By Mln. Abrar Habib (Takmīl Graduate, 2019)
While studying and researching the Ḥanafī Madhhab, one will come across subject-specific terminology. Many authors use an abbreviation system (ar. rumūz) to indicate to a specific scholar in the School. Most use these in their citations. However, there are other methods too, such as using grammatical patterns, like what Ibn al-Sāʿātī does in his Majmaʿ al-Baḥrayn. Herein, we will discuss how the Ḥanafīs use the letter م for Imām Muḥammad’s opinions. Examples of the Ḥanafī jurists using this abbreviation shall be presented.
وجعلت لكل اسم من أسماء الفقهاء حرفا يدل عليه من حروف الهجاء وهي لأبي يوسف س ولمحمد م ولهما سم ولزفر ز إلخ
In the introduction of Mukhtār, Mawṣilī mentioned that he used the letter م for Imām Muḥammad throughout his book. The following are examples:
وإن قاء دما أو قيحا نقض وإن لم يملأ الفم م
In his Mukhtār, Mawṣilī states that one’s ablution is nullified if he vomits blood or pus, even if it does not equal a mouthful. He then uses the م to indicate that Imām Muḥammad disagreed with this. According to Imām Muḥammad, to vomit an amount that equals a mouthful is necessary for one’s ablution to be nullified.
ويجوز اقتداء المتوضئ م بالمتيمم
Mawṣilī mentioned that it is permissible for one in a state of ablution to follow an imām (trans. prayer leader) who is in a state of tayammum. He used the م because Imām Muḥammad disagreed.
أو استقاء م ز ملء فيه
Mawṣilī stated that if one forces himself to regurgitate, it must be equal to a mouthful for the fast to be invalidated. He used the م because Imām Muḥammad disagreed. According to him, the fast will break even if it did not reach the mouthful amount.
Nasafī, in Kanz al-Daqāʾiq, also used symbols for certain scholars. It should be noted that Shaykh Sāʾid Bakdāsh’s edition of Kanz does not include them. Other editions may include them; however, in their editing, comparisons between manuscript versions of the work were limited. Thus, the accuracy of the abbreviation system as presented cannot be fully relied on as there are some discrepancies between them.
Nasafī used the abbreviation م for Imām Muḥammad. Below are a few examples where he used it because Imām Muḥammad disagreed with the stated opinion. I was not able to compare manuscripts to confirm that these abbreviations are accurate; however, I did ensure that these opinions are correctly ascribed to Imām Muḥammad in other references.
ينقضه…مباشرة فاحشة م
Nasafī states that mubāsharah fāḥishah nullifies ablution. He then used the م because Imām Muḥammad disagreed. According to him, mubāsharah fāḥishāh does not invalidate it.
ومن أدركها في التشهد أو في سجود السهو أتم جمعة م
Nasafī mentioned that one who comes late for the Friday prayer, and joins the imām in tashahhud or sujūd al-sahw, must complete his prayer as a jumuʿah prayer. He then used the م because Imām Muḥammad disagreed. According to him, it is necessary to join the imām in the second rakaʿah’s bowing. And if one enters the prayer after, he must perform the prayer as ẓuhr.
ويجب مهر المثل في الشغار وخدمة زوج م د ك ف حر للأمهار
Nasafī mentioned that mahr al-mithl is necessary if the spouses set the dowry as the husband doing services for the bride for a year. He then used the م because Imām Muḥammad disagreed. According to him, the husband must purchase a servant who will provide a year’s worth of services.
Nasafī also used the م for Imām Muḥammad in his Wāfī. However, this book is currently in manuscript form and not in print.
And Allāh knows best.
 al-Ikhtiyār li Taʿlīl al-Mukhtār, 1:6.
 Ibid., 1:10.
 Ibid., 1:60.
 Ibid., 1:32.
 Kanz al-Daqāʾiq, 140.
 Ibid., 190.
 Ibid., 259.