Fiqh al-Akbar Commentary (al-Maghnisawi)

21. Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar_The Prophets Family

The Family of the Prophet (SAW)_

al-Fiqh al-Akbar[1]

Section: Fiqh al-Akbar: “wa Abu Talib… rusul Allah (SAW)”.


  • Abu Talib was the Prophet’s (SAW) uncle.
  • Abu Talib died a disbeliever.[2]
  • The Rawafidah believed the opposite.[3]
  • Abu Talib denied the Shahadah on his death bed.[4]


  • The Prophet’s father died a disbeliever.
  • Qasim (= 1st born son, hence kunya [‘agnomen’] Abu ’l-Qasim; lived for 17 months; born pre-risalah), Tahir (also known as `Abd Allah and Tayyib; born post-risalah)[5] and Ibrahim (from Mary the Coptic; died when he was 70 days old and the Prophet [SAW] prayed for him in Baqi` cemetery)[6] were the sons of the Prophet (SAW).[7]
  • Fatimah, Ruqayyah, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum were the daughters of the Prophet (SAW).

Point: The Prophet’s parents are not considered to have died on disbelief (kufr) but upon the natural way (`ala ’l-fitrah). The following are some evidences:

  • It cannot be definitively proven to be the verdict of Imam Abu Hanifah.
  • Imam `Ali al-Qari himself held the same view later on in his life[8] despite all the editions of his commentary on the Fiqh al-Akbar containing the opposite.
  • There are discrepancies in the different manuscripts that require clarification.[9]
  • Al-Zabidi records the account of it being a scribal error (a mistaken deletion by the copyist of the negative particle ma/ما in ma mata/ما ماتا) thinking it superfluous.[10]
  • The lexical/syntactical context (siyaq al-khabar) does not allow for the reading of them being in Hellfire because it would be cumbersome to make two separate declarative statements.[11]
  • The use of the word ‘father’ does not necessarily mean just that but can refer to ‘uncle’[12] and ‘grandfather’.[13]

Despite the above, caution, respect and wisdom are required and the matter is best avoided.[14]

Imam Abu Hanifah did not mention the wives of the Prophet (SAW). The Mother of the Believers (ummhat al-mu’minin) are:

  1. Khadijah
  2. Sawda
  3. `A’ishah. She is:
    • Most respected after Khadijah.
    • Free from any immorality.
    • Pure.
    • Chaste.
    • Charging here with immorality (zina) = disbelief.[15]
    • Whoever curses her, he is an obscene and despicable innovator.[16]
  4. Hafsah
  5. Umm Salamah
  6. Umm Habibah
  7. Zaynab bint Jahsh
  8. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah
  9. Maymuna
  10. Juwayriyyah
  11. Safiyyah[17]


May Allah be pleased with them all!


[1] See the commentary by al-Maghnisawi entitled Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, pp.209-214; `Ali al-Qari’s larger commentary Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, pp.312-319 and Wensick, The Muslim Creed, pp.239-242.

[2] There appears to be a narration that is sahih (although unclear) from the Tabaqat al-Kubra, 1:118 of Ibn Sa`d that Abu Talib will be saved.

[3] See al-Maghnisawi, Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.210.

[4] Q. 9:113 and 28:56 are said to have been revealed for this.

[5] Although there are differences of opinion: 1. Tayyib and Tahir are different individuals and 2. Two sets of twins Tahir and Mutahhir and Tayyib and Mutayyib. See al-Ghawji, al-Ta`liq al-Muyassar, p.313.

[6] Cf. Bukhari, Sahih, no. 1293.

[7] See `Ali al-Qari, Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, pp.313-314.

[8] i.e. that they are believers as he states in Sharh al-Shifa’, 1:601 which was one of the last larger works he composed (completed 1011/1602) before his death. Cf. al-Ghawji, al-Ta`liq al-Muyassar, p.18 and Hassan al-Saqqaf, Ilqam al-Hajar li ’l-Mutatawil `ala ’l-Asha`irah min al-Bashar, p.77 (n.5). Although again this ‘fact’ is disputable as there appear to be slight tampering with the original texts of the Sharh al-Shifa’.

[9] Cf. MSS: Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, MS. al-Azhar Library, no.2743 = أو ماتا على الفطرة and Fiqh al-Akbar, MS. no.5844 = الجاهلية. See also Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, MS. no.41174 = الفطرة and MS. Arif Hikmet, no.161 = ما مات على الكفر . Cf. al-Ghawji, Abu Hanifah, pp.315-316.

[10] As mentioned by al-Kawthari in al-`Alim wa ’l-Muta`allim, pp.7-8 citing al-Zabidi’s work al-Intisar li Waliday al-Nabiyy al-Mukhtar.

[11] In other words, the text is disjointed if it has: ‘The Prophets parents died disbelievers’ and ‘Abu Talib died a disbeliever’ rather than a single ‘The Prophet’s parents and Abu Talib died disbelievers’.

[12] As in Q. 2:133. Cf. also al-Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil, 4:384. See also Abu Talib who characterised the Prophet as his son; see Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, 1:322; Ibn Sa`d, Tabaqat al-Kubra, 1:155; al-Tabari, Ta’rikh, 1:519; al-Taymi, Dala’il al-Nabuwwah, p.231 and Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifat al-Safwah, 1:69.

[13] The Prophet (SAW) mentioned himself as the ‘son of `Abd al-Muttalib’ and referred to Hasan as “my son”. See Ahmad, Musnad, 25:419, no.16033; Ibn Abi `Asim in al-Ahad wa ’l-Mathani, no.934 Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf, 12:100-101; al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir, no.7107 and al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 3:626-627, no.165-166.

[14] See Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 2:386. Although compare his statements in rejecting the disbelief of the parents of the Prophet, 3:183 and 4:231.

[15] See Q. 24:11-17.

[16] For her opposing and fighting `Ali. See al-Qari, Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, pp.318-319.

[17] See `Ali al-Qari, Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar, p.318.


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