The Hidayah represents the refined, distilled and authentic version of a legal tradition developed over many centuries. It presents the corpus of Hanafi law in its approved and preferred form and forges an organic link with the other schools of law. There is no book that can match the power of al-Hidayah as a teaching manual. Education in Islamic law is not complete without this book. Accordingly, each and every madrassah, whatever its affiliation, imparts instruction in Islamic law through al-Hidayah. The book was designed by the author in such a way that it makes a vigorous interaction between teacher and student unavoidable. Each sentence presents a challenge both to the teacher and the taught. In this process, the student acquires a deep knowledge of the issues of fiqhand the methods of reasoning employed by Islamic law. The teacher, on his part, has a unique opportunity, while using the book in the class session, to give full expression to his skills and abilities.
This publication of the Hidayah is the complete translation from Arabic written by al-Marginani, arguably being the most popular and important work in the entire fiqh literature.
The primary reason for its popularity is the reliability of its statements and the soundness of its legal reasoning. Most researchers and scholars first consult al-Hidayah before they move to another source. In the area of Muslim personal law, it has been the major source relied upon by courts in Pakistan,Bangladesh and India. The need for this book, since the day it was written, led to the writing of well over forty commentaries and glosses on it, and this does not include the books written to document its traditions. This is rare not only for Islamic law, but for any field of knowledge.
In comparing the Mukhtasar of al-Quduri, the book in which al-Hidayah is based upon, we note the following differences:
- Al-Quduri has errors that have been corrected inBidayat al-Mubtadi (the matn, bold text of al-Hidayah)
- Bidayat al-Mubtadi is based on Quduri but has 25% more text as it includes those rulings that were missed in Quduri
- Bidayat al-Mubtadi states the rulings in a more comprehensive way so that the rule is clearly understood
- Bidayat al-Mubtadi is organised in a better way
- Bidayat al-Mubtadi has a commentary written by the author himself. This commentary is called the Hidayah. This is not the case with al-Quduri