Jami 'Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlihi wa ma Yanbaghi fi Riwayatihi wa Hamlihi
THE COMPREHENSIVE EXPOSITION OF KNOWLEDGE AND ITS EXCELLENCE:
And what Needs to be Done in Its Transmission And Dissemination
Author: Ibn 'Abd al-Barr
Available in Arabic Manuscript
A Short Introduction about the Author:
Abu Umar Yusuf b. Abdullah, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr was born in Cordoba (Spain) in 368 AH. ./ 978 CE. The city was then the centre of higher Islamic learning and education, and the brilliant young 'Umar studied there under scholars of repute, entered into correspondence with eminent scholars of Mashriq ('the Muslim East', which he did not visit) and travelled all over his native land Spain in search of knowledge. As an accomplished scholar, he became the most distinguished Muhaddith (Hadith scholar) of his age and one of the greatest of all times. He was equally distinguished in jurisprudence (Fiqh) and in the science of genealogy, and was the foremost upholder and defender of the Sunnah. He was a Maliki scholar, and he held the high position of Qadi at Lisbon and Santarem under al-Muzaffar b. al- Aftas, and died at Shatiba (Jativa) in 463 AH. (1070 CE.).
Ibn 'Abd al-Barr authored a large number of works and, being an accomplished Muhaddith and eminent jurist, he based his discussion and exposition in all that he wrote on Quran and the Sunnah. Of special importance among his works which have been preserved are: Jami 'Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlihi wa ma Yanbaghi fi Riwayatihi wa Hamlihi (discussed below); Kitab al- Istiab fi Marifat al-Ashab on the biographies of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.A.w.); Kitab al-Istidhkar Sharh Madhahib 'Ulama al-Amsar fi ma Tadawwanahu al-Muwatta min Maani al-Ra'iwa al-Athar with an explanation of arrangement of its chapters. The most scholarly and important work in Hadith written by Ibn Abd al-Barr was his Introduction to the Muwatta of Imam Malik, which has fortunately survived and come to light more recently. This is Kitab al-Tamhid li ma fi al-Muwatta min al-Ma'ani al-Asanid in 20 volumes, about which Ibn Hazm said: "I do not know any one like him in exposition and un-derstanding of the Hadith, not to talk of anyone excelling him in it!"
A Short Description of the Book:
Ibn Abd al-Barr wrote his important book Jami 'Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlihi wa ma Yanbaghi fi Riwayatihi wa Hamlihi (The Comprehensive Exposition of Knowledge And Its Excellence And what Needs to be Done in Its Transmission And Dissemination). He wrote this work specifically to establish the superiority of knowledge. It is divided into two parts after the Introduction (Khutbah) in which the Holy Prophet's sayings against concealing knowledge are cited and the reader is urged to seek knowledge in accordance with the Prophet's observation that "Seeking knowledge is obligatory for every believer." As to what knowledge should be acquired, it is explained what is Fard Ain (Obligatory Knowledge) and Fard Kifayah (Elective Knowledge).
Part-1: This part includes chapters on
|excellence of knowledge, preference of knowledge to a mode of worship;|
|excellence of the learned;|
|the art of writing;|
|correcting a recorded book of knowledge by collation;|
|forbearance and perseverance in achieving knowledge undertaking journey, and dissemination of knowledge;|
|the manner and method of achieving knowledge, and holding discussions and debates;|
|transmission of knowledge to others;|
|seeking honour and position by patronising the learned and the students;|
|propagating Islam and teachings of Qur'an and Sunnah for the sake of Allah and not for any worldly gains and pursuits.|
Part-2: This part is devoted to
|practising what is learnt and avoiding forbidden acts,|
|principles of knowledge and its nature, its division and limitations.|
|The 'People of the Books' and their traditions are briefly discussed.|
|It is explained what a learned man should do when he is asked about something he does not know.|
Attention is called to the spurious or wrong methods of studies current among the people of different order and creeds. The author also deals with Ijtihad al-Rai (reasoning) on the line of the Principles of Fiqh in the absence of any clear text (Nass). Emphasis is placed on sticking to the Sunnah and avoiding innovations and evil propensities.