Something I pay attention for when reading is whenever an author mentions his other works, as this helps build a chronology of the author’s works. This chronology becomes very useful when one tries to understand or explain one work by referring to the author’s other works and finds a discrepancy. In such a case, it is usually safe to give preference to what is in the later book. Later books benefit from the author’s own gains while working on prior books.
The chronology is not always clear since authors often reviewed and edited their books. Imām al-Ghazālī’s Iḥyāʾ refers to his Al-Basīṭ, Al-Wasīṭ, and Al-Wajīz – all books of fiqh which are often said to be written before he allegedly left fiqh to write about higher matters. Yet Al-Wasīṭ – the second in that series – refers to the Iḥyāʾ late in the book (in the chapter marriage, if not also in personal injuries). That each of these books refers suggests that the chronology between his fiqh and his other writings is not as clear and distinct as is often claimed.
I’m currently skimming through Ibn Mulaqqin’s commentary on Mukhtaṣar al-Tibrīzī in Shāfiʿī fiqh. The first mention I found to his other works is towards the beginning of the chapter of prayer when discussing times for prayer:
The beginning of the time is best, due to Him Most High saying, “…So race to [all that is] good…,” [Q2:148]. Though this is not the case for Noon Prayer when it is intensely hot, whereupon it is best to wait for it to cool (provided its conditions are met). And except for other issues I mentioned in my commentary on Al-Minhāj, so see it for these issues.
This commentary is proving to be a real gem.