Abū al-Ḥasan ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Karkhī
in the year 260 A.H. and died in the year 340 A.H. Karkh is a town located
on the western bank of the Tigris in Baghdad. He was a student of
Abū Sa‘īd al-Barda‘ī (who was a student of Ismā‘īl
ibn Ḥammād who was a student of Ḥammād ibn Abī Ḥanīfah). He had many students among whom Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ and al-Shāshī are better known. Karkhī’s
influence is visible very clearly in the works of al-Jaṣṣāṣ.
The first question a non-Muslim asks on hearing the word
“sharī‘ah” (pronounced sha ree ‘ah,) is: what is the
sharī’ah? This is a perfectly natural question. The
correct answer, however, is not known even to ninety-nine percent, or
more, of the Muslims. Those who attempt to answer cause more confusion
than clarity. We will first note the typical answer very briefly for
identification, without reproducing the various answers, as pursuing
those answers is not the purpose here.