Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ‘Ali al Razi al-Jassa was born in al-Rayy47 in 305/917.
Characterized by Zirikli as fadil ahl al-ra’y48 He came to Baghdad in the year 325/937
when he was 19 years old, and joined the lectures of Abu al-hasan al-Karkhi.49 From
Baghdad he went to al-Ahwaz perhaps for acquiring knowledge. From al-Ahwaz he
came back to Baghdad and started attending lectures of Abu al-Hasan al-Karkhi, and
many other scholars.
After some time his teacher, Abu al-Hasan al-Karkhi,51 asked him to accompany Abu
‘Abd Allah al-Hakim al-Naisaburi and study in Naisabur under his guidance.52 Abu
al-Hasan al-Karkhi died in 340/952 and was succeeded by Abu ‘Ali Ahmad ibn
Muhammad al-Shashi. However, in 344/956, when al-Shashi fell seriously ill, Abu
Bakr al-Jassas, left Naisabur for Baghdad.53 Al-Jassas travelled to Ahwaz and
Naisabur, in about 344/955 and died in 370/981.54 After the death of al-Shashi55 in the
year 344 the responsibility of teaching was entrusted to Abu Bakr al-jassas by time he
had grown into a great scholar and acknowledged leader of the Hanafi School of
jurisprudence. He started teaching his students in the mosque of Abu al-Hasan al –
Karkhi. He had studied Fiqh and Hadith with distinguished scholars. He wrote many
important books mostly on jurisprudence.56 Abu Bakr al-jassas was a pious man; so
much so that when once he was offered the post of a qadi he declined.57 Reference to
al-Jassas in Ibn al-Mutrtada’s Tabaqat is quit significant. He reminds his readers that
the Hanafi Usuli, whose Mu’tazili affinities are obvious, refused to fulfil the roll of
the office of qada in Baghdad after having initially accepted it. He then mentions that
although the task of al-Jassa was to produce books of fiqh, he used to compose kalam
treatises for himself, arguing that it was the best way to get near to God.58 Ibn Kaldun in his Muqaddima mentions, “Al-Dabusi, but not al-Jassas the article “al-Djassas”
reflects the brevity of the sources
His Prominent Teachers
1. Abu al-Hasan al-Karkhi
‘Ubaid Allah ibn al-Husain ibn Dallal ibn Dalham, Known as Abu al-Hasan al
Karkhi, was born in Karkh Juddan in 260 A.H. He lived in Baghdad and after Qadi
Abu Hazim and abu Sa’id al-Barda’i, became as head of the Hanafi school of Fiqh.
He was considered to be one of the best mujtahidein of resolving the most
complicated problems, for which no provision could be found in the Holy Qur’an and
Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. He died on the 15th of Sha’ban, 340 A.H.
2. Abu Sahil al-Zujaji.
Al-Jassas’s second teacher was Abu Sahl al-Zujaji, the pupil of Abu al-Hasan al-
Karkhi. A prominent fuqaha from Naisabur attended his lectures. He died in
Naisabur, leaving behind him a famous Kitab al-Riyad.
Among his famous students were.
1. Al-Jurjanin. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Yahya Mahdi al-Jurjani, lived
in Baghdad, He died 20th of Rajab, 393, and was buried near the grave of Abu
2. Al-Khawarizmi. Muhammad ibn Musa Muhammad al-Khwarizmi, He died
on Friday, the 18th of Jamad al—Awwal, 403 A.
3. Al-ZA’frani, Abu al-Husain Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn
‘Abdus ibn kamil al-Dallal, known as al-Za’frani, (d 293) A.H
4. Abu Ja’far al-Nasafi, Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Mahmud al-
Nasafi was one of the leading jurists of his time. (18th 9-414) A.H
5. Ibn al-Maslamah. Abu al-Faraj Ahmad ibn Muhammad ‘Umar ibn al-Hasan,
known as ibn al-Maslamah, was born 337 A.H, Lived in Baghdad, died in 11-
6. Kamari, abu al-Husain Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Tayib ibn Ja’far ibn
Kamar al kamari. He died in 417 A.H.61
Al-Jassas: Among the Hanafi’s.
Muslim jurists or Ulma have divided jurists in several categories and grades. Hanafi’s
have divided their own jurists in seven different grades; it is through these grades that
Islamic law implements its system of following precedents.62 Legal theorists draw a
sharp distinction between mujthids and non-mujtahids, the latter being commonly
known as the “followers” or “imitators” muqallidun,(pl.of muqallid) of the former. Al
jassas subscribed to the Hanafi school of thought, and is considered to be a mujtahid fi
al-masa’il, though his opponents consider him as one of ashab al-takhrij. However,
no one can deny the fact that Al-Jassas has been acknowledged as a very competent
hanafi scholar; and the irrelevant remarks about him of his opponents should not
mislead us towards underestimating his grand personality.
Al-Jassas does not consider the khilafat of Mu’awiyah as valid. He is often the
opinion that Mu’awiyah and his successors superseded khilafat from its
rightful claimants. Khalafa Mawla and Imam Husain.