Ex-Muslim Imtiaz Shams grew up in Saudi Arabia, until his family moved to the UK just before the terror attacks on America’s Twin Towers on 11th September 2001. Unsurprisingly, in an opinion piece published by Vice, he reveals the first book he was given regarding Islam, and it was Riyâd uṣ-Ṣâliḥîn” (Gardens of Righteousness) by Imam an-Nawawī. His interview reveals other little details you should note, such as the usage of the word “murtad” by Muslims on Ex-Muslims. [click here]
Instead of reading Riyâd uṣ-Ṣâliḥîn” (Gardens of Righteousness) by Imam an-Nawawī alone, its rightful companion being a certain book by this imam is more fundamentally important, alongside additional necessary commentary. This imam is crucial to helping current guardians of Sunni Islam preserve and continue the historically-unchanged scholarship of Sunni Islam binding on all Sunni Muslims from more than 1000 years ago, across all schools of Islamic Jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. His book on the fundaments of Islam is necessary reading, if you want to understand Sunni Islam.
Before other modern deviant movements contradicting the fundamentals of Islam, such as the Ahmadiyya, a man named Abu Zakaria Yahya Ibn Sharaf al-Nawawī in the 13th century became an important teacher of Sunni Islam. Why must you know about this man and his work, and how he is vital to Sunni Islam? This quiet man with a short lifespan would become one of the most important scholars in Sunni Islam, using his knowledge of sources in Sunni Islam and scholarship dating back more than 1000 years and the knowledge of scholars in his time, to collect, write and dissipate knowledge summarising vital foundations and binding doctrines of Sunni Islam.
His body of work is not without flaws and not without detractors, but his scholarship has been essential in advancing Sunni Islam and making it timelessly relevant for centuries, until today. He is a vital bridge to the 4 mujtahid imams responsible for founding the 4 biggest schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence which you see today, and lofty imams before him, due to excelling in the areas of ḥadīth and uṣūl ul-fiqh to produce admirable work streamlining a hierarchy of complexities in Sunni Islam’s oldest scholarship across the different schools ( https://attahawi.com/2011/05/15/imam-nawawi-and-the-hierarchy-of-his-works/ ), thus becoming an inspiration for many scholars in other areas of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence which came after him. Arguments about him still occur today, such as which school of theology he subscribes to regarding ʿaqīdah (creed), and whether he is a Salaf or not.
Among Sunni Muslims, only the self-taught Sunni Muslim, or the Sunni Muslim living in a country not dominated by Islam and guided by Sunni Islamic teachers to be deliberately kept ignorant about this imam, might have no idea about his importance in Sunni Islam. Non-Sunni Muslims are likely to be even more clueless. If a modern Sunni Muslim scholar claims to be a scholar but can also claim this imam has no relevance in Sunni Islam or is a blasphemous innovator, that person is unintentionally speaking nonsense or intentionally lying.
Ex-Muslim or non-Muslim, if you intend to criticise Sunni Islam’s historically-unchanged scholarship binding on all Sunni Muslims today, you must be aware of his crucial works and why his influence is strongly prevalent until today, or your criticism misses the importance of the bridging role his work plays. Other than the Qur’ān, how many Muslim boys in Saudi Arabia have received “The Gardens of Righteousness” and a certain book of 42 oral traditions as their first sources of guidance in Sunni Islam, before the age of 12?
Within this imam’s heavily-utilised works for more than 700 years until today, there are 4 prominent creations: Forty Ḥadīth Nawawī, Riyâd uṣ-Ṣâliḥîn (Gardens of Righteousness), Al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhadhdhab, and Al-Minhaaj fi Sharh Sahîh Muslim ibn al-Hajaaj (known as a commentary of 18 volumes about the oral traditions in Sahîh Muslim).
The first 2 works are easy, given the scope of his knowledge. They must be read concurrently. It is important to focus on the first book which is the shortest, yet very fundamentally comprehensive. Why is it encouraged for Muslims who understand his achievements, to memorise the forty-two oral traditions in his book?
Regarding Imam an-Nawawī’s history, which school(s) he belongs to and where he might stand on certain theological issues, an interesting discussion in English can be found within the introduction of a book by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, and his book being a commentary on Forty Ḥadīth Nawawī can be found here: http://www.kalamullah.com/forty-hadith.html
However, that book is not recommended to truly study the context of the 42 oral traditions. If you cannot access Sheikh al-‘Uthaymeen’s commentary of those 42 oral traditions which ignorant people would say is not applicable because he is a Salafi, then “Sharh Arba’een an-Nawawī” by Dr Jamal Ahmed Badi, Associate Professor at the Department of General Studies in the Islamic University of Malaysia, is the book to turn to. Read this book while remembering Riyâd uṣ-Ṣâliḥîn. Try not to be too distracted at this point about why mujāhidīn are glorified in so many oral traditions in a certain book.
The oral traditions in Forty Ḥadīth Nawawī must be understood precisely, which requires knowing the context and reasons for such an oral tradition being narrated. Due to space constraints, not all the oral traditions will be covered, and only with necessary pared-down details. Please read this highly-summarised book review and the other 2 Darussalam book reviews, to understand certain fundamentals. It is strongly encouraged to also read Dr Jamal Ahmed Badi’s commentary of more than 200 pages: http://ahadith.co.uk/downloads/Commentary_of_Forty_Hadiths_of_An-Nawawi.pdf
You can find the 42 oral traditions at sites such as Sunnah.com. Be careful of misleading translations. Some names will be inserted next to each oral tradition, in accordance with the website using those descriptions next to the stated oral traditions. Details are added providing vital knowledge to understand these oral traditions, so you can understand these names.
Ḥadīth one, graded as muttafaqun alayhi because it is found in and authenticity agreed upon in Sahîh Al-Bukhâri and Sahîh Muslim, is about Intention: Actions are judged by niyyah ie intentions, so each man will only have what he intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration is for Allah and His Messenger. Whoever emigrated to get something in the world or to marry a woman, then his emigration is for whatever he emigrated for.
When you read this oral tradition, did you know that Imam al-Shāfi’ī, one of the 4 mujtahid imams who created knowledge including an outline for the 4 schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, said this oral tradition is one-third of all knowledge in Islam and relevant to at least 70 topics of fiqh, while Imam Ahmad kept in mind what Imam al-Shāfi’ī said when stating Islam’s foundations are based on 3 oral traditions, including this oral tradition? The 3 oral traditions Imam Ahmad speaks of are found in Forty Ḥadīth Nawawī, encompassing Ḥadīth 5 and 6. This oral tradition is also the first oral tradition in Sahîh Al-Bukhâri, in the book of Divine Revelation.
This oral tradition is about assessing and judging internal actions ie of the heart, and three examples are given. The first example about migrating for the sake of Allah is to demonstrate what is good, but the other 2 statements about migrating for something in this world or for a woman is to demonstrate what is bad, and the importance of ikhlas. The definition of Ikhlas is sincerity and devotion to Allah because most importantly, honesty and truth should only be for Allah of the Qur’ān, and acts of sincerity should only be for Allah’s sake, for no other witness is required except Allah. Nowhere is this more apparent than the wording of the Shahadah of Sunni Islam. Ikhas must be performed in accordance with Sharīʿah for good deeds to be accepted by Allah of the Qur’ān. Please remember the interpretation of Sharīʿah is controlled by the clerics in Sunni Islam.
If niyyah is the same in the beginning and the end, it does not matter if your niyyah suffered a change somewhere along the way. The actions of the heart is the factor that matters. Know your intentions, before saying or doing anything.
Did you know this highly-condensed crucial information is binding upon all Sunni Muslims, when you read the first short oral tradition, and reading it alone is bad enough in stand-alone meaning? Some Sunni Muslims do not know this, especially many clueless new converts in Western countries and countries not dominated by Islam, where their ignorance due to reliance on untrustworthy teachers and/or some unreliable fellow Muslims will be used as salad dressing to portray how Islam is liberal and good.
Ḥadīth Two ie Foundations of the Sunnah: This lengthy oral tradition gives the 5 pillars (Shahadah, paying zakat, making salah ie the necessary prayers, fasting during Ramadan, going on Hajj) and 6 articles of iman (faith) in Sunni Islam taught by the angel Jibril (Gabriel), which is to believe in Allah, his angels, his books, his messengers, the last Day and qadar, all of it in good and evil aspects. Ihsan is taught, whereby you should seek to serve Allah as if you can see him, because even though you cannot him, he can see you. The last Hour is also mentioned, with details.
This oral tradition also teaches about the necessary baselines for seeking knowledge. Seeking knowledge from the right sources/authority is very important. Qadar is not causation but association. What?
If you get to this section in Dr Jamal Ahmed Badi’s book, he distorts the concept of free will, tries to make Muslims believe they do everything freely of their own will, and tries to reconcile an illogical explanation with Allah already knowing everything which will happen in advance (predetermination/predestination). People turn away and it is wholly their choice and it has nothing to do with Allah knowing in advance about them turning away, and that is not causation but mere association. Why did Allah not do anything? Is he not almighty and powerful? Is he not merciful and deserving of worship, so he should want to prevent people from burning forever in Jahannam? The majority are for the Hellfire, because he obviously does not give a damn about condemning more than 5 billion non-believing people on this planet to eternal flames, and he allows non-believers to share and expose the fraud of Sunni Islam. Your brain has to be badly crippled in critical thinking, to accept the nonsense in this section of Dr Jamal’s commentary.
Illness is qadar. A cure is qadar. You are advised to do something about your qadar because you can, as a Sunni Muslim.
What happens if Allah knew your mother or father was going to get terminal cancer, says nothing and silence makes you believe in spending a fortune on curing them through the most advanced medical technologies, and they suffer before they die? Do you thank almighty Allah for doing nothing and ignoring the prayers of your family and your parents and you, not stopping you from spending money pointlessly and you had much difficulty affording, and then your parent dies? What happens if your parent is afflicted with terminal cancer or a rare disease, you cannot afford the cure, and they die? Do you still thank this god who strikes down people who do not deserve to fall sick?
But those who abuse qadar are those who fail to be responsible. Do not blame qadar for committing sins or failing to do something obligatory as a Muslim.
If free will exists, and anything the Muslim does is completely voluntary, why try to explain away qadar being responsible for anything? Good luck trying to reconcile the rest of the explanation in this section of Dr Jamal’s book, if you believe in Sunni Islam’s illogical concept of qadar, which contains a certain fundamental similarity with the non-existent over-simplistic concept of karma.
The word “Islam” has a meaning of combining Al-Islam, Al-Iman and Al-Ihsan. Hidayah is a gift from Allah. When Muslims do good things, it is Allah’s guidance. When Muslims do bad things, it is entirely your free will at fault.
Qadar is predestination and pre-determination. Trying to distort the meaning of qadar or more accurately, distorting proper definitions and logic, such as how free will functions, to try to fit unethical intentions reeks of intellectual dishonesty. Is that happening in Dr Jamal’s book?
Ḥadīth 3 speaks of the pillars of Islam and goes into details in the commentary, the reliable foundations for dīn/deen and what constitutes necessary outward submission to Allah. The one who fails in any of these pillars of obligation risks the foundations of their dīn/deen (although going for Hajj depends on whether one can fulfil the conditions for it). Ḥadīth 4 reveals how badly Allah failed the science of embryology, because he got it completely wrong, and certain Muslims today must mis-translate and misrepresent facts in order to make reality “conform” to these errors from more than 1000 years ago.
Ḥadīth 5 speaks of innovation, and is one of the 3 important oral traditions, which Imam an-Nawawī advises memorising. Once again, remember the sincerity of doing deeds only for the sake of Allah, and doing such deeds in accordance with the Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad. Emulating and following the prophet Muhammad is a Qur’ānic obligation. Violate the Sunnah, and you have committed bida’ah. Islam is complete, and there is nothing to add. Muslims are to use this oral tradition to assess the acceptability and rightness of actions and words.
Ḥadīth 6 (classified as muttafaqun alayhi): Clear distinctions are made between what is lawful and what is unlawful. Scholars in Sunni Islam have the conclusion that the vast majority of acts are lawful or unlawful, with only a small number of acts deemed doubtful. One of the principles of Tawhid in Sunni Islam is the glorification of Allah, and a minor sin is disobedience to Allah. The greatest actions of Tawhid is in accordance with the heart. This extends to all areas of a Muslim’s life. What you eat, what you do, how you dress, what you do not do- As long as you remember certain actions such as hayya’, murakabah, muhasabah, dzikir, and as-Salatu ‘ala an-Nabi, your heart will be full of iman, which happens when you should love the prophet Muhammad more than your family, your children, your parents and yourself.
Ḥadīth 7: The dīn/deen is nasihah. Nasihah is the biggest pillar in Islam for managing to include and go beyond Islam, Iman and Ihsan, and it is about deciding to reach for the best sincerity in accordance with the best intentions and actions, which is to do the best for the Ummah. Pay attention to the details giving context to this oral tradition, and remember that for scholars, their nasihah is to seek knowledge from the ‘ulama and those Muslim leaders in authority. For normal Muslims, nasihah involves respecting the rights of other Muslims and exercising al-wala’ ie love, care, protect and help fellow Muslims. Al-‘wala is required to unite the Ummah.
Teach higher-level Sunnah to the people, before going into more details of the lower-level Sunnah, and this is how the Sunnah will be revived. Love the family of the prophet and his Companions, and do not be like those deviated sects spreading false beliefs which create doubt about the prophet Muhammad’s Companions, because doubt will lead to rejection of the Sunnah.
Sounds like page 59 of a certain Darussalam book, whereby keeping quiet about errors of the Sahabah is obligatory and to refrain from speaking of disputes among the prophet’s Companions, so as to prevent doubt and confusion from being sown among the Muslims who believe in Sunni Islam: http://islamis.is/242-2/
Ḥadīth 8 (Defense of Islam): This is also used on page 19 of that 2010 Darussalam book which was first reviewed, regarding Why Discuss The Signs of the Hour.
[ I have been commanded to fight the people until they say “laa ilaaha il-Allah” (there is no God but Allah). So when they say there is no God but Allah then they will be granted protection from me for their lives and property, except by right of justice, and their reckoning is with Allah.]
Islam is the only true dīn/deen. It is the truth and the path of Allah, and it must be protected, because evil always fights against the truth, and I almost feel bad for not capitalising certain words. That feeling vanishes, when Jihād is mentioned, because Jihād has several meanings but as a philosophy, Jihād is to establish and maintain truth and justice. Part of the obligation of Muslims and Jihād is to update and arm themselves with the right tools. Use and master technology, and incorporate it into da’wah, which can also be used to return the Muslim Ummah to its original form.
With such a perspective, Islam defines itself as always on the defence, because it is the truth defending itself, therefore anything you might classify as offensive actions because of Islam is defensive according to Islam, and that is how the scholars and clerics of Sunni Islam have been beacons of defence for Islam, for more than 1000 years. Reading this entire section by Dr Jamal Ahmed Badi might make your eyes pop out. Have you ever heard any Islamic terrorists claiming they are only defending themselves and Islam, and you could not understand why? Another Crucial Summary about how to understand the mindset of these terrorists will give you sufficient insight, because you have to accurately grasp their viewpoints born of certain sources in Sunni Islam.
When guardians of Islam and Muslims migrate to a country where Islam is non-existent or weak, to establish mosques and madrasahs and Sharīʿah courts and halal food and monetary systems which empower these symbols of purification, truth and justice, these guardians of Islam and Muslims are merely establishing truth and justice and combating the evils of countries not purified with the truth and justice of Islam. This applies, whether Muslims and non-Muslims are aware or not.
When a Muslim goes to a non-Islamic country and demands exercising their Islamic rights to eat only halal food, advocate against alcohol, refuse to buy music which is evil, insist non-Muslims they marry must convert to Islam, insist on Islamic courts of law for anything, and insist on not contaminating their iman by mixing with non-believers, they are defending themselves while establishing the truth and justice and purity of the civilisation of Islam according to Islam’s complete way of life of criteria and standards and definitions which is a Deen unlike any other, and they believe they need to maintain. Did you think 42 oral traditions could be so rigidly binding and encompassing, and only 8 of them have been lightly covered this far?
Page 50 of Dr Jamal’s book describes what the opponents of Islam are doing to the Muslims. Opponents are promoting evil and negative concepts. Muslim minds are being brainwashed and victimised by these opponents and their ideas. Since Dr Jamal wrote such a comprehensive book and his knowledge/practise of Islam seems to be quite well-rounded and you might wonder whether the internal actions of his heart (ie his intentions) are solely for the sake of Allah, he should answer one question:
When is he going to reveal to Muslims about the civilisation of Sunni Islam being a system of fraud perpetuated for more than 1000 years, due to too many best guardians of Sunni Islam abusing trust and selectively lying to their believers and hiding mistakes in the Qur’ān and Sunnah from more than 1000 years ago, due to Allah, the angel Jibreel, the prophet Muhammad and all the earliest Muslims failing basic science by not knowing how day and night happens on this planet, but gave narrations about a sun literally rising over a flat earth in the last Hour from the West?
The best guardians of Islam who conceal necessary knowledge, who mislead people into believing perspectives which never existed, the ones who intentionally contribute to creating violent jihādists being terrorists who kill themselves and kill others in the process, while selectively misleading others they deem as unsuitable terrorists and hence non-violent jihādists- Those who intentionally perpetuate this murderous system of destructive fraud should face the heaviest penalties as high-ranking enemy soldiers belonging to the civilisation of Islam in the countries where they are currently located, if the country is not ruled by Islam and national law is not Islamic law.
Shame on certain scholars and clerics of Sunni Islam for making innocent people die, while brainwashing ignorant vulnerable people to kill other people. Shame on those scholars and clerics of Sunni Islam who hid this truth about the fundamental errors of the Qur’ān and Sunnah obviously being non-divinely revealed more than 1000 years ago, especially if they live in a country not located in the Middle East and where science and non-Islamic values dominate. It will be a shame if culprits are not penalised accordingly, especially when they chose not to reveal to all Sunni Muslims how Sunni Islam classifies Islam as a Deen governing a civilisation, and not a religion, because of the Hijrah.
Can you explain how jihadists from all over the world go to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State or want to go there, and they come from countries such as Belgium, Russia, Sweden, England, Indonesia, Malaysia, France, and Singapore?
If you think there is no fundamental similarity or co-operation, and only disunity in these best guardians of Islam who can teach different Muslims different things to believe based on whether Islam is advantaged or disadvantaged, where they are? Regardless of where they are located, see how these best guardians of Islam carry out the different daily prayers in a mosque 5 times a day with other fellow Muslims, or how they perform Hajj. If all actions and words spoken are in unity, there is a historically-unchanged scholarship in Sunni Islam adhered to by the 4 schools of Islamic jurisprudence, for more than 1000 years.
When a Muslim prays in a mosque with other Muslims, is there much deviation, or any deviation and discord, in words and actions carried out? If not, despite Muslims being told different things to believe and carrying a wide range of differing interpretations of Islam, why is that possible? What about Hajj? Do Sunni Muslims carrying many different beliefs, or different Muslims from different divisions of Islam carrying out different interpretations of Islam, lead to utter chaos in the holiest sites in Mecca, or is deviation a minor issue, if at all? What are the exact sources you use to maintain such order for prayers within more than one billion people? Do you know, or are you kept ignorant, and why?
Based on his extensive knowledge of Sunni Islam’s binding fundamentals in his book but refusing to divulge the fundamental failure of Sunni Islam from more than 1000 years ago which would take less than 2 pages of his book, you might opine that Dr Jamal cannot count and/or is telling a falsehood, when he states on page 51 that certain products of the West in thinking were established only 50 years ago but in Islam, was established 1500 years ago. The current year of the Islamic calendar and this Crucial Summary is 1438. His book was published in 2002
Ḥadīth 9 (Avoid excessive questions): Avoid what the prophet Muhammad advised you to do, and only do what he enjoined you to do, as best as you can. Do not question too much, because asking too many questions can lead to obfuscation and complications. Questions leading to doubt and confusion and creating fitnah are prohibited and discouraged, especially questions requiring unnecessary details. Remember the first oral tradition of this book.
Ḥadīth 10 (Allah is pure): This oral tradition is all-encompassing and has Allah making it clear what is pure and good and lawful for Muslims, as well as what is unlawful for Muslims. Allah does not accept deeds which are sullied by any impure aspects. Your actions must be in accordance with Sharīʿah, your food must be halal, your dressing must be appropriate, your monetary dealings must also be in adherence to what is lawful, otherwise your supplications will not be accepted. Nothing powers a market and expands it as wonderfully, where complete exclusivity and inability to retreat from such a market is the key. Non-Muslims are welcome to buy halal foods and eat at halal restaurants, but it is horrible to take advantage of their kindness and ignorance in trying to be respectful towards their Muslim friends’ Islamic rights, when they have no idea about the full extent of these Islamic rights and Islam which they are funding and empowering every day, according to these 42 oral traditions in one thin book using binding sources from more than 1000 years ago.
Ḥadīth 11 (Leave Doubts): “Leave what makes you doubt for what does not make you doubt. Verily, truth brings peace of mind and falsehood sows doubt.”
Dr Jamal quotes another oral tradition, whereby the prophet Muhammad said, “Verily, truth is tranquillity and falsehood is doubt.” That is supposedly how the prophet Muhammad taught the earliest Muslims to judge right from wrong, which is a hallmark of failure to think critically. What makes you happy and confident is right, and what makes you doubtful is wrong? When there are more than 1 billion Sunni Muslims currently happy about Sunni Islam, how does their happiness and ignorance negate the fact that they and their ancestors have been lied to and cheated regarding Sunni Islam, about the non-divine fraud which the Qur’ān and Sunnah have contained for more than 1000 years, and Allah could not be bothered to give them truth but keep them in the dark by relying on his best guardians to resort to lying, cheating, and selective silences?
This oral tradition supposedly teaches Muslims how to make the right decisions. Too bad nobody told suicide bombers, lone wolf attackers, and deluded terrorists (such as Boko Haram) how they are wasting their lives for a non-existent paradise and to avoid a Hell which does not exist, and nobody told them many ulamā in Sunni Islam have been intentionally lying to Muslims for the sake of Allah for more than 1000 years, to continue making people believe in a self-consoling fantasy which does not exist, while harming hundreds of millions of other people.
On this note, the book review for Forty Ḥadīth Nawawī pauses here, due to space constraints.
Can you imagine what the teaching of all 42 oral traditions with full context and criteria would do to young impressionable children, from the day they start learning as toddlers, until they finish schooling as an adult? A proper madrasah would have dispensed all this knowledge before the age of 12, but specific references may not be provided. Is it fair to teach this to vulnerable children or adults?
Fake news, fundamental lies, and fraud combined with distorted concepts is indoctrination, and indoctrination is mental abuse. Children should never be subjected to mental abuse, because mental abuse is not love. Wanting someone to believe what you believe because they are vulnerable to you and you think they should, and you cannot justify truly and fairly and with intellectual integrity, is not love. Unconditional love can be good, but unconditional love is harmful when there are no reliable measurements in certain situations and context.
Teaching someone how to evaluate and think and question, so they can reach their conclusions based on consistent intellectual integrity and reliably accurate facts and details? That is altruistic wisdom as the reliable rudder for true love being passed on as the strongest form of self-protection, which can include unconditional love where necessary.
Mental abuse is taking advantage of the vulnerable to perpetuate a system of damage and lies which the victim may take significant time to undo, or never undo at all and in the process, can make decisions which harm other living beings and/or this planet. This is how victims create more victims, and cycles of abuse must be permanently ended.