Shirʿat al-Islām

Shirʿat al-Islām is a beautiful work on Islamic manners authored by Imām Zādeh Rukn al-Islām Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr al-Jūghī (d. 573/1177-8), a muftī of Bukhara, whose attribution ‘al-Jūghī’ is to Jūgh, a village in Samarqand. He was a student of Shams al-A’imma Bakr ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Zaranjarī (d. 512/1118), a student of the renowned Shams al-A’imma al-Ḥalwānī (d. 488/1095 or 489/1096), a grand-shaykh of Central Asian Ḥanafism. Al-Jūghī was a teacher of Burhān al-Islām al-Zarnūjī (d. 591/1194-5) (author of the renowned tract on the manners of studying: Taʿlīm al-mutaʿallim ṭarīq al-taʿallum), ʿUbayd Allāh ibn Ibrāhīm al-Maḥbūbī (d. 630/1233) (head of the influential Maḥbūbī family of scholars) and Shams al-A’imma Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Sattār al-Kardarī (d. 642/1244). He was also a student of the renowned Central Asian spiritual master Yūsuf al-Hamadānī (d. 535/1141).

Shirʿat al-Islām was a widely studied text. It starts with proper manners of conducting ritual worship, and then covers all aspects of a person’s personal and social life. As would be expected of a 900-year-old text, not all of the social expectations and advice would translate directly to what would be considered good social ettiquette today. The spirit of the advice, however, remains relevant to those seeking to reflect on how to live meaningfully in the world. I plan to read the Arabic, offer a translation and brief remarks of commentary. A main source I will draw from is the commentary of Yaʿqūb ibn Sīdī ʿAlī (d. 931), entitled Mafātīh al-jinān. I will not largely comment on the quality of hadiths, which, following a norm in books of manners, do not always stand up to the scrutiny of hadith experts, as the literature focuses more on the correct way to approach the question of behaviour than on scrutinising textual evidence.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Importance of Following the Sunna
  3. Tenets of Faith
  4. Intentions
  5. Sacred Knowledge, part 1
  6. Sacred Knowledge, part 2: Manners of the Seeker