Makkah, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Judicial Studies (Dirāsāt Qaḍā’īyyah). As this program focused primarily on Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh, he also pursued study of other sciences, particularly Hadith. He is currently pursuing his graduate level studies at Umm al-Qura.