Forty Hadith of Nawawi Summer 2009

Selections from the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi

Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo

July 12, 2009

Introductory lecture. Put in your request for whichever hadith you would like to discuss otherwise the sheikh will make the selection.

Textbook: Commentary on the forth hadith of Al Nawawi (631 - 675 Hijri). New edition is coming out bit by bit. Old edition is out of print? New edition is two volumes, corrected some typos and made fonts smaller and made it cheaper because it is now two volumes instead of three.

Final exam will be take home. 

7th century hijri was a turbulent time for Islam

 - Invasion of Damascus by the Mughal empire

 - Crusades


However study of Islam was continuing. Nawawi was born in Nawa in the Sham region south of Damascus. His father was very cautious to live only of halal means and he stressed it on his son. 

His room in Damascus was full of books and there was no place to sit. He died at a young age of 44 but produced many books.

He took 12 different disciplines or classes a day. Each class took an hour. There was a lot of memorization and study. 12 hours of classes and 12 hours of study. It was the barakah that he was blessed with productivity of time.

He started to teach by the age of 24. His school was called Ashrafiya school. He dedicated all of his time to the learning of the deen and passing of the knowledge. Nawawi said that tor two years he did not lie down to sleep, instead he would sleep or doze off while studying etc

He refused stipend for his studies. When he received dates from his father. He feared much of the food in Damascus was not halal. The Mughal empire or judge would confiscate orchards and then sell them off due to lack of documentation from the original owners, hence he felt that the fruits of the orchards were not halal.

He had over 100 books on Shafai fiqh. One of the unique characteristics of Imam Nawawi, he never got married just like ibn Taymiyyah and Syed Qutb. 

There is a statement made by him in commentary on Sahih Muslim - He talks about wives serving their husbands in different ways. This is all part of the goodness of the wife, it is not obligatory. It is custom that women have been following from first generation and now. He feared that he would not be able to fulfill the rights of the women. Marriage is a great sunnah and this was the only one sunnah that he did not follow. He feared that he might follow that one sunnah but commit more sins or mistakes.

His Aqeedah

He is an example of many of the scholars throughout history. What should be our stance or attitude towards scholars. One extreme - people were burning books by ibn Hajar and Nawawi. Another extreme - out of respect of the scholars and do not critique any of their mistakes. Extremes of condemnation and blind devotion must be avoided.

People reject Nawawi because of taweel wrt Allah swt. By the way Nawawi did not write a book on Aqeedah. There is a book on Aqeedah that is falsely attributed to Nawawi. 

Taweel - reinterpreting the attributes of Allah. For example he interpret yad or hand of Allah as power of Allah.

There is some inconsistency regarding his usage of Taweel. He said taweel should only be used as a last resort. however he did use taweel wrt Allah's swt attributes

Sheikh Jamaal is emphasizing the importance of proper Islamic education starting at a very early age. This is with regards to scholars of Islam who were brought up with some wrong beliefs and even if they changed it later and went to Sunnah, they still could not break completely free. This is not about Imam Nawawi but some other scholars (maybe al hashri)

Scholars can make mistakes and you cannot condemn them if they made mistake wrt taweel. When he had these ideas that were not prevalent ideas of the scholars, he was quoting some early scholars.

In general muslims are not averse to the truth but the only views they are exposed to are of some scholars which does not include the sahaba or tabieen, Ibn Taymiyyah said that such a person might be forgiven or even commended for his ijteehad.

His Fiqh

He was from the Shafiah school and one of the greatest scholars of Shafaih madhab but he did not blindly follow the madhab. He was working on Majmuah before he died. Others tried to complete it but failed. He went will beyond his madhab and in cases he rejected some opinions of the shafiah madhab and recommended some other madhab.

He was a faqeeh and was also a scholar of hadith, which was different from other scholars of fiqh. So he studied the isnaad of the hadith and used the hadith if it was authentic, if the shafiah madhab even if they had rejected it.

If a follower of shafiah madhab finds a hadith that goes against the madhab, then he has the right to follow the hadith. If he is not a scholar of hadith and he finds it hard to go against the hadith, and he cannot find any valid reason why madhab does not follow the hadith, then he is excused from following his madhab - Imam Nawawi.

This statement is similar to what was said by Imam Shafie.

Rawdat at-taalibeen is another of his important books on Shafi madhab. 

Minhaj ut taalibeen is now being translated into English from the French translation. 

Next week we will discuss the other writings of Nawawi and the first hadith.

July 19, 2009

Continue with the introductory lecture

Question: The best example is the prophet and the best gen is the sahaba. Imam Nawawi went beyond the examples of the sahaba. What should be our attitude about this?

What did the prophet advise when somebody said that I will fast continuously or I will not marry, he said that he (the prophet) is the most obidient slave of Allah and whoever abandons his sunnah is not of him.

There is no sign that Imam Nawawi was harming himself by his actions or he was fulfilling his obligations and teaching. He did not marry for some personal reasons. Wara - Leave something that is mubaha for an overall goal that is acceptable and that is in a way that does not hinder on fard. For example staying up all night and then missing Fajr prayers.

At no time did Imam Nawawi prescribe these actions for others. He wrote that there is a balance that people have to follow. If he had written that people should follow his way, then it would be problematic because it went beyond what was prescribed by the prophet.

Discuss his Fiqh writings

Acceptance or Popularity - This is Imam Nawawi's sign of his sincerity

Books of Imam Nawawi

Commentary on Sahih Muslim

Riyadh us Saliheen

Commentary on 40 Hadith

Fiqh books and many more

There are many commentaries on Sahih Muslim or Sahih Bukhari but most of scholars will point to Nawawi. There are other works before and after Imam Nawawi but his works are the most quoted and most accepted. It is something very unique. This is sign of his sincerity and his acceptance by Allah swt. Everytime we gain knowledge from his works, then he will be rewarded by Allah swt.

Let us discuss some of the aspects of Imam Nawawi's life 

Fighting in the battlefield for the sake of Allah swt

Over time there developed a standing army to defend the Muslim Nation

Scholars were exempt from fighting

However that is not the only kind of jihad

Imam Nawawi was willing to stand up for the truth. To the rulers, to the scholars, etc. However he demonstrated very good behavior without showing pride or trying to show he is better than somebody else.

First hadith we will discuss is ad-Deen un-Naseeha.

imam An-Nawawi really took this hadeeth upon himself. 

Imam Nawawi took it upon himself to stand up against any wrongs that he saw.

He would write to the rulers

He had a reputation in Damascus. The rulers knew that he had influence. 

On one occarions the rulers of Sham were levying heavy taxes on citizens during hard times. Imam Nawawi wrote that they should reduce the burden. He is quoting the Quran and hadeeth. The rulers are not evil. He reminds them. And based on following facts they need to change their ways. Sometimes he would get impolite responses. For example, the ruler responded that we need these taxes for the sake of Jihad. Imam Nawawi responded, it is obligatory upon the scholars or ulema to make things clear and not to remain silent. The rulers said that the standing army needs to be financed. Imam Nawawi wrote that Jihad is a communal obligation. As long as you money in the public treasury then you have no right to tax the citizens for the army.

Rulers were unhappy with some decision of Imam and decided to cut off his stipend. However they found out that he did not receive any stipends from the government. It shows that he was independent. Hence he was able to confront the rulers since he was not obligated to them. However he was kind and polite even when disagreeing with the rulers.

He took stands on behalf of other scholars when their stipends were threatened. However he did not hesitate to criticize other ulema or stand up if they were wrong.

He was defender of the weak and ordering the good and eradicating evil.

Sultan expelled him from Damascus. Imam Nawawi emigrated to Jerusalem and then to his hometown of Nawa where he died. 675 / 675 Hijri

Imam Nawawi had reached top in three categories - knowledge, zuhud???, and in ordering good and eradication evil.

Before Imam Nawawi, there was a famous scholar ibn Salah or ibn Sarrah?? who presented the all encompassing hadith. Imam Nawawi took the 26 hadith or the most comprehensive hadith and added 16 more to make 42 hadith in the commentary of the 40 hadith

Later scholar came along to add 8 more hadith, that was ibn Rajab, to make 50 comprehensive hadith

Imam has an introduction to his 40 hadith commentary.

When describing this book or collection, he points out that the prophet has been given a particular characteristic of concise and comprehensive speech.

Prophet has six special characteristics: 

1. Concise and comprehensive speech.  Some say it is the Qur'an since it is concise and deep in meaning. However it is not to be restricted to just the qur'an but to his own hadeeth. If you look at prophet's statements that are concise and precise.  Some hadeeth really fit this characteristics.

2. Simplicity and ease in the religion has been given to the prophet. Lot of people misunderstand this term and equate it to mean tolerance of Islam. This is not the meaning that the ulema are passing on. Because you could imply that Islam is okay with whatever jews, christians or muslims are doing in religious matters. The meaning is not tolerance but simplicity and ease. Religion is easy. True monotheism is easy and simple. As opposed to hardships that were placed on people. Prophet said: I have not been sent with judaism or christianity but with Haneefa pure monotheism..." Was the Haneefa of Prophet Ibraheem was it easy or simple? Allah said: "I have not laid upon you any hardships....". Allah described prophet as "... he releases them from heavy burden..." Shariah is consistent with the abilities of the human kind and does not place any undue hardships. 

He  has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islâmic Monotheism  to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islâm), and  has not laid upon you in religion any hardship,  it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islâmic  Monotheism). It is He (Allâh) Who has named you Muslims  both before and in this (the Qur'ân), that the Messenger  (Muhammad SAW)  may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind [Hajj 78]

Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write  whom they find written with them in the Taurât  and the Injeel - he commands them for Al-Ma'rûf and forbids them from Al-Munkar allows them as lawful At-Taiyibât as regards, and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khabâ'ith he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allâh's Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him , honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Qur'ân) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful

July 26, 2009

Imam Nawawi talks about a hadith discussing the 40 hadith. The prophet said, whoever preserves the 40 hadith then Allah will preserve him on the day of judgement. Enter paradise through any door you wish. He will be recorded among company of scholars and resurrected in the company of martyrs.

However Imam Nawawi says this is a weak hadith. 

If there is a weak chain but narrators are not weak, they are good people but they are not proficient in narrating hadith. If all of them narrate hadith same way, then your doubts that they made mistakes can be removed.

Hasan حسد due to supporting evidence

Another principle that scholars use - If all of the narrators are completely rejected, then it is a sign that the hadith is fabricated.

If you study each of the chains of this hadith, then you will find that it falls in the above principle. Hence it is considered by a contemparory scholar as a fabricated hadith.

However we have that there are many scholars who have compiled 40 hadith. Ibn Hajar also has a collection of 40 hadith. However his collection is not as popular as Imam Nawawi's.

Abdullah ibn Mubarak 118 - 181 Hijri - well known scholar of hadith and studied under Imam Malik and Imam Abu Hanifa. He also collected 40 hadith

Scholars have agreed to act in accordance with such weak hadith if it is regarding some aspects of the deen that encourage people to do good deeds. We can be more lax or more flexible. Criteria - Hadith cannot be very weak ضعيف جداً. 

However Sheikh Jamaal has concerns about this statement of Imam Nawawi. Weak hadith cannot be used in Islamic law. Sheikh Jamaal's conclusion is that weak hadith should not be used at all. When you quote a weak hadith you cannot use the active voice, the prophet said... but it is narrated that the prophet said... Since you are making a claim on behalf of the prophet. 

Five major categories of hadith

=== Acceptable =====

1 Sahih صحيح

2 Hasan حسن

=== Weak =========

3 Daif  ضعيف (Weak)

4 Daif Jiddan ضعيف جداً (Very Weak)

===== Rejected ========

5 Mutawatah (Fabricated)

Why did the scholars use weak hadith in their books?

Because you want to pass on the knowledge. You want to describe the chains.

Back to the class

Imam Nawawi used these terms, what do they mean, did the sahaba use it, who was the first to devise the terms?

Al Usool (fundamental) and al furuh (branches)

These terms were first used by .... muatazilla... to divide between iman and amal (action)

Ibn Taymiyyah said we should avoid them. For example using these terms to redefine the qiblah, etc

If these terms are not used to derive rulings then it is okay to use it. Imam Nawawi used it as terminology.

Some say usool is rational thinking and furuh is revelations.

Imam Nawawi meant ... and practical things

40 hadith comprise 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 of the deen.

Scholars are still writing commentaries on the 40 hadith in arabic

Takhreej - Is a root for other works or books

Some of the hadeeth are hasan and not sahih according to Imam Nawawi

According to Sheikh Jamaal the following Hadeeth are weak  #41. And 31, 30 are probably weak. 

Anyone who desires the hereafter must be familiar with these hadiths. These hadith deserve our attention and our study. Try to derive as much as we can from this work.

Next week we will study hadith #7

August 2, 2009

Hadeeth #7

Narrator became a muslim very late in his life. He was a christian, some even claim, he was a monk. This is the only hadith from Tameem ...

ad-deen an-naseeha

Deen is naseeha

The whole religion is encompassed by naseeha. This is one opinion.

All of the religion is related to this concept of naseeha.

However another reading is as follows. 

Another statement of the prophet: Al Hajj  Arafat

Hajj is Arafat.

We do more things or rituals at hajj, so what does the above sentence from the prophet imply? The essential, the main component of hajj is the day of Arafat.

The most essential component of deen is naseeha. If you don't have naseeha, you don't have deen. 

Naseeha is a very comprehensive word, the embodies every type of virtue

Sincerety does not capture the arabic word naseeha.

It has two independent root meanings to it:

1. To clean and to purify something from all unwanted things. Make something very pure, very clean. Left with the purest of the pure. For example, I purified the honey, 100% pure honey. The same arabic root word is used for it.

2. To unite or join something together that is separated.  For example, I sewed the garment together. It was torn and I brought it back together.

Both of these concepts are captured or have some relationship to the word naseeha.

For example: Allah swt says in the Qur'an O you who believe, nusuha repent... 

Make taubah repentance and remove all unwanted sins to make yourself pure. If you do taubah and in your heart you still have the longing or desire for the sin, then the repentancs is not nusuha.

Roots of the words of the Qur'an - readAr-Raaghib al-Isfahanni's book.

Ar-Raaghib al-Isfahanni defines it as follows: Seeking of an action that contains goodness for another person.

Intending of good with actions ...

Giving advice is a form of naseeha but it is not all of it.

Naseeha is sincere, honest and faithful advice, counsel, and conduct

Desired for the good of the person who is a recepient, as well as acting upon it. For example how you behave towards that person

August 9, 2009

Last week's notes can be found here

Continue with the hadeeth from last time. How would we translate naseeha?

Naseeha is sincere, honest and faithful advice, counsel, and conduct

We have to internalize it.

The messengers had this quality of making naseeha to their followers or the people to whom they were sent for.

Most important aspect that messengers and muslims when giving dawah is to have naseeha 

Prophet Saleh said: .... I have given you naseeha but you don't like naseeha... majority of mankind are adverse to the truth 

Give dawah sincerely to the mankind but often they are not receptive towards it

Hadeeth: I made bayah to the prophet saw to establish prayer, give zakat and have naseeha towards the mankind

Six rights of a muslim.  If a brother asks you for advice, he should give him sincere advice naseeha

Continue with hadeeth of Nawawi

Naseeha implies that you are having this sincere feeling towards an object and in the hadeeth the object is Allah swt. How can we make naseeha to Allah swt.  We can act sincerely towards Allah swt. We can implement Allah swt rights upon us. The fruits of the is naseeha will be for us. Even when we act sincerely towards Allah swt, we benefit from it. This is the amazing part of our relationship with Allah swt. Remember Allah swt does not benefit from our naseeha.

In our relationship with Allah, we are sincere and pure. We do our best in our actions towards Allah swt. For example the Salat. If we are sincere in our actions in the Salat, it will have an impact on the quality of the Salat

1. Believe properly in Allah swt

2. Deny any partners with Allah

3. Abstaining from what is forbidden

4. Performing the acts that are required 

5. Love for the sake of Allah swt and hate for the sake of Allah swt

6. Worship Allah swt without any tinge of riyah (implies lack of sincerety) Riyah strikes at the root of naseeha. It is one of the worst qualities after Shirk.

Naseeha: External and internal acts. Having naseeha in your heart is obligatory upon every muslim. This is an internal act. External acts are worship, fast, keep away from haram etc. If there are times when you cannot perform the external acts, then the internal act of naseeha must always be in our heart. There is no fault upon the weak who cannot perform jihad or fasting, if you have naseeha in your heart.

As compared to if you have a disease in your heart and you do not intend to perform the act of worship and abandon it.

Naseeha is the root of niyah - intention

Don't rely on Hans Wehr for the translation of this word. He will give you the contemparory definition and not the true meaning of the word.

Continue with the hadeeth of Nawawi

and naseeha to his book (of Allah swt)

Making naseeha to the book of Allah swt:

 How we approach the Qur'an?

 How we deal with the Qur'an?


Qur'an is a book of guidance and as long as we do not approach it for guidance then we are not approaching it properly. It should not just be recited for the sake of recitation or only recite it during Ramdhan or when there is a death in the family.

Try to get the correct understanding of the book of Allah swt

Study tafseer and goal should be what is the correct understanding of the words of Allah swt

Respect the book for what it is. The speech of Allah swt

Islamic history - Some ullema were imprisoned when there was a debate whether quran is created or is it speech of Allah swt.

Important point of what is kufr and tafkeer

Ullema who give fatwa about this topic. They went out of the way to educate the masses. At that time if anybody claimed Qur'an is a creation was deemed a kafir.

However this topic is now reappearing in books - that quran is a creation just like humans and universe is a creation. When you say it is creation then it implies there are mistakes and you can find mistakes. So if there are mistakes then you don't have to follow it.

Anthropomorphists (giving human form to Allah swt) mistakes were made due to incorrect reading of the Qur'an. Their philosophy died out when their arguments were defeated by the correct understanding of the Ayat which talk about hands or feet or istawa etc

Discussion about groups of people who claim that Allah swt does not speak. They cannot get around the verse that talks about the speech of Allah swt and then they claim that Qur'an is wrong.

Respect and believe in what it is (speech of Allah swt).

Defending the quran against people who are distorting it is also naseeha

Continue with hadeeth of Nawawi

and to his rasul

Making naseeha towards prophet saw

Believe in him,

Believe that he received revelation

Obey him

His statements are above anybody else. (You cannot put more value to your own statements or statements of others over prophet's statements)

Discussion on bidah

It means that you feel that there is some shortcoming in the sunnah of the prophet and you are trying to make changes to it.

Hence the scholars get upset with bidah. The scholar has to correct the mistake properly but in his heart he has hatred for the bidah

Love for the prophet. Above any love for any other human being, It is part of our Iman. None of you truly believes until he loves the prophet more than his father, his child.... 

If we respect the prophet and respect his opinion. What should we think about the people who were closest to him? He took steps to bring certain people close to him. What should be our attitude towards them, They supported the prophet. We should love and respect the closest companions of the prophet. 

If we hate the people who he was closest to him, then there is something lacking in our deen.

Also we should love the scholars who dedicated their lives to the sunnah of the prophet saw. If you find people who hate Imam Malik or other scholars then there is something lacking in them.

The progressives and the modernists were of the opinion that Qur'an is created. This includes mutazillah, khawareez and jahamites. These groups were very violent and they killed and imprisoned many muslims.