Umar Al Nasafi

  October 11, 2021   Read time 1 min
Umar Al Nasafi
Najm ad-Dīn Abū Ḥafṣ ‘Umar ibn Muḥammad an-Nasafī was a Muslim jurist, theologian, mufassir, muhaddith and historian. A Persian scholar born in present-day Uzbekistan, he wrote mostly in Arabic.

He authored around 100 books in Hanafi jurisprudence, theology, Quran exegesis, Hadith and history.

  • Al-'Aqa'id al-Nasafiyya (Arabic: العقائد النسفية ) or 'Aqa'id al-Nasafi is his most celebrated work in Kalam, which alongside Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar of Abu Hanifa and Al-'Aqeedah al-Tahawiyy of Abu Ja'far al-Tahawi is one of the three seminal works in Sunni Islamic creed. By 17th century, more than fifty commentaries were written on this work, of which the most famous is al-Taftazani's commentary named Sharh 'Aqaid al-Nasafi .
Abu Hafs al-Nasafi wrote the Al-'Aqaid as a direct summary of Al-Tamhid le Qawa'id al-Tawhid the famous book by his own teacher Abu al-Mu'in al-Nasafi.
While a few Arabic sources have shown skepticism in attributing this work to Abu Hafs al-Nasafi, a recently discovered manuscript of the Persian version of the work confirms the authorship of the work for Abu Hafs al-Nasafi. The Persian version of the work, titled Bayan-e Itiqad-e Ahl-e Sunnat wa Jama'at, is reported on the authority of Al-Nasafi's most famous student, Burhan al-Din al-Marghinani, the author of Al-Hidayah. Al-Marghinani explains in the preface of the treatise that Abu Hafs a-Nasafi wrote this work per request made by Ahmad Sanjar, the Seljuk ruler and Sultan, when he visited Samarqand in 535 AH or 1140 CE.
Al-Marghinani explains that that one of Sultan Sanjar's rulers who was the ruler of Sistan and was accompanying the Sultan, asked the scholars of Samarqand to write a treatise on the creed of Ahl al-Sunnah so that "no one in Sistan could speak against it". Presumably, Sistan was dominated by the Karramiyya and Hanbali sects who were advocating for anthropomorphism. In response to this request, the scholars of Samarqand asked Abu Hafs al-Nasafi to write the treatise, and they all put their signatures at the end of the document. Among the scholars present in the gathering with Sultan Sanjar was Shaikh al-Islam Abd al-Hameed al-Ismandi al-Samarqandi (the author of the published book titled Tariqah al-Khilaf fi al-Fiqh). Al-Marghinani writes in the preface of the manuscript that he took a copy of the treatise and run it again with Al-Nasafi for final review.