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books of ‘zahir al-riwayah’

The 6 Books of ‘Zahir Al-Riwayah’

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Books of Zahir Al-Riwayah

Zahir Al-Riwayah is a collection of six books written by Imam Muhammad.

These books are termed the Zahir al-Riwayah (manifest narrations) because they are narrated from Imam Muhammad through numerous reliable narrators and manifestly established mass-transmitted or wellknown chains.

Zahir Al-Riwayah books were compiled by Muhammad while he resided in Baghdad and were later transmitted through numerous chains from his students in numbers which preclude any possibility of their falsehood or fabrication.

The Zahir al-Riwayah primarily serve as a compendium of the legal opinions of the three preeminent imams of the madhhab, namely Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf, and Muhammad (who are also called sometimes Ashab al-Madhhab). The books do not limit themselves to the rulings of these three however, and include the legal opinions of other eminent
scholars of the madhhab, such as Zufar ibn al-Hudhayl and Al-Hasan ibn Ziyad al-Lu’lu’i, as well as independent mujtahids outside the madhhab, the likes of Abu Thawr and Awza‘i (may Allah have mercy on them all).


The books of Zahir al-Riwayah consitute the backbone of the Hanafi-madhab and serve as a basis of the later books of the Hanafi-madhab.

A list of Books of ‘Zahir Al-Riwayah’

A brief overview of each book of Zahir Al-Riwayah is provided below.

  1. Al-Jame’ Al-Sageer: Eisa bin Aban and Muhammad bin Sama’ah narrated this book from Imam Muhammad. In thisbook, Imam Muhammad narrated from Imam Abu Hanifah through Imam Abu Yusuf. But, this book does not contain proofs (adillah) for the rulings.
  1. Al-Jame’ Al-Kabeer: This book covers the similar contents as the previously mentioned book, however, but with greater details.
  2. Ziyadaat: This book complements Al-Jame’ Al-Kabeer.
  3. Al-Mabsoot: This is also known as ‘Al-Asl’. In this book, Imam Muhammad has collected the thousands of Mas’alas (rulings) that were derived by Imam Abu Hanifah. This book covers relevant ahadith, followed by the associated rulings and the opinions of the contemporary Ulama of the time.
  4. Al-Siyar Al-Sageer: This book deals with the subject of Jihad and international laws. According to Mufti Husain Kadodia
  5. Al siyar Al kabeer.

Read it online

This is a list of the works of Zahir Al-Riwayah which you can read online or download as pdf:

1. AL-ASL / AL-MABSUT

2. AL-ZIYADAT

3. AL-JAMI‘ AL-KABIR

4. AL-JAMI‘ AL-SAGHIR – al-Nafi‘ al-Kabir

books of ‘zahir al-riwayah’ al-jami‘ al-saghir

5. AL-SIYAR AL-KABIR– Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir

books of ‘zahir al-riwayah’  al-siyar al-kabir

Al Kafi

In the late third or early fourth century, Hakim Shahid Abu ‘l-Fadl Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Marwazi al-Balkhi compiled the book AlKafi. Alkafi is a short, abridged collection of the legal rulings from all of these six books from the Zahir al-Riwayah. Organized in the conventional order of legal chapters and concise in its presentation, the Kafi (The Sufficing)truly lived up to its name, allowing students of law to easily identify the Zahir al-Riwayah rulings of the Hanafi school without having to pour over all six books and their relatively less-organized contents. (pls note: Al Kafi available in 8 volume in English in amazon is a Shia book and it is not the kafi we are talking about in this article.) Many scholars penned commentaries of the Kafi, the most recognized of them being Shams al-A’immah al-Sarakhsi’s Al-Mabsut. and it is a hanafi book and available in (amazon)

zahir al-riwayah
mabsut available in Amazon

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