"….He has not placed any Hardship upon you in Religion…" [TM Qur'an  22:78]

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Translation of Imam An-Nawawis's Introduction
al-Arba'un Nabawi
An-Nawawis Forty Hadith
Translated by Ezzedin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davies
127 Pages- Paper Back- Printed in India

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. Eternal Guardian of the heavens and the earths, Disposer of all created beings, Dispatcher of Messengers (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all) who were sent to those they have been entrusted to guide and to reveal the religious laws to, with positive signs and clear-cut proofs. I praise Him for His favors and ask Him to increase His grace and generosity. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, He having no associate, the One, the Subduer, the Generous, the Pardoner, and I bear witness that our master Muhammed is His servant and His Messenger, His dear one and His beloved, the best of created beings, who was honored with the precious Quran, the enduring miracle through the passing of the years, and with the Sunnahs that enlighten spiritual guides; our master Muhammed, singled out for pithiness of speech and tolerance in religion may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, upon the rest of the prophets and messengers, and upon all their families and upon the rest of godly persons.

To proceed: It has been transmitted to us on the authority of Ali bin Abi Talib, Abdullah bin Masud, Muadh bin Jabal, Abu Al-Darda, Ibn Omar, Ibn Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Abu Hurairah and Abu Saeed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with them all, through many chains of authorities and in various versions, that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whosoever memorizes and preserves for my people forty hadith relating to their religion, Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Judgment in the company of jurists and religious scholars ".

In another version it reads: "Allah will resurrect him as a jurist and religious scholar ". In the version of Abu Al-Darda it reads: "On the Day of Judgment I shall be an intercessor and a witness for him". In the version of Ibn Masud it reads: "It will be said to him: Enter by whichever of the doors of Paradise you wish ". In the version of Ibn Omar it reads: " He will be written down in the company of the religious scholars and will be resurrected in the company of the martyrs ". Scholars of hadith are agreed that it is a weak hadith despite its many lines of transmission.

The religious scholars, may Allah be pleased with them, have composed innumerable works in this field. The first one I knew of who did so was Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak, followed by Ibn Aslam Al-Tusi, the godly scholar, then Al-Hasan bin Sufiyan Al-Nasai, Abu Bakr Al-Ajurri, Abu-Bakr Mubammad bin Ibrahim Al-Asfihani, Al-Daraqutni, Al-Hakim, Abu Nuaim, Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sulami, Abu Saeed Al-Malini, Abu Uthman Al-Saboni, Abdullah bin Muhammed Al-Ansari, Abu Bakr Al-Baihaqi, and countless others, both ancient and modern.

I have asked Allah Almighty for guidance in bringing together forty hadith in emulation of those eminent religious leaders and guardians of Islam. Religious scholars are agreed it is permissible to put into practice a weak hadith if virtuous deeds are concerned; despite this, I do not rely on this hadith but on his having said the [ following ] sound hadith: "Let him who was a witness among you inform him who was absent", and on his having said : "May Allah make radiant [the face of] someone who has heard what I have said, has learnt it by heart and has transmitted it as he heard it". Furthermore, there were some religious scholars who brought together forty hadiths on the basic rules of religion, on subsidiary matters, or on jihad, while others did so on asceticism, on rules of conduct or on sermons. All these are godly aims-may Allah be pleased with those who pursued them. I, however, considered it best to bring together forty hadith more important than all of these, being forty hadith which would incorporate all of these, each hadith being one of the great precepts of religion, described by religious scholars as being "the axis of Islam " or "the half of Islam" or "the third of it ", or the like, and to make it a rule that these forty hadith be [classified as] sound and that the majority of them be in the Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. I give them without the chains of authorities so as to make it easier to memorize them and to make them of wider benefit if Allah Almighty wills, and I append to them a section explaining abstruse expressions.(Note here) every person wishing to attain the Hereafter should know these hadith because of the important matters they contain and the directions they give in respect of all forms of obedience, this being obvious to anyone who has reflected upon it. On Allah do I rely and depend and to Him do I entrust myself; to Him be praise and grace, and with Him is success and immunity [to errors].

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