Hadith Collections – The Sunna Project

The Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation is a non-profit academic organisation that was founded to support and advance the protection, preservation and study of Islamic intellectual and artistic heritage. It specialises in scholarly publishing, fine book design, and the care and management of manuscript collections.

The Foundation has offices in Cairo, Egypt; the University of Cambridge, England; and Stuttgart, Germany.

The Sunna Project is the Foundation’s flagship project. It seeks to assemble the entirety of hadith literature — that is, the literature comprising narrations of the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad . In the Foundation’s Cairo offices, a select group of scholars of Hadith are engaged in preparing definitive critical editions of Hadith collections. This has involved the identification, study and careful comparison of manuscripts from libraries and museums around the world.

The Sunna Project has produced the eighteen volume Hadith Encyclopaedia, which includes the six canonical hadith collections; Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, and the Jami al-Tirmidhi, Sunan Nisa’i,and Sunan Ibn Maja, as well as the Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas. A labour of nearly 100 scholars from around the Muslim world that spanned from 1985 to 2001.

The Foundation has recently in 2008 published the second installment of the Hadith Encyclopedia, which consists of a new fourteen volume edition of the Musnad of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. This edition contains over 120 Hadith from one particular location in the collection that have not appeared in any previous printed edition of the Musnad (in recent times – i.e past ~ 100 years), but which are present in the earlier and more reliable manuscripts. The Project is affiliated with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge.


The ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF HADITH  including the Musnad of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal can be purchased from tradigital.de . This collection is of a high quality print evident in the Catalog which is worth looking at. It also contains other high quality print works such as the SPLENDOURS OF QUR’AN CALLIGRAPHY & ILLUMINATION, The SERMONS HADITH COLLECTION of the Prophet (pbuh), SHAMA’IL AN-NABI and HAJJ AND ‘UMRA HADITH COLLECTION.

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How to Find the Hanafi School’s Relied-Upon Position

For this, one has to refer to the reliable books of the school. In the Hanafi school, this would include Imam Sarakhsi’s Mabsut, Imam Kasani’s Bada`i al-Sana`i, Imam Zayla`i’s Tabyin al-Haqa’iq, Imam Marghinani’s Hidaya along with its commentaries, especially the Inaya of Imam Babarti and Fath al-Qadirof Imam Kamal ibn Humam.

Allama Ibn Abidin did a phenomenal job of going through the key works of the school and deciphering the relied-upon position [for most legal issues] in his renowned Hashiya, Radd al-Muhtar. He relies heavily on the above books, as well as the main primary texts (mutun) of the school, including Mukhtasar Quduri,Kanz al-Daqa’iq, the Mukhtar, the Wiqaya, and Multaqa ‘l-Abhur.

The Fatawa Hindiyya is also indispensable.

Then there are also key books for specialized areas, such as:

-For worship: Imam Shurunbulali’s Nur al-Idah and commentaries, Imam Tahtawi’s Hashiya on Maraqi ‘l-Falah, and the Hadiyya ‘l-Ala’iyya.

-For commercial transactions: the Majalla and its commentaries, particularly those by Imams Ali Haydar and Attasi.

-For personal law: Allama Qadri Basha’s Ahkam Shar’iyya fi Ahwal Shakhsiyya, along with Imam Abyani’s commentary.

-For the lawful and prohibited (halal/haram): Imam Nahlawi’s Durar Mubaha fil Hadhr wal-Ibaha. Continue reading

A Description of the God Conscious

from Nahj al-Balagha by Imam Zaid Shakir

is related that a devout worshipper by the name of Human came to Imam ‘Ali, may God ennoble his countenance, and asked him to describe the God conscious people so vividly that he could almost see them. Imam ‘Ali responded:

Their speech is truthful; their clothing is moderate; and they walk with utmost humility. They lower their gaze from everything God has forbidden.They allow their ears to listen only to that which is beneficial.Their souls accept exposure to trials and tribulations [in adherence to the truth] as easily as others accept luxurious living.

it not for their appointed term, their spirits would not have remained in their bodies the span of a twinkling of the eye due to their intense longing for their Lord. Because the Creator is magnified in their souls, everything else is viewed as insignificant in their sight.

[The Heart & Soul of the God Conscious]

Their hearts are sober; people are safe from any wickedness from them; their bodies are slim [they don’t overindulge their appetites]; their basic needs are few; and their souls are chaste. They patiently endure the few days they spend in this world knowing that they will be followed by a long, peaceful rest—this is the profitable life-transaction which their Lord has allowed them to enter into. The world desired them; however, they had no desire for it. It imprisoned them, but they ransomed their souls from it [with their restraint and righteous deeds]. Continue reading

Ulum al-Qur’an and Ulum al-Hadith Curriculums

Ulum al-Qur’an Curriculum

Here is a modern curriculum in the sciences of the Qur’an:

  • Al-Nawawi – Al-Tibyan
  • Shah Wali Allah – Al-Fawz al-Kabir (with Sharh al-’Awn al-Kabir)
  • Al-Sabuni – Al-Tibyan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an
  • Mustafa A’zami – History of the Compilation of Quran
  • Al-Zarqani – Manahil al-Irfan
  • Abd al-Sabur Shaheen – Tarikh al-Qur’an
  • Al-Suyuti – Al-Itqan
  • Al-Zarkashi – Al-Burhan

Hadith Curriculum for the General Public

Although advanced works of ahadith, such as al-Jami’ al-Sahih by al-Bukhari, require a scholar or commentary to unlock their secrets and benefits, shorter ta’liq works can and should be read by the general public regularly. The following works were written for such a purpose and may be read in sequence.

  • Al-Nawawi – Al-Arba’in al-Nawawiyah with the zawa’id of Ibn Rajab (50 ahadith)
  • Muhammad ‘Awwamah – Min Sihah al-Ahadith al-Qisar (300 ahadith)
  • Al-Bulandshehri – Zad al-Talibin (327 ahadith)
  • Al-Tirmidhi – Al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyah (400 ahadith approx.)
  • Al-Maqdisi – Umdat al-Ahkam (422 ahadith)
  • Al-Nawawi – Al-Adhkar (1242 ahadith)
  • Al-Bukhari – Al-Adab al-Mufrad (1,300 ahadith approx.)
  • Ibn Hajar – Bulugh al-Maram (1358 ahadith)
  • Al-Nawawi – Riyadh al-Salihin (1936 ahadith)
  • Ibn Hajar – Mukhtasar al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib
  • Al-Nu’mani – Ma’arif al-Hadith (over 2,000 ahadith)
  • Al-Mundhiri – Mukhtasar Sahih Muslim
  • Al-Zabidi – Al-Tajrid al-Sarih (Mukhtasar Sahih al-Bukhari)
  • Al-Tabrizi – Mishkat al-Masabih (approx. 5,000 ahadith)

Ulum al-Hadith Curriculum

  • Taysir Mustalah al-Hadith by Mahmud al-Tahan
  • Nukhbat al-Fikr with Sharh Nuzhat al-Nazr by Ibn Hajar (edited by Nur al-Din ‘Itr)
  • Al-Muwqizah by al-Dhahabi (edited by Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah)
  • Hadith Literature by Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi (ITS edit by Abd al-Hakim Murad)
  • Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature by Mustafa al-A’zami
Lower Intermediate
  • Risalah Abi Dawud to the Makkans
  • Manhaj al-Naqd by Nur al-Din ‘Itr
  • A Textbook of Hadith Studies by Hashim Kamali
  • Bukhari by Ghassan Abdul Jabbar
Upper Intermediate
  • Muqaddimah Ibn al-Salah (with Nukat Ibn Hajar)
  • Al-Sunnah wa Makanatiha by Mustafa al-Siba‘ee
  • Al-Raf’ wa al-Takmil by al-Laknawi (edited by Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah)
  • Hadith by Jonathan Brown
  • Studies in Early Hadith Literature by Mustafa al-A’zami

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How to Study the Shafi’i Madhab

Madkhal Literature

These works allow one to have a general overview of the historical development of the madhab, its nomenclature, its scholars, and its major written works. Read these often and review in order to have a strong overview of the structure of the madhab.

  • Al-Nawawi – The Muqadimah of al-Majmu’
  • Alawi al-Saqqaf – Al-Fawa’id al-Makkiyah
  • Alawi al-Saqqaf – Mukhtasar al-Fawa’id al-Makkiyah
  • Shams al-Ramli – Sharh Muqadimah Minhaj al-Talibin from Nihayat al-Muhtaj
  • Ali Jumu’ah – Imam al-Shafi’i wa Madrasatuh al-Fiqhiyah
  • Akram al-Qawasimi – Al-Madkhal ila Madhab al-Shafi’i
  • Muhammad Hasan Hitu – Al-Ijtihad wa Tabaqat Mujtahidi al-Shafi’iyah
  • Taj al-Din al-Subki – Tabaqat al-Shafi’iyah
  • Ahmad al-Ahdal – Sullam al-Muta’allim ila Ma’rifat al-Rumuz al-Minhaj
  • Ahmad al-Alawi – Al-Idah fi Bayan Istilah al-Minhaj

Curriculum Texts

These works are studied and read from cover to cover, typically with a qualified teacher. They form the basis of one’s training in the furu’ after having studied the basics (Safinat al-Naja, Matn Abi Shuja, etc.) The core texts are studied in class whereas the commentaries are usually referred to on occasion and studied at home.

Al-Masa’il al-Ta’lim Al-Muqadimat al-Hadramiyah) with its commentaries Bushra al-Karim and/or Minhaj al-Qawim – This text is the main work in ibadah and is especially popular in Yemen, Syria, and South East Asia. One should be deeply intimate with this text and perhaps even memorise its abridgment, Mukhtasar al-Latif. The work is based chiefly upon Imam al-Nawawi’s works and has a number of important commentaries and marginal glosses. The most extensive gloss is the seven volume Hashiyat al-Tarmasi upon Ibn Hajar’s commentary, Minhaj al-Qawim.

Umdat al-Salik –  its commentaries – This is usually the first intermediate level text one studies that addresses the whole spectrum of fiqh. It contains a lot of issues and much is implied, thus expecting a degree of fiqh in the student. Scholars have said that a sign of tawfiq from Allah is one’s studying this text and that the doors of fiqh are opened upon its completion and mastery. It is based mainly upon the works of al-Nawawi, al-Rafi’i, al-Shirazi, and al-Subki. An indication of the views of al-Rafi’i is given with the expression ‘wa qeela’ (and it is said…) One should continue to read and review this text throughout one’s life as it really does abridge much from the larger reference works. The best sharh is that of Alawi b. Saqaf al-Jifri, which is full of hadith evidence and explains where Ibn Naqib went against the mu’tamad positions (eighty or so instances).
Fath al-Mu’in – work is extremely popular in South East Asia and is also studied in Syria and Yemen. Its continued popularity is down to its being an abridgment of the works of Ibn Hajar al-Haytami as well as its chief commentary, I’anat al-Talibin, which draws much from the later hawashi literature.
Minhaj al-Talibin with Mughni al-Muhtaj or Fath al-Wahab – The final work studied is either of these two commentaries based upon al-Nawawi’s Minhaj al-Talibin. In South East Asia they prefer Fath al-Wahab and in the Middle East preference is given to Mughni al-Muhtaj. Continue reading