Muhammad Abu Zahra was an Egyptian public intellectual, scholar of Islamic law, and author
Abu Zahra was born on March 29, 1898 in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, the second largest city in the Nile Delta.
In 1913, he completed high school and enrolled in the Ahmadi Madrasa in Tanta. Having been rooted in traditional Azharite education, and never having studied in Europe or in Egyptian Westernized schools, Abu Zahra has been criticized by Orientalists as having a superficial grasp of Western methods.
In 1916, he scored highest on the entry examination for the judiciary institute in the Gharbia Governorate despite being several years younger and less experienced than his colleagues. He taught at al-Azhar"s faculty of theology and later, as Professor of Islamic law at Cairo University. His books include biographies of Abū Ḥanīfa, Malik ibn Anas, First Rate (at Lloyd's)-Shafi"i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Zayd ibn Ali, Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-"Abidin, Ja"far as-Sadiq, Dawud al-Zahiri, Ibn Hazm and Ibn Taymiyyah, as well as works on personal status, endowments (waqf), property, and crime and punishment in Islamic law.
He also served as a member of al-Azhar"s Academy of Islamic Research.