ABOUT THE BOOK:
Imam Nawawi's al-Arba'in has enjoyed allot of commentaries, of which this one of the finest and yet smallest. The Tabyin, as named by its author was abridged by larger commentary by Imam Najmudin Sulayman bin 'Abd al-Qawi al-Tufi (d. 716) which he titled as; al-Ta'yin fi Sharh al-Arba'in.
The Ta'yin was perhaps the top five early commentaries of the Arba'in. As such this small abridgement is very beneficial, precise and easy to digest as well as read. The editor has utilised various manuscripts to render this final work and is excellently edited.
ABOUT IMAM IBN JAMA'AH:
His name was 'Izzudin Muhammad b. Sharafudin Abi Bakr b. 'Izzudin 'Abd al-'Azizb. Badrudin Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. Sa'adallah bin Jama'ah, al-Hamawi, ash-Shafi'i, al-Masri. Ibn Jama'ah was born on 749 Hijri. His family are originally from Hama, Syria. He moved in to Egypt, Cairo and studied his islamic sciences there, early on until he was dubbed as the Shaykh of Egypt. Among his teachers:
- Sirajudin al-Hindi,
- Ibn Khaldun,
- Tajudin as-Subki,
- 'Abd al-Aziz Ibn Jama'ah, his grandfather.
- Sirajudin al-Bulqini,
- and many others.
His students were numerous, but among the most popular ones were:
- Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani,
- al-Taqiy al-Fasi,
- Jamaludin al-Timani.
- and many others, so many that perhaps "all of Egypt learned from him" as expressed by Ibn Qadhi Shuhbah.
Some of his works are:
- al-Asus fi Sina'at al-Dabus,
- I'anatil Insan ala Ahkam al-Lisan,
- al-Amniyyah fi 'Ilm al-Farusiyyah,
- Aqrab al-Maqasid li Sharh al-Qawa'id,
- at-Tabyin fi Sharh al-Arba'in,
- Hashiyat 'ala Alfiyat li Ibn Malik,
- Hashiyat 'ala Raf' al-Hajib Sharh Mukhtasar Ibn al-Hajib,
- Zawal al-Tarah Sharh Mandhumat ibn Farah,
- Sharh Jam' al-Jawami',
- as-Safwat (introduction on Tasawwuf),
- and many other works.
He was immensely intellegent, so much so that his student, Ibn Hajar said of him; "There is no science or subject he didn't try to delve into."
Those days in Cairo there was a plague which became rampant. He unfortunately caught it and died short while after that. He was buried on Jumadil Akhir in the year of 819 Hijri.
ABOUT IMAM NAWAWI:
Abu Zakaria Muhiy ad-Din Yahya Ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (1233–1277) popularly known as al-Nawawi, an-Nawawi or Imam Nawawi (631–676 A.H./1234–1277), was a Shafi'i scholar of many sciences. His complete name is Abu Zakaria Mohiuddin Yahya ibn Sharaf ibn Marri ibn Hassan ibn Hussain ibn Muhammad ibn Juma ibn Hazm An-Nawawi. 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.
Shaykh Yasin bin Yusuf Marakashi, says: "I saw Imam Nawawi at Nawa when he was a youth of ten years of age. Other boys of his age used to force him to play with them, but Imam Nawawi would always avoid the play and would remain busy with the recitation of the Noble Qur'an. When they tried to domineer and insisted on his joining their games, he bewailed and expressed his no concern over their foolish action. On observing his sagacity and profundity, a special love and affection developed in my heart for young Nawawi. I approached his teacher and urged him to take exceptional care of this lad as he was to become a great religious scholar. His teacher asked whether I was a soothsayer or an astrologer. I told him I am neither soothsayer nor an astrologer but Allah caused me to utter these words." His teacher conveyed this incident to Imam's father and he keeping in view the learning quest of his son, decided to dedicate the life of his son for the service and promotion of the cause of Islam.
He had no academic or scholarly atmosphere and there were no religious academies or institutes where one could earn excellence in religious learning, so his father took him to Damascus, which was considered the centre of learning and scholarship, and the students from far and wide gathered there for schooling. During that period, there were more than three hundred institutes, colleges and universities in Damascus. Imam Nawawi joined Madrasah Rawahiyah which was affiliated with the Ummvi University. The founder and patron of this Madrasah was a trader named Zakiuddin Abul-Qassim who was known as Ibn Rawahah. Madrasah was named after him. Noted and eminent teachers of the period taught in that Madrasah. Imam Nawawi says, "I studied in this institution for two years. During my stay in Madrasah Rawahiyah, I never had complete rest and lived on the limited food supplied by the institution." As a routine he used to sleep very little at night. When it became irresistible as a human being, he would lean and slumber for a while against the support of books. After a short duration he would again be hard at his scholastic pursuits.
He studied in Damascus from the age of 18 and after making the pilgrimage in 1253 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 stay at Damascus, he studied from more than twenty celebrated teachers. These teachers were regarded as masters and authority of their subject field and disciplines they taught. Imam studied Hadith, Islamic Jurisprudence, its principles, syntax and Etymology fromgreat scholars of his time. Abu Ibrahim Ishaq bin Ahmad AI-Maghribi, Abu Muhammad Abdur-Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Fazari, Radiyuddin Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Abu Hafs Umar bin Mudar Al-Mudari, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Isa Al-Muradi, Abul-Baqa Khalid bin Yusuf An-Nablusi, Abul-Abbas Ahmad bin Salim Al-Misri, Abu Abdullah Al-Jiyani, Abul-Fath Umar bin Bandar, Abu Muhammad At-Tanukhi, Sharafuddin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad Al-Ansari, Abul-Faraj Abdur-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Al-Maqdisi, Abul-Fada'il Sallar bin Al-Hasan Al Arbali.
He had following students:
Imam 'Ala'uddin bin Attar,
Ibn Abbas Ahmad bin Ibrahim,
Abul-Abbas Ahmad bin Farah,
Rashid Ismail bin Mu'allim Al-Hanafi,
Abu Abdullah Al-Hanbali,
Jamaluddin Sulaiman bin Omar Az-Zar'i,
Abul Faraj Abdur-Rahman bin Muhammad bin Abdul-Hamid AlMaqdisi,
Badr Muhammad bin Ibrahim, Shamsuddin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr,
Ash-Shihab Muhammad bin Abdul-Khaliq,
Abul-Hajjaj Yusuf bin Az-Zaki.
During his life of 45 years he wrote many books on Islamic studies and other topics. These include:
- Al Minhaj bi Sharh Sahih Muslim شرح صحيح مسلم, making use of others before him, and is considered one of the best commentaries on Sahih Muslim. It is available online.
- Riyadh as-Saaliheen رياض الصالحين, is a collection of hadith on ethics, manners, conduct, and is very popular in the Muslim world today.
- al-Majmu' sharh al-Muhadhdhab المجموع شرح المهذب, is a comprehensive manual of Islamic law according to the Shafi'i school has been edited with French translation by van den Bergh, 2 vols., Batavia (1882–1884), and published at Cairo (1888).
- Minhaj al-Talibin منهاج الطالبين وعمدة المفتين في فقه الإمام الشافعي, a classical manual on Islamic Law according to Shafi'i fiqh.
- Tahdhib al-Asma wal-Lughat تهذيب الأسماء, has been edited as the Biographical Dictionary of Illustrious Men chiefly at the Beginning of Islam by F. Wüstenfeld (Göttingen, 1842–1847).
- Taqrib al-Taisir التقريب والتيسير لمعرفة سنن البشير النذير, an introduction to the study of hadith, it is an extension of Ibn al-Salah's Muqaddimah, was published at Cairo, 1890, with Suyuti's commentary "Tadrib al-Rawi". It has been in part translated into French by W. Marçais in the Journal asiatique, series ix., vols. 16–18 (1900–1901).
- Forty Hadiths (al-arbaʿīn al-nawawiyya) الأربعون النووية, collection of forty (actually forty-two) fundamental traditions, frequently published along with numerous commentaries.
- Ma Tamas ilayhi hajat al-Qari li Saheeh al-Bukhaari ما تمس إليه حاجة القاري لصـحيح البـخاري,
- Tahrir al-Tanbih تحرير التنبيه,
- Kitab al-Adhkar الأذكار المنتخبة من كلام سيد الأبرار, is a collection of supplications of prophet Muhammad.
- al-Tibyan fi adab Hamalat al-Quran التبيان في آداب حملة القرآن,
- Adab al-fatwa wa al-Mufti wa al-Mustafti آداب الفتوى والمفتي والمستفتي,
- al-Tarkhis fi al-Qiyam الترخيص بالقيام لذوي الفضل والمزية من أهل الإسلام,
- Manasik متن الإيضاح في المناسك, on Hajj rituals.
- Sharh Sunan Abu Dawood
- Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari
- Mukhtasar at-Tirmidhi
- Tabaqat ash-Shafi'iyah
- Rawdhat al-Talibeen
- Bustan al-`arifin
He died at Nawa at a relatively young age, having never married. An-Nawawi's lasting legacy is his contribution to hadith literature through his momentous works Forty Hadiths and Riyadh as-Saaliheen. This made him respected in all madhabs, despite of him being of Shafi'i jurisprudence. Despite being allegedly influenced by Asharite aqidah, he is respected among Salafis and Atharis. According to Al-Dhahabi, Imam Nawawi's concentration and absorption in academic love gained proverbial fame. He had devoted all his time for learning and scholarship. Other than reading and writing, he spent his time contemplating on the interacted and complex issues and in finding their solutions. Sheikh Mohiuddin expresses his impression about Imam Nawawi as thus:
"Imaam an-Nawawi had three distinctive commendable qualities in his person. If anybody has only one out of these three, people turn to him in abundance for guidance. First, having knowledge and its dissemination. Second, to evade completely from the worldly inclinations, and the third, inviting to all that is good (Islam) enjoining virtue and forbidding vice. Imaam an-Nawawi had all three in him."