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

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King of the Castle
Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World
pages: 216 size: 216 x 138mm paperback Published: 1990

This book examines closely many of the unquestioned assumptions by which we live our lives, comparing them with the beliefs that have shaped and guided human life in the past. It begins with a consideration of how secular societies attempt to possess their citizens, body and soul and how, as a consequence, the necessity of redefining human responsibility becomes an ever more urgent imperative. The book continues with a presentation of the traditional view of man as ‘God’s Viceroy on Earth’, with an eye to its practical implications in a world that has all but forgotten, under the pressure of mass social persuasion, that man must always be free to choose his own ultimate destiny. The author’s thesis is a passionate yet incisive plea for the restoration of the sacred norms of religion, as against the debilitating and falsifying aims of a profane world-view based on no more than recent scientific and technological achievements.

Charles Le Gai Eaton was born in Switzerland and educated at Charterhouse at King’s College, Cambridge. He worked for many years as a teacher and journalist in Jamaica and Egypt (where he embraced Islam in 1951) before joining the British Diplomatic Service. He is now a consultant to the Islamic Cultural Centre in London.


Table of Contents


Unreal Cities.


The Cost of Wealth.


Liberty and Obedience.


Man in Society.


Man as Viceroy.


Knowledge and its Counterfeits.


The Only Heritage We Have.


What We Are and Where We Are.


This marvellous book...abounds with penetrating insights...The most remarkable quality of the book however is its courage.’ Fourth World Review

‘This is a book of the utmost importance to anyone concerned...with the really basic questions of human life.’ Country Life

‘This is an urgent piece of writing, a reading of what we are and where we are.’ TLS


Sunna Notes, Studies in Hadith & Doctrine
Volume 1: Hadith History & Principles 

By Gibril Haddad
With  Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani's 
Nukhbat al-Fikar fi Mustalah ahl-Athar
Chosen Thoughts of the Nomenclature of hadith Specialists 
Translated by Musa Furber
Paperback  224 Pages
Release Date:
June '05
Published by Aqsa Publications UK

'The present work is tribute to those prestigious predecessors. It is intended as a presentation of their thought on some of the core issues and principles of the sunna'  from the foreword

 Volume 1 of the Sunna Notes collection. Including the Nukhba al-fikar of Ibn Hajar Asqalani.

The Second Part of this book includes a translation of Nukhbat al-Fikar fi Mustalah ahl-Athar (Chosen Thoughts of the Nomenclature of hadith Specialists) of  Shaikh al-Islam  Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani:
Abul Fadl Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Ali al-Kannani al-Asqalani, better known by the name of Imam Ibn Hajar, was born in Cairo in 773/1372. He bagan his studies at the age of five and completed the memorisation of the Qur'an by the age of nine. A Shafi'i scholar and hadith master, he studied under renowned scholars in Cairo, Yemen and the Hijaz. Known as Shaykh al-Islam, scholars travelled from far away lands to take knowledge from him. Appointed to the position of chief-judge several times, he authored more than fifty works on hadith, history, biography, Quranic exegesis, poetry and Shafi'i jurisprudence; among the most famous of them is his fourteen-volume commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari called Fath al-Bari. He passed away in Cairo in 852/1449.

Ibn Hajr authored more than 150 books - most of them being in study of Hadith - which flourished during his lifetime, kings and princes were known in his time to exchange gifts consisting of Ibn Hajr's works. 
Al Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani was a prominent Qadi in Egypt as well as in Ash-Sham for twenty-one years. He was humble, tolerant, and patient. He was described to be hilarious, steadfast, prudent, ascetic, selfless, generous, charitable, and he spent much time in voluntary prayer and fasting. Those who came to know him praised him of his high standard of good mannerisms in dealing with rulers, Imaams, as well as those who sat with him young or old.


The Story of Hadith
Hadiths come from the Bringer of the Qur'an MHMD upon him blessings and peace - and they were heard, practiced, narrated, preserved, and compiled according to his instructions and in obedience to Its commands.

When the best generation of humankind ever to walk the earth realized that the Lord of the Heaven was addressing them directly with His timeless Speech in the language which they had mastered better than any human nation ever mastered a language, they realized that not only had Allah Almighty deputized the worthiest of them as the carrier of the final Message to humanity, but He had also made belief in that most honorable, most distinguished, and most accomplished Messenger - our liege-lord Muhammad MHMD - an integral condition of belief in Allah Himself by saying repeatedly "Believe in Allah AND the Messenger."

They also heard Allah again and again command them to "Obey Allah AND the Messenger." They also realized that Allah Almighty stressed to them that this Messenger was their paramount model of behavior and of belief in Allah and the Last Day. They also heard and understood it meant they had to follow him and love him before they could claim to follow and love Allah.

They further understood the required levels of following the Prophet MHMD properly and truly on which one's actual belief in Allah Most High depended: {But nay, by your Lord! they will not believe (in truth) until they make you judge of what is in dispute between them}. But to make the Prophet MHMD judge is not enough, this must be done without any mental reservation toward the Prophet MHMD and his decision: {and find within themselves no dislike of that which you decide}. Even this unalloyed acceptance of the Prophet's judgment is not enough, there must be full embrace of the heart, mind and soul for the Prophet MHMD : {and submit with full submission} (4:65)!

They also noticed that Allah had made such love and following of His Prophet MHMD the easiest and most natural thing in the world for people of sound hearts, because that blessed man encompassed all the human qualities imaginable. So they understood it all the more when Allah Himself stressed that whatever magnificent human character there could exist, the Prophet MHMD possessed it, and more.

Hence, by listening to the majestic Qur'an and taking to heart its message, the Companions realized that its study and practice necessitated the absolute study, understanding, and imitation of the Prophet MHMD himself. Allah Most High further reassured them that this same Prophet MHMD did not speak out of whim. Accordingly those most pragmatic and wisest of people - whom Allah Himself chose as the friends and companions of His dearest Beloved - set to the task of obeying, following, imitating, and loving the Prophet Muhammad MHMD as no other leader and savior was ever faithfully obeyed, followed, imitated, and loved before. They became absorbed into his paradigm yet with their eyes wide open and in a systematic manner like the dedicated and uncompromising hunters of blessings that they were.

So they learned from the Prophet and they worshipped with the Prophet MHMD . They lived with the Prophet and for the Prophet. They moved with the Prophet and they rested with the Prophet MHMD . They sought to look through his eyes, hear with his hearing, fight when he fought, make peace when he made peace, taste what he tasted, love what he loved, and hate what he hated. They wished to think his thoughts. They longed to visit him again, gaze at him again, be addressed by him again. They found they could not exhaust nor begin to describe the endearment of his voice, his touch, his scent, his gaze, his gait, his energy, his repose, his bravery, his intelligence, his eloquence, his generosity, his gentleness, his humbleness, his majesty. His comfort and safety, or rather the comfort and safety of his very foot they would ransom with their lives and that of their own parents. They lived to act as his human shields from spears and arrows or spend the last of their honor in defense of the first of his. When he spoke they were attentive and when he was silent they observed him with baited breath. Their hearts kept custody over their senses in his presence so that they understood, they obeyed, they memorized, and they taught one another in turn with full discipline. They knew Allah had changed them forever at his hands, turning the humblest of them into a reformer for humanity!

The Prophet MHMD encouraged them and said "Bright does Allah make the face of his servant that records and conveys what he hears from me." And he said "Narrate from me and let those that are present teach those that are absent." And he pointed to his noble mouth and said "Nothing but truth issues from this." And he formed them under his kind gaze, asking Allah Most High to give this one a flawless memory, that one an encyclopedic pen, the third one superlative understanding, the fourth one faith to lead all others, the fifth one the wisest judgment. His wife `A'isha became in ten ineffable years the most knowledgeable woman of humankind.

Allah then turned them, at His Prophet's hands MHMD, into the paragon teachers of the next layer and so forth: "From every succeeding generation its upright folk shall carry this knowledge in turn...." "This knowledge is Religion, so watch from whom you take it...." When He took back His Beloved, Allah did not leave us but in the best hands!

"We are blessed, Muslim kind, for we enjoy    
of Divine support an indestructible Pillar!" (al-Busiri, Burda)

The Companions knew better than anyone he was a human being and they saw in the Prophet MHMD , also better than anyone, a living Qur'an brimming infinitely with all sorts of qualities that spelled perfection. Those sincere and pure Arab-tongued men and women vied in poetic expressions because prose was too poor to describe the rising sun of Hashim that he was, the full moon in its beauty, goodness itself, and the nearest thing to eternal beauty they felt they could experience here and now: their forerunner to Paradise, the Mercy to the worlds! No wonder they recorded faithfully, in addition to his description of the Creator's Names and Attributes and the purpose of our creation, also: his Prophetic dispensation, "the Wisdom" which Allah mentions in so many verses and which refers to what we call the Sunna of the Prophet. It includes not only the do's and don'ts of the Religion that elucidate and illustrate the Qur'anic rulings but also his historical battles, treaties, polity, travels, marriages etc. which we call the Sira; his states, character, moral and psychological traits, and physical features which form the genre we call the Shama'il; and his exclusive special and specific characteristics which we call the Khasa'is.

This Prophetic Wisdom of the Sunna comes to us, textwise, in the form of transmitted sayings which in Arabic are called Hadeeth, plural: Ahaadeeth. This is the "genesis of the hadiths" the question asked about. Most importantly to us, this Sunna and its practicing servants among the Friends of Allah represent the Prophet MHMD among us - a living body of Prophetic knowledge and practice of which this Umma shall never be bankrupt, without which there is no Qur'an, and of which the Qur'an is never divorced nor orphaned until they both return back to the Prophet MHMD at his Kawthar-Pond in Paradise!

Our forefathers and mothers carried that huge responsibility and trust. They collectively and individually transmitted, as faithfully and to the nearest detail possible, the totality of the information Allah wanted the last, mercied community of mankind to receive and preserve about His final elect representative for the guidance and happiness of humanity here and hereafter just as they faithfully transmitted His Book. No one could have done their job better because Allah chose them. He was and is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him, He loves them and they love Him; see for yourself what He says of {The First and Foremost of the Muhajirun and the Ansar}!

Allah Most High also says:

{Muhammad MHMD is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. You (O Muhammad) see them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel like as sown corn that sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and rises firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them} (48:29). Imam Malik said: * Whoever harbors spite toward any of the Companions of the Prophet, this verse has hit him! * May it never hit you, dear reader, or me!

Allah Most High chose them and they are all upright. He made them the strongest of people in memory, the most precise in language, the most familiar with the Prophet's gracious person MHMD and the most masterful of the Revelation he had brought, both its recited aspect (the Qur'an) and its non-recited aspect (the Sunna) in its language, meanings, and subtle explanations and applications.

It pleased our bountiful Creator, also, to make knowledge of Hadith and its related sciences the exclusive characteristic of Muslim civilization. Alone among the nations that walked the face of the earth, the Umma received and kept this Divine trust together with the Last Testament - the Qur'an - to pass it on to subsequent generations unchanged with an ever-refined array of disciplines for verification and authentication. Among those disciplines, Hadith methodology and criticism ensured that nothing alien crept into the pure Prophetic Sunna as conveyed by the upright (`adl) and precise (dabit) transmitters known as the "trustworthy" (thiqa, pl. thiqat) under the strict perusal of their peers and subsequent experts.
When Ibn al-Mubarak was asked about the forgeries he replied, "The giant scholars (al-jahabidha) dispose of them!" Then he recited, {Lo! We, even We, have revealed the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian} (15:9). Thus he reiterated in the pithiest way that the Prophetic Sunna and authentic Hadith are part and parcel of the Final Revelation * which no Muslim denies! * and that the Lawgiver preserves His Dhikr through the surest human means imaginable.

To that end, the Friends of Allah Most High and caliphal inheritors of the Prophet MHMD known as the Huffaz spared no effort. Those were the Repellers of False Imputations to the Prophet MHMD , the Preservers, Custodians, Protectors, Caretakers, Trustees, and Storehouses of the Faith envied by the erudite Caliph Abu Ja`far al-Mansur who described them as "the stained-clothed, scalyfooted, long-haired rovers of faraway lands." With their photographic memories, inkwells in hand, wearing out * like Dulaf ibn Jahdar * up to seventy book-satchels, obsessed with detail, these hawk-eyed jewellers tracked the Prophetic narrative and its reporters to the ends of the earth, oblivious of food and sleep, laughing at wealth and the world, selling the shirt on their back and eating grass if necessary as did Muhammad MHMD ibn Isma`il al-Bukhari, losing their eyesight through candle-lit night work as happened to his tireless student Abu `Isa al-Tirmidhi, moving their libraries on camel-back through three continents like Abu Tahir al-Silafi, sifting the sound from the unsound, the fair from the weak, the Prophetic from the non-Prophetic, the broken-chained, and the fabricated hadiths, living only for the three words "Qala Rasul Allah" which they compiled into manuals they named with various names according to their arrangement such as:

- The Jami`-type compilations, i.e. encyclopedias arranged by topical sub-divisions. E.g. by Sufyan al-Thawri, al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi....

- The Muwatta', Musannaf, and Aathaar-type topical compilations that focus on legal rulings and include non-Prophetic fatwas. E.g. by Malik, `Abd al-Razzaq, and Abu Hanifa.

- The Sunan-type topical compilations: like the previous type but consisting only of Prophetic reports e.g. the Sunan of Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, al-Darimi, and others.

- The Musnad-type compilations arranged by Companion-narrators e.g. by the heroic Imam Ahmad and Ishaq ibn Rahuyah.

- The countless Juz'-type compilations i.e. "Monographs" on a single topic or from a single narrator and so forth.

- The Mu`jam-type compilations i.e. alphabetical Musnads of Companions or other authorities narrating back to the latter e.g. the works of al-Tabarani.

Among the extant manuscripts of the numerous hadith collections compiled in the first Hijri century are `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As' (d. 63) al-Sahifat al-Sadiqa, originally containing about 1,000 hadiths of which 500 reached us, copied down by `Abd Allah directly from the Prophet MHMD and transmitted to us by his great-grandson `Amr ibn Shu`ayb (d. 118); Hammam ibn Munabbih's (d. 101 or 131) al-Sahifa al-Sahiha which has reached us complete in two manuscripts containing 138 hadiths narrated by Hammam from Abu Hurayra (d. 60) from the Prophet MHMD ; and, from the second Hijri century, the massive, partly-recovered Musannaf of the Yemenite hadith Master `Abd al-Razzaq ibn Hammam ibn Nafi` al-San`ani (d. 211), which includes the compendium of his teacher Ma`mar ibn Rashid al-Azdi (d. 151 or 154) * both principal sources of the Two Arch-Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs * and is, with its 21,000+ narrations, the largest authentic early source of hadith extant.

The earliest Siras or Prophetic biographies are the lost folios of Aban (d. 105), the son of `Uthman ibn `Affan (d. 35), from whom Muhammad MHMD ibn Ishaq ibn Yasar al-Muttalibi (80-150/152) narrated; the accomplished works of `Urwa (d. c.92-95) (ra) the son of al-Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam and grandson of Asma' and `A'isha the learned daughters of Abu Bakr the Truthful (rad.i-Allahu `anhu) which he ordered burnt, after a lifetime of teaching from them, during the sack of Madina by the armies of Syro-Palestine under Yazid ibn Mu`awiya in 63; the most reliable Muhammad MHMD ibn Shihab al-Zuhri's (d. 120) Sira, from which Ibn Ishaq borrowed much; `Asim ibn `Umar ibn Qatada ibn al-Nu`man al-Ansari's (d. 120 or 129) Maghazi and Manaqib al-Sahaba, another principal thiqa source for Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi; `Abd Allah ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad MHMD ibn `Amr ibn Hazm al-Ansari's (d. 135) tome, another main source for Ibn Ishaq, al-Waqidi, Ibn Sa`d, and al-Tabari; the most reliable, partly preserved Sira of the Madinan Musa ibn `Uqba al-Asadi (d. 141), praised by Imam Malik and used by Ibn Sa`d and al-Tabari; Muhammad MHMD ibn Ishaq's Sira, praised by Imam al-Shafi`i, the oldest extant; Ibn `A'idh al-Azdi's (d. 191) Maghazi; and Sayf ibn `Umar al-Tamimi's (d. 200) al-Ridda wal-Futuh and al-Jamal as per Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib. A junior contemporary of Ibn Ishaq, the erudite Muhammad MHMD ibn `Umar ibn Waqid al-Aslami al-Waqidi (d. 207) compiled the Maghazi and Futuh al-Sham among others. He is the principal source of Imam al-Tabari (d. 310) in the latter's Tarikh and his student and scribe Muhammad MHMD ibn Sa`d (d. 230) relied heavily on him in his Tabaqat.

The early and late masters devised finely-tuned scientific gauntlets for the verification of hadith authenticity. The hadiths of the Two Sahihs * by the Arch-Masters al-Bukhari (194-256) and Muslim (204-261) * and the Muwatta' of Imam Malik (93-179) are rigorously sound and need no further authentication. Next in reliability come the Sunan of the major Masters al-Tirmidhi (c.210-279), Abu Dawud (202-275), al-Nasa'i (215-303), al-Darimi (181-250), and Ibn Majah (209-273) as well as the Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (164-241). Next come the lesser collections of Sahih narrations such as * in descending order of strength * the Sahih of Ibn Khuzayma (223-311), three quarters of which are lost; that of his student Ibn Hibban (d. 354); al-Diya' al-Maqdisi's (567-643) al-Ahadith al-Jyad al-Mukhtara; Ibn al-Sakan's (294-353)  al-Sunan al-Sihah; Ibn al-Jarud's  (d. 307)  al-Muntaqa min al-Sunan al-Musnada; Abu `Awana's (d. 316) Musnad; al-Hakim's (321-405) Mustadrak. Next come * in chronological order * the compilations of Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi (d. 204), Ibn Abi Shayba (d. 235), Ibn Abi `Asim (d. 287), al-Harith ibn Abi Usama (d. 282), al-Bazzar (215-292), Abu Ya`la (210-307), al-Tahawi (229-321), the Narrator of the World al-Tabarani (260-360), al-Daraqutni (306-385), Abu Nu`aym (336-430), al-Bayhaqi (384-458), al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (392-463), al-Baghawi (d. 516), Ibn `Asakir (499-571), and many others including the Sira sources already mentioned.

Forgeries were identified and tagged in the two or three dozen compilations in the sub-genre devoted to their diagnosis. It is impermissible to use or narrate them as Prophetic reports. Preventive knowledge of the forgeries is an indispensable part of hadith science. The guideline in this is the verdict of the authorities in this science. The Prophet said time and again MHMD upon him blessings and peace: "Avoid relating my words except what you know for sure. Whoever lies about me willfully, let him take from now his seat in the Fire!"
This terrible threat addresses not only wilful liars but also those well-intentioned Muslims who, in the course of da`wa or otherwise, are habitually lax in attributing to the Prophet MHMD untraceable or unverified matters. Let not their good intentions become their own specious law over and above the emphatic command of the Lawgiver! We belong to Allah and to Him do we return.

This in short is the story of the Prophetic Hadith, its origins and why and how it was compiled. Allah revive our hearts for its sake with His ancient blessing, as He blessed those who preserved and kept it alive it for us. Allah bless our Prophet and his Family and Companions, and may Allah be well-pleased with all of the sincere scholars and students of Hadith to the Day of Judgment!

Gibril Foud Haddad 



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