The Nawawi Project for Ramadan
BismiLlah Al Rahman Al Rahim,
Ramadan Karim! May all of you have a blessed Ramadan full of du’as, dhikr, recitation of Qu’ran, spiritual elevation and the like. As a friend would say, may you be in the best state of Iman and Taqwa.
Trying to keep the Ramadan mood in your daily life is sometimes challenging. Your intention has to be towards Allah, make your breath useful and worthwhile.
During the Rihla, one of the courses given was “The 40 Hadiths of Imam Nawawi” by Imam Tahir Anwar. Through his anecdotes and clear explanations, the ahadith were quickly instilled into our daily lives: by thought and still slowly by practice.
Ramadan is a month where Iblis (Satan) is locked up so you have the privilege to discern your nafs’ voice inside of you. The nafs (soul) has three stages:
- The inciting nafs
- The self-accusing nafs
- The nafs at peace
(You can go to this wiki page to read in more detail about every single phase of the nafs.)
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “We now return from the small struggle (Jihad Asghar) to the big struggle (Jihad Akbar)”. His companions asked, “Oh Prophet of God, what is the big struggle?” He replied, “The struggle against nafs.”
رجعنا من الجهاد الأصغر إلى الجهاد الأكبر . قالوا : وما الجهاد الأكبر ؟ قال : جهاد القلب
Even though there is some debate over the truthfulness of that hadith, it nonetheless helps us understand that what we are up against is even harder than war.
But as another hadith says:
Al-Bukhari narrated it on the authority of Anas, as follows: “Make things easy! And do not make them complicated! Be cheerful! And do not be repulsive.”
عن أنس رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: يسروا ولا تعسروا وبشروا ولا تنفروا
We have to be optimistic, Allah is Merciful and He is closer to us than our jugular vein. If we have the intention and we try hard to have a peaceful nafs, surely He will reward us inch’Allah.
In order to gain control of your nafs, we can try implementing the Qur’an and the Sunnah in our daily lives through little things: a smile, helping the neighbour, making du’as, etc. The Prophet has left us with thousands of ahadith behind, it is mostly improbable for us to know them all by heart!.. What can one do?
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, (RA), through many chains of authorities and in various versions, that the messenger of Allah said: “Whosoever memorizes and preserves for my people forty ahadith relating to their religion, Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Judgment in the company of jurists and religious scholars”
Forty. Four. Zero. That is all we are asked for to memorize in order to be at peace. Out of hundreds of thousands, what a bargain.
For this holy month of Ramadan, we will try to post one hadith every two days from Imam Al Nawawi’s “40 hadith” in order for us to implement them. We will have 15 ahadith at the end of the month. The commentaries on them will be short and simple, based on the notes taken during Imam Tahir’s classes. If this project proves successful inch’Allah, we will pursue it until we complete it them in their totality inch’Allah.
If you’re ready just say: BismiLlah.
Imam Al-Nawawi writes in his introduction:
“The religious scholars (may Allah be pleased with them) have composed innumerable works in this field [writing forty hadith] . The first one I knew of who did so was ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak […]
There were some religious scholars who brought together forty Hadith 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.
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 error].”
Imam Al Nawawi was born Abu Zakaria Mohiuddin Yahya Ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (1234–1278 / 631 – 676 A.H.), was a Sunni Muslim author on Fiqh and hadith. His position on legal matters is considered the authoritative one in the Shafi’i Madhhab. He was born at Nawa near Damascus, Syria. As with many Arabic and Semitic names, the last part of his name refers to his hometown.
He studied in Damascus from the age of 18 and after making the pilgrimage in 1253 (which indicates that if we have the means to make Hajj when we’re still young then we should strive to do it) he settled there as a private scholar. From a young age he showed signs of great intelligence, and so his father paid for a good education. As a judge, he was much sought after for advice and adjudication of disputes.
During his short life of only 45 years he wrote many books on Islamic studies and other topics. Some say he died before his father. A lot of people assigned for him the title: “Muhy ul-din” (Reviver of the religion) but he disliked it.
We will end with this du’a by Imam Al Haddad that we will make the effort to read before writing every post for this project inch’Allah:
In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach
to take and give a reminder
take and give benefit
take and give advantage
to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of His Messenger, upon him be peace
and calling to guidance and directing towards good
hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward,
transcended is He.
نويت التعلم والتعليم٬ والتذكر والتذكير, النفع والإنتفاع, الإفادة والاستفادة, والحث على التمسك بكتاب الله٬ وسنة رسوله٬ والدعاء الى الهدى والدلالة على الخير , وابتغاء وجه الله ومرضاته وقربه وثوابه سبحانه وتعالى.
(approximate translation in arabic)