Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
What is a typical course of study for the Hanbali mathab? What books
should I read?
Studying The Mathab
Where To Start & Where To End
In Al-Madkhal Ila Mathab Al-Imam Ahmad, Sheikh `Abd Al-Qadir
Ibn Badran suggests the following syllabus:
1. Ibn Balban's
Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarat or Al-Bahuti's Al-`Umdah
2. Mar`i bin
Yusuf's Dalil Al-Talib or Ibn Qudamma's Al-`Umdah
As for knowing the final word in the mathab, when it comes to smaller
book, the preference in Sham is Nail Al-Ma’arib, and Al-Raudh
Al-Murbi` in the Gulf. When it comes to larger books, Al-Iqna`
and Munataha Al-Iradat and their commentaries are relied upon.
Mar`i bin Yusuf has combined the two books in Ghayat Al-Muntaha,
in the process reconciling the minor differences between them.
Al-`Alama Al-Safarini when upon his death bed told his students: “You
must study Al-Iqna` and Al-Muntaha, and whenever they
differ you should refer to Ghayat Al-Muntaha.”
At this point someone might as about the place of Ibn Quddama’s
Al-Mughni or `Ali Mardawi’s Al-Insaf Fi Ma`rifat Al-Rajih Min
Al-Khilaf. The answer is that these books are indispensable in
knowing the opinions and evidence in the mathaband in the case of
Al-Mughni: other mathabs as well. But the mathab continued
developing after these two imams, and later books are used for
Allah be pleased with all of these and all other scholars. And may the
peace and blessing of Allah be upon His Prophet, family, companions, and
Muslims one and all. Amin.