IMAM ABU ISHAQ AL-SAHITIBI
Imam Abu Ishaq al-Sahitibi was a Sunni Islamic scholar from Andalusia. He followed the Maliki madhab. His date and place of birth are unknown, but he died in Granada, in 1388 (8th Shabaan 790 H). His full name was Ibrahim bin Mosa bin Muhammad al-Shatibi al-Gharnati. His family comes from the Banu Lakhm. His kuniyat was “abu Ishaq” but his surnames were “Al-Gharnati” , “Al-Lakhmi”, “Al-Maliki” and “”As-Shatibi”. His surname “As-Shatibi” implies the city of Jativa which tells us his family was a descendant of the migrants from that town.
He followed the Maliki madhab and was one of its Imams. However, he shunned blind partisanship or sectarianism on legal schools like all the great Imams of the legal schools (madhahib). He has mainly paid attention to canon law and grammar of Arabic Language. He has written a masterpiece book in the field of Islamic Law, called Al-Muwafaqat which explained perfect theory of “maqasıd” and “maslaha” (Islamic law on the basis of universal aims and social benefit). This theory is a real synthesis of the principles of the two great Sunni schools of law that is the Hanafi and Maliki madhabs. This synthesis is very important to provide a basis for unified, holistic view to Islamic law among distinct madhabs, rather than discriminatory approach based on rigit and partisan madhabism.
He considered that the language of the Quran and Sunna is very important for ijtihad. If someone’s language is not enough, his ijtihad will be unacceptable then. To him, the degree of understanding of the Arabic language is directly proportional to understanding of the Shari’ah. Therefore he has given very much importance to knowing Arabic Language. He accepted knowing language as the basis of understanding the Shari’ah.