Book review – The Way of the Prophet
1. The Way of the Prophet by Shaykh ‘Abd Al-Ghaffar Hasan is a translation of a selection of 401 traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and includes a commentary to elucidate their meanings. This comprehensive selection covers faith, worship, morality and character, ethics, society, law and politics in Islam. It was originally complied in the 1950s by Sheikh ‘Abd al-Ghaffar Hasan of Delhi at the request of Sayyid Abu’l A ‘la Mawdudi and is mainly based on the Miskat al-Masabih of al-Khatib al-Tabrizi and the Abab al-Mufrad of Imam Bukhari. The original Arabic text of the traditions accompanies the translation along with a first-line index of Prophetic traditions for easy reference. This work provides a comprehensive and concise introduction to the teachings of the Prophet.
About the Author
2. Shaykh ‘Abd Al-Ghaffar Hasan (1913-2007), a graduate of Dar al-Hadith al-Rahmaniyyah in Delhi, taught the sciences of Ahadith at the University of Madinah from 1964 to 1979.
3. A beautiful handbook of Hadith, making the radiant gems of Prophetic wisdom available to a wider public. With admirable brevity, it gives the sum and substance of the Prophet’s way. Featuring 401 traditions of the Prophet, this book provides Arabic text and English commentary to elucidate their meanings. This comprehensive selection covers faith, worship, morality and character, ethics, society, law, and politics in Islam.
4. The Preface of book brings out that the Islamic paradigm of guidance is founded on three pillars, first is the creation of the universe(hikmah) on the basis of truth by the creator, second is the divine revelation(wahy), and finally the life example (uswah) of the prophet. A human being selected (istifa) . The objective of compiling this work can be gauged by glancing at the index of topics that, from individual dealings to international relations, there is no significant aspect of life, that the messenger of a Allah, has not illuminated upon.
5. The book attempts to clarify the misnomers spread by those who pick and choose some narrations out of the Ahadith and then pronounce them to be repungnant to reason and morality. A specific case has been referred to Swami Dyanand, a nineteenth-century Hindu revivalist in this context.Before the explanation of the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad of Hadith, the methods of preservation of the Hadith are attributed to the practice of the Ummah, written memory aids and compilations and memory aided narration and transmission.
6. Third chapter deals with the fundamentals of Islam. The Hadith referred to in here explains the meanings of Islam, Imam(faith) and Ihsan(excellence, Ishan is derived from Husn which means beauty). Fourth chapter deals with the teachings of the religion emphasizing on virtues of knowledge, religious education of one's Children and family and forbiddance of irresponsible talk regarding the religion.
7. The book very beautifully touches upon the basic customs of Islam like greeting people three times. The prophet stated something and would repeat it three times until it was understood and when it came to greeting people he would greet then with peace three times. Some other rituals relating to morality and character, personal character, despicable qualities and virtuous living like zakat(giving alms), Hajj, Jihad, Sabr(patience), Haya( modesty) have been put in a very understandable perspective by the author.
8. In relation to the issues of international relations covered two very important aspects emerge ,firstly if there is a peace treaty with another country , it is not permissible to attack it immediately upon expiry of the treaty without giving it fair time for preparation and secondly if war becomes inevitable during the period of the treaty , it is necessary to inform the adversary of this fact.
9. The book attempts to show the muslims what is the straight path, with wisdom and beautiful preaching and prevents them from going astray by inculcating Islamic values in them. It has succeeded in bringing forth the true interpretation of various versus of Islam which are often misinterpreted especially in today's times of fundamentalism. In reality this compilation of Hadiths summarises the essence of Islam and extracts its fragrance in about two hundred pages.
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