Over the past few years, a significant number of friends and students have requested a list of suggested book readings for my various classes on Hadith Studies. Others over the past few years have asked my opinion about certain works or whether they are appropriate for the level of the enquirer. Recently, I was reminded of a promise to compile a short list of works I would consider useful reading material for a student and have thus decided to take out a few minutes to compose this post, keeping in mind the various levels of readers and the need for conciseness.
Rajab is the seventh month in the Islamic lunar calendar. This month was regarded as one of the sacred months (Al-Ashhur-al-hurum) in which battles were prohibited in the days of the Holy Prophet . It is also a prelude to the month of Ramadan, because Ramadan follows it after the intervening month of Sha’ban.
Tafsir is basically trying to understand the Qur’an. Generally, most people who read the Qur’an can understand something from the Qur’an. However, there is a big difference between a person who reads a translation of the Qur’an and between person who can understand it through the Arabic language.
Perhaps ‘love of knowledge’ is the most comprehensive description that characterises all truly successful people who seek it. This attribute —if planted within the heart of a student and allowed to take rest and settle —would cause the many obstacles he faces such as: disinterest, lack of time, different distractions and interruptions, etc — to crumble. For all of these issues stem from the same root, and it is the lack of true love of knowledge.
The following is a translation of a lecture delivered in Urdu by Shaykh al-Islam Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (hafizahullah) on Friday 18th December 2015 in Karachi, Pakistan. Translated by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam
I am sharing this story because firstly, I know how lonely it is for those suffering from mental illness and how comforting it is for us to hear from others who have had similar experiences. Secondly, I’ve learned a lot from the past 4 years that I think will be useful for those who have just started experiencing symptoms. Thirdly, understanding mental illness from a theoretical perspective doesn’t do justice to what people suffering from it feel, especially when we consider how the suffering is invisible on the outside. The list of symptoms for these illnesses can often sound generic or trivial, but the person suffering from it distinctively knows that something is tangibly wrong with them. Lastly, I want to emphasize how much we Muslims need to take mental illness seriously, not just in confronting the stigma, but in approaching diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention as seriously as we would do any other health issue we encounter in our own lives.
Muharram is the month with which the Muslims begin their lunar Hijrah Calendar. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says, “The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified.”
I graduated from the ʿalim program in 2006. I spent the first few years making all kinds of crazy mistakes. Although I’ve learned from my mistakes over time, I have noticed a trend. In general, a lot of ‘fresh graduates’ make the same mistakes as I did, or even worse mistakes. (Fresh graduate here includes anybody who recently graduated from any ʿalim program or BA in Islamic Studies)