Ibni Âbidîn writes on the thirty-fifth page of his first volume:
The knowledge of fiqh is as indispensable for everybody as food is. Abdullah ibni Mas’ûd ‘radiyallâhu anh’, who sowed the seeds of this knowledge, was one of the greatest and best learned ones of the Sahâba.
Alqama, his disciple, watered these seeds and turned them into crops, and Ibrâhim Nahâî, his disciple, reaped the harvest, that is, gathered the pieces of this knowledge together.
Hammâd-i Kûfî threshed it, and his disciple, Imâm-i a’zam Abû Hanîfa, ground it, that is, he classified the knowledge into sections; Abû Yûsuf made dough from it, and Imâm-i Muhammad baked it.
Muslims have been eating the morsels prepared in this procedure. In other words, learning this knowledge they have been attaining happiness in this world and the next.
Imâm-i Muhammad communicated these morsels which he baked in nine hundred and ninety-nine branches of knowledge to his disciples.
Of his six books, in the ones which he called saghîr (little), he communicated what he learned through Imâm-i Abû Yûsuf, and, in those which he called kabîr, he communicated only what he heard from Imâm-i a’zam.