He is Sharaf ud-Din Abul Manja Musa ibn Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Salim ibn Ahmad ibn `Isa ibn Salim Al-Hajjawi Al-Maqdisi As-Salihi. Born in 895 AH in the village of Hajjah (one of the hamlets around and incorporated into the city of Nablus) in Palestine, he was raised in the village and started his memorisation of Qur’an and early sciences.
Having studied with his father and notable scholars of Hajjah, upon reaching adulthood he headed to Damascus and began keeping the company of the grand marja`, Imam Ash-Shuwaiki. His lessons would be conducted in the famous Salihiyyah school in Damascus which has a 900 year old history of scholarship.
The study embarked upon included the memorisation of the creed texts Ibtal ut-Ta’wilat by Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la Al-Baghdadi (d. 458 AH), Lum`at ul-I`tiqad by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620AH), Nihayah by Imam Ibn Hamdan (d. 695 AH) along with other selected texts on the topic.
In fiqh, he began his study with Imam Shihab ud-Din Ash-Shuwaiki (d. 939 AH) by committing to memory Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah’s text Al-Muqni`. Upon completing it a number of times, he was authorised to teach it.
Instead of teaching the text in its’ original form, the Imam decided to summarise it, adding salient points and taking statements that have been repeated several times in different portions of the book and moving them to one location.
The result was his masterpiece, Zad ul-Mustaqni` Bikh-tisar il-Muqni`, known simply to students the world over as, “The Zad.” As a summary, it was easy to memorise and put into practice, with Imam Al-Hajjawi having eliminated all the other quotations and sticking to the dominant ruling.
Other teachers at this time included Imams Ibn Ad-Diwan (940 AH), Najm ud-Din `Umar ibn Muflih (d. 919 AH),
Marja`iyyah and Written Legacy
Imam Al-Hajjawi, only in his late 20s, was declared as marja` by both his teachers and contemporaries. Shortly after this, he was installed as Imam at the Al-Muzaffari Seminary in Damascus, where he taught Revealed Law and aspects of fiqh for a number of years.
These years of his life were filled with teaching, clarifying dubious matters and preparing a written legacy that would still be heralded after his death. The Zad has already been mentioned so we shall not mention this text again.
Another text was Al-Iqna`, a four volume work dealing with fiqh in far more detail than the Zad. Within its’ pages, Imam Al-Hajjawi took the approved statements of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah and sought to reconcile them with rulings in the school that seemed contradictory. The result was something special indeed.
Hashiyat ut-Tanqih was a text in Usul ul-Fiqh that was written in order to simply for advanced students the methods used in deriving rulings. It was also to make the link between the principle of maslahah (facilitation) in the Revealed Law and tamkin and tatbiq (establishment and implementation).
This was a continuation of themes discussed in other works by Imam Najm ud-Din At-Tufi (d. 714 AH). The result of this large volume was another classic with a number of commentaries being written in order to flash out even more treasures.
Having studied the works of the grand Imam and marja`, Muhammad `Abdul Qawi Al-Mardawi (d. 699 AH), Imam Al-Hajjawi decided to write commentaries and notes on his two seminal texts, namely Manzumat ul-Adab ish-Shar`iyyah and Al-Kaba’ir.
The first commentary dealt with etiquettes due oneself and others and the second covered major sins, repentance and how to safeguard the human soul from wallowing in and glorying in sin. A life of teaching and reaching out to the believers kept Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi busy for the Sake of Allah.
Students of the Imam include high ranking figures such as:
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim An-Najdi (d. 999 AH). He studied with the Imam and returned to Arabia as a marja` to teach his people.
Yahya ibn Musa Al-Hajjawi (d. 1000 AH). The son of the Imam and high ranking authority in his own right. He is the teacher of the two marja` geniuses, Mar`ii ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH) and
Mansur ibn Yunus Al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH).
Shams ud-Din Ar-Rujaihi (d. 1002 AH). Marja` and one of the chief students of the Imam, he was chief judge in the supreme court and also advised the appeals court and chose its’ judges.
Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ash-Shuwaiki (d. 1007 AH). This scholar studied both fiqh and hadith from the Imam.
Abu Bakr ibn Zaitun Al-Hanbali (d. 1012 AH). He was one of the heads of the Salihiyyah school after the death of Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi.
Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al-Ushaiqiri (d. 1012 AH). Imam Al-Ushaiqiri was one of the most dedicated foreign students to the Imam and stayed with him for more than four years.
Nur ud-Din Al-Humaidi (d. 1030 AH). The marja` of Damascus and mufti there, he was a teacher of hadith as well as fiqh.
Ahmad ibn Abul Wafa’ ibn Muflih (d. 1038 AH). This scholar learned fiqh and its’ fundamentals from the Imam.
Later Life and Death
Imam Ibn Al-`Imad (d. 1008 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, says of the Imam, “The Shaikh, the Imam, the Scholar, the Mufti of the Hanbalis in Damascus, Shaikh ul-Islam.
He was an imam that was hardworking, a scholar of hadith and fiqh, a master teacher of juridical principles and having abundant piety.”
On Monday 12 Rabi` ul-Awwal 968 AH, Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, died and was buried among his people in Palestine. We ask that Allah bless him and all those who make use of his works up until today.