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Saturday 25th March 2017
Culture

Monday, January 25th, 2016

To know him is to love him.

Those who have studied the Seerah and related material like The Shifa of Qadi Iyad or the Shama’il of Tirmidhi or even those who have only sung songs,  heard sermons or poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) cannot fail but to develop a deep yearning love for the Prophet of Islam. It is a love quite unlike any other love. Indescribable and visceral. Our connection with Islam is only through his noble personality and character, and the more you read and come to know him, the more your love and yearing increases. The Mother of the believers Sayyida Aisha said “that his character was the Quran”. It is a mark of true faith that makes this bond between Muslims and their Prophet, uncompromisingly unbreakable. It is as the poet Muhammad Iqbal said “Love of the Prophet runs like blood through the veins of his community”. Without love for him, there is no Muslim.

So it was with great pleasure that I received a review copy of the book Khasa’is al-Nabi wa Ummatihi by Imam Yusuf al-Nabahani translated as “The Unique Qualities of the Prophet and His Community” by Rashad Jameer. We live in a time in which our religion and our Prophet are under constant attack. There seems to be a deliberate attempt to try and sever the connection that Muslims have to their Prophet. Our love is constantly tested, it therefore needs to be constantly nurtured. Books like the one presently highlighted serve that purpose. The body of work on the Prophet Muhammad is vast, a treasure trove of devotional literature, but only a small percentage of what is available in Arabic and other languages has been rendered into English.

The present book, some 85 pages long in total, is a concise work concentrating on narrations that highlight the unique qualities that Allah has bestowed upon the Prophet and his community. Some forty two hadiths are presented with explanatory footnotes where needed, and the entire text is in a very readable translation style and format. Books like these are excellent for self-study, although to get the most out of them one should study in a group or with a good teacher familiar with the material. There is no substitute for a teacher who can bring to life these beautiful narrations.

Living in an age of haste we, as a human collective, are probably reading more on a daily basis than our ancestors have ever done. The age of the internet has us hooked on screens and reading snippets of news and short social media posts, but whilst we are reading more, what we are consuming is rarely of benefit and our attention spans have shortened as a result. Therefore, we need more concise works on focused topics and subjects that can compete with all the other things that are perhaps not as worthy of our time and attention as works for our iman. I am as guilty as anyone when faced with a weighty tome that I need to read; it seems like a chore.

My appreciation to the translator Rashad Jameer for bringing such works into the English language, having translated two other titles in a similar vein – The Virtues of the Prophet
and his Nation and The Virtues of Sending Prayers on the Prophet.

The book is available from Hu Books, £8.50 + P&P

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