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Masjid Tarbeeyyah Presents Explanation of Al Aqeedah At Tahawiyyah Shaykh Abu Khalid Imran – Islamic University of Madinah / EgyptThis is a book dealing with Aqee’dah (basic tenents of faith), written by _Abu Ja’far Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Salaamah al-Tahaawi_ رحمه الله تعالى. It is a book that is easy to read, clear in meaning and mentions a number of the beliefs of the righteous salaf and those who followed them from Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. In total 105 beliefs are mentioned which cover topics such as:

  • The belief in the oneness of Allah.
  • Belief in the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ. 
  • Beliefs regarding the Qur’an.
  • Beliefs regarding the Angels, the Day of Judgement, Paradise, Hell and other matters of the unseen. 
  • Belief in divine will and decree. 
  • Beliefs with regard to the noble Sahabah and more.

Every Sunday at 19:15 – 21:30 starting from 26th of February 2017 Brothers and Sisters

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Book review No.3: Muhammad How He Can Make You Extraordinary By Hesham al-Awadi

If you happen to be a devout Muslim and respond that you have already read the traditional biographies of the prophet and will not find anything new there, you’re right if you’re looking only for a narrative retelling of events. But if it’s about a different retelling of the same story, which sheds new light, then reading a single biography will not be enough. You must constantly read in search of further perspectives, because each age will rewrite Muhammad’s biography from the perspective of its own interests and concerns. – page 189

The author tells the story of Muhammad peace be upon him, unlike traditional biographies, by relating it to our modern-day lives. It seems to be more so a self-development guide, though the author has ‘tried to make this book a unique mix of these two genres (biography of the Prophet and a self-development guide)’.

About Hesham al-Awadi

13166041_999198160134254_2697204075470713397_n‘Hesham al-Awadi is a Professor of History at the American University of Kuwait. He was lecturer in Modern Middle East Politics at the institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University and Visiting Scholar at George Washington University’ 

The Professor is also known for his detailed lectures (that are available online). Some of which are listed: Children around the Prophet, Life of Imam Bukhari, The four great imams, Women inspired by the Beloved, and Yusuf AS. May Allah pleased with his efforts.

Contents of the book

‘Muhammad How He Can Make You Extraordinary’ is about 200 pages in length, and it was published July 2016.

The book is divided into eight chapters. Each chapter tells an important part of the Messenger’s life, peace be upon him, and then focuses on ways the reader can practically benefit from what he has just read. The chapters are as follows.

  1. Muhammad’s childhood
  2. Muhammad’s family
  3. Muhammad’s environment
  4. Muhammad’s adolescence
  5. Muhammad as a young adult
  6. Muhammad in his 40s
  7. Muhammad in his 50s

How does one read this book?

As this book is unlike traditional biographies, I have briefly summed the author’s explanation on how to read his book (which can be found within the introduction of the book).

Each chapter begins with a visual illustration that briefs the reader, and sums up the main ideas of what he is about to read. Each chapter ends with a table of practical lessons relating to what reader has just read. Throughout the book’s text, the author frequently pauses its narrative to either highlight additional information, mention important points derived from the main narrative, and/or ‘offers direct input by way of advice on a variety of questions, based on the lessons we can learn from the life of the Prophet Muhammad’.

My thoughts on book

Meant for readers from all levels of life, the book is very informal and calm. Its use of easy-read English, helpful suggestions and illustrations make a pleasurable read for anyone.

The author chose to avoid the usual style of language, many would expect in a typical biography of Muhammad, for a more approachable and familiar type of style. However unorthodox this seems, one cannot argue with its results.

Unlike traditional biographies, the author focuses heavily on the Messenger’s early life, peace be upon him. That is before the age of forty, such as: his childhood, teenage years, as a young adult, and well into his adulthood. This is perhaps the most significant aspect of the book. Today, many young Muslims in the English-speaking world struggle to feel a personal connection to the Messenger peace be upon him. I feel this book is well suited to help such Muslims.

It should be noted; the book is very concise. It is not as rich in detail as typical biographies come. Nevertheless, every Muslim who wants to be inspired, and improve themselves, would do well reading the book. At the very least it serves as reminder that Muhammad is a Prophet for every age.

Book Review No.2: Fiqh al-Imam Key Proofs of Hanafi Fiqh By Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf

Allama Sha’rani writes: Imam Shaf’i happened to visit Abu Hanifa’s grave during the time of Fajr. He performed the prayer without reciting qunut (a special dua) and remarked, “How could I recite qunut in the presence of this Imam when it was his opinion not to recite it” (al-Mizan). – page 25

Fiqh al-Imam is a clarification on the concept of taqlid (following the opinion of someone without knowing the proofs) in the Hanafi fiqh, and a compilation of evidences regarding the Hanafi interpretation of the Prophetic statement “Pray and you see me pray” (Bukhari).

The book is a contemporary Hanafi response answering many misconceptions regarding the madhab. Written with great sensitivity in mind, the book answers critical issues most average readers (including myself) have struggled (or still struggle) to understand (regarding Hanafi fiqh).

About Mufti Abdur-Rahman Ibn Yusuf

dvopou3lHis full name is Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera. He’s studied in England, India, South Africa, and Syria. His achievements include: the memorization of the entire Qur’an, BA in Islamic studies from the University of Johannesburg, graduating from Darul Ulum in Bury England with a degree and formal authorization in Islamic science, and specialized in legal judgement at Mazahir Ulum Saharanpur India.

He studied under several ustadhs (teachers), some of which are mentioned: Shaykh Yusuf Motala and other students of the late hadith expert Shaykh Zakariyya Kandalawi at Darul Ulum Bury. Mufti Rada al-Haq in Madrasa Zakariyya in South Africa. Professor Abdur-Rahman Doi PHD at Rand Afrikaans University Johannesburg. Shaykh Abd al-Razzaq al-Halabi in Syria (who possessed a short unbroken chain of transmission to Muhammad peace be upon him regarding Qur’an recitation and memorization).

His other written works include: Reflections of Pearls, Ghazali’s The Beginning of Guidance, Imam Abu Hanifa’s Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar Explained, Salat and Salam: In Praise of Allah’s Most Beloved, Provisions for the Seekers, and Prayers for Forgiveness.

Born and raised in London, and having served as an imam in both the USA and the UK, Mufti Abdur-Rahman is educated in both Islamic and western traditions, making him especially suited to help tackle problems Muslims are facing today in the west. May Allah be pleased with the Mufti’s efforts.

History of ‘Fiqh al-Imam’

The first edition of the book was published in January 1996, while the author was in his fifth year of study at Darul Ulum Bury England. The book met great approval by many which led to its second edition to be published in September 1996. This was its first revision and included the addition of three extra chapters (though I do not remember which chapters these are). The second edition is claimed to have sold very well. After which the book was out of print for several years. In 2003, a third revised edition was published with several changes made to the text to assist the reader (these changes are mentioned in the book’s introduction). A second printing of the 2003 revised edition was published in 2004 with helpful indexes included.

The book under review is the 2004 edition of Fiqh al-Imam by Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf (published by White Thread Press).

Contents of the book

The book is about 200 pages divided into two parts.

Part one starts by clarifying certain issues regarding taqlid such as its necessity and rulings. The author lends many of his pages to the thoughts of the renowned Indian Scholar, Mufti Taqi Uthamni, regarding taqlid. After which, Mufti Abdur-Rahman provides a short introduction to the great Imam that is, Abu Hanifa, and defends his credibility as a great jurist. After all this is a book relating to the Hanafi school of fiqh. It is well known Imam Abu Hanifa developed many of his opinions based on the great companion Abdullah ibn Masud’s narrations, thus, the Mufti also provides a chapter highlighting the virtues and merits of this great Companion.

The second part of the book is a compilation of evidences and analyses regarding the Hanafi interpretation of the Prophetic statement “Pray and you see me pray” (Bukhari). This is dealt with by way of 12 chapters, each chapter devoted to a specific issue regarding salah (prayer). These chapters are listed below.

  1. The distance to be kept between the feet
  2. The position of the hands in prayer
  3. Reciting behind the imam
  4. The issue of amin – explained
  5. Raising the hands for ruku
  6. Sitting in prayer: tawarruk or iftirash?
  7. The sunnah prayer of Fajr
  8. How many rakats in Witr?
  9. Prayer after Asr
  10. Prayer during Friday sermon
  11. The number of rakats in Tarawih
  12. Combining two prayers

Each issue is dealt with carefully and explained thoroughly by the Mufti. An example is given below.

Chapter 4 The issue of amin – explained

The author begins the chapter with an introduction, within it he mentions ‘It must be realised that the difference of opinion is only concerning which method is superior, i.e. is it more virtuous to say amin aloud or silently?’ The mufti goes on to explain the various opinions on this issue (including the Hanafi opinion). After which, the author studies the Qur’an, Hadith, and the companions and the followers on this issue. These studies are followed by ‘Other Reasons for Saying Amin Silently’, followed by analyses of seemingly opposing hadiths. The Mufti then provides a general explanation of the issue and concludes that matter respectively. (p87)

My thoughts on the book

The book is very well written to serve the for the education of the general masses. It is an intellectual piece of work; however, its pages are presented in a friendly manner with its easy use of the English language, avoiding unnecessary fancy jargon, for which most readers, I believe, will be thankful for.

The Mufti is very well versed in the evidences of the conflicting opinions and answers them in a respectful and scholarly fashion. This is helpful and aids the reader to understand and respect the differences of opinions.

It is clear by reading this book, Mufti Abdur-Rahman did his best to avoid causing offence, bias, and/or contributing to polemical quarrels regarding issues of fiqh (Jurisprudence), as can be the case sometimes, unfortunately. Wherever the Mufti states several opinions on an issue, only the names of those Imams have been mentioned who agree with the Hanafis on an issue. And terms like ‘group one’ or ‘group two’ have been used when stating differing opinions. This seems a good decision on the Mufti’s part.

I can see the book is relevant to two types of people. The first type is the Muslim who is seeking a genuine clarification in the issue of taqlid amidst all the confusion. The second type is the Muslim who may or may not follow a school of thought in fiqh, but, he is seeking evidences regarding salah to learn which opinion is closest to the sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him) of Allah.

It is important to remind those who want evidences from this book to “refute” others to cease such thoughts. This book is not for such purposes. To those who are genuinely curious regarding the contents of this book and want to gain the knowledge with good intentions, I recommend this read.

Book Review No.1: The Differences of the Imams by Shaykh Al-Hadith Zakariyya Kandhlawi Translated by Mawlana Muhammad Kadwa

It is quite bewildering to note that to determine the purity of gold, one avails himself of the services of a bullion dealer, but to practice upon the hadiths, he considers the services of an analyst as dispensable. The one who does this is quite proud of his own knowledge in spite of his ignorance. We beseech the assistance of Allah Most High alone. – page 58

This book is essentially an explanation of the differences and why they occur. Aimed towards the average reader, it does not go in to detailed analysis on issues, but sheds enough light on the topics to calm one’s curiosity. A short and concise read, easy to understand and organised thoughtfully.

About Shaykh Zakariyya Kandhlawi (1898-1982)sh-z-k

His full name was Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya ibn Muhammad Ismail. He is considered, by many, one of India’s most skilled scholars of hadith during his time. Coming from a family of many notable scholars, the book mentions his lineage continues all the way back to Abu Bakr (p123) the great companion of Muhammad peace be upon him. He studied under his father (Shaykh Muhammad Yahya) and his uncle (Shaykh Muhammad Ilyas – founder of the Tablighi movement (p124). He later studied under Shaykh Khalil Ahmad, a hadith expert, from whom he received authorization in hadith. He then took a teaching post at Madrasa Mazahir Ulum in his late twenties and remained teaching at the place for several years. Shaykh Zakariyya married twice in his life. His second marriage was due to his first wife passing away. He was blessed with five daughters and three sons from his first wife and two daughters and one son from his second wife. He had always wished to die in the blessed city of Madinah, Allah Most High answered his wish and he was buried in Jannat al-Baqi in 1982. His written works amount to a great number, most of which are mentioned within the book itself. May Allah Most High be pleased with his efforts.

History of ‘The Differences of the Imams’

The Differences of the Imams is a translation of an Urdu book called Ikhtilaf al-A’imma written by Shaykh Zakariyya Kandhlawi. He had started to pen the works of Ikhtilaf al-A’imma as articles on the request of a monthly magazine Al-Mazahir launched by Madrasa Mazahir Ulum. Unfortunately, the magazine project Al-Mazahir was terminated, after approximately 14 months of publication, because of which, Shaykh Zakariyya could not continue his works on Ikhtilaf al-A’imma despite popular demand. The Shaykh mentions his regret for not being able to complete Ikhtilaf al-A’imma in more detail as he initially intended. His friends at the time suggested he publish all that he had penned so far on Ikhtilaf al-A’imma as a part one (book) on the subject. He saw no need for such efforts at the time as he intended to publish Ikhtilaf al-A’imma once he added some extra material to it. Unfortunately, the Shaykh was not able to achieve this due to sickness and age and he later gave permission to his friends to publish whatever he had written on the topic (of Ikhtilaf al-A’imma).

The book under review is White Thread Press’ edited and revised edition of Mawlana Muhammad Kadwa’s translation of Ikhtilaf al-A’imma: The Differences of the Imams.

The contents of the book

The layout of the book is simple and easy for the average reader to understand. The book is divided into 3 different parts as listed below.

Part One: The Era of the Messenger peace be upon him

Part Two: The Era of the Companions & Followers

Part Three: The Era of the Mujtahid Imams & Some Principles of Hadith & Jurisprudence

In each part, the author explains several reasons why differences have occurred regarding hadith narration and ijtihad within the three eras. He also provides practical examples for almost every reason he mentions which are quite easy for the average reader to grasp. Two examples are given below.

In part one, the era of the Messenger peace be upon him:

Under the heading ‘Reason 2 A special case is taken as a general command’ the author gives clarification on this with an example – a hadith which seems to be an apparent contradiction to the Hanafi text. In Hanafi fiqh (jurisprudence), tahiyyat al-masjid (the optional prayer for entering the masjid) is prohibited while the Friday khutbah (sermon) is in progress. Yet there is a narration which mentions: the Prophet peace be upon him was giving the Friday khutbah, a companion entered the masjid during the khutbah and Muhammad peace be upon him commanded him to pray tahiyyat al-masjid. (Muslim 2023) To the average reader this would seem as a contradiction to the Hanafi text. Why would the Hanafis contradict such a clear hadith? Shaykh Zakariyya shows that this hadith is a prime example of a special case taken as a general command. The companion mentioned in the hadith is in fact Sulayk al-Ghatafani, he was an extremely poor companion and he was asked to pray tahiyyat al-masjid so all the other companions present could witness his poverty and forced situation. The Shaykh goes on to mention that some narrations state that Muhammad peace be upon him paused his khutbah while Sulayk al-Ghatafani performed tahiyyat al-masjid. (p25)

In part two, the era of the companions & the followers:

The Shaykh mentions one of the ‘reasons for differences in narration during the era of the companions and followers was that many a time Allah’s Messenger peace be upon him would say something that would later become abrogated. However, some of the people who heard the initial injunction were probably not present to hear its abrogation and thus continued narrating what they heard (before the abrogation).’ Shaykh Zakariyya then proceeds to give an example of this, he explains, there are many narrations which permit masaha (wiping) over one’s turban (Bukhari 205 Muslim 633), but Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani proves that all these hadiths were later abrogated, thus prohibiting the masaha over one’s turban. (p55)

My thoughts on the book

The book is extremely well structured. Given the book is only about 100 pages, it covers a great number issues very effectively. It is clear the book is intended for the general masses and explains the complexities of its topic in a friendly manner.

It is evident within the book that the Shaykh regrets that he could not complete ‘The Differences of the Imams’ in greater detail. It is unfortunate that he could not do as he intended, nevertheless, whatever the book contains is immensely beneficial for today’s Muslims. One could argue, ‘The Differences of the Imams’ is even more relevant in our time than it was during the time of Shaykh Zakariyya.

From the contents of its pages I believe this book is relevant to three types of people in our time. The first type is the Muslim who is concerned or confused as to why there are so many apparent disagreements in the ummah in matters of fiqh. The second type is the Muslim who is curious on the matter of differences and needs a safe introduction to ease him into this field. The third type is the young Muslim who is eager to go the hadiths directly without proper training in the usuls (principles) of the field, this book will persuade such a Muslim that he must continue consulting experts in hadith until he is fully qualified to look at hadith directly.

It is important to remind those who want evidences from this book to “refute” others to cease such thoughts. This book is not for such purposes. To those who are genuinely curious regarding the differences of the Imams and want to gain the knowledge with good intentions, I recommend this read.