Recently, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs of the State of Qatar has published, for the first time on the modern press, the commentary on Imam al-Bukhari’s Sahih by Imam Siraj-ud-Din ibn al-Mulaqqin ash-Shafi’i (723 – 804 AH) in 36 volumes.
The author, better known as Ibn al-Mulaqqin (though he personally didn’t like this designation as it affiliated him to his step-father and preferred to call himself Ibn an-Nahwi), is a recognised authority in fiqh, hadith and Arabic. He took Arabic from the likes of Ibn Hisham (d. 761 AH) and Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi (d. 745 AH), hadith from the likes of al-Hafiz Khalil al-‘Alaa’i (d. 761 AH), Qutbutddin al-Halabi (d. 735 AH), Ibn Sayyid an-Nas al-Ya’muri (d. 734 AH), al-Hafiz ‘Alauddin Mughaltai ibn Qilij al-Hanafi (Moğultay ibn Kılıç in the original Turkish) (d. 762 AH), Jamal-ud-Din al-Mizzi (d. 742 AH) etc. and he took the fiqh of Imam ash-Shafi’i from Kamal-ud-Din an-Nasha’i al-Khateeb ash-Shafi’i (d. 757 AH), Jamal-ud-Din al-Asnawi al-Misri (d. 772 AH), Ibn Jama’ah (d. 767 AH), Taqi-ud-Din as-Subki ash-Shafi’i (d. 756 AH) and many others.
His students are far too many to mention here and include the likes of al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani (d. 852 AH), Abu Zur’ah al-Hafiz al-‘Iraqi (d. 826 AH), Taqi-ud-din al-Miqrizi (d. 845 AH) etc.
His most illustrious student, Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, had seen this commentary, but doesn’t appear to have had too high an opinion of it. He pointed out that although the beginning portion of it carries many good points, its later portion is dha’eef (weak). Regarding the author, Hafiz states tellingly that his writing was much more than his recollection. Hafiz also states that this commentary doesn’t go much beyond direct citations from the author’s teachers, Qutb al-Halabi and Hafiz ‘Alauddin Mughaltai al-Hanafi, with a little addition from the author. Hafiz has also said that the author compiled the first half of the book from various existent commentaries, but as for the second half of the book, it relies solely on the commentaries of Ibn Battal and Ibn at-Tin.
However, as Shaykh Ahmad Ma’bad Abd al-Karim – teacher of hadith at al-Azhar – has rightly noted in his preface to this edition, what Hafiz Ibn Hajar considered a defect in the book in his time has come to be a uniquely important feature in our times. He points out that of the commentaries of Qutb al-Halabi and Hafiz Mughaltai on the Sahih al-Bukhari, nothing but a few disarrayed portions have survived to this day. As for the commentary of Ibn at-Tin, it is completely extinct and no known manuscripts of this once commonly available work exist today.
As a result, this work gains prominence in the vast library of works on Imam al-Bukhari’s Sahih. I have only managed to acquire a set of this book yesterday and, I must say, it is immediately evident that a lot of effort has been put into this project and it maintains a high academic standard throughout (though it is a bit too early for me to say that for definite). In the aesthetic sense also, the book is immediately ‘lovable’.
For those who can – must – suffice on an electronic copy of this important work for now, it has been available here for some weeks now: http://www.waqfeya.com/book.php?bid=2871