A fiqh author who instructs you in adab before his pen touches the paper

It is a standard practice in Islamic scholarly texts for the author to begin with saying “Bismi Llāhi r-aḥmān r-raḥīm,” praising Allah Most High, and supplicating upon the Prophet ﷺ. After this, they then explain what moves them to write the book, what they plan to put in it, and a supplication that Allah accept it and make it beneficial.

Here’s the beginning of The Ultimate Conspectus

All praise is to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May the blessings of Allah be upon our liegelord the Prophet Muḥammad, and upon his pure household and his companions, one and all.

The judge Abū Shujā‘ ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad al-Aṣfahānī (may Allah Most High grant him mercy) said:

One of my friends (may Allah Most High protect him) asked me to make a short treatise in law according to the school of Imam al-Shāfi‘ī (may Allah grant him mercy and His good favor)…

It is not clear whether praise and supplication are from a scribe or Abū Shujāʿ himself, but one thing is obvious: “Bismi Llāh…” is missing. Commentators often note this and explain that we should assume that Abū Shujāʿ said it even if he did not write it, and that we should assume this whenever we see something a Muslim has written without it.

It’s pretty cool how the author of this fiqh text began instructing us in adab before his pen had even hit the paper.

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