Al-Adab Al-Mufrad by Imam Bukhari

Al Adab Al Mufrad by Imam Bukhari

Imam Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al Bukhari Rahimahullah (may Allah have mercy on his soul) is well known as a great scholar who has done a tremendous amount of work in the authentication, preservation and narration of Hadith. His collection of Hadith, the Sahih of Bukhari, is considered to be the most authentic book in Hadith. In fact, Sahih Bukhari has a status as one of the fundamental sources of Islamic knowledge right after the Quran itself. The actual title of which is “al-Jaami’ al-Sahih al-Musnad al-Mukhtasar min Umuri Rasooli-llahi wa sunanihi wa Ayyaamihi”. Imam Bukhari collected a lot more Hadith than are included in his Sahih collection. His compilation of the Hadith about the Character of Muslims in his book called Al Adab Al Mufrad.

Al Adab Al Mufrad book should be taught in every Muslim school to really build the character of Muslims. It is a collection that contains Hadith that address various aspects of everyday to show how one should behave in those common situations and occasions. For instance, it includes our manners when it comes to our parents, our relatives, our daughters, our children, our neighbors, orphans in the community and many more. It also mentions common everyday manners for everyday tasks such as sleeping and getting up, visiting friends and receiving guests and other general behavior. In short it covers how a Muslim should behave individually, with his family, relatives and neighbors, with society in general and so on.

If you have not been taught this book in school, it is easy to start at any age. Find and attend a class in your local mosque if possible. If not, maybe take a class online. Or if you’d like, you can pick up a copy and read it yourself. But it is better to study it under a scholar to get the most benefit of the book.

And Allah knows best.

Criteria for Selecting Islamic Texts for Study

There is an incredible amount of books on every subject available nowadays. It is very easy to pick up a book on almost any subject, religious or otherwise. Publishing has become very easy and literally anyone can do it. There is really no way to only allow books that contain reliable material to be published. Although, this is not a new concept, but just the sheer amount of content these days is dizzying to say the least. As a student of knowledge, it is vital to be able to distinguish between books that are beneficial and good and books that are harmful and misleading.

This book is really a guide to get students of knowledge to get on the right path of acquiring the authentic Islamic Knowledge to get to a point where you are well read about the religion, understand the foundations of Islam and are equipped with the necessary knowledge to carry on studying throughout your lives on. Life is a journey and we all want to know how Allah wants us to lead our lives according to the Islamic teachings.

How do you tell which books to read and which to avoid? Is there any criteria that we can use to filter out the garbage and focus on the real good stuff? It turns out that there are a few resources available to help us in this regard. Here are some general guidelines:

Find books from recognized “Muslim” publishers
Avoid publishers who regularly publish negative material about Islam
Take the time to look up who the author is and what their background is, where they studied and what else they might have written
Read the reviews online if available on the bookstore web sites such as amazon.com
Take a look at the table of contents to figure out the structure of the book
Read the preface or introduction to see what the purpose of the book might be
Take a look at the references included in the footnotes or in the bibliography

And Allah knows best.

The Reasons for Studying Hadith

Hadith is one of the two primary textual sources of Islamic Knowledge. I have mentioned this earlier in the previous chapter. The Study of Hadith complements the study of the Quran to give us a complete picture, so we understand the Quran more accurately. The Quran is a complete text in and of itself but it does not contain all the details that are needed to follow Islam the way it is meant to be followed. The reason for this is explained in the Quran itself. The Prophet (ﷺ) is also a guide and a teacher to the Muslims. He explained the Quran to his companions, he showed by his own example, he confirmed their understanding when it was correct and corrected their understanding if they misunderstood anything.

It is possible to misunderstand the revealed text. Even the companions sometimes thought a verse to mean one thing but the Prophet (ﷺ) had to explain to them what the intended meaning really was. There are tons of people nowadays who interpret the Quran according to their own understanding. They do not rely on the authentic Hadith that show how the Prophet (ﷺ) explained the verses and how the companions understood them. Many incorrect interpretations of the text of the Quran are done, sometimes by mistakes and other times deliberately to mislead people.

People have this mistaken belief that they only need the Quran and don’t need the Hadith because of several very well documented reasons. Scholars of Islam have addressed each and every one of these questions to try and persuade the people who don’t want to accept Hadith. However, the fact of the matter is that it is the weakness of Imaan that has deluded some people into rejecting Hadith. Shaitaan has convinced them that the Quran alone is the sacred text and Hadith is just something extra that they don’t understand and don’t need to understand, follow or implement. As a result, numerous requirements of the religion which have been recorded in Hadith are simply ignored! May Allah protect us all from this and all other misguidance.

And Allah knows best.

Information Overload

Everyone knows there is way too much information. Both online and offline. There are way too many books and magazines to choose from. There is a dizzying array of electronic media to entertain anyone hours on end on a daily basis. There’s a lot of made up garbage that people ought not to consume but since its out there people do read it, listen to it or watch it. People mindlessly forward a ton of *crap* via Whatsapp (what the statistic I read the other day about Whatsapp handling 60 billion messages per day or something like that really must include).

Interpersonal relationships have suffered. People are not connected. Except virtually. Everyone’s connected via smart devices, social networks and ubiquitous global networks of wifi or cellular data connections. This includes children as young as two years old who can barely hold a smart device as well as seventy or eighty year old grandparents who have someone embraced technology in the form of smart devices so much so they too reach for their device at their bed side as the first thing upon waking up. And this is not just some people. This is the norm these days. A global norm.

Therefore there is a real need more than ever before for quality content that stands out (from the content creators’ perspective). And some kind of filtering mechanism that filters out the nonsense noise and only focuses on the good stuff (and I’m not talking AI (artificial intelligence) although that could very well lend a helpful hand. On a personal level, smart folks need to develop their own way of mind numbingly useless content from consuming their valuable time (I started deleting the majority of forwarded audio, video and image files. Also lengthy PDF attachments and forward paragraphs of text: who has time to go through any of those these days and yet people refuse to stop and think before forwarding).

Pardon my ranting. It’s a serious issue. We need solutions not whining 🙂

Resources for learning the Quran

There are numerous resources available for learning the Quran. As I alluded to earlier, there is not just one subject area when it comes to studying the Quran. Consider the following areas and some of the better resources for studying these that I have found.

Learn to read with proper Tajweed:

The best possible thing you can do to learn Tajweed is to find a reputable Quran teacher, preferably someone whose mother tongue is Arabic. This is to get the most accurate pronunciation for the hard to articulate letters that are unique to the Arabic language.

In addition to learning Tajweed from a good teacher, you can also read up on this topic and watch videos:

I recommend the following book:
Al-Qaa’idah al-Qur’aaniyyah – An Introduction to Tajweed by Qari Muhammad Idrees Asim

I recommend the following video course:
Tajweed Series – By Wisam Sharieff

Learn Arabic for the Quran:

This is a lifelong journey for all serious Muslims particularly those who consider themselves to be students of knowledge. However, there are courses that one can take to get a focused education to really understand the Quran, at least on the elementary level so when you read the commonly recited verses, you actually know what they mean.

I recommend the following book: Learning Arabic Language Of The Quran by Izzath Uroosa
I recommend the following video course:
Learning Arabic Language of the Quran By Dr.Abdussamie

Learning Tafseer of the Quran:

So by now, you’ve learned how to recite the Quran and learned enough Arabic to actually know what the verses mean without relying on translations (for most common words anyway). The next step in our understanding of the Quran is to study the various authentic Tafseer books (also preferably with a reputable teacher). There are several very good books of Tafseer available to us these days. Additionally, there are a lot of good teachers who are teaching Tafseer in class rooms. Find and attend a good Tafseer class in your local area.

I recommend the following book: Tafseer ibn Katheer
I recommend the following video course: Dr Israr Ahmed Tafseer of Quran English

If you speak Urdu, there is a great resource available in Dr Israr Ahmed (Rahimahullah, May Allah have mercy on his soul): his explanation of the Quran are available in books and Multimedia (Audio/Video) formats.

And Allah knows best.

Avoiding Misinterpretations of the Quran

The Quran is a fundamental source of Islamic knowledge. The Hadith which includes the sayings and recorded actions of the Prophet (ﷺ) among other things, closely follow the Quran as the second fundamental source of Islamic knowledge. Early scholars have done a great service to Islam to meticulously collect and authenticate the Hadith. They actually developed a science of Hadith authentication that is not found in any other literature religious or otherwise, specially from that long ago. Furthermore, early scholars also wrote Tafseer (exegesis or the explanation) of the Quran. Classical Tafseer also rely on the Hadith and Athaar (sayings of the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ).

In other words, simply picking up an Oxford printing of the translation of the Quran into English by an Western Orientalist author does not convey the real meaning of the Quran to anyone.

To understand and interpret the message of the Quran accurately, one has to find out what the Arabic words meant (i.e. the linguistic and cultural context of the people of Quraish tribe in Mecca at that time), the reasons of revelation (the historical context within which the verses were revealed), what the Prophet (ﷺ) said about the revelation and how the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) understood it (recorded in the books of Hadith) and how the early scholars explained it (recorded in the books of classical Tafseer).

Trying to interpret the Quran any other way would result in misinterpretations. It makes no sense to base our understanding of the Quran on the explanation of people who neither know the Arabic language nor rely on the classical Tafseer and authentic Hadith collections. Yet we see a lot of people doing just that. May Allah protect us all from misguidance.

In the next chapter, I’ll write in more detail about the importance of relying on Hadith to arrive at the correct understanding of the Quran and hence getting an accurate picture of Islam as a whole.

And Allah knows best.

Increasing the Odds of a Good End

I just watched a short video clip gone viral on social media recently of a man dying while reciting the Quran in a mosque somewhere. SubhaanAllah indeed! And hopefully it is not a fake video (that would be the topic of a future blog post)! We all want and pray that we meet our Creator while we are doing something good and pleasing to Allah. And we all pray to be protected from an evil end.

I remember a lunch room conversation with a co-worker a long time ago: he remarked, almost out of the blue, that he would love to die while doing something good! I was happily amazed to hear that from him and I congratulated him and told him that it was the first step: wanting a good end. We would have to ask Allah for it and we would have to increase the likelihood of that happening by engaging in good more and avoiding evil as the plague. Since we don’t know when we would die, it would not make any sense to sometimes be engaged in doing things that displease Allah. What if we died doing them and didn’t get a chance to repent?

It is a great achievement to meet Allah when He is pleased with us. We should always make it a priority to pray for this. And remind each other and ourselves to pray for a good end. And to engage in good deeds on a daily basis and to avoid evil deeds at all costs. Conversely it is a huge loss to die after having gone against Allah’s commands and not being able to repent. Like dying while one is drinking or dancing or having extramarital relations with someone or cheating someone or hurting someone in some way and not been given a chance to repent to Allah and make amends after having made an error.

May Allah protect us all from an evil end and may Allah be pleased with us when we die.

And Allah knows best.

How to develop a relationship with the Quran

Developing a relationship with the Quran is very important for every single Muslim. A properly meaningful relationship with the Quran requires learning to read it, learning enough Arabic to understand it in its original Arabic without relying on a translation and reading it on a regular basis and reflecting upon what has been read. Furthermore, it requires that what is read and learned from the Quran is implemented in our own lives because that is truly what it’s for. Finally, it also requires that we relay what we have learned to others in a manner that is prescribed in the Quran itself as well as the Sunnah/Hadith.

Yet it is not prioritized as such by many people. Many Muslims simply don’t read the Quran regularly. And those that do read it, read it without really reflecting on what is being said. This is a direct consequence of not knowing Arabic. The miraculous verses of the Quran do not have any affect on the reader if they are not even making an effort to understand what it says. Reading with understanding is not optional. Reading the Quran without understanding is like reading a novel or a newspaper in a foreign language that one doesn’t understand.

A lot of Muslims simply read the Quran to get the reward of reading. Although, it is true that there is a reward for reading the Quran (it is one of the great forms of worship in Islam), the purpose of the Quran is totally missed by simply reading. The purpose of the revelation of the Quran is to serve as the source of guidance for mankind. But that guidance is not attained by simply reading it without understanding it. Quranic guidance is attained from reading and reflecting on the verses.

Often the reading is not even done properly. Many Muslims simply read the Quran without pronouncing the words correctly and it ends up not making sense or the meanings are changed. In that respect even the reward from merely reading the Quran is lost. Therefore it is important to learn to read it properly as well. Another reason is for our daily prayers. If we are not able to read the Quran properly, our prayers are deficient as well.

Therefore, learning to read the Quran properly and reading it with understanding (knowing enough Arabic to understand what we read in the Quran) are absolutely essential first steps to creating and maintaining relationship with the Quran. Without reading with understanding, a true and meaningful relationship with the Quran is not possible. Next, implementing what is learned from the Quran in our lives. Finally, relaying that knowledge to others in the prescribed manner to the best of our ability. If we do these, then we can expect to reap the benefits of the guidance that is promised from the Quran not to mention the eternal reward that is promised in the hereafter for people of the Quran, with the permission of Allah.

And Allah knows best.

The reasons for studying the Quran & Tafseer

The reason for studying the Quran & its correct interpretation (the Tafseer) is obvious: the Quran is one of the two fundamental textual sources of Islamic knowledge. The other fundamental textual source is the Hadith literature which will discuss in the next chapter. Being the main source for knowledge it behooves us as Muslims and specially as students of knowledge to learn as much from the Quran and its authentic Tafseer or the correct interpretation as possible. For that end, learning Arabic is a fundamental requirement, as was discussed in the last chapter.

Learning the Quran has many aspects.

There are many areas of study when it comes to the Quran. Learning to read the Quran properly is from the knowledge of Tajweed (proper recitation with the correct pronunciation rules). Learning the meanings of words comes from the knowledge of the Arabic of the Quraish tribes in Mecca in Arabia at the time when the Quran was revealed. Learning the reasons of revelations is derived from the Hadith concerning the Asbaab un Nuzool to provide the correct historical context and the events that occurred at the time and the people that the verses may have been addressing and so on around the time of the revelation. Learning the true meanings and application of the text of the Quran comes from the many authentic traditions found in the Hadith where the Prophet (ﷺ) himself explained the meanings of the verses revealed to the companions who recorded, related and passed down the information to be collected later on in the Hadith collections. All of these areas of study serve to provide a complete understanding of the Quran. Failing to take any of these into account could potentially result in a deficient or partial or even incorrect understanding of the Quran.

And Allah knows best.

Learning Arabic with the right intention

Having the right intention is vital in everything in Islam. So it goes without saying that, we should have the right intention when learning Arabic. Learning Arabic forms the foundation of a good Islamic education so an impure intention threatens to undermine everything we learn based on the study of Arabic if our intention is not purely for Allah alone. Every student of knowledge should correct their intention from the very start of their journey that they are seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah alone. Learning Arabic for the purpose of gaining a worldly benefit will undermine the amazing reward that is in store for the students.

A wrong intention could also be a cause for regret or punishment in the hereafter depending on what was intended. If the intention happened to be to learn Arabic, for example, to be able to talk to people from an Arab country or to find a better job in the Middle East, then the reward for learning Arabic for the sake of understanding the Quran and Islam will not be attained. But if the intention was to show off to people how good a scholar one is and to try to gain a position based on the piety that people associate with knowing Arabic, that in fact could cause the person to be punished in the hereafter.

Therefore we need to purify our intention before we ever start learning Arabic (or learning anything for that matter). And we should check our intention often and correct it if we find it straying away from purely for understanding the Quran and Islam for the pleasure of Allah. And re-evaluate the intention and correct it after the fact as well. This will ensure that our reward is guaranteed and we don’t end up deserving punishment on the Day of Judgement. May Allah protect us all from an evil end.

And Allah knows best.