Kitab Durar al-Hukkam fi Sharh Ghurar al-Ahkam [Commentary on the practical application of principles of law according to the Hanafi school], for private use. Illuminated manuscript in Arabic on paper.

Probably Ottoman Turkey, dated 988 AH (1580 AD)


210 x 125mm, 185 leaves + 5 contemporary flyleaves at back [collation i10-xix10], plus 4 later flyleaves inserted at beginning, complete; text 145 x 65 mm, ruled in red, 15 lines in black naskh with some key phrases and chapter headings in red, red-ruled fihrist [index] to 1r, illuminated polychrome heading to opening of text, gold floral sprays against a blue background framed within a red and gold decorative border, contemporary foliation throughout, marginal and interlinear commentary and annotations throughout (most in a contemporary hand), some minor waterstaining along the upper edges of the final 20ff, rarely affecting text, ownership stamp to 2r and later ownership inscriptions to later flyleaves. In contemporary red calf boards with central scalloped medallion stamped in blind to center of both boards, rebacked and edges skillfully repaired, blue marbled pastedowns and remains of flap that would once have been part of this Ottoman-style binding.

Celebrated writer and jurist Mulla Khusraw was one of the leading legal theorists of the Hanafi school, whose rose to become the eminent Sheikh al-Islam under the patronage of Sultan Mehmed II. Durar al-Hukkam was first completed in 1472 AD and a dedication copy was presented to the Sultan in 1478 AD in Mulla Khusraw’s own hand, only two years before he passed away. The colophon on 185v. indicates that this manuscript was transcribed from the author’s own copy and also adds that the original treatise was completed in 1478 (the year it was handed to the Sultan).

The Hanafi school is one of the four Sunni Islamic branches of fiqh (jurispudence), with one of the largest followings in the Muslim community. This volume addresses a multitude of Hanafi laws and their relative applications including general crime, lawsuits and bail as well as divorce and Zakat: the third pillar of Islam concerning the giving of alms in the form of religious tax. The quality of illumination and clean presentation of the work imply that this volume was commissioned by a wealthy or high-ranking patron. Both the inclusion of an index at the beginning and pragmatic annotations also suggest that the patron was a practitioner of law, using the volume as a reference of fiqh, rather than a Hanafi scholar adding critical or theoretical marginalia during study.

Brockleman II, 226, 10, no.1; GAL II, p.292


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