Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths: Hadith 27 and Hadith 28 taught by Sheikh Gomaa: Righteousness and Abiding by Muhammad’s Sunnah
I have been studying the ahadith because, next to the Qur’an, the ahadith (authoritative traditions) are the most influential body of literature in Islam. The Encyclopaedia of Islam gives a helpful overview of how this tradition developed,
Tradition came to be considered second in authority to the Kuran, but this was the result of a lengthy process. The Prophet had made a great impression on his contemporaries, and Islam had not only survived his death, but had quickly spread far beyond Arabia. It is therefore only natural that those who had known him should have much to tell about him and that new converts should have been anxious to learn what they could about him. Many of his Companions settled in conquered countries where it is reasonable to assume that they would be questioned about him; but there would be nothing formal about the retailing of stories and little attempt at first to record them. At that time there was no idea that Tradition was second in authority to the Kuran because there was no collected body of traditions. At the Prophet’s death, the Kuran remained as the source of guidance and it was only gradually, as new problems arose, that men came to feel the need of a subsidiary authority. Individuals and groups in various regions developed an interest in Tradition, and many traditionists engaged in travels to learn traditions from authorities in different countries. The annual Pilgrimage would also provide an opportunity for people of different regions to meet, and traditions would be spread in this way. The demand for traditions was great, and inevitably the supply grew to meet it.
Gradually the necessity of producing authorities for traditions developed, and there is reason to believe that the practice was to some extent in force before the end of the first century; but it was late in the second century before it seems to have become essential to have a complete chain of authorities back to the source. Ibn Ishak (d. 150/767 or 151/768) quotes authorities in his biography of the Prophet, but not always with a complete chain, and the same applies to Malik b. Anas (d. 179/795) whose law-book al-Muwatta” gives many traditions with partial chains of authority, some with complete chains, and some with none. When books of tradition came to be compiled the traditions had two necessary features: (1) the chain of authorities (isnad, or sanad) going right back to the source of the tradition, and (2) the text (matn).
But while traditionists were collecting traditions and attempting to verify their authority, there were others who were not prepared to lay great emphasis on the importance of tradition. As a result there were disputes between parties; but largely as a result of the genius of al-Shafi (d. 204/820) [q.v.] the party of Tradition won the day, and Hadith came to be recognized as a foundation of Islam second only to the Kuran. Al-Shafi laid emphasis on an argument which seems to have been current even before this time, that when the Kuran spoke of the Book and the Wisdom (cf. ii, 151; iii, 164; iv, 113; lxii, 2) it meant Kuran and Hadith. Thus Hadith was given a kind of secondary inspiration. Though not the eternal word of God, like the Kuran it represented divine guidance (James Robson, “Hadith” in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. III, New Edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill).
In my studies I have been struck by the late dates in which the hadith were recorded and how the Quran seems to be incomplete guidance for Muslims without the traditions of Muhammad (Others have wondered about this).
I have been studying Imam Nawawi’s “Forty Hadith” because they are widely regarded as the best introduction to Muhammad’s sayings in the English language. It’s helpful to keep in mind that Nawawi’s Forty Hadith is a collection of Islamic revelation.
Here is the twenty-seventh hadith compiled by al-Nawawi, first in Arabic and then in English,
عن النواس بن سـمعـان رضي الله عـنه ، عـن النبي صلى الله عـليه وسلم قـال : ( الـبـر حـسـن الـخلق والإثـم ما حـاك في نـفـسـك وكـرهـت أن يـطـلع عــلـيـه الـنـاس ). رواه مسلم [ رقم : 2553 ].
وعن وابصه بن معبد رضي الله عنه ، قال : أتيت رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم ، فقال : ( جئت تسأل عن البر ؟ ) قلت : نعم ؛ فقال : ( استفت قلبك ؛ البر ما اطمأنت إليه النفس واطمأن إليه القلب ، والإثم ما حاك في النفس وتردد في الصدر ، وإن أفتاك الناس وأفتوك ) .
حديث حسن ، رويناه في مسندي الإمامين أحمد بن حنبل[ 4/ 227] ، والدارمي [2/ 246] بإسناد حسن
On the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam’aan (radi allahu anhu) 1Arabic to English translation, May Allah be pleased with him.) that the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) 2Arabic to English translation meaning, May Allah bless him and grant him peace. Often abbreviated SAWS. This Arabic phrase is used after references to Muhammad and his titles.) said :
Righteousness is in good character/morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.
It was related by Muslim (صحيح مسلم).
And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma’bad (radi allahu ‘anhu 3Arabic to English translation, May Allah be pleased with him.) who said :
I came to the Messenger of Allah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and he said : “You have come to ask about righteousness”. I said : “Yes”.
He said : “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour].”
Here is the twenty-eighth hadith compiled by al-Nawawi, first in Arabic and then the English translation of the Arabic,
عن أبي نجـيـج العـرباض بن سارية رضي الله عنه ، قال : وعـظـنا رسول الله صلي الله علية وسلم موعـظة وجلت منها القلوب ، وذرفت منها الدموع ، فـقـلـنا : يا رسول الله ! كأنها موعـظة مودع فـأوصنا ، قال : ( أوصيكم بتقوى الله ، والسمع والطاعة وإن تأمر عليكم عبد ، فإنه من يعــش منكم فسيرى اخـتـلافـا كثيرًا ، فعـليكم بسنتي وسنة الخفاء الراشدين المهديين عـضوا عـليها بالـنـواجـذ ، واياكم ومـحدثات الأمور ، فإن كل بدعة ضلاله ).
رواه أبو داود [ رقم : 4607 ] والترمذي [ رقم : 2676 ] وقال : حديث حسن صحيح
On the authority of Abu Najeeh al-‘Irbaad ibn Saariyah (radi allahu anhu 4Arabic to English translation, May Allah be pleased with him.) who said :
The Messenger of Allah 5Arabic to English translation meaning, May Allah bless him and grant him peace. Often abbreviated SAWS. This Arabic phrase is used after references to Muhammad and his titles.) gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. So we said : “O Messenger of Allah ! It is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us”.
He said :
I counsel you to have Taqwaa (fear) of Allah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your Ameer. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafaa’ ar-Raashideen (the Rightly Guided Caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it stubbornly [literally: with your molar teeth]. Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bid’ah (innovation) is misguidance.
It was related by Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi, who said that it was a good and sound Hadeeth.
In the following video Ali Gomaa teaches about the twenty-seventh (0:00-4:49) and twenty-eighth (4:50-9:17) hadiths compiled by an-Nawawi. My notes follow.
“The opposite of righteousness is wrongdoing. “Wrong doing is what wavers in your should and you dislike people to see.” Because man always prides himself about righteousness. Some even wish that people would recognize it. We ask them to conceal their worship. Yet, if people saw their righteiousness, they will praise him. And this will make him fell happy. However, wrongdoing is different. Wrongdoing is scandalous. Wrongdoing makes one feel remorse and shame. And does not want people to see it.”
My Christian comments: I agree that people should not pride themselves in their righteousness or do acts of righteousness to be seen by men. Jesus taught extensively about this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-8).
Ali Gomaa’s comment’s about people doing wrong highlights a big difference between Islamic and Western culture. In Western culture many take pride in their shame and are public about their immorality (cf. Romans 1:28-32). For example, chastity and virginity before marriage are biblical ideals and yet young unmarried men and women who are chaste are sometimes ridiculed.
The 27th hadith seems to correspond with what Christians call the conscience. Conscience is our sense of right and wrong which evaluates our own and others’ behavior.
Speaking about the 28th hadith, Ali Gomaa says, “This hadith is the Prophet’s advice. He (SAWS) 6Abbreviation for the Arabic phrase transliterated, Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. This phrase is used after references to Muhammad and his titles. It means May Allah bless him and grant him peace. ordered us to be pious to Allah. He (SAWS) used to say, “Be pious to Allah wherever you are and follow a bad deed by a good one to erase it, and treat people with good manners.” He advises us to be obedient. He (SAWS) commands ut to group together. And to be together on one path. He ordered us to group together that he said, “Whoever splits with the company of Muslims by a span then dies, he dies in a state of ignorance.” He forbade disunity.”
Keep to my sunnah
“How should we handle this disunity? “Verily he among you who lives (long) will see great controversy, so you must keep to my sunnah.” Abiding by the Prophet’s (SAWS) sunnah will protect us from disunity. The prophet’s sunnah includes a way of living known as ‘understanding the Sunnah’. It includes some parts that are directly related to that time. Other parts go past time, place, persons, and conditions. We have to take sunnah as our evidence, reference, refuge, and referee.”
My Christian comments: The sunnah are the sayings, actions, and approvals of Muhammad. It is a primary source of law for Islam and is found in the hadith. The imporance of the sunnah to Islam and Muslims has been stated as, “The Sunnah is like the ark of Noah. Whoever embarks upon it achieves salvation and whoever rejects it, is drowned.” Another common saying about the sunnah is, “Know that Islam is the Sunnah, and the Sunnah is Islam.”
Rightly guided Caliphs
Ali Gomaa discusses the “rightly guided Caliphs...”
These caliphs are, “Abu-Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali. These caliphs applied Islmaic religion clearly.”
“Bite on it by molars…”
“Biting by molars means strength and insistence. It means never give us his sunnah.”
My Christian comments: What Muhammad said of his sunnah, Christians believe for their Scriptures, “Cling to it stubbornly [literally: with your molar teeth]. Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bid’ah (innovation [بدعة]) is misguidance.” The message of Muhammad contains “newly invented matters” and “innovation” concerning the death of Jesus on the cross and His Sonship. The New Testament warns in the strongest language against these innovations,
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians chapter 1 verses 8-9)
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. (1 John chapter 1, verse 22)
The things Muhammad warned against, “newly invented matters” and “innovation” are some of the very things he introduced (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14).
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|1, 3, 4.||↥||Arabic to English translation, May Allah be pleased with him.|
|2, 5.||↥||Arabic to English translation meaning, May Allah bless him and grant him peace. Often abbreviated SAWS. This Arabic phrase is used after references to Muhammad and his titles.|
|6.||↥||Abbreviation for the Arabic phrase transliterated, Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. This phrase is used after references to Muhammad and his titles. It means May Allah bless him and grant him peace.|