Meraj Mohiuddin’s Revelation: The Story of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him): A Critical Review

MERAJ MOHIUDDIN’S REVELATION: THE STORY OF MUHAMMAD (PEACE AND BLESSINGS BE UPON HIM): A CRITICAL REVIEW

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.

Despite its relatively recent publication, Dr. Meraj Mohiuddin’s Revelation: The Story of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) has quickly become one of the more popular, publicized, and widely-distributed additions to the growing corpus of English literature on the prophetic biography (sīrah). Boasting an aesthetically-pleasing, simple, and modern design, Revelation enjoys a long list of endorsements by well-recognized Muslim personalities in the West and a foreword by the American Muslim academic Dr. Sherman Jackson. 

The author, a physician by training, has taken great pains to design a book that is rich in illustrations to complement a condensed chronicle of the Messenger of Allah’s life (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Mohiuddin includes a wealth of graphics: maps, family trees, and timelines that help visualize complex lineages and familial relationships, track the movements of armies, and contextualize significant events in time. Deceptively large in size, the book’s historical material is in fact quite concise, providing first-time readers of the sīrah a summarized version of the contents of, for the most part, Martin Ling’s Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources and Ṣafī al-Raḥmān al-Mubārakpūrī’s The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet (al-Raḥīq al-Makhtūm). Continue reading

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The Attribution of Prophetic Events to the Day of ʿĀshūrā

[I found this somewhat unfinished research on my computer. Seeing as today is the 10th of Muḥarram, or ʿĀshūrā, I thought it would be useful to students of knowledge to post whatever research I had gathered to date on the authenticity of the attribution of certain  prophetic events to this day. Interestingly enough, the 10th of Muḥarram (or possibly the 11th) was the day I was reported to have been born.]

Question

This last Friday, I heard many things about ʿĀshūrā that I’d never heard before. The khatib said that in addition to Mūsā and his people being saved on ʿĀshūrā that it was also the day that Yūnus was saved from the whale, Yūsuf was saved from the well, Nūḥ was saved from the flood, that Ibrāhīm was born on this day, and that Rasūl Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was granted special forgiveness, and some other things I don’t remember. I had never heard these things before, so I was wondering if they were true. Please respond at your convenience. (edited) Continue reading

Draft of the First Chapter of a Tashīl al-Naḥw Translation

The following is the first chapter of a translation taken from Qārī Siddīq Bāndwī’s Tashīl al-Naḥw that I was involved in through some editing and translating along with two former students. The project was put on hold in an attempt to first complete another work that was near the final draft stage. I have produced the draft here for general benefit.

Chapter 1

NAḤW

Naḥw (syntax) is a branch of Arabic grammar that studies how sentences are formulated through the combination of nouns (ism), verbs (fiʿl), and particles (ḥarf) and how such formulations determine the state of the end of words in the sentence.

In the science of naḥw, both the individual word كَلِمَةٌ (kalimah) and the combination of words كَلَامٌ (kalām) are studied. The benefit of studying the science is that it protects the one who learns and observes its rules from making grammatical mistakes in their speech and composition.  Continue reading

ʿAllāmah al-Kawtharī’s List of Ḥanafī Hadith Masters

The following list a selection from notes that were compiled for one of the appendices to the forthcoming (in shā Allāh) translation of Imam ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Dihlawī’s Muqaddamah fī Uṣūl al-Ḥadīth. The list has had to be refined, edited, and truncated for publishing purposes. I thought the rough notes would still benefit certain interested readers, so I have produced a portion of them below. Readers should note that spellings, dates, etc… are being revised and are not yet reflected in this post:

Shāh ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq al-Dihlawī represents an important link in a long chain of Ḥanafī hadith scholars, one that begins with Imam Abū Ḥanīfah and his students and continues to this day. The last hundred plus years, however, has born witnes to an unfortunate confusion about the status of the scholars of the Ḥanafī school of law in relation to their knowledge and prowess in the field of hadith and hadith criticism. Nearly three to four generations of Indian hadith masters have since attempted to respond to these misconceptions in the form of biographies of Ḥanafī hadith masters, rebuttals of anti-Ḥanafī and anti-taqlīd literature, voluminous commentaries on the renowned hadith collections, etc…

The late Ottoman polymath, Imam Muḥammad Zāhid al-Kawtharī offered his own refutation of the misunderstandings about the Ḥanafī school in a now well-recognized treatise entitled Fiqh Ahl al-ʿIrāq wa Ḥadīthuhum, which concludes with a list of one hundred and ten hadith masters from amongst Abū Ḥanīfah’s students and adherents to his madhhab. The list was later extended by Imam Muḥammad Yūsuf al-Binnūrī who added 40 names to the list from amongst the Ḥanafī hadith scholars of the Indian subcontinent. We reproduce the first list below: Continue reading

Thoughts on Mawlānā Tariq Rasheed al-Nadwī’s Interview on Madrasa Reform

I am now posting some thoughts I wrote up about the previous post (Mawlana Tariq Rasheed Sahib’s interview on madrasa reform) after our brother and friend Abdul Sattar (may Allah bless him) asked the following:

“I was wondering if you could offer your thoughts on the ideas he discusses concerning the curriculum itself, and the cultural issues he touches upon and what your disagreements/concerns are?”

In responding to the question, I prefer to mention specifically certain portions of the interview that I particularly would like to highlight and then subsequently provide my own thoughts, while also noting that my tone at the time I wrote the post was relatively defensive given the request to provide my concerns and potential disagreements. I have incredible respect for the Mawlana and I hope that my thoughts are perceived not as a refutation but as a contribution to an important -and hopefully ongoing – discussion. Continue reading

Regarding Abrogation of the Verse of Tasmiyah in Ritual Slaughter

Question: There has been some debate at my masjid regarding the permissibility of eating the food of Ahl al Kitab. My Imam says that the verse prohibitng the eating of food on which the name of Allah had not been said was abrogated by the verse that permitted the eating of the food of Ahl al Kitab. His proof is this hadith from Sunan Abi Dawud:

‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏أحمد بن محمد بن ثابت المروزي ‏ ‏حدثني‏ ‏علي بن حسين ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبيه ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏يزيد النحوي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏عكرمة ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏ابن عباس ‏ ‏قال ‏
فكلوا مما ذكر اسم الله عليه
‏ولا تأكلوا مما لم يذكر اسم الله عليه ‏
‏فنسخ واستثنى من ذلك فقال ‏
‏وطعام الذين أوتوا الكتاب حل لكم وطعامكم حل لهم ‏

in which Ibn Abbas cites the same opinion. Is this hadith authentic, and if it is, then how do the Hanafis and Hanbalis who hold contrary opinions to this hadith answer it? Continue reading

A Short Answer to a Question on Extravagance from the Islamic Perspective

A question was once posed by a student through email regarding the issue of wastage, more specifically in regards to wasting water. It was published by our dear friend Hafiz Faraz Abdul Moid on the attalib blog some years ago. I repost it here for your benefit, iA.

Question: I had a question, and if you’re not too busy, I would really appreciate an answer. It concerns water and what we were going over in class about wasting it. When you decide to take a shower for comfort, not necessarily to wash off any impurities, is it really considered wasting it? I mean, when you are doing wudu, and you let the water run and you step out of the bathroom and let the water flow from the tap, that is a waste of water because you are not using it and it is just draining through without coming into contact with you. You are not deriving any benefit from having the water flow, so thus, the water is being wasted. Continue reading

Madrasat al-Hasanayn Updated Curriculum Years 1-4

After posting an earlier synopsis of the Hasanayn curriculum when I was studying there fifteen years ago, a current student was kind enough to send me an updated version for the first four years of the eight year program.

Interestingly enough, when the curriculum was first cooked up, it was designed to be a 12-year program. I remember Mawlana Tariq Jameel taking an oath from the students that they would be willing to stay for that long and even longer, that they be ready to study however long was required or die trying. Mawlana was of the opinion that a subject-by-subject approach would require students to commit more years. In the years that I was there, the strength of the program proved that students weren’t being slowed down in any way by the approach. In fact, they were able to handle more than one or two classes per day quite easily without being overwhelmed with work. Mawlana was pleasantly surprised and willing to increase the daily amount of classes.

In any case, attached is the curriculum for years 1-4 in Arabic. Download.

Excerpt: Fundamentals of Islamic Law: Introduction to Purification

The following sample chapter gives an idea of the format and style of a proposed work on Islamic law written for a modern student. The chapters begin with a “You Will Learn” outline of the chapter’s content, followed by the body of the chapter (with bolded concepts/important vocabulary). Each chapter ends with a Summary (which is to be memorized), a Key Concepts list, and Study Questions. Tables, graphs, and case studies will be interspersed throughout the body text but in a way that is not intrusive or visually distracting. Continue reading

Brief Comments on “The Qur’an: The New Translation” by MAS Abdel Haleem

This translation of the meanings of the Qur’an – which I wish the cover articulated clearer instead of just “The Qur’an” in large print – is one of three translations of the Qur’an’s meanings that I use the most. The other two are Ahmad Zaki Hammad and Ali Unal’s translations. I am aware of other quality works, but I find that these three more or less do the job for me. The Majestic Qur’an was a book I used quite often, but it was very hard to find and I had borrowed it from a library. Though I’ve missed it, I find the other three suffice quite well. 

Compared to Hammad’s The Gracious Qur’an, I found this translation more lucid in places and reads better without the need for parenthetical filler expressions. However, in some places, I found the author taking a bit of liberty in the translations of words and found myself wondering whether he would have translated differently had the audience not been expected to be potentially antagonistic to Islam and its message.