Dr. Hamidullah
Professor Dr. Mohammed Hamidullah

The following excerpt is also from Mr. Biju Abdul Qadir’s essay on the celebrated scholar, Dr. Hamidullah. In this post, I share the work of Dr. Mohammed Hamidullah on the great Hanafi scholar Sarakhshi (d. 490H/ 1096CE) which was published in Turkey. This work is significant to Turkey since it follows the Hanafi school of jurisprudence.

In the meantime, Hamidullah had completed a French rendering of the renowned work, Sharhu’ Siyar, written by Sarakhshi (d. 490H/ 1096CE), the famous Hanafi jurist of his time. Hamidullah’s French translation of Sharhu’ Siyar, which was done in 3000 pages, was published in parts from Ankara, Turkey. The Sharhu’ Siyar remains a historically significant document on ‘inter-statal relations’ – as Hamidullah would himself put it – inasmuch as, its intellectual merit aside, it was a commentary on Kitab al-Siyar al-Kabir, the classic work of Imam Muhammad b. Hasan al-Shaybani (d.804CE/ 189H) who was himself a close companion of Imam Abu Hanifa, the founding jurisprudent of the Hanafiy school of thought in Islam. Hamidullah himself typed and retyped his work on this multi-volume French translation on his own old typewriter.

The work which was initially begun as a UNESCO undertaking was soon left handicapped due to UNESCO’s unceremonious withdrawal from the project. It has been suspected, and perhaps not without reason, that UNESCO’s pulling out was prompted by the fear in certain quarters that, with the publication of Hamidullah’s translation, al-Shaybani would have to be considered the real Father of International Law since his work predated, by eight centuries, the present figure of Hugo Grotious (1583-1645CE) who the Western world sees as currently fitting for that eminent position. In any case, and most fortunately, UNESCO’s opting out did not stop the project itself, and Hamidullah’s French translation was soon published in Ankara, by an Islamic Waqf under the Turkish government’s Department of Religious Affairs.