Researchers have shed light on the literary production of the Ismailis since the early 1930s. The cataloguing of these work has been carried out by Ivanow, Fyzee, Goriawala, Poonawala, Gacek, Cortese and de Blois. Many works attributable to Ismaili scholars, however, are still unavailable either because they remain hidden in private collections or because they have not survived.

Ismaili law, in particular, is still a largely unexplored field of study. Al-Qāḍī Abū Ḥanīfa al-Nuʿmān is generally considered the founder and greatest exponent of Ismaili jurisprudence, Many of his works have been lost, and information on some others is scattered; yet other works remain in manuscript form, and only a few have been published. The present book is a critical edition and translation of al-Nuʿmān’s Minhāj al-Farāʾiḍ, based on its three known copies. It deals with the law of inheritance, one of the most complex in Islamic law.

In comparing the Minhāj with two published works (the Daʿaʾim al-Islām and Kitāb al-iqtiṣār) as well as a manuscript (Mukhtaṣar al-āthār) of al-Nuʿmān, a significant doctrinal evolution clearly emerges, reflecting his early Mālikī training and then his work under four Fatimid imams. Ismaili law is also compared with the doctrines of the Imāmī school as well as the legal system of the four Sunni schools.

This book thus allows us to determine the time of the composition of the Minhāj al-Farāʾiḍ, the development and the originality of Ismaili jurisprudence, and its relation to other schools of law.