Kitab al-Mabsoot is a commentary on the mukhtasar of Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Marwazi, which in turn summarized some of the foundational texts of the Hanafi school written by Muhammad al-Shaybani. Muhammad al-Shaybani (Rahimuallaah) was a companion of al-Imaam Abu Hanifa the founder of the Hanafi school. In his Mabsoot, al-Sarakhsi reworks many of the concepts from al-Shaybani’s works. He organized his work around points of dispute (ikhtilaf) and incorporated more information from the Hanafi school, as well as other schools of law. al-Mabsut is well-organized, covers topics comprehensively, explores points of dispute thoroughly, and manipulates hermeneutical argument well. These factors make the book al-Mabsoot a very influential piece of juristic literature; it was an important work of furu in the Hanafi school until the 19th century. Its significance in later times is reflected in the statement of the 15th-century Hanafi jurist, ‘Ala' al-Din al-Tarabulusi (d. 1440) where he says, ‘Whoever memorizes al-Mabsoot and the doctrine of the ancient scholars becomes thereby a mujtahid.’" al-Sarakhsi deals with many themes in his Mabsoot, these include juristic preference, the legality of doing activities with illegally obtained objects, zakat (alms tax, one of the Five Pillars of Islam) and land reclamation.
In the Mabsoot he defines the doctrine of istihasn, or juristic preference, as the "abandonment of the opinion to which reasoning by the doctrine of …systematic reasoning would lead, in favor of a different opinion support by stronger evidence and adapted to what is accommodating to the people. Thereby, al-Sarakhsi neither undermines the importance of the exercise of the doctrine of systematic reasoning nor rejects it in any sense. In addition, al-Sarakhsi deals with the dilemma of doing a legal activity with an illegally obtained object. The fact that the object was obtained illegally does not mean that the legal activity becomes illegal. al-Sarakhsi also deals with issues concerning zakat in al-Mabsoot. For example, if the collector comes and a person denies that something is taxable, he does not have to pay the tax on that item, since it is a duty to God. This is explained in the following passage from the Mabsoot:
"He then swears that this is so. He is believed in all cases. This is because he is responsible for zakat duties that are
obligatory on him. Zakat is an act of worship purely for the sake of God, and the word of a responsible person is always
acceptable in regard to acts of worship that are obligatory as being due to God."
al-Sarakhsi also mentions the views of Abu Hanifa on land reclamation. This passage is from al-Sarakhsi’s Mabsoot, as quoted:
“‘In the view of Abu Hanifa, may God show him mercy, reclaimed land becomes the property of one who restores it only after he receives permission from the Imam’… al-Sarakhsi goes on to explain Abu Hanifa’s reasoning. Abu Hanifa relied on the statement of the Prophet ﷺ ‘A person may have only that which his Imam is content with giving him.’ This statement even if it is general, [is for him probative] since he maintains that statements universally accepted as general take precedence over those that are specific. Then the Prophet said, ‘… except for desolate plots of land; for these belong to ِAllah, His messenger and then to you.’ Now, that which has been designated as God's and His messenger's falls under the jurisdiction of the Imam. It is thus not permissible for anyone to act independently regarding such things without the latter's permission, just as is maintained in the case of the one-fifth portion of booty.... And the Prophet's statement, ‘Whoever reclaims a desolate plot of land ...’ merely clarifies the fact-
which we accept-that the means by which one gains ownership over-restored land is reclamation after he obtains permission from the Imam. The Imam's permission remains a necessary precondition in all of this.”
With this being said al-Mabsoot is an extremely beneficial book that is currently being printed in handwritten style format on yellow paper in 23 fabulous volumes.