By Shaykh Muhammad Manzoor Nomani (r.a)
Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful
Praise belongs to Allah, and peace be on His chosen slaves.
Of the numerous favours of Allah on His slaves, His greatest favour is the chain of Prophets f^-Ji f$J* that He sent to them for their guidance. One of them was always commissioned as Prophet whenever they were in need of a guide.
The chain of Prophets fV-Ji ( ^ e i» continued for thousands of years culminating in the person of Sayyidina Muhammad $& as the Seal of Prophets and the Last of Messengers. He brought the final and perfect teaching that should suffice till the end of time.
The divine teachings and guidance that he brought is made up of two parts, the Book of Allah, the Qur’an which is the Word of Allah both in the literal sense and in the meanings, and the sayings and deeds of the Prophet 1$^. These sayings and deeds came to us while he explained the Book of Allah and demonstrated it practically. The Companions $$> preserved them and passed them on to their successors who gave them a book form, saving them for all times to come. This second part of divine teachings is known as Hadith and sunnah.
The Prophet spent his years and died but he left behind, for ever, both parts of the teachings that he had brought for the guidance of mankind, the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah made hidden and manifest arrangements in every era so that they may be preserved and continue to bestow light. This, indeed, is a great sign of Allah and a living miracle of the Prophet Jjj&.
Allah grows in the hearts of some of His slaves an inclination to serve the Book and the Sunnah is conformity with the requirement of the time and period. If we look at the way of preservation of the Book and the Sunnah from the time of the Prophet onwards, we cannot help exclaim that there is Divine Hands behind it.
it is part of the Divine plan which had made it a pre-requisite of deliverance and earning the pleasure of Allah to believe in the Prophet 3ft. to obey him and to adhere to his way of life. This prescription is for ever. And it meant that the Qur’an and the Sunnah should be preserved and handed down from generation to generation.
The Qur’an is preserved word by word, and no one, not even a non-Muslim, denies it. Allah also made arragnements to preserve the teachings of His Prophet S which, indeed pertain to the different departments of life. His whole life is preserved, the minutest details of his sayings, deeds, habits and morals, and all that being nothing but a pattern, an exposition, of the Qur’an. Allah inspired the Prophet’s S followers to collect and compile the Ahadith. Although more than fourteen centuries have elapsed, these records continue to make the Prophet’s presence felt in our midst to this day.
We must study the works on his life and his Ahadith. We will sec him among us telling us how to behave from morning to evening, day in and day out, how to discharge our religious obligations and give rights of fellow-men and of Allah.
In fact, wc will know many things about him which we do not know of our close friends and next of kin. 1 explained to a non-Muslim scholar recently how every detail of the Prophet’s life is preserved. And. I said to him. ‘When my father died, I was 45 years old which means that forty years of my life of understanding I spent with him. In spite of that I do not knpw as much of my father as I do about the Prophet S through the Ahadith.”
The companions & loved the Prophet S deeply and were well learned in faith. They talked to each other eagerly about every detail of the Prohet’s life, what they had heard from him and seen him do. This was not unnatural, for, faith and love demanded this attitude, and it was a duty and an act of piety to convey the Prophet’s message and thus gain the pleasure of Allah. Even in– his times, Sayyidina Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘Aas 4& and other Companions committed to writting what the Prophet ill said and did and had his permission for that. 1
Khalifah Umar ibn Abdul Aziz instructed the tabi’een to compile the Ahadith from the sayings of the Companions %fe>. Accordingly, Zuhri and Human ibn Munabbih and their pupils continued the task. Imam Maalik’s Muwatta orginated then. Abdul Razzaq, Ibn AH Shebo, Imam Ahmad and Humaydi are other names in this connection.
Imam Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmizi, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah were among the Followers in this field.
At the same time, a proper science was developed to examine the narrators. Their characters and antecedents were scrutinised and life-sketches of more than forty thousand narrators of Ahadith were prepared. This came to be known as Asma ar-Rijaal.
General truths and principles were derived and formulated from the Traditions. Examples of these are found in the works of Imam Maalik, Abu Yusuf, Imam Muhammad and Shafi’ee. Imam Bukhari presented titles to the chapters of his compilations.
The process continues to this day and the ulama have written commentaries and developed the base in other forms to serve the cause.
Their responsibility increases in the present times with the influence of the west on our society.
Shah Waliullah took the first step two hundred years ago to counter the western influence. His mommental work, the Hujjatullah al-Baligha is a complete guidance to the modern mind on Hadith and Sunnah.
I have drawn largely on this book for the Ma’ariful Hadith . The differences of opinion among the ulama has been brought to light with utmost clarity showing that the different schools of thought in fiq h are branches or off shoots of the same tree or the same river. There is no contradiction in them for they originate from the same source. Besides, I have endeavoured to explain and interpret the Ahadith with the modern-educated class in mind.
I have avoided purely theoretical discussions deliberately, and • restricted myself to the elucidation of the aim of the Traditions. Of course, when it seemed that it would benefit readers, I have gone into some details too on the controversial issues.
Whatever I have achieved is though the Grace of Allah but assume responsibility for any wrong or an ill-advised comment.
The fundamental aim in writing this work is to preach, instruct and inform. Hence, a literal translation and the strict structure of the sentence are not observed. The emphasis is on explaining the arrangement of subjects and Ahadith.
The straying off the path in the present times includes the slogan of some people that only the Qur’an is the source of religion. The task of the Prophet $& was only to bring the Qur’an, and ours is to abide by its commands. They say that nothing else is necessary, not even the sayings and example of the Prophet SI and we cannot base any command of Shari’ah on the Prophet’s^ conduct.
However, it is impossible and unreasonable to believe in such ideas: How can one believe in the Messenger of Allah yet not follow his guidance? What can we do? In the world of so many funny things, there is this funny theory too! Some educated people propound this unreasonable idea and are very loud about it!
This mischief should have died its natural death but the western people, who take pleasure in creating mischief have found our atmosphere ideal to promote love of free thought and a disobedient, revolutionary temerament. Their influence gains ground day by day instead of dwindling.
Therefore, I appealed to my benefactor and teacher, Maulana Habibur Rahman al-A’zami to write a foreward for this book and throw light on this subject.
The Ma’ariful al-Hadith is a Collection of Ahadih. An urdu translation of the Ahadithand their explanation is provided for the Urdu knowing Muslims.
Muhammad Manzoor Nu’mani